FYI from the NHLBI Index

September 2004: Vol. 5, Issue 2
In the News


News from Capitol Hill

Capitol Dome Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act
Number: H. R. 4682
Sponsor: Representative Mike Castle (R-DE)
Latest action: Introduced June 24, 2004. Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Highlights: The bill would permit federal support for research using human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date of derivation, with certain stipulations.

Patient's Bill of Rights Act of 2004
Number: H.R. 4628
Sponsor: Representative John Dingell (D-MI)
Latest action: Introduced on June 21, 2004. Referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, on Education and the Work Force, and on Ways and Means.
Highlights: The bill, which is intended to protect consumers in managed care plans and other health coverage, would require health care insurers to allow enrollees to participate in clinical trails and to pay for routine costs provided in connection with a trial.

Clinical Research Act of 2004
Number: H.R. 4779
Sponsor: Representative Dave Weldon (R-FL)
Latest action: Introduced on July 8, 2004. Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Highlights: This bill would authorize the NIH to award grants to defray the costs of complying with Federal requirements for the protection of human research subjects (e.g., Public Law 104–191 – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and maintaining institutional review boards. It also would allow for clinical research infrastructure grants to support a variety of activities such as updating information technology systems and creating programs that would increase the supply of qualified clinical investigators. The legislation would also authorize grants to support programs that demonstrate how academic research centers can collaborate with the practicing health care community in clinical research.

Modified 8/25/04
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Recent Findings from the NHLBI

Parental Atrial Fibrillation Increases
Risk in Offspring

Having a parent with atrial fibrillation (AF) strongly increases an individual’s risk of developing the disorder, according to findings from the Institute’s Framingham Offspring Study of AF. The study involved 1,165 women and 1,078 men whose parents were members of the original Framingham Heart Study.

The overall risk of AF nearly doubled for people who had at least one parent with AF compared with those whose parents did not have the condition. Moreover, the risk of AF tripled when one or both parents developed AF before age 75.

The Framingham Offspring Study of AF is the first to find a familial connection for AF in a community sample. The findings open up a new avenue of research on AF and will encourage scientists to search for genetic factors that contribute to the disorder.

Modified 8/25/04
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Average Blood Pressure Levels
Rising Among Children and Teenagers

Systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels for children and teenagers have risen substantially since 1988, according to a study supported by the NHLBI. The research involved 5,582 children aged 8-17 years, who were part of the 1988-94 and 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Results showed that average systolic pressure increased by 1.4 mm Hg and diastolic pressure, by 3.3 mm Hg from 1988-94 to 1999-2000. These increases occurred in both boys and girls and in all age and race/ethnic groups. The study also showed a dramatic increase in the percentage of children who were overweight, from 11.7 percent in 1988-94 to 16.3 percent in 1999 2000. The increase in the prevalence of overweight accounted for some, but not all, of the rise in average blood pressure levels, suggesting that other lifestyle factors, such as physical activity and dietary intake, also contributed to the blood pressure trends.

The National High Blood Pressure Education Program has produced a report on the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents to update clinicians on the latest scientific evidence. A copy of the report is available from High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents.

Modified 8/25/04
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