A new study published on Sunday in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine investigated more than 55000 people to answer the question if genetics is synonymous with destiny when it comes to developing heart disease or whether the risk can be offset by a healthy lifestyle.
The study found that those with even the worst genetic risk, but a favorable lifestyle (defined not smoking, eating a diet rich in fruits, grains and vegetables and exercising moderately) had a 50% lower risk of developing heart disease than those with high genetic risk but unfavorable lifestyle.
Congratulations to our researcher Jose Bianco Moreira!
Dr. Moreira was awarded the best poster prize for his poster Exercise reveals potential therapeutic targets in heart failure in the section entitled Cardiac function during heart failure and exercise training of the 14th Annual CHFR Symposium on Heart Failure in Oslo last week. The conference is organized by the Center for Heart Failure Research.
PhD candidate, Silvana Bucher Sandbakk, also presented at the same session as Moreira, and also delivered a good presentation. Her poster was named High age-specific cardiorespiratory fitness attenuates the adverse effect of sedentary time on cardiovascular risk factor clustering in older adults: the generation 100 study.
Andrea Hegdahl Tiltnes, Communication Adviser at CERG
“Confused about how much exercise to take for a healthy heart? Norwegian researchers have come up with a useful app that allows you to personalise the amount of exercise needed to reduce your risk of death from heart attack and stroke”, The Irish Times writes about our reserach that lies behind the app PAI (Personal activity intelligence).
This weekend our senior researcher Javaid Nauman was invited to speak about this reserch in front of other researchers and the press at the large congress for heart research, ESC in Rome.
“Individuals do not know how much exercise they need to prevent cardiovascular disease”, Nauman said during the session.
Much is written about physical exercise and mostly in the context that we don´t get enough of it. Most of the world’s population is NOT meeting the recommendations from health authorities. On the other hand, there are people who do not get enough of it. In recent years there has been a large increase of competitions and events of extreme physical challenges such as ultra races, Norse-man, Iron Man and similar. For many, the result itself is not important, but having completed hours of activity that is being described as pure joy and where self-torture is used as self-realization.
Some of us are wondering whether all exercise is healthy, or if there is an upper threshold where exercise is no longer healthy? I have previously written about exercise addiction, but want in this post to highlight some scientific findings that looks more on the acute response of prolonged exhausting exercise / competition.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a catastrophic cardiac event, that is often the first, last and only cardiac event for unfortunate victims. In a study published July 1,2016 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, led by David Jimenez-Pavon, Enrique Artero, DC Lee and senior author , Dr Steven Blair from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, my colleagues and I reported on a cohort of over 55,000 followed for 15 years on average , during which 109 SCDs occurred.
When you visit your general practitioner you can get your blood analyzed for cholesterol and triglycerides, to get an idea of your risk for cardiovascular disease. With additional information about BMI, smoking habits and blood pressure, this can be used to calculate your 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease. There are several risk prediction calculators available today that general practitioners can use thebefore they give advice and prescriptions to their patients. This risk calculators predicts the 10-year risk for dying form cardiovascular disease, and includes information on age, gender, smoking habits, systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol.
What is the best practice for cardiac rehabilitation really? The clinical practice in Europe differs enormously with regard to how we do it, when we do it and where we do it, despite numerous guidelines and several scientific papers regarding this topic. The Take Heart project aims to identify the best clinical practice in cardiac rehabilitation and thereby improve the quality and attendance rates among eligible patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
In Europe, CHD accounts for an estimated 1.95 million deaths each year and is estimated to cost the EU economy € 60 billion a year. In secondary prevention, exercise training is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality in CHD. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is therefore strongly recommended to patients with CHD, and should be offered to all eligible patients. However, the reality is quite the opposite! It is estimated that less than 30 % of eligible patients attend the cardiac rehabilitation.
Many people believe that the frequency of our heart beats follows a fixed rhythm, but that is not the fact. Measurement of the electrical signals from the heart show that tiny differences occur between each heartbeat, also called heart rate variability (HRV). An average heart rate of 60 beat per minute does not mean that the interval between successive heartbeats would be exactly one second. In fact the heart beats may vary from 0.5 to 2.0 second. The interplay between the circulatory system organs and the autonomic nervous system is affected by complex biosignals (such as heart rate) which in turn contribute to a dynamic balance between the brain and the cardiovascular system. HRV is used as an indicator of the activity of the autonomic nervous system. A high HRV, which is evaluated to be associated with good cardiovascular health, indicates dominance of the parasympathetic response, the side of the autonomic nervous system that promotes relaxation, digestion, sleep, and recovery. The research literature has also established that individuals with a range of psychiatric disorders have reduced HRV, but more research in this field is needed.
The advisory unit concerns the dissemination of knowledge about exercise training as treatment for people with coronary heart disease, heart failure, peripheral artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The service is involved in education, research and promotion of exercise training as medicine for those cardiopulmonary conditions.
We all know that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy and that we should be physical active. However, why is that? Why does evolutionary biologist describe natural selection as survival of the fittest meaning that the “fit” has a greater probability for survival than the “unfit”. Under follows a brief and simplified history lesson on why we become “born to be active”.
Once superior locomotive skills and physical capacity were essential for human survival and certainly a reason that Homo sapiens developed and prospered. Physical capacity was important in order to evade predators and secures food supply. Comparative physiologists (Hochachka et al., 1999) together with anthropologist (Bramble and Lieberman, 2004) has hypothesized that superior traits of endurance capacity together with an impressive ability to thermoregulate was essential for ancestral humans from the high plains of East Africa to succeed as game hunters. A success which ensured high protein sources of food which again was important for the development of larger brains and complex cooperative behavior compared to other primates. Simply stated: Physical capacity was necessary for human survival and development.