HeartBeats

November 9, 2021

Unlike Shakespeare, medical recommendations are not timeless. A medication may presently be prescribed for a given condition, but if new information comes out casting doubt on it’s effectiveness, then it may fall out of favor. The use of aspirin in the primary prevention of heart disease is the ...

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In September 2021, the United States surpassed 700,000 deaths due to COVID-19. This is certainly an enormous and tragic loss of life, but it is significant for another reason.  The US now has more deaths from COVID-19 than it did during the 1918 influenza pandemic (675,000).  While COVID-19 has ...

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The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11 2001 shocked the nation, causing deep and lasting psychological and physiological effects.  Over the ensuing twenty years, numerous health problems have been described in the survivors of the attacks as well as the rescue ...

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Labor Day marks the traditional end to summer. Families and friends will celebrate the holiday by getting together, barbequing and having a few cocktails. How many of those holiday revelers will end up in the hospital the following week with atrial fibrillation (Afib) and Holiday Heart ...

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The Olympic torch will finally be lit for the 2020 Olympics next week in Tokyo! More than 11,000 athletes will compete in 339 events representing 33 different sports. Before the Opening Ceremony begins, we will explore which sport is the best type of exercise.  Six different Olympic sports, tennis, ...

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The thumb is a remarkable appendage.  By allowing us to grasp objects, to use tools, to write, the thumb has helped us evolve above and beyond all other animal species. Can the thumb also be useful in helping us detect an enlarged aorta?  The aorta is the main artery of the body. It arises from ...

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Plato and a platypus walk into a bar... This isn’t the start of some highbrow joke, but the title of a book by Harvard trained philosophers Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. In the book the authors plausibly spell out how jokes and humor can explain all of philosophy. Jokes and philosophical ...

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Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a), pronounced “El Pee Little a”, is a lipid particle that is associated with plaque in the heart arteries, heart attack and cardiac death. What is Lp(a), what is its link to heart disease and how is it treated? Lp(a) was discovered in 1963, but has been largely forgotten ...

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Over the past several months, the news has been reporting about a shadowy figure named “Q”, who has promulgated many baseless and false theories over a wide range of subjects, mostly about politicians and elections. Similarly, the body has a shadowy “Q”, coenzyme Q, which is ubiquitous and is ...

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It's a warm summer evening in ancient Athens. Archimedes is sitting in the agora and notices redness, swelling and pain in his big toe after drinking a kylix of wine. He goes to the market and is given an herb by a local farmer. After taking the herb, his big toe starts to feel better. He runs ...

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The holidays are over. The gifts have been unwrapped. The decorations are down. The holiday ham has been cooked and eaten. Now that it’s a new year, it’s time to examine whether that ham is healthy or not. For years, a cornerstone of teaching in medical school, and in cardiology training ...

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Has something been needling you the past year? Has something been jabbing at your brain? Has something pricked the bubble of your hopes and dreams for 2020? Of course! It’s COVID 19! Now, finally, there may be light at the end of the tunnel with the coronavirus vaccine. How does the new vaccine ...

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The big news in this month's election is not the contested presidential race. It's not undecided Senate seats. The big news is that New Jersey voted to legalize recreational marijuana use! Is this a recreational activity that is good, or even safe, for those with heart disease or risks for heart ...

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Mediterranean, Pesco-Mediterranean, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, DASH, vegetarian, lacto- vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, vegan. There are a staggering number of diets, but which one is right? Each has their proponents and their opponents. All of these diets tout weight loss, cholesterol lowering, prevention ...

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the globe, the world’s researchers learn more and more about the virus, some of which is quite surprising.  With the nonstop media reporting about coronavirus, it is sometimes difficult to separate what is true about the disease and what is not.  Let’s ...

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“Drink no liquid that isn’t at least a thousand years old (wine, water, coffee). Eat nothing invented by humans,” opines the polymath and philosopher Nicholas Taleb.  The idea is that if a beverage has been around for many years, it is likely healthy and will be drunk for another thousand years. On ...

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As the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, continues to spread and as the illness it causes, COVID-19, runs rampant, what can you do to stay safe? How does the virus spread? How can you avoid a superspreader? Should you wear a mask and, if so, which one? Should you go for antibody testing? The coronavirus ...

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It is not cholera. It is not a love story set in uncertain times in the Caribbean. It is a real pandemic. The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, causes a unique illness with many manifestations called COVID-19.  Older patients and those with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure ...

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The olive tree, with its ancient roots, is strongly identified with a region and a cuisine. More than just a tree, it has come to symbolize peace, wisdom, persistence, longevity, healing, prosperity, stability, friendship, victory and tranquility.  Why is such importance attributed to this dusty, ...

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What do people who live a long life have in common? First, it helps to have good genes. Beyond that there are several recurring themes and three lifestyle pillars that are found in cultures with many nonagenarians and centenarians. The first two are exercise and diet. The third pillar is social ...

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Waterfalls are a wonder of nature. They are often the prizes found after a long hike through the woods. Waterfalls are a worldwide phenomenon. However, the number of waterfalls are not easy to determine due to differing definitions; California is estimated to have as many as 400. The world’s ...

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At the dawn of a new decade, what is the best way to assess a person’s risk for atherosclerosis (plaque in the heart arteries)? There are many different tools to choose from including several risk calculators, blood tests (for example C reactive protein) and imaging tests (such as stress tests or ...

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What should you get for the heart patient who has everything this holiday season? Technology and digital health are all the rage. Since 2013, the number of people tracking their health data has doubled. Wearable electronic devices can capture a wide range of health data and can be very useful for ...

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Election day has come and gone. Next up we will be voting for the White House occupant for the following four years. As a group, the Presidents have generally been healthier than the average American. However, as Bernie Sanders’ recent heart attack made clear, the Presidents are not immune to heart ...

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Antibiotics are one of the great achievements of the 20thcentury.  In 1900, the top three causes of death were infectious diseases: respiratory infections (pneumonia and flu), gastrointestinal infections and tuberculosis. Starting with the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming ...

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Today we pay homage to the number seven. The number is seven is special, cropping up in diverse aspects of life and across the years of history. For example, one can sail the seven seas. There were seven wonders in the ancient world. “The Magnificent Seven” was a movie from 1960, one of the best ...

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At the food court in the mall there are three people in line waiting to buy pizza. The first person in line is a man who is 6 feet tall and weighs 250 pounds. He is very muscular and has no discernable body fat. The second is a woman who is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 131 pounds, but has a lot ...

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On a nice sunny California day, you find yourself hiking through the redwood forest in Yosemite National Park.  As you come around a bend to a small opening among the trees, you find a husband and wife in the clearing. The wife comes up to you, she is frantic and says that her husband is not acting ...

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It's summer time. The weather is getting better and outdoor activities beckon. It is time to stop sitting and start working off those pounds gained over the winter. Unfortunately, sitting has reached epidemic proportions. What is contributing to the longer sitting times and what can be done to ...

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In 1977 an advertising campaign was launched featuring the first American commercials produced in the Soviet Union.  The ads depicted older individuals from Soviet Georgia, several of whom were over 100 years old, eating yogurt.  One scene showed an 89-year-old man eating yogurt. Beside him was his ...

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