Abnormal Heart Rate Turbulence May Predict Heart Disease

According to a study in the February 15 edition of the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, abnormal heart rate turbulence is associated with an increased risk of heart disease death in otherwise older, low-risk individuals [1]. Additional studies need to be done in order to understand whether this potential biomarker will be a clinically valuable tool.


Sleep Apnea Tied to Increased Risk of Stroke

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of stroke in middle-aged and older adults, especially men, according to new results from a landmark study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. Overall, sleep apnea more than doubles the risk of stroke in men. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in which the upper airway is intermittently narrowed or blocked, disrupting sleep and breathing during sleep.

Sleep apnea and snoring

New Genes Associated with Blood Pressure and Hypertension

High blood pressure or hypertension affects more than one in three people worldwide and is a major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure [1]. The degree with which blood pressure traits can be inherited suggests a genetic component. However, limited consistent evidence of genes associated with blood pressure have been produced. A new study in the journal Nature Genetics reports for the first time a number of genes showing significant associations with blood pressure and hypertension across the genome [2].


Although large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been used successfully to identify genes associated with common diseases and traits, studies on blood pressure or hypertension have failed to identify loci at a genome-wide significant threshold (p-value < 5 x 10-8). The significance of GWAS data relies on several variables, including the accuracy of phenotypic measures, density of markers and size of the study population. Thus, if blood pressure variation in the general population is due to multiple genetic factors with small effects, a very large sample size is needed to identify them.

More Education Decreases the Risk of Death

Everyone knows that a good education is important for getting a good job. Now researchers are finding that being well-educated can lengthen your life. The study, published earlier this month in the journal PLoS ONE, finds that socioeconomic inequalities in the U.S. death rate between people with less than a high school education and college graduates increased from 1993 to 2001 [1]. The widening gap is due to (i) significant decreases in mortality from all causes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and other conditions, in the most educated and (ii) unchanged or increasing death rates in the least educated.

Health Highlights – January 14, 2008

Health Highlights is a biweekly summary of particularly interesting articles from credible sources of health and medical information that we follow & read. For a complete list of recommeded sources, see our links page.

Health Highlights