FYI from the NHLBI Index

September 2003: Vol. 4, Issue 2
In the News


    News from Capitol Hill

    • Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bills
    • Senators and Representatives Raise Awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
    • The NIH Teaches Congressmen and Constituents How Research Improves Public Health

    Recent Advances from the NHLBI

    • Donated Blood Now Tested for West Nile Virus Thanks to NHLBI Resources
    • Study Defines Risks and Benefits of Lung Surgery to Treat Severe Emphysema


News from Capitol Hill

Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bills

Capitol Dome

On June 10, 2003, the House of Representatives passed its version of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (H.R. 2660). It includes $2,867,995,000 for the NHLBI, as requested in the Presidentís budget. This is a 2.66 percent increase over the $2,793,733,000 that the NHLBI received in fiscal year 2003. The Senate version (S. 1356), which the Senate appropriations committee approved on June 26, includes $2,897,595,000 for the NHLBI.

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Senators and Representatives Raise Awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

On July 16, the House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 6 to show their support of the goals and ideals of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Awareness Month. The resolution was then forwarded to the Senate, which referred it to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. A similar resolution (S. Con. Res. 59), introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), also has been assigned to the Senate HELP Committee.

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The NIH Teaches Congressmen and Constituents How Research Improves Public Health

National High Blood Pressure Education Program

At the invitation of Representatives David Obey (D-WI) and James Oberstar (D-MN), NIH leaders participated in community health forums at Rice Lake and Superior, Wisconsin, where they discussed NIH activities and steps people can take to improve their health. Approximately 200 people attended each event, held August 1. After NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni opened the events with a presentation titled "The Benefits of NIH Research: Reaping What We Sow, Applying What We Know," attendees learned about diagnostic tools and treatments that may develop from results of recent genetic studies. Treatments for people who have osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and new methods for diagnosing and preventing these two increasingly prevalent conditions were highlights. Dr. Alving led breakout discussions titled "What You Do About Your Blood Pressure Could Save Your Life," and other NIH participants led sessions about diabetes prevention, the link between obesity and cancer, and research on ways to delay and prevent Alzheimer disease.

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Recent Advances from the NHLBI

Donated Blood Now Tested for West Nile Virus Thanks to NHLBI Resources

mosquito

Only 1 in 150-200 people infected with West Nile virus (WNV) develops a severe reaction. Most who are infected do not develop symptoms, which creates a public health problem because the virus can spread if a transfusion recipient is given blood from an infected donor. Last year, when health officials realized that WNV can spread via blood products, the NHLBI and Gen-Probe Corporation launched an intensive effort to develop a method to protect the blood supply. Nine months later, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission for the resulting test to be used to screen blood donated at various centers. By July 4, the test was being used for at least 75 percent of the U.S. blood supply.

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Study Defines Risks and Benefits of Lung Surgery to Treat Severe Emphysema

Because of a study supported by the NHLBI and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, surgeons can better predict which patients who have emphysema are likely to benefit from bilateral lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS). LVRS was first used in the 1950s to treat patients who had emphysema. Although some patients seemed to benefit from the procedure, high mortality and morbidity discouraged its widespread use. In the early 1990s, surgeons began using LVRS again; early reported successes led to rapidly increasing use of the procedure despite uncertainty about its safety and effectiveness. The National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) clarified the short-term and long-term benefits and risks of LVRS. It also demonstrated that patients whose emphysema was predominantly in the upper lobes of the lung and whose exercise capacity was low were most likely to benefit from LVRS, and conversely, that patients who did not have upper lobe distribution of emphysema and who had greater exercise capacity were poor candiates for LVRS.

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