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Mayo Clinic has non-invasive heart test

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          HEALTH TIPS - Friday, February 23, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"


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                 Telemetry monitoring vital

MAYWOOD, Ill., -- A Loyola University study suggests people 
hospitalized for a stroke should receive continuous cardiac 
rhythm monitoring for at least 24 hours. Currently, only 
some stroke patients are put on telemetry, which electronic-
ally sends patients' heart rhythm and other cardiac data 
captured by machines in a patient's room to a central loca-
tion in the hospital. There it is displayed on computer 
screens for staff to monitor for abnormalities on an ongo-
ing basis. "Many patients have paroxysmal or otherwise 
'silent' arrhythmias, which may not show up until after a 
stroke occurs," said study co-author Dr. Michael Schneck, 
associate professor of neurology at Loyola University's 
Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill.  "Continuous 
cardiac rhythm monitoring allows for the discovery of un-
suspected paroxysmal abnormalities, such as atrial fibril-
lation, which may be important in determination of anti-
thrombotic therapy post stroke," said Schneck. "Also, 
atrial fibrillation is a predictive factor for severe 
stroke as well as early death with acute ischemic stroke."

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           Study may help explain Parkinson's disease

LOS ANGELES, -- UCLA scientists have found a gene that makes 
embryos male and forms the testes is also produced by the 
brain region targeted by Parkinson's disease. "Men are 1.5 
times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than women," 
said Dr. Eric Vilain, associate professor of human genetics 
at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Our findings
may offer new clues to how the disorder affects men and women 
differently, and shed light on why men are more susceptible 
to the disease." In 1990, British researchers identified SRY 
as the gene that determines gender and makes embryos male. 
Located on the male sex chromosome, SRY manufactures a pro-
tein that's secreted by cells in the testes. Vilain's team 
traced the SRY protein to a region of the brain called the 
substantia nigra, which deteriorates in Parkinson's disease.
"For the first time, we've discovered the brain cells that 
produce dopamine depend upon a sex-specific gene to function 
properly," Vilain said. "We've also shown SRY plays a central 
role not just in the male genitals, but also in regulating 
the brain." 

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          Mayo Clinic has non-invasive heart test

ROCHESTER, Minn., -- A Mayo Clinic research team in Minnesota, 
using a simple, non-invasive tool, has discovered an associa-
tion between artery stiffness and coronary artery calcium.
Researchers say the test might lead to a more accurate assess-
ment of heart disease risk in adults with no symptoms. Dr. 
Iftikhar Kullo notes about 40 percent of the American public 
is considered at moderate risk for heart disease, yet nearly 
half of all heart attacks occur without warning. "We need to 
do a better job of screening people," said Kullo. "This test 
has that potential." The aortic pulse wave velocity test 
measures how fast the pulse wave travels down the aorta, the 
major artery arising from the heart. A slower pulse wave 
means the artery is more elastic and healthier; a faster 
wave means the artery is stiffer and less healthy. 

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Copyright 2007 by UPI. All rights reserved.

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