Researchers have identified a potential new target in the mitochondria (the cell's powerhouse) for fighting heart disease. In studies using mice, the scientists showed that the exit of calcium from mitochondria in heart cells plays a key role in normal heart function and that boosting calcium transport might help limit the severity of heart disease. Their study, published in Nature, was supported by NHLBI.
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A study conducted by NHLBI researchers found that the drug eltrombopag improves the response to treatment in patients with severe aplastic anemia. “Eltrombopag plus standard immunosuppressive therapy appeared to increase the overall response rate and substantially increase the frequency, speed and robustness of hematologic recovery in patients with SAA compared to historical controls,” said NHLBI researcher and the study’s lead author, Danielle Townsley, MD. The findings appear in the The New England Journal of Medicine.
Hematology Times: Combo improves response rates in treatment-naïve SAA
Men and African Americans are more likely to transition from ideal to elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, at a younger age than the general population, according to an NHLBI-funded study published in JAMA Cardiology. According to the researchers, the findings call for “primordial prevention in childhood and early adulthood” instead of paying attention to blood pressure as a risk factor to be treated once people become hypertensive.
tctMD/the heart beat: Sex, Race Disparities in High Blood Pressure Begin to Emerge Early in Life
JAMA Cardiology: Hypertension Disparities. The Hidden Vulnerability of Youth
Researchers are reporting new insights into how the electrical ‘power grids’ of interconnected mitochondria inside heart muscle cells work. They showed that this mitochondrial network contains several smaller subnetworks that act like a circuit breaker, limiting the impact of ‘faulty’ mitochondria in order to protect the heart from damage. The discovery may lead to a better understanding of heart disease and other conditions. Their study, published in Cell Reports, was partly funded by the NHLBI.
Muscular Dystrophy News Today: Heart, Other Muscles’ Response to Energy Malfunctions Has Implications for MS
Mitochondrial Disease News: How mitochondria prevent spread of heart or skeletal muscle damage
Researchers funded through the NHLBI’s Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study found that midlife risk factors for vascular disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking, were linked, later in life, with higher levels of brain amyloid, the protein fragments associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study was published in JAMA.
Medical News Today: Link between vascular disease and Alzheimer's strengthened
Medpage Today: Midlife Vascular Risk Factors Tied to Brain Amyloid
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication showing the blood pressure–lowering effects of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. A commentary in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association discusses the importance of the diet and the benefits that wider adoption will have for public health. In January, for the seventh year in a row, U.S. News & World Report ranked the NIH-developed DASH Diet “best overall” diet.
Washington Post: The DASH diet is proven to work. Why hasn’t it caught on?
Washingtonian Magazine: America’s Number One Ranked Healthy Diet Has Nothing to Do with Losing Weight
A newly discovered syndrome, dubbed the “GPIHBP1 autoantibody syndrome,” leads to the production of autoantibodies that cause high levels of triglycerides in the blood. The NHLBI funded study appears in The New England Journal of Medicine. “The researchers have not only discovered a new disease, but their findings have suggested that the disease is treatable,” said Dr. Michelle Olive, from the NHLBI.
Physician's Briefing: Autoantibodies to GPIHBP1 Identified in Chylomicronemia
My Science: New cause of high plasma triglycerides
Health Medicine Network: Researchers discover a new cause of high plasma triglycerides
Structural variants (SVs), also known as structural variations, are an important source of human genetic diversity, but their contribution to traits, disease and gene regulation remains unclear. A study by NHLBI funded researchers found that SVs they have a greater influence in gene expression than previously thought.
A team of researchers is reporting that they have identified the location of an elusive ‘permeability barrier’ within the wall of the artery and note that this barrier that plays a key role in normal and disease processes. This barrier provides a seal against water movement across the arterial wall even at high pressures. This seal permits the high-pressure artery to deliver blood throughout the body without leaks. Defective arterial wall permeability to water is altered in many diseases, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure. Using high tech imaging tools, the researchers directly mapped the water permeability to a specific membrane of the arterial wall. A better understanding of this barrier could lead to improved understanding and treatment of disease as well as new potential genetic markers of vascular disease vulnerability, the researchers say. The study, which appeared online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (link is external), is funded by NHLBI.
PNAS Editorial: Crossing the arterial wall with CARS
A study by NHLBI researchers shows that requests to use the Institute’s data repository are increasing rapidly, and their primary objective is to answer new research questions. “Requesting data for the a priori purpose of reanalysis or verification of original findings was rare,” said study author Sean Coady, MS, from the NHLBI. The findings appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine. Additional coverage March 31, 2017 in Medpage Today.