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July 20, 2016 : Ethnicity & Disease

For a decade, the NHLBI has sponsored a unique training and mentoring initiative for boosting the number of scientists and faculty from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the biomedical sciences.  The initiative is called PRIDE (Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research). An article published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease describes the rationale and design of this early-career program, particularly its importance in addressing ongoing health disparities and inequities.

July 20, 2016 : Science Magazine

Researchers are reporting that an experimental drug designed for fighting cancer also shows promise for tackling heart disease.  In the new study, the researchers showed that the experimental drug prevented the buildup of fatty arterial plaques, which can lead to heart attack and stroke, in mouse models of heart disease.  The study, published in the journal Nature, was funded by NHLBI.

July 18, 2016 : University of Michigan Health System

In a finding that could provide a better understanding of deadly diseases that are common in intensive care patients,  scientists are reporting that bacteria that normally live in the gut have been detected in failing lungs.  The scientists observed these gut bacteria in the lungs of 68 human patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and in mouse models of sepsis, both of which are life-threatening conditions that are common in the intensive care unit (ICU).  In particular, the finding identifies a potential new target, the lung microbiome (bacterial community), for the prevention and treatment of these diseases.  The study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, was partly funded by NHLBI.

July 14, 2016 : Cardiovascular Business

In a study that sheds light on heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other conditions, researchers at the National Institutes of Health are reporting that collagen— the most abundant protein in the human body—appears to play an important role in regulating tissue remodeling.  The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the protein forms structures that regulate how certain enzymes break down and remodel body tissue.  It was partly funded by NHLBI.

June 28, 2016 : Jama Cardiology

The rate of decline for deaths related to heart disease has slowed since 2011, according to researchers supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. From 2000-2011, the annual rates of decline from deaths linked to cardiovascular disease were 3.79 percent compared to 0.65 percent from 2011 to 2014. 

June 28, 2016 : JAMA

Older adults hospitalized with acute respiratory failure fared equally well following rehabilitation therapy compared to usual intensive care unit treatment. Researchers, with support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, were investigating whether physical therapy could shorten the length of stay in hospitals for older adults with acute respiratory failure.

June 22, 2016 : The New York Times

Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, appears to be more dangerous and often more fatal in black people than in whites, according to a study published in JAMA Cardiology. Researchers followed 15,080 people with atrial fibrillation, or A-fib,  over a 20-year period. Of these individuals, 3,831 were black. Although the rate of atrial fibrillation in the study group was higher among whites than blacks, black subjects tended to have higher rates of heart complications—including stroke, heart failure, and coronary heart disease—than whites in the study.  Blacks with A-fib were also twice as likely to die prematurely than whites.  Reasons behind the racial differences were unclear, the researchers noted. The study was partly funded by NHLBI. 

June 14, 2016 : JAMA

A study has shown that long-acting opioids — such as sustained-release morphine and controlled-release oxycodone — for chronic pain relief increase the risk of death from cardiovascular and other causes. In the study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the researchers compared long-acting opioid use to the use of anticonvulsants or antidepressants for chronic pain unrelated to cancer. They found that prescription opioid use was associated with more deaths. The deaths were mostly for reasons other than an unintentional overdose, and more than half of these were cardiovascular related. The researchers recommend that their findings be considered when evaluating the harms and benefits of pain treatment.

June 7, 2016 : Tech Times

A new research study provides additional evidence that lack of sleep may increase a person’s risk for heart disease.  In the study, conducted at the University of Chicago, researchers assigned 26 healthy young adults to a sleep restriction pattern of five hours per day for eight consecutive days.   They found that lack of sleep was associated with increased heart rates. In addition, the researchers linked insufficient sleep with an increase in levels of a stress hormone called norepinephrine, which is capable of raising blood pressure. The study, published in the journal Hypertension, was partly funded by NHLBI. 

May 30, 2016 : Nature Materials

Through a study funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, researchers gained new insights into the biological basis of single-cell mechanical homeostasis — the process by which a cell strives to maintain stability despite physical stressors on its surface. They found that on a single-cell level, mechanical homeostasis is driven by distinct regulation of activities involving the cytoskeleton, which gives shape and structure to cells. Also important was the regulation of structures called focal adhesions, which control the transmission of mechanical forces to the cells. The authors note that understanding single-cell mechanical homeostasis can provide critical insights into how cellular dysregulation can develop and lead to cardiovascular disease and other disorders.

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