FYI from the NHLBI Index

December 2001: Vol. 2, Issue 3
In the News


    News from Capitol Hill

    • Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 Appropriations
    • Proposed Legislation

    Recent Advances from the NHLBI

    • Inhaled Steroids Accelerate Bone Loss, but Still Recommended as Asthma Treatment
    • "High-Normal" Blood Pressure Increases Cardiovascular Risk
    • Women with Rare Lung Disease Found to Also Have High Prevalence of Meningioma

Capitol Dome

News from Capitol Hill

Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 Appropriations

The House and Senate have passed their respective versions of appropriations bills to provide funding for the NIH, including the NHLBI. Whereas the House is proposing that the NHLBI receive $2,547,675,500, 11.4 percent more than what it received in FY 2001, the Senate is recommending slightly more than $2.6 billion, a 14.5 percent increase from FY 2001. Both urge the NHLBI to give high priority to cardiovascular disease research, placing an emphasis on understanding cardiovascular disease in women, pediatric heart disease, and the possible association between bone formation, repair, and breakdown and development of heart disease. Other research topics mentioned by both chambers include asthma, Cooley's anemia, diabetes, hemophilia, primary pulmonary hypertension, and transfusion medicine. The House version of the bill also mentions chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hematological cancers, Lyme disease, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (e.g., mad cow disease), neurofibromatosis, lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), and interactions between tuberculosis and AIDS. The Senate bill indicates special interest in umbilical cord blood stem cells and sickle cell anemia research. At press time, a conference committee was working to resolve differences between the bills, after which a consolidated bill will be presented to the House and Senate for approval. Once approved, it will be sent to the President to be signed into law. You can check the status of the FY 2002 appropriations and read the actual text of the bills by following links at thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/appover.html. The NHLBI's budget is a component of the "Labor/HHS/Educ." bill.

Proposed Legislation

Two new bills relevant to NHLBI interests have been introduced in the House of Representatives. Rep. Clifford Sterns (R-FL) introduced a resolution to establish Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month (H. Con. Res. 197) to raise public awareness about the prevalence of COPD and the serious problems associated with it. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced the Diamond-Blackfan Anemia Act (H.R. 3014) to encourage research on Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a rare disorder that affects an estimated 600 individuals worldwide. If passed, the bill would require the NHLBI to:


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Recent Advances from the NHLBI

Inhaled Steroids Accelerate Bone Loss, but Still Recommended as Asthma Treatment

Researchers have observed that premenopausal women using inhaled corticosteroids to treat persistent asthma may experience accelerated bone loss in the hip compared with those who do not use inhaled steroids. Although the yearly changes were small, their long-term cumulative effects could ultimately put some women at high risk of hip fracture. Because inhaled steroids provide the best daily control of persistent asthma and poor asthma control can lead to life-threatening complications, the NHLBI encourages all female patients with asthma to work with their doctors on a comprehensive treatment plan that includes measures to control their asthma symptoms and maintain bone health.

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"High-Normal" Blood Pressure Increases Cardiovascular Risk

People with a systolic blood pressure of 130-139 mm Hg and/or a diastolic pressure of 85-89 mm Hg are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke, or heart failure than those with optimal blood pressure. Although high-normal blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular events regardless of sex or age, it conveys even higher risk for patients age 65 or older. The results, which come from data collected though the Framingham Heart Study, underscore the importance of lowering high-normal blood pressure; for most people, treatment would consist of such lifestyle changes as eating less sodium and more fruits and vegetables, losing extra weight, and becoming physically active.

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Women with Rare Lung Disease Found to Also Have High Prevalence of Meningioma

Scientists at the NHLBI have found that women with a rare lung disease known as lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) have a high prevalence of meningioma, a type of brain tumor. It is not clear whether the tumors are caused by LAM itself, hormonal treatments for the disease - or a combination of the two. Although abnormal cells in the lungs and other tissues of LAM patients produce certain growth factors that are believed to foster meningiomas, "we cannot rule out the possibility that the high prevalence of meningiomas may be a result of both LAM and progesterone therapy," said Dr. Joel Moss, chief of NHLBI's Pulmonary-Critical Care Medicine Branch and lead investigator of the study.

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