Expert Calls At-Home Sport Genetic Testing Into Question

An emerging trend in youth sports gives some experts cause for concern, according to a session being presented today at the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) 58th Annual Meeting and 2nd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine®. At-home genetic tests for a child’s athletic aptitudes are raising ethical concerns – and a few eyebrows – among sports medicine professionals.

One expert presenting today shared several scientific and ethical concerns about these tests. DNA profiles are shared by family members and can also be predictive of disease risk factors, so adults are to be cautious. Because genetic counselors are not on hand to deliver the results, there is a risk of misinterpretation and misuse. Some believe testing could trump enjoyment with science in youth sports.

“There is little question that the genetic profile these companies return to the consumer is accurate – these are robust techniques,” said Stephen Roth, Ph.D., FACSM. “The real questions are whether or not the consumer is able to properly interpret the profile and whether or not children should use these tests to predict aptitudes in athletics.”

At least three separate companies sell these at-home tests online. Users simply take a cheek cell or saliva sample and send it to the company. The company then processes the sample and sends a genetic profile for the user to analyze and interpret from home.

“I would not recommend these tests for anyone except adult athletes seeking information for themselves out of curiosity, but I would remind those adults that the science is still shaky,” said Roth.

Source:

American College of Sports Medicine

Urinary Incontinence Twice As Likely In White Women As In Black Women

The good news for black women: They have less than half the chance of developing urinary incontinence as do white women, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.

The bad news: When they get it, the condition tends to be worse than in white women. The amount of urine they lose during each episode of incontinence is larger, with half of black incontinent women reporting that they lose urine to the point of noticeably wetting their underwear or a pad, compared with a third of white women.

The significance: The study confirms some common beliefs, and refutes others. The medical community has long held the belief that black women don’t experience a type of urinary incontinence known as “stress incontinence,” in which urine is lost during activities such as exercising, coughing and laughing. In fact, the study found, black women do experience stress incontinence. The study is in the current issue of the Journal of Urology.

“This is a population that may have been neglected because it was believed for so long that black women did not have stress urinary incontinence,” says lead author Dee E. Fenner, M.D., Furlong Professor of Women’s Health, and director of gynecology, at the U-M Health System.

“In truth, black women suffer from the social embarrassment of urinary incontinence, and the medical community needs to remember this when diagnosing and treating all women.”

The study indicates that black women experience “urge incontinence” twice as often as white women, which supports other research on the subject. This type of incontinence involves a strong and sudden need to urinate, followed by leakage.

Additionally, it has been thought in the past that the other medical conditions associated with urinary incontinence are different between black and white women. This study suggests, however, that those conditions – such as diabetes, constipation, depression, obesity and chronic lung disease – occur at similar rates between the two races.

By the numbers:
About 27 percent of all women surveyed had the condition.

This study found that 14.6 percent of black women and 33.1 percent of white women have urinary incontinence.

Black women with incontinence reported having stress incontinence in about 25 percent of instances, compared with 39 percent of white women.

Black women with incontinence reported urge incontinence in 24 percent of cases, compared with 11 percent of white women. The remaining numbers had a combination of both types.

The women in the study ranged from 35 to 64 years old, with an average age of 42. Most of the women – nearly 70 percent – had delivered at least one baby vaginally; vaginal deliveries are often associated with urinary incontinence.

The study involved 1,922 black women and 892 white women from three southeastern Michigan counties. Data were collected through a telephone survey.

###

For more information:

The University of Michigan Health System’s Pelvic Floor Research Group

What is urinary incontinence?

MedlinePlus

National Institute on Aging

In addition to Fenner, authors of the study are senior author John O.L. DeLancey, M.D., Elisa R. Trowbridge, M.D., Divya L. Patel, Ph.D. and Nancy H. Fultz, Ph.D., all of the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the U-M Pelvic Floor Research Group; Janis M. Miller, Ph.D., RNC, of the U-M School of Nursing and the Pelvic Floor Research Group; and Denise Howard, M.D., MPH, of Georgia Urogynecology.

Disclosures: DeLancey has an advisory relationship with Johnson & Johnson, and Howard has an advisory relationship with Novartis and Novasys.

The research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health through a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Reference: The Journal of Urology, Vol. 179, 1455-1460, April 2008. “Establishing the Prevalence of Incontinence Study: Racial Differences in Women’s Patterns of Urinary Incontinence.”

Source: Katie Vloet

University of Michigan Health System

Surgical Principles Of Omentoplasty In Urology

UroToday- The use of the omentum as a tool in the surgical armamentarium of urology dates back to 1935 when it was first used in the treatment of vesicovaginal fistula. In the 1970′s, Turner-Warwick reported on the benefits of placing an omentum flap in contact with bulbar urethroplasties to reduce urinary fistula, urethral strictures and infections. An omental flap is now often used as an interposing tissue in the treatment of vesicovaginal, rectourethral and rectovaginal fistula. It has also been used periureterically to wrap the ureter after ureterolysis in retroperitoneal fibrosis.

A recent review by P. Paparel and colleagues from Lyon, France describe a simple and reproducible technique for omentoplasty. The review is published in the May 2007 issue of BJU Int. The critical step in the technique is the development of the vascular pedicle in which the omental flap derives its blood supply which allows it to be transferred to locations deep in the pelvis.

The omentum is vascularized by the two gastroepiploic arteries. The right gastroepiploic artery starts from the bifurcation of the gastrodoudenal artery and descends along the pylorus where it eventually ends in an anastomosis with the left gastroepiploic artery at the middle third of the greater curvature of stomach. The caliber of the arterial cascade of the greater curvature is greater on the right which explains why most of the flaps are pedicled on the right gastroepiploic artery.

The authors describe their method of harvesting the omental flap. They inject a buflumedil-type vasodilator (400 mg IV) 30 minutes prior to the intervention on the flap. They also continue this medicine at the same dose for three days after the procedure. The initial phase of the omentoplasty is based on a colo-epiploic detachment and this alone, in 10% of cases, can allow the flap to reach the inguinal ligament. If this is insufficient the gastrocolic ligament is opened between the greater curvature and gastroepiploic cascade. The short vessels to the gastric area are then detached taking care to spare the arcade 5 cm from the right border and 3 cm from the anastomotic plexus on the left. Depending on which area is intended to be reached form coverage the flap is pedicled on the right or left side by dividing the contralateral pedicle. The article is accompanied by exceptional drawings which allow the reader to better educate themselves of the technique.

Paparel P, Caillot JL, Perrin P, Ruffion A
BJU Int. 99(5):1191-96, May 2007
doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2007.06869.x

Reported by UroToday Contributing Editor Michael J. Metro, M.D

UroToday – the only urology website with original content global urology key opinion leaders actively engaged in clinical practice.

To access the latest urology news releases from UroToday, go to:
www.urotoday

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Copyright © 2007 – UroToday
Reproduced for blog with permission of UroToday.
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MS Society Announces 2.4 Million Dollars To Continue Ottawa Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Trial

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada announced a 2.4 million dollars grant to continue a closely-watched clinical trial involving an experimental bone marrow stem cell transplant therapy. The trial is being conducted by a team of Canadian MS specialists led by Dr. Mark Freedman and Dr. Harry Atkins in Ottawa.

“The aim of the study was to see if this treatment protocol could halt deterioration in a group of MS patients with rapidly progressive disease,” says Jon Temme, vice president of client services and research for the MS Society. “Currently, the majority of the 18 patients have stabilized or improved, and the focus of this second phase of the trial will be to determine if this stabilization can be maintained.”

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. Between 55,000 and 75,000 Canadians have MS making it the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.

MS symptoms are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person but can include: double or blurred vision; extreme fatigue; loss of balance; stiffness of muscles; speech problems; bladder and bowel problems; and even partial or complete paralysis.

“The idea behind this clinical trial is to replace the diseased immune system with a new one derived from the patient’s own bone marrow stem cells,” explains Dr. Harry Atkins, a scientist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute, bone marrow transplant specialist at the Ottawa Hospital, and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. “First we purify and freeze the patient’s stem cells, then we use strong chemotherapy to destroy their existing immune system, and then we transplant the purified stem cells back into the patient. It takes time, but eventually these stem cells will form a completely new immune system – one that does not attack the brain and spinal cord – we hope.”

A similar procedure has been used to treat certain types of blood cancer for more than 25 years, but applying the procedure to treat autoimmune diseases such as MS is novel.

“We hoped that this therapy would halt or slow the progression of MS, and in the patients examined so far, it seems to have worked,” says Dr. Mark Freedman, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute, director of the Ottawa Hospital MS Clinic, and professor at the University of Ottawa. “In addition, some patients have experienced substantial improvements in their ability to see and walk. This was unexpected, and it suggests the exciting possibility that the therapy may be contributing to some sort of repair or regeneration. With this funding, we can investigate this further.”

The researchers note that the therapy is highly experimental and potential side effects are serious, but the knowledge gained could lead to significant improvements in the treatment of MS and other autoimmune diseases.

The grant to extend the project comes from the MS Scientific Research Foundation which receives the majority of its funding from the MS Society of Canada.

About the Ottawa Health Research Institute

The Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa. The OHRI includes more than 1,200 scientists, clinicians, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

ohri

About the MS Society of Canada

Founded in 1948, the MS Society has a membership of 28,000, with seven regional divisions and nearly 120 chapters. The MS Society provides services for people with MS, family members and caregivers. The MS Society also offers a unique support network for children and teenagers with MS and their parents. The MS Society raises funds to support research and services almost entirely through individual and corporate donations and fundraising events across the country.

mssociety

Dampened hopes for transplanting bone marrow stem cells in heart attacks

There is little, if any, evidence that adult stem cells can build other cells in an adult organism than those formed in the organs they themselves come from. At any rate, blood stem cells do not convert to heart muscle cells in a damaged heart, which was previously hoped. This has been shown by a research team from the Stem Cell Center at Lund University in Sweden in an article in Nature Medicine.

During the end of the 1990s and early 2000s scientists nourished great hopes that adult stem cells would be able to develop into all sorts of cells. If so, it would not be necessary to use the ethically more problematic embryonic stem cells. However, newer studies have shown that while adult stem cells are very good at producing different types of cells in their own respective organs, they have little or no ability to form cells in other organs.

“Both we and two American research teams have used various methods to replicate a study from three years ago that appeared in Nature. It was about transplanting blood stem cells to create new heart muscle cells to repair a heart after a heart attack. But all of our results univocally indicate that this is not possible,” says Jens Nygren. He is a doctoral student and part of research team headed by Professor Sten Eirik Jacobsen at the Stem Cell Center.

What the Lund scientists have found is that the transplanted cells that remain in the infarcted area retain their identity as blood cells. On the other hand, outside the infarcted area a so-called fusion did occur between the transplanted cells and heart muscle cells.

Such fused cells can sometimes look as if they had been formed from a transplanted stem cell. In other words, fusions may explain the first promising studies: the scientists believed they were looking at cells produced by maturation of blood stem cells, whereas in actual fact they were seeing a tiny number of fused cells.

Now it is time for second thoughts, and these might affect the many large-scale patient trials that were initiated during the hopeful period. In Sweden there is only one entirely new trial underway, and it can easily be discontinued, but in Germany and elsewhere a huge number of patients have already had blood stem cells transplanted into their heart, and more transplants are in planned.

The question is whether there is any reason to continue these trials, or whether they should be ended. There are some indications that bone marrow transplants have a certain positive effect on the heart function after an infarction, but the mechanism behind this remains an open question.

Sten Eirik Jacobsen’s research team is now primarily focusing on how blood production from stem cells is regulated. They are also going to carry on their work to understand what fusion between bone marrow cells and heart musculature might entail, both in adult hearts and in fetal development.

Contact: Ingela Bjцrck
ingela.bjorckinfo.lu.se
46-46-222-76-46
Swedish Research Council

Functional Challenges Develop Earlier In African-American Women

African-American women develop functional health challenges earlier than their fellow seniors, researchers say

While examining self-reported data about the lives of 8,700 older people, a Case Western Reserve University sociologist identified an accelerated rate of reported physical limitations by African American women in their mid-50s and 60s.

The finding surfaced as researchers looked generally at how the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity affect health disparities among older African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Whites.

David Warner, assistant professor of sociology at Case Western Reserve University, found that, in general, men of all racial/ethnic groups fared better than the women. And, those with education, economic means and higher net worth reported fewer physical health issues.

“But we could not find the reason why African-American women developed limitations faster than other gender and racial/ethnic groups,” he said.

Warner and his co-investigator Tyson H. Brown from Vanderbilt University set out to approach health disparities in a new way by looking at gender and race/ethnicity concurrently in order to better understand health disparities.

Overall, the researchers found that gender and race/ethnicity jointly and simultaneously define access to resources that promote health and exposure to risks that undermine the health of individuals over time.

The researchers did find that life disadvantages, such as lower incomes and lack of access to health care surfacing in midlife tend to follow individuals throughout their lives and that women are particularly at risk for such disadvantages.

Social Science & Medicine reported their research findings in the article, “Understanding how race/ethnicity and gender define age-trajectories of disability: An intersectionality approach.”

The investigators of the National Institutes of Health-funded study reached their conclusions from a comparative analysis of 8,701 people between the ages of 53 and 75, who answered questions over seven biennial waves (1994-2006) in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study.

Disabilities were measured from answers to self-reported survey questions that assessed mobility, strength and upper and lower body functional limitations. They also examined information about early life experiences, adult social economic status, marriage and health-related behaviors to determine what influence these might have on disabilities.

Statistical analyses of survey responses showed emerging patterns in the functional health of these seniors.

Early life events, adult socioeconomic status, marital status and health behaviors explained disparities in the limitations men experienced, but didn’t do so as clearly for women.

Aging White men overall started out with less than one disabling limitation on average, but every year slightly increased until age 75 when they had slightly more than two.

Mexican-American women, who fared the worst, reached 75 with twice as many physical limitations on average as White men – nearly five.

Mexican-American men, African-American men, White men and White women did not vary significantly in the rate at which they developed disabilities as they aged. However, African-American women gained more disabilities early on. After their mid-60s, the rate of disabilities began to decrease. By age 75, it appeared the pace of acquiring disabilities had stabilized.

Warner said new information about physical health changes with age emerged when race/ethnicity and gender were jointly examined.

According to the researchers, this study’s findings demonstrate the need for health-preventions efforts aimed at eliminating functional health disparities overall, but also point to the need for further research and interventions that address the unique health experiences of African American women with age.

Harvest Technologies Announces Trial Results In Its India Study Using BMAC To Treat Patients With Non-Reconstructable Critical Limb Ischemia

Harvest Technologies Corp. announced results from the company sponsored 60-patient clinical trial conducted at Sri Ramachandra Medical Center in Chennai, India using the company’s BMAC System to treat patients with non-reconstructable Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). Sri Ramachandra Medical Center is a Harvard Medical international-associated institution based in Chennai, India and one of the largest private healthcare facilities in South Asia. The study was directed by Prof. K. S. Vijayaragavan, Chief of Vascular Surgery at Sri Ramachandra University and met all regulatory approvals imposed by the Drug Controller of India and the Ethics Committee of Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India.

Critical limb ischemia is a persistent and relentless problem, which severely impairs the patient functional status and quality of life, and is associated with an increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Prognosis of critical limb ischemia is poor and no effective treatments have been established in patients who are not amenable for the traditional revascularization therapies such as angioplasty and bypass procedures. Hence these patients have no option other than undergoing amputation or limb loss. In India a significant percentage of the patients with peripheral vascular disease are between the age of 40 to 50. They suffer from Thrombo Angitis Obliterans, which is predominant in young smokers. They have severe pain, open non-healing wounds and limb loss since revascularization chances are very low in these patients. Most end up with major amputation, resulting in the inability to work.

Autologous cell therapy has been studied as an innovative treatment option for CLI, however; previously published studies did not use a rapid, point of care method for processing the cells therefore making widespread adoption of the therapy problematic. The Harvest trial, which enrolled the largest number of subjects of any study to date, utilized the BMAC system to process bone marrow aspirated from the patient in order to produce a highly concentrated composition of multipotent nucleated cells. The BMAC system is unique in that it can produce this cellular composition in 15 minutes within the operating room. A unique feature of the trial was to compare the relative effectiveness of two different delivery methods. Thirty of the subjects received the BMAC composition by injection and thirty received the same amount of BMAC but half of the volume by injection and the remaining half by infusion into a major artery.

The data from the 60 subjects was analyzed by an independent Contract Research Organization (Ecron Acunova, Bangalore, INDIA). The Ecron Acunova report showed that weeks 12 post treatment amputation free survival for the treated population was 90%. In addition, there was a statistically significant reduction in the subject’s pain perception, increase in pain free walking distance, maximum walking distance, various perfusion measures including Regional Perfusion Index, as well as a significant improvement in the Quality of Life assessment (RAND-36 scores).

Another significant outcome, not shown in other studies, was the effect of the Harvest cell composition on the severity of the disease. CLI is a progressively degenerative disease with increasing serious in the disease being categorized by a classification system known as the Rutherford system; Rutherford classification progresses from 1 (least serious) to 6 (most serious with limb amputation imminent). All the 60 study patients were classified as either Rutherford class 4 or 5 (78% were class 5) and 12 weeks after treatment the treated cohort showed a mean reduction of one Rutherford class. “This is a truly extraordinary result,” said Prof. Vijayaraghaven, “and if sustained through the end of the study will offer a significant treatment option to a patient population that has had little hope to avoid amputation.”

“We are particularly pleased that the results of this study continue to show very promising results,” said Gary D. Tureski, President of Harvest Technologies. “When combined with our on going multi-center FDA study in the U.S., and other studies in Germany and the Czech Republic, this study demonstrates the potential for Harvest’s BMAC System to be an effective treatment for Chronic Limb Ischemia regardless of the underlying cause.”

Harvest Technologies is a privately held company based in Plymouth, Mass.

Source: Harvest Technologies Corp

Cut Daily Sodium Intake: ASN Statement In Support Of US Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2010

On January 31, The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the US Dietary
Guidelines for Americans 2010 to provide direction on making healthy food choices to
maintain an ideal weight and improve overall health. The recommendations are issued
every five years and serve as the basis for the food pyramid.

Position: The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) supports the recommendations,
which include advising Americans to reduce their daily salt intake. The recommendations
encourage nearly half of Americans to drastically reduce their salt intake. The following
groups are urged to cut their salt intake to 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily:
All individuals 51 and older;
All African Americans; and
Individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease (CKD).

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the second leading cause of kidney failure and
poses a particular threat to African Americans. African Americans are six times as likely
as whites to develop hypertension, and nearly 50% of African American adults are
hypertensive.

“The recommendations are important to all Americans, particularly African Americans
and patients with CKD. High dietary salt worsens kidney disease in a number of ways,
including causing higher blood pressure and increasing the effects of hormones, such as
angiotensin, known to injure kidneys. Reducing dietary salt should reduce the number of
patients requiring renal replacement therapy,” explains Stuart L. Linas, MD, FASN, Chair,
ASN’s Hypertension Advisory Group.

The recommendations advise the remaining 50% of Americans, not included in the
above group, to cut their daily sodium intake by one-third to 2,300 milligrams per day to
improve their health as well.

Source:
Shari Leventhal
American Society of Nephrology

Female Smokers Increasing As Tobacco Industry Targets Women

To mark World No Tobacco Day, the World Heart Federation urges all women to avoid secondhand smoke and take action to support the comprehensive smoking bans that protect them from the dangers of tobacco. The World Heart Federation also urges policymakers to ensure that tobacco control policy offers equal protection to men and women.

This year, World No Tobacco Day, a global campaign organized by the World Health Organization, highlights how tobacco marketing targets women. Currently one in five smokers is a woman, but this is changing fast. While men’s smoking rates are declining around the world, in many countries increasing numbers of women are starting to smoke, which poses a growing threat to women’s’ health, especially in the low-income countries that can least afford to cope with the consequences.

“Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are important causes of heart disease and they also have the greatest impact among low-income populations,” explains World Heart Federation Vice-President Dr. Lyn Roberts, “Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the world, and 80% of the people it kills live in developing and middle income countries.”

This year, the World Congress of Cardiology, to be held in Beijing on 16-19 June, will also host the 3rd International Conference on Women and Heart Disease and Stroke. The World Heart Federation has been working in partnership with the International Network of Women Against Tobacco (INWAT) who are holding two sessions during the conference to explore measures to protect women from the harmful effects of tobacco.

“Tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke is deadly for both men and women – but women are particularly at risk,” said World Heart Federation Vice-President Dr. Lyn Roberts. “Physically, the effects of tobacco on a woman’s reproductive system can be dangerous and complicated, but there is a lot more to it than the physical: women are also exposed to different social, cultural and economic pressures, which influences how they start smoking, the barriers they face in quitting, and how much they can control their exposure to secondhand smoke.”

The World Heart Federation is committed to improving women’s lives by improving their heart health via activities such as the Go Red for Women campaign. The campaign calls upon every woman in the world to take care of her heart health by raising awareness of the common risk factors, signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke. By empowering women and encouraging them to support tobacco control, women can take the first steps towards taking control of their heart health.

Notes

World No Tobacco Day

The World Heart Federation supports World No Tobacco Day, organized on 31 May by the World Health Organization. The 2010 theme is “Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women”.

International Network of Women Against Tobacco (INWAT)

The International Network of Women Against Tobacco (INWAT) is a network of over 1800 members in 100 different countries working toward the elimination of tobacco use and exposure among women. INWAT was founded in 1990 by women tobacco control leaders to address the complex issues of tobacco use among women and young girls.

World Congress of Cardiology

The World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions is the official congress of the World Heart Federation and is held every two years. Through the World Congress of Cardiology, the World Heart Federation offers an international stage for the latest developments in science and public outreach in the field of cardiovascular health. The World Congress of Cardiology places emphasis on the complementary nature of science and public outreach and strives to spread the message that through individual, community and patient care interventions, the growing epidemic of cardiovascular disease in developing countries can be prevented.
The next World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Session will take place in Beijing, China in June 2010.
See here.

Go Red For Women

Go Red for Women is a major international awareness campaign dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and control of cardiovascular disease in women. The American Heart Association created the Go Red for Women campaign in 2004 to empower women with the knowledge and tools to take charge of their heart health. The World Heart Federation, together with its members, has taken the campaign global to inform women worldwide that heart disease and stroke is their number one killer and that they can take appropriate action to prevent it. Go Red for Women is an alarm call to every woman in the world to take care of her heart health. In short, it is not a red dress – it’s a red alert!

Source
World Heart Federation

Hispanics With Clogged Arteries At Greatest Risk Of Stroke, Heart Attack

Hispanics who have even a small amount of plaque build-up in the neck artery that supplies blood to the brain are up to four times more likely to suffer or die from a stroke or heart attack than Hispanics who do not have plaque, according to a study published in the March 19, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, researchers used ultrasound to determine the thickness of the plaque in the carotid artery of 2,189 men and women who were part of the multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study. Carotid plaque was found in 58 percent of the group. The maximum carotid plaque thickness was defined as those who had more than 1.9 mm of plaque thickness, which represented one quarter of the group.

After an average follow-up of seven years, 121 people suffered or died from ischemic stroke, 118 suffered or died from heart attack and 166 died of other vascular causes.

The study found Hispanics with the thickest amounts of plaque had a three-to-four-fold increased risk of vascular events, such as stroke or heart attack, compared to Hispanics who did not have plaques.

“These results are important for developing stroke and vascular prevention programs for all, but also for certain ethnic groups such as Hispanics, who represent the fastest growing minority population in the U.S.,” said study author Tatjana Rundek, MD, PhD, with the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami in Florida. “More research is needed though to determine why Hispanics with even small amounts of carotid plaque are particularly susceptible to vascular events.”

Rundek says their findings also show plaque thickness measured by ultrasound is a simple tool that can help doctors determine the risk of vascular events and guide stroke prevention therapies, regardless of ethnicity. “It is a non-invasive marker that can help doctors identify the beginning stages of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, that is also associated with increased risk of stroke.”

The study was supported by the Gilbert Baum Memorial Grant, the Goddess Fund for Stroke Research in Women, and grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit aan.

American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
1080 Montreal Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55116
United States
neurology