Salinas, CA New Treatment Options For Preventing Heart Attack And Stroke Just Over The Horizon?by Richard Kuehn on 09/08/12
There has been quite a bit of controversy regarding how to treat symptoms of heart attacks, with some experts believing medication should be tried for those which don't appear to be in imminent danger. Two major clinical trials are now testing whether treating inflammation can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. This is the first study of its kind and could open up a whole new treatment option for those which may be developing heart disease. The two studies, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and Novartis, SA, are testing the hypothesis that inflammation plays a key role in the underlying biology that causes heart attacks and strokes. The theory is that inflammation, which is a normal healing process when cells get injured, can go into a hyper state. Instead of protecting cells, they become chronically inflamed and cause plaque to accumulate, ultimately resulting in heart attack or stroke. The researchers are chasing this theory because people with chronic inflammation (tested by looking for high levels of C-reactive protein) have been found to be at significantly higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Researchers are hoping that this may be combatted with prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs. This would be a huge leap forward in treatment. In the U.S. alone, there are 1.3 million heart attacks per year (and 470K of them are recurrent) and 795K strokes (according to the American Heart Association). It would be great news if a new non-invasive treatment option were found.