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Research snapshot: Potential therapeutic target for cardiomyopathy identified

New research out of the University of Minnesota Medical School shows a new potential therapeutic target for viruses causing cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle.

The paper was published in the July 2015 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Research led by Joseph Metzger, Ph.D., looked at potential causes for cardiomyopathy, specifically related to enterovirus infection.

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Grant Announcement: University of Minnesota receives multimillion-dollar NIH grant to research new heart attack treatments

A University of Minnesota multidisciplinary research team was awarded $2.6 million by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate new treatments for heart attacks. The research will focus on myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury, which account for over 300,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Myocardial ischemia occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is stopped by blocked coronary arteries. The cessation causes the death of heart muscle cells, called necrotic cell death. Instances of a severely blocked coronary artery can result in a heart attack.

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Community programs increase aspirin use among individuals at high-risk for heart disease

Community-based programs combining a public health media campaign and health professional education have been shown to improve population-based aspirin use to reduce heart attack and stroke risk, according to new research from the Lillehei Heart Institute and School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

Results were published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

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Active lifestyle: Good for the body and the brain

University of Minnesota researchers have good news for young adults who lead an active lifestyle: By staying active today, you may actually be preserving your memory and thinking skills in middle age.

The findings are most important for the young adults on the low and moderate end of fitness; the people with higher levels of fitness are already doing it right.

“Many studies show the benefits to the brain of good heart health,” said study author David R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes.”

Jacobs emphasizes that for those on the lower end of fitness, cardio fitness activities themselves may even not be needed; just moving around in daily life and staying active can improve your future outlook.

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U of M helping LVAD patients live longer, fuller lives

For heart patients living with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), until recently living in close proximity to the doctor who performed the surgery was a necessity. Now, more LVAD patients are able to live closer to their cardiologist giving them more flexibility.

Previously seen as a bridge to a heart transplant, now LVADs are lasting for years in comparison to twenty years ago when they would only last days and months.

Last week, nurse practitioners, physicians, cardiologists and LVAD patients convened at the University of Minnesota for the first-ever LVAD Shared Care symposium. The goal of the symposium was to help health care providers who care for LVAD patients in the community better understand the advanced technology and help to alleviate their fears and concerns when working with these patients.

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U of M Expert Perspectives: Assessing the potential of the world’s first bioprosthetic heart

Twelve days after receiving the world’s first bioprosthetic heart from French company Carmat, a 75 year old Frenchman is in “very satisfactory condition” according to a statement from the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris.

In addition, the surgeons who implanted the device released a statement to the media which said, “the artificial heart is functioning normally, automatically catering to the body’s needs without any manual adjustment.”

Should the patient continue to make progress, the case – which captured international headlines prior to Christmas – may offer hope to thousands of heart failure patients nationwide who cannot receive a donor heart due to their age or lack of organ availability.

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