FYI from the NHLBI Index

May 2006: Vol. 7, Issue 1
In the News


News from Capitol Hill

Capitol Dome

On February 1, the President proclaimed February 2006 as “American Heart Month.” In keeping with a heart-health theme, the House and Senate passed H.Res. 629 and S.Con.Res. 69 to acknowledge February 14, 2006, as a Day of Hearts: Congenital Heart Defect Day.

Acquired heart diseases also received attention with the introduction of S. 2278 and H.R. 4747, the Heart Disease Education, Analysis, and Research, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act. The bills would expand screening programs for low-income women at risk for cardiovascular diseases and require that data submitted to the FDA as part of the approval process for devices, biologic products, or drugs be analyzed and reported by gender, race, and ethnicity.

Resolutions

Several resolutions pertaining to health observances in May 2006 have been introduced, including: H.Res. 693, a resolution to recognize May 7 as Childhood Stroke Awareness Day; H.Res. 696, introduced in support of National Physical Education and Sports Week (May 1-7) and National Physical Education and Sports Month; and H.Con.Res. 357, introduced to endorse National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.

Other resolutions introduced this year include H.Res. 716, to support establishment of a National Blood Reserve and S.Res. 423, a resolution passed by the Senate to designate April 8, 2006 as National Cushing's Syndrome Awareness Day.

Modified 6/20/06
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Recent Advances from the NHLBI

Treatment Shows Long-term Benefits for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Patients

New research suggests that inhaling hypertonic saline, a water-based concentrated salt solution, could provide long-term benefits for lung health in patients with CF—a chronic, progressive, and frequently fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and young adults in the United States. In a study funded by the NHLBI and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, researchers tested the effects of inhaling the saline four times daily for 14 days in 24 adolescent and older patients with CF. The treatment significantly improved mucus clearance and lung function and reduced breathing symptoms.

Investigators believe that the treatment increases mucus volume, which helps the airways to clear bacteria and inhaled debris and could limit the number and severity of lung infections. Repeated infections are thought to contribute to lung damage over time. The study results offer potential for a new and inexpensive treatment of CF and could be particularly important if future research shows that the treatment similarly benefits infants and young children and could ultimately prevent or delay lung damage.

Modified 6/20/06
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