Month: April 2016

24 Apr 2016


According to a global trial, patients with high blood pressure and a moderate risk of heart disease can cut their chances of having a heart attack or stroke by 40%. This is achieved by taking a blood pressure medication in combination with an anti-cholestrol statin.

The trial, HOPE-3, headed by Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor of cardiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, was conducted on 12 000 patients across the globe, with research centers in China, India, Latin America, Africa and Canada. Patients were deemed eligible for the trial if they had at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as obesity or smoking, and were over the age of 55 years (men) and 60 years (women).

Dr. Yusuf commented: “Intermediate-risk people with hypertension had a clear benefit when taking both a statin and an agent that lowers blood pressure.”

Patients with high blood pressure, for the trial’s purposes deemed a systolic blood pressure of 140 or higher, experienced a 40% decline in the risk of having a heart attack or stroke if the combination of drugs was taken over a six-year period. The study also looked at patients with normal or low systolic pressure and compared those that received both drugs, against those that received a statin only. The results showed that the risk of cardiovascular events was lowered by 25% in both groups.

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10 Apr 2016


A research team from Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California have done some research on a new inexpensive and simple blood test that may assist with improved TB diagnosis as well as the treatment of TB disease. The test identifies a gene expression ‘signature’ that can distinguish between patients with active TB and those with latent TB or other disease.

Limitations in current TB diagnostic methods can lead to incorrect diagnosis; skin prick testing and interferon assays cannot distinguish between patients with active TB and those who are no longer ill or have been vaccinated against the disease, while sputum analysis relies on the patient’s ability to cough up a sample on demand. HIV patients are also prone to misdiagnosis as older tests often fail to pick up active TB in this population.

According to the researchers the new blood test eliminates the need to collect sputum, won’t produce a positive result in the case of a latent infection or previous TB vaccination, and can detect TB in the presence of HIV. They have also indicated that it would be effective irrespective of the TB strain or presence of antibiotic resistance. The test can be used in both children and adults.

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