Obesity, excess weight in U.S. continue upswing

Obesity and excess weight, and their negative impact on health, have become a significant focus for health-care experts in recent years. But new research at Washington University School of Medicine shows that an escalation in the number of those considered obese or overweight in the U.S. continues, signaling an ongoing upward swing in chronic health conditions as well.

Vitamin D prevents diabetes and clogged arteries in mice

A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, two illnesses that commonly occur together and are the most common cause of illness and death in Western countries. Now, new research in mice led by the School of Medicine’s Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi suggests vitamin D plays a major role in preventing the inflammation that leads to Type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Study shows who benefits most from statins

New research suggests that widely used statin therapy provides the most benefit to patients with the highest genetic risk of heart attack. Using a relatively straightforward genetic analysis, the researchers, including Nathan O. Stitziel, MD, PhD, assessed heart attack risk independently of the traditional risk factors.

New culprit identified in metabolic syndrome

A new study suggests uric acid may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The work also demonstrates the importance of the intestine in removing uric acid from the body, opening the door to potential therapies for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Cause of heart disease spurred by kidney syndrome found, neutralized

Chronic kidney disease sufferers are more likely to die of heart disease than kidney problems. However, it hasn’t been clear how kidney disease causes heart disease or what could be done to stop it. But a new study at the School of Medicine led by Keith A. Hruska, MD, has pinpointed the cause of a kidney-related syndrome linked to heart disease and found how to neutralize a protein that spurs heart disease.

Gene testing for heart diseases now available

The School of Medicine now offers genetic testing to help diagnose and treat patients with heart disorders that can lead to sudden death. The new test, offered though the school’s Genomics and Pathology Services (GPS) and developed in collaboration with Washington University cardiologists, analyzes genes linked to arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies.

Depression in kids linked to cardiac risks in teens

Teens who were depressed as children are far more likely than their peers to be obese, smoke cigarettes and lead sedentary lives, even if they no longer suffer from depression. The research, by scientists at the School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that depression, even in children, can increase the risk of heart problems later in life.

Vitamin D prevents clogged arteries in diabetics

People with diabetes often develop clogged arteries that cause heart disease. New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that when vitamin D levels are adequate in people with diabetes, blood vessels are less likely to clog. But in patients with insufficient vitamin D, immune cells bind to blood vessels near the heart, then trap cholesterol to block those blood vessels.
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