The U.S. National Institute for Health Research is investigating a new blood test that might help diagnose, or rule out, heart attacks. Acute chest pain is a common symptom of heart attack, but it is also a symptom of many problems that are less serious. Since current tests aren't able to detect heart attacks quickly, doctors must treat any sign of acute chest pain as an emergency. "Acute chest pain is one of the most common reasons for people to have to go to hospital as an emergency, and it is important that doctors are able to make a diagnosis quickly, allowing early treatment for people with a heart attack and avoiding unnecessary hospital admission for those without," said Steve Goodacre, professor at the University of Sheffield. "We hope that the results of our study will provide the NHS with important evidence to help inform the care of patients with acute chest pain."
A report published in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Health suggests that omega-3 fatty acids should be a part of a heart healthy diet because they reduce the risk of heart rhythm problems in certain groups of people, thus reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death. The researchers also found that omega-3s may help reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly and reduce blood clotting. Higher amounts of two particular omega-3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), can also have an anti-inflammatory effect for people with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, a study is underway to find whether DHA could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
A review published in the August 14 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology cast doubt on the standard use of beta blockers in patients with uncomplicated hypertension. The authors of the review looked at decades of accumulated data and concluded that there is no credible evidence to prove that beta blockers, when used as single-drug therapy for uncomplicated hypertension, reduces heart attack risks, stroke, or improves clinical outcomes.
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