Tuesday April 24, 2018

Potential generic drugs used for heart-disease may treat Ebola

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New York: Generic drugs used to treat heart diseases also have the potential to bolster the immune systems of patients with Ebola virus and some other life-threatening illnesses, research has found.

Unlike other medications in development for Ebola, which attack the virus, statins and angiotensin receptor blockers, typically used for heart disease, work on the host response, or a person’s biological reaction to the virus, said a lead study, authored by  David Fedson, retired professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia in the US.

“The statin or angiotensin receptor blocker combination was found to help improve survival in 100 Ebola patients treated in Sierra Leone”, Fedson said. “This approach to Ebola treatment has two advantages,” he added.

According to him, the first advantage is that it uses inexpensive generic drugs that are widely available in any country with a basic healthcare system, and most physicians who treat patients with cardiovascular diseases are familiar with these medications.  Second, because this strategy targets the host response to infection, these drugs might be used to treat patients with any form of acute infectious disease in which a failure to overcome endothelial dysfunction could lead to multi-organ failure and death, Fedson noted.

In a pilot study, patients were given the drugs atorvastatin (40 mg/day) and irbesartan (150 mg/day) at several hospitals in West Africa.

The researchers found rapid clinical improvement in most patients.

Specifically, the drugs stabilise or restore the integrity of endothelial cells lining the blood vessels.

Endothelial cell dysfunction has been a central feature of human Ebola virus disease, leading to severe fluid and mineral losses, Fedson explained.

The findings appeared in ‘mBio’, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

(IANS)

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Daily Exercise Can Help People With Heart Disease

When heart disease runs in the family, more physical activity may be the best defence, say researchers.

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Exercise is less preferred by BP patients. IANS

When heart disease runs in the family, more physical activity may be the best defence, say researchers. According to the findings reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, greater grip strength, more physical activity and better cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with reduced risk for heart attacks and stroke — even among people with a genetic pre-disposition for heart disease.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is simply known as heartburn. Wikimedia Commons
Heart disease can run in families as well. Wikimedia Commons

“The main message is that being physically active is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, even if you have a high genetic risk,” said Erik Ingelsson, lead study author and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine in California. To reach this conclusion, researchers looked at data from roughly a half-million people in the UK Biobank database.

Also Read: Heart attacks more common in winter

For participants with an intermediate genetic risk for cardiovascular diseases, those with the strongest grips were 36 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease and had a 46 per cent reduction in their risk for atrial fibrillation, compared to study participants with the same genetic risk who had the weakest grips.

Among individuals deemed at high genetic risk for cardiovascular diseases, high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with a 49 per cent lower risk for coronary heart disease and a 60 per cent lower risk for atrial fibrillation compared to study participants with low cardiorespiratory fitness.

Heart Disease can be minimised by exercise.

“The study is not a prescription for a specific type or amount of exercise and because the results come from an observational study, Ingelsson said, adding that “we can’t definitely claim a causal connection.” Nonetheless, the researchers said the data is robust and the results are worthy for consideration in guidelines. IANS

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