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November 15, 2016

Media Availability: New biomarkers may lead to first reliable blood test for detecting alcohol misuse

A team of researchers led by NIH scientists from the Framingham Heart Study says it has identified a group of new chemical markers in the blood that could provide the basis for the first reliable blood test to detect heavy alcohol use. In addition to screening ordinary citizens for signs of alcohol misuse, such a diagnostic test could be used to screen airline pilots, bus drivers, train conductors, and others whose jobs directly affect the public safety. These biomarkers could also help shed light on the molecular basis of alcohol addiction, identify patients at high risk for alcoholism, and lead to new strategies for treating the disease, the researchers say. The study, the largest of its kind to evaluate blood markers for alcohol misuse, will appear in Molecular Psychiatry on November 15.

October 31, 2016

New method for performing aortic valve replacement proves successful in high risk patients

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed a new, less invasive way to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a procedure widely used to treat aortic valve stenosis, a lethal heart condition. The new approach, called transcaval access, will make TAVR more available to high risk patients, especially women, whose femoral arteries are too small or diseased to withstand the standard procedure. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published the findings.

October 26, 2016

Long-term oxygen treatment does not benefit some COPD patients

Newly published data from the Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial (LOTT) show that oxygen use is not beneficial for most people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and moderately low levels of blood oxygen. It neither boosted their survival nor reduced hospital admissions for study participants. Previous research showed that long-term oxygen treatment improves survival in those with COPD and severely low levels of blood oxygen. However, a long-standing question remained whether a different group of COPD patients—those with moderately low levels of blood oxygen—also benefit. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)—a part of the National Institutes of Health—and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

October 24, 2016

Toward Precision Medicine: First Whole Genomes from TOPMed Now Available for Study

In a bold step for precision medicine, researchers at the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) today announced they are releasing for study nearly 9,000 whole genomes, courtesy of participants in the Institute’s Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Program (TOPMed). The genomes—an organism’s complete set of DNA—are the first ever to be made available by the program, and researchers hope they one day will lead to treatments tailor-made to the individual, as well as shed light on racial and ethnic health disparities.

September 30, 2016

Media Availability: NHLBI Awards Grants to Help Improve Health Outcomes for Teens, Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

WHAT: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recently awarded nearly $36 million in grants to help improve the quality of health care for U.S. teens and adults with sickle cell disease. The grants are the first of their kind dedicated to testing strategies that could boost health outcomes for this group of young adults. The grants were awarded to eight clinical sites across the country as part of the Sickle Cell Disease Implementation Consortium (SCDIC) project.

September 12, 2016

Media Availability: Researchers Discover New Genetic Markers for Blood Pressure

WHAT: A team of researchers led by scientists from the Framingham Heart Study has discovered 31 new genetic markers it says are associated with blood pressure. The large-scale study provides new insight into the genetic underpinnings of high blood pressure and researchers say it could lead to better ways to treat the disease. Their study was published in Nature Genetics.

July 12, 2016

Media Availability: Newly discovered features of collagen may help shed light on disease processes

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health are reporting new, unexpected details about the fundamental structure of collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body. In lab experiments, they demonstrated that collagen, once viewed as inert, forms structures that regulate how certain enzymes break down and remodel body tissue. The finding of this regulatory system provides a molecular view of the potential role of physical forces at work in heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other disease-related processes, they say. The study appears in the current online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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