AHA News: Heart Disease, Stroke More Deadly in ‘Socially Vulnerable’ Counties | Health News


By American Heart Association News, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2020 (American Heart Association News) — Your chances of dying from heart disease or stroke are higher if you live in a county considered socially vulnerable due to factors such as poverty, crowded housing and poor access to transportation, new research shows.

“The findings confirm what we might have imagined – that social and place-based factors play a key role in cardiovascular mortality,” said lead investigator Dr. Quentin R. Youmans, a cardiology fellow at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. “Moving forward, we have to focus on those social determinants of health just as much as we have to focus on therapeutics and other prevention measures.”

Researchers looked at death rates from heart disease and stroke from 1999-2018 for 2,766 counties, representing 95% of counties across the United States. They also looked at each county’s social vulnerability index, a measure created

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Study: Air pollution exposure may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease risk


Older adults exposed to air pollution might have a heightened risk of abnormal “plaque” accumulation in the brain, a new study suggests.

Plaques refer to clumps of protein called beta-amyloid that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

In the new study, researchers found that among older adults with memory and thinking problems, those exposed to higher levels of air pollution were more likely to show plaque buildup on brain scans.

The findings do not prove air pollution causes plaques or dementia, said lead researcher Leonardo Iaccarino, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center.

But the results add to a body of research suggesting that air pollution is a risk factor for dementia.

A recent study, for example, found that older Americans living in polluted ZIP codes had higher odds of being hospitalized for dementia or Parkinson’s disease than people

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Lockdown loneliness may worsen Parkinson’s disease symptoms


Social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic may worsen Parkinson’s symptoms, researchers report.

They gathered five years of information on the social and emotional well-being, diet and physical activity of 1,500 Parkinson’s disease patients. They were most recently surveyed in December 2019.

Those who reported feeling the loneliest got less exercise, were less likely to have a healthy diet, and had a lower quality of life, according to the study published recently in the journal NPJ Parkinson’s Disease.

“That surprised us,” said study author Dr. Indu Subramanian, a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Southwest Veteran Affairs Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers.

“One of the most detrimental things is actually being lonely,” she said in a university news release.

The negative effect of loneliness on Parkinson’s disease symptom severity was as large as the positive effect from exercise, according to Subramanian.

She noted

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AHA News: Food Insecurity Rates High Among People With Heart Disease | Health News


By American Heart Association News, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2020 (American Heart Association News) — People with atherosclerosis, particularly those who earn a low income and have other socioeconomic disadvantages, are more likely to experience food insecurity than those without the condition, according to new research.

Researchers analyzed several socioeconomic factors from self-reported data for 190,113 U.S. adults. Among the 18,442 (8.2%) adults with atherosclerosis, about 1 in 7 – or 14.6% – reported being food insecure. That was compared with 9.1% among those without atherosclerosis.

The findings also showed food insecurity affects nearly 1 in 2 people with the condition who also are among the most disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.

In 2018, nearly 11% – 14.3 million – U.S. households were food insecure, a term the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as “limited or uncertain access to adequate food due to lack of money” at least some time

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Genetic treatment plus exercise reverses fatigue in mice with muscle wasting disease


BOSTON – Adding exercise to a genetic treatment for myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) was more effective at reversing fatigue than administering the treatment alone in a study using a mouse model of the disease. In fact, exercise alone provided some benefit whereas the genetic treatment alone did not. This study, carried out by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and collaborators, has implications for patients who experience fatigue due to genetics-related musculoskeletal diseases as well as other types of illness-induced fatigue. The study appears in Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids.

“It’s encouraging that exercise makes a noticeable difference on its own and in combination with a genetic treatment specifically tailored for the disease,” says Thurman M. Wheeler, MD, an investigator in the department of Neurology at MGH and at Harvard Medical School. Wheeler was the senior author of the study.

DM1 is the most common muscular dystrophy

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Epigenome-wide meta-analysis of DNA methylation differences in prefrontal cortex implicates the immune processes in Alzheimer’s disease


Study cohort characteristics

Our meta-analysis included 1030 prefrontal cortex brain samples from four independent cohorts (Table 1), previously described in the ROSMAP14, Mt. Sinai15, London8, and Gasparoni16 methylation studies. To assess the diagnostic utility of DNA methylation as clinical biomarkers, we also compared methylation differences in brain samples with premortem whole blood samples from a subset of subjects in the London cohort. Among the four cohorts, the mean age at death ranged from 73.6 years to 86.3 years, and the percentage of females ranged from 51.8 to 63.5%.

Table 1 Sample characteristics of the brain and blood cohorts included in the meta-analysis.

Meta-analysis identified methylation differences significantly associated with AD Braak stage at individual CpGs and co-methylated genomic regions

Adjusting for estimated cell-type proportions (i.e., the proportion of neurons), age at death, sex, and batch effects, our meta-analysis of single CpGs in the

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Blood Vessels in the Eye May Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease


An eye exam may be all that is needed to diagnose Parkinson’s disease, new research shows.

Using an advanced machine-learning algorithm and fundus eye images, which depict the small blood vessels and more at the back of the eye, investigators are able to classify patients with Parkinson’s disease compared against a control group. “We discovered that micro blood vessels decreased in both size and number in patients with Parkinson’s,” Maximillian Diaz, a PhD student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, told Medscape.

The simple eye examination may offer a way to diagnose Parkinson’s early in the disease progression.

Diaz said the test could be incorporated to a patient’s annual physical examination not only to look for Parkinson’s but also for other neurological diseases. A team in his lab is also looking at whether the same technique can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.

The beauty of this is that “the technique is

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Food writer with covid copes with the fears of living with the disease


This would be just the beginning of my descent into covid-19, an equal-opportunity disease that rips lives and families apart, regardless of whether you believe in it or not. I do believe in it. I studiously tried to avoid it. I wore a mask everywhere I went. With the exception of two visits back in June, I didn’t dine indoors. When I ate outdoors, I made sure to cover my face whenever I interacted with people. If I walked into a retail store, I followed two more rules: Don’t stay long, and don’t enter if it’s crowded.

I’m not the first food writer and critic to get the coronavirus, and I probably won’t be the last, given what I know about infection rates and the work ethic of my peers, who continue to move about their communities to tell you about the good, the bad and the tasty. Since Nov.

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Biden’s plan for an army of disease trackers faces long odds


“Contact tracing works best and is most effective in settings where there isn’t the level of rampant transmission that there is now,” said Nicole Lurie, a former assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services and a public health advisor on Biden’s campaign. “There have to be measures to tamp down the level of the virus before it can be effective.”

States are so overwhelmed that earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations for who tracers should prioritize if the severity of the pandemic leaves them swamped with cases.

Yet Biden’s plan for a public health corps, which has been projected to cost $3.6 billion, would immediately run up against a deadlocked Congress that is nowhere close to passing a new round of pandemic aid — and, potentially, a GOP-controlled Senate reluctant to release more funding for state and

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Diet, exercise and a push in the right direction can reduce cardiovascular disease


exercise
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Eating right and exercising are key to staving off the risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Based on the latest recommendations from medical experts, one doctor says patients might be surprised at how many resources their doctor has available to help with making these lifestyle changes.

In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of experts led by Alex Krist, M.D., a Virginia Commonwealth University professor and chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, concluded that there is a moderate benefit to recommending behavioral counseling for those who show signs of being at risk for cardiovascular disease, affirming the group’s previous recommendation geared toward helping patients reduce their risk.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is a volunteer panel of

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