FYI from the NHLBI Index
May 2006: Vol. 7, Issue 1
In the News
News from Capitol Hill
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.
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.
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.
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