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Topics Covered at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007 by: Katherine East
Tags: heart health, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Results from various research projects were presented to the American Heart Association at their Scientific Sessions 2007 at the beginning of November of this year. This annual meeting provides a forum for attendees such as physicians, scientists, nurses, and healthcare professionals to discuss, present and learn about current breakthroughs in all aspects of cardiovascular disease. 

Here are three of the studies from amongst those presented:

1) Energy Drinks Increase Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, recently conducted a study on the effect of energy drinks on the heart.  Adult volunteers of an average age of 26 and in good health drank 2 cans of energy drink containing 80 milligrams of caffeine and 1,000 milligrams of taurine for a period of seven days. (They stopped consuming caffeine from other sources.)

On the first day, their systolic blood pressure went up by 9 points. It had risen to 10 points at the end of the week. Their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) had risen 5 points at both times.

On the first day, their heart rates had increased by 5 beats per minute and by seven beats on the last day.
Results suggest that consuming more than 2 cans a day of energy drinks can be dangerous especially for patients with high blood pressure and heart disease.  The healthy volunteers were not negatively affected but it could be dangerous for someone on medication for high blood pressure or those with heart ailments.

Study leader, Dr. James Kalus suggested that people with high blood pressure and heart rates should avoid these drinks.

2) Chocolate Boosts Blood Flow

Good quality dark chocolate is known to be rich in flavonoids. Japanese researchers from Chiba University discovered that dark chocolate can also improve coronary blood flow.  

The two-week trial assessed the coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR) in 39 healthy adults, average age 29. The volunteers ate either 550 milligrams per day of dark chocolate or white chocolate with no flavonoids.

Coronary flow velocity reserve indicates the blood vessels' ability to dilate, or expand. The study results showed that participants who ate dark chocolate showed significantly improved CFVR after two weeks, while those who ate white chocolate showed no change.
The current study supports many other studies that have shown benefits from cocoa flavonoids.

3) Exercise Boosts Muscle and Blood Vessel Regeneration in Heart Patients

Despite the recommendations of the American Heart Association, many heart failure patients fail to exercise and enter a cardiac rehabilitation program. One reason for this is the already weakened condition of the patient.

Two new studies have shown that exercise is essential in the recovery process of heart failure patients. Exercise can boost the growth of new cells to regenerate weakened muscles and improve the growth of blood vessels in people with heart failure.

"People with heart failure can regain 70% of their exercise capacity if they stick to an exercise program," says Axel Linke, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

In two research studies the effects of regular exercise on the progenitor cells, a pool of immature cells in skeletal muscle that can divide into mature cells as needed for muscle repair was assessed.

Heart patients who were at similar levels of heart failure were placed on a doctor-supervised exercise program and their progress monitored. Results showed that the number of progenitor cells actively dividing to form new cells and repair muscle damage increased dramatically
By the end of the program their exercise capacity had also increased by an average of 35%, giving the men about three-fourths the capacity of healthy men their age.

About the author

Katherine Oosthuis is completing a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy. She researches and writes for a health and nutrition website Detox For Life . Her passion is to make research available to those who are looking to improve their well-being and revolutionise their health through better nutrition and alternative medicines.

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