Dallas, Texas - A large study of Swedish men found that those who were even mildly overweight around age 18 were more likely develop cardiomyopathy in adulthood — an uncommon heart muscle condition that can cause heart failure, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Dallas, Texas - Veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression were more likely to use cardiac rehabilitation services after an episode of ischemic heart disease than those who didn’t have PTSD or depression, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Washington, DC - Researchers at the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed a novel technique that prevents the obstruction of blood flow, a common fatal complication of transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR). The new method, called LAMPOON, may increase treatment options for high-risk patients previously ineligible for heart valve procedures. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (link is external) published the findings online on May 20.

Washington, DC - The ever-changing “head” of an influenza virus protein has an unexpected Achilles heel, report scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health. The team discovered and characterized the structure of a naturally occurring human antibody that recognizes and disrupts a portion of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein that the virus uses to enter and infect cells. The investigators determined that the antibody, FluA-20, binds tightly to an area on the globular head of the HA protein that is only very briefly accessible to antibody attack. The site was not expected to be vulnerable to such a strike.

Washington, DC - A study of nearly 300 patients with mild persistent asthma found that inhaled steroids—long considered the gold standard for asthma treatment—were no more effective than placebo in nearly three-fourths of the study patients, all over age 12. Inhaled steroids were better than placebo for a subset of the patients who had high levels of a particular type of inflammatory cells, called eosinophils, in their sputum, but they represented about a fourth of patients enrolled in the trial.

Washington, DC - Disparities in health care delivery and health outcomes present distressing challenges to underserved populations, who often experience a greater burden of chronic diseases and are more likely to show signs of poor disease management. Health information technology (IT) tools may serve a vital role in reducing such disparities in the clinical care setting. In the Medical Care June supplement, “Addressing Health Disparities Through the Utilization of Health Information Technology,” authors discuss the potential application of health IT in reducing disparities by increasing access to care, improving quality of healthcare and by promoting better patient-clinician communication.