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Newsletters September 2011 - Jefferson Cardiology Happenings

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Brain Fitness Training

Many of our older patients have concern about their potential for memory loss. A recent study evaluated how sen-ior citizens could combat memory loss. A study published online on July 14th in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry evaluated a strategy to im-prove memory in the elderly.

Residents of two retirement communities, median age 80, who had slight memory complaints without de-mentia, were evaluated. The subjects were divided into 2 groups. The active treatment group underwent memory training, physical activity, stress reduction and improved diet while the other group was placed on a waiting list for these activities. Results demonstrated those persons undergoing memory fitness demonstrated improved memory skills. The authors advocated similar programs for older adults to improve memory.

The take home message is that older persons may help protect themselves from memory loss by keeping mentally and physically active. Specific exercises to memorize new material may improve memory.

Good News for Chocolate Lovers

At the recent European Society of Cardiology, British researchers re-ported that individuals who ate the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk for car-diovascular disease and 29% lower stroke rate. In analyzing seven previ-ously performed studies there was no differentiation between white, milk or dark chocolate. Chocolate in any form was beneficial and included bars, drinks, desserts, biscuits and nutritional supple-ments. The risk of heart disease and cardiac mortality as well as diabetes in men was reduced with chocolate intake.

The beneficial effects of choco-late were thought mediated by chemicals in cocoa products. These effects are thought to enhance blood vessel dilation, reduce blood clotting and have beneficial benefits on blood pressure, insulin resis-tance and fat levels in the blood.

Statins Reduce Stroke Recurrence

A recent study published in the August 1st issue of Neurology, reported that young patients treated with a statin after a stroke of undetermined origin were 77% less likely to have a future cardiovascular event. This study involved patients age 15-49 with a stroke of unknown cause and were followed for 9 years. It was concluded that statins should be prescribed regardless of cho-lesterol values because of the multiple effects of statins regarding blood vessel tone, clot prevention and prevention of plaque disruption. In short, a recom-mendation was made for statin therapy in all non-hemorrhagic stroke victims.

Laughter Therapy for Heart Disease

Recent presentations at the European Society of Cardiology examined the role of laughter and positive thinking as well as anger and job stress on cardiovascular events. A press conference was held to emphasize that anger and job related stress are linked to higher cardiovascular event rates and these can be lowered by laughter and cognitive behavior.

Researchers from the University of Maryland showed movies and seg-ments of Saturday Night Live to subjects and then measured blood vessel tone. Subjects were shown the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan showing the Normandy invasion in World War II. After viewing this scene, subjects’ blood vessels constricted by 30-50%. On the other, there was prominent blood vessel dilation after viewing comedies. The effects on the blood vessels lasted up to one hour and other researchers have demonstrated laughter to have blood vessel effects up to 24 hours.

A study from Finland demon-strated that government workers who spend more than 3 hours overtime per day were at increased coronary risk compared those who did no overtime. An Italian study of heart attack victims demonstrated more recurrent cardiac events with those persons with angry personality characteristics. An Austra-lian study demonstrated positive benefits from behavioral therapy and motiva-tional counseling to heart attack victims. In short, emotions may have great effect on how persons do after car-diac events. For such persons, having a positive outlook may be greatly benefi-cial.

Staff Birthdays

We would like to extend a very Happy Birthday to Debbie Lessman, re-ceptionist, Denise Kowal, medical biller, Chris Scott, billing manager, Dave Ryckman, office manager Dr. Inna Lamm and Dr Gennady Geskin. Hope you all had a great day!!

A publication of Jefferson Cardiology Association
Alan D. Bramowitz, M.D. | Michael S. Nathanson, M.D. | Gennady Geskin, M.D.

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