In the last week, scientists have made important discoveries regarding cardiovascular problems.
While it had been widely accepted that certain Cox-2 inhibitors prescribed for arthritis increase the chances of heart attack, for the first time a study has shown the reason behind this. In a collaborative effort, researchers from different universities in London have found that these inhibitors block the enzyme Cox-1. Due to this, it is unable to produce prostacyclin, the agent that thins the blood. As a result, blood clots are formed and increase the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. The researchers are hopeful that their findings will assist the development of Cox-2 drugs without these side effects.
In an attempt to put to rest the doubts about the benefits of folic acid for heart disease, Dr David Wald and his team conducted a study where they found that homocysteine concentrations do contribute to heart attacks and as folic acid lowered these concentrations, increasing its intake would reduce the chances of one suffering from a heart attack. However, they agree that the scope of the study was very small and clinical trials will be better able to justify their findings.
Across the channel, in the USA, researchers have found that people at moderate risk of heart attack would be extremely benefitted if they take statins to reduce their cholesterol, even if they do not suffer from any cardiovascular disease. Dr Niteesh K Choudhry, from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, examined studies of 48,000 patients and found that statins reduced the occurence of major cardiovascular problems like heart attack by 29 per cent when compared to a placebo. With the price of statins falling, the researchers are of the opinion that the benefits far outweigh the cost.
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