Tuesday August 14, 2018

Indian-born scientist attempts treating hearts via urban forests (Science Feature)

0
//
22
Heart
Republish
Reprint

Indian-born scientist Aruni Bhatnagar is all set to install a $14.50 million “unique urban laboratory” in the US that will study the effect of green plantations on combating cardiovascular diseases. His research interests include cardiovascular effects of environmental pollutants, atherosclerosis, injury from loss of blood to the heart muscle, cardiovascular complications of diabetes and sepsis.

“We think trees might be more effective than statins in combating heart disease,” Bhatnagar told IANS on phone from Louisville, Kentucky.

Bhatnagar’s work has led to the creation of the new field of environmental cardiology.

A Lucknow University graduate with a bio-chemistry doctorate from the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), also in Lucknow, he is a professor and university scholar with Louisville’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology. He is also a fellow with the American Heart Association.

The Green Heart project involves the University of Louisville, the Nature Conservancy, the Institute for Healthy Air, Land and Soil and other partners that will transform four South Louisville neighbourhoods, home to about 22,000 residents, with 8,000 trees and other plantings.

Bhatnagar said the trees will not be samplings but mature foliage which will make a difference right away. Trees, shrubs and other plants will be placed where they can best soak up lung-damaging air pollution within the study area.

Researchers will track the health of about 700 residents to ascertain cardiovascular response to the plantation.

He said green spaces breathe in their own way, taking up the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide while creating life-sustaining oxygen.

While trees produce volatile organic compounds — a source of ozone pollution — they also absorb ozone and other pollutants and trap especially dangerous tiny particles.

But “nobody has evaluated the specific health effects of planting green spaces”.

He said the effect of plantation on human health where people’s health is monitored before, during and after a major tree plantation drive has not been studied so far.

The health of people who live near the newly planted greenery will be compared to those who live elsewhere in the study area.

“We are hopeful to see changes in a few years,” he said. “It’s like a drug trial, with nature as the drug.”

Bhatnagar said he and his team wanted to test whether giving someone a statin for cardiovascular management is better or worse than giving one green surroundings.

In addition to studying cardiovascular health, researchers also plan to see if there are any changes in crime rates, stress, economics and other social-psycho outcomes.

Some studies suggest trees can help in those areas, too.

He said the Louisville research can be a potential game-changer in fighting heart disease.

“Though heart disease rates have been coming down, the rate has slowed and flattened out in the recent past. That’s why we thought we need to try something different,” he explained.

So far research has identified poor diet and lack of exercise with heart risk. We haven’t studied the impact of the environment in preventing or managing the cardiovascular situation in the urban population. About 70 percent of heart disease is preventable but it still accounts for the largest cause of deaths, Bhatnagar added.(IANS)

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

Gut Bacteria Linked to Atherosclerosis, Which is Further Linked to Heart Attack

The researchers believe that the new finding could open the door for new treatment options for those patients with unexplained plaque build-up in the arteries.

0
The study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, noted that these differences could not be explained by diet or kidney function, pointing to a difference in the make-up of their intestinal bacteria.
Gut Bacteria, Pixabay

The gut microbiome plays an important role in an individual’s risk for atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke, says a study.

It is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

The researchers believe that the new finding could open the door for new treatment options for those patients with unexplained plaque build-up in the arteries.

In order to understand the role that bacteria in the gut may play in atherosclerosis, the researchers examined blood levels of metabolic products of the intestinal microbiome.

In order to understand the role that bacteria in the gut may play in atherosclerosis, the researchers examined blood levels of metabolic products of the intestinal microbiome.
Atherosclerosis causes Heart Attack, Pixabay

They studied 316 people from different groups of patients, including those with unexplained atherosclerosis, who do not have any traditional risk factors but still have high levels of plaque burden.

“What we found was that patients with unexplained atherosclerosis had significantly higher blood levels of these toxic metabolites that are produced by the intestinal bacteria,” said David Spence, Professor at Western University, London, Canada.

The researchers measured the build-up of plaque in the arteries using carotid ultrasound.

Also Read: Italy School Restrict Kids Due to Incomplete Immunization

The study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, noted that these differences could not be explained by diet or kidney function, pointing to a difference in the make-up of their intestinal bacteria.

“The finding, and studies we have performed since, present us with an opportunity to use probiotics to counter these compounds in the gut and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Gregor Reid, Professor at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University.

Repopulation of the intestinal microbiome is another novel approach to treatment of atherosclerosis that arises from this study, Spence added. (IANS)