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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

US approves first heart pump for children

A new hope... for kids!

Posted: 18 December 2011

A model of a heart
WASHINGTON: The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a first mechanical cardiac assist device for children that can help keep patients alive as they await a transplant.

The EXCOR Pediatric System, made by German company Berlin Heart, can be sized to fit young people from newborns to teenagers.

"This is a step forward, it is the first FDA-approved pulsatile mechanical circulatory support device specifically designed for children," said Susan Cummins, chief pediatric medical officer in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

"Previous adult heart assist devices were too large to be used in critically ill children to keep them alive while they wait to get a new heart," she added in a statement Friday.

The device was tested on a group of 48 US patients, and was found to improve survival rates for transplant patients compared with the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, the current standard of care, though not FDA approved.

As a whole, a reported 12-17 percent of children and 23 percent of infants die while they await heart transplants, according to the FDA.

- AFP/cc

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US approves first heart pump for children

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Fewer US teens smoke, drink

With news like this coming from the US, now this is something!

Posted: 15 December 2011

WASHINGTON: Cigarette and alcohol use by US teenagers are at their lowest point since the mid-1970s, but marijuana use remains steady, according to the findings of a national survey released Wednesday.

Some 18.7 percent of grade 12 high school students, typically aged 17 or 18, reported smoking cigarettes in the latest Monitoring the Future, well down from a peak of 36.5 percent in 1997.

Among eighth-grade pupils, the proportion of smokers was 6.1 percent, down from 21 percent in 1996, the classroom survey of 46,773 students from 400 schools indicated.

"That cigarette use has declined to historically low rates is welcome news, given our concerns that declines have slowed or stalled in recent years," said Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the survey.

Some 63.5 percent of 12th graders and 26.9 percent of eighth graders consumed alcohol in the past year, down from peaks of 74.8 percent in 1997 and 46.8 percent in 1994 respectively.

Binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks in a row in the fortnight prior to taking the survey, saw a five-year decrease, reported by 6.4 percent of eighth graders, 14.7 percent of 10th graders and 21.6 percent of 12th graders.

On the other hand, use of marijuana "remains steady" after some increases in recent years, with 36.4 percent of 12th graders having used it once in the past year, and 6.6 percent on a daily basis.

Some 11.4 percent of 12th graders said they had used synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice.

Launched in 1975, Monitoring the Future is among three major surveys sponsored by federal health officials to take stock of substance abuse among American teenagers.

- AFP/wk

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Fewer US teens smoke, drink

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Eating fish boosts heart health in young women

Now this is good to hear, but even better 'to eat'!

Posted: 06 December 2011

Apple for health
WASHINGTON: Women of childbearing age can reduce their risk of heart problems by regularly eating fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, said a Danish study out Monday.

The study is the first to examine younger women, age 15-49, and determine whether fish in their diet has a real impact on their current likelihood of heart problems, instead of their longevity.

For instance, "those who rarely or never ate fish had 50 percent more cardiovascular problems over eight years than those who ate fish regularly," the research said.

Women who rarely or never ate fish faced a 90 percent higher risk of heart problems than those who ate fish weekly.

When researchers looked at hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in three different assessments over a 30 week period, they found it was three times higher among women who did not eat fish.

The findings, published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, are based on a Danish study of 49,000 women with a median age of 30 that spanned eight years.

Women were interviewed by phone about their family history, lifestyle and fish consumption, and were tracked over the next eight years.

"We saw a strong association with cardiovascular disease in the women who were still in their late 30s," said Marin Strom, lead researcher and post doctoral fellow at the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"The biggest challenge in getting health messages like this across to younger populations is that usually the benefits may not be evident for 30 or 40 years, but our study shows this is not the case."

Women most commonly reported eating cod, salmon, herring, and mackerel, all of which are high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, believed to protect against heart and vascular disease.

The study focused exclusively on dietary intake of fish, not supplements with fish oil.

"Women who eat fish should find the results encouraging, but it is important to emphasize that to obtain the greatest benefit from fish and fish oils, women should follow the dietary recommendations to eat fish as a main meal at least twice a week," said Strom.


Taken from; source article is below:
Eating fish boosts heart health in young women

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