trumps nature for heart attack prevention: global study
MUNICH - A major new study by a Canadian-led research
team has found that almost all heart attacks that occur
worldwide are due to preventable factors rather than genetics.
The researchers studied more than 29,000 people in 52
countries over a decade to see how factors like smoking,
obesity and cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart
Dr. Salim Yusuf, director of the Population Health Research
Institute at Hamilton's McMaster University, found an
abnormal ratio of "bad" to "good"
cholesterol and smoking were responsible for two-thirds
of the global risk of heart attack. These and seven other
identifiable factors accounted for almost all preventable
heart attacks around the world.
"This [study] convincingly shows that 90 per cent
of the global risk of heart disease is predictable,"
Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster, told a news
conference in Munich, where he presented the results at
the European Society of Cardiology conference on Sunday.
"This is good news. It means we can do something
Until now, smaller studies in the developed world suggested
known risk factors accounted for about half of the risk
of heart disease.
The new results suggest strategies to tackle heart disease,
such as quitting smoking and losing weight, can be applied
to men and women of all ages, regardless of race, age
or geography, he said.
The other factors, in order of importance, were:
* High blood pressure.
* Abdominal obesity.
* Psychological stress, such as tension over a divorce.
* Inadequate daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
* Lack of daily exercise.
Drinking three to five alcoholic drinks per week was a
slightly protective factor, Yusuf and his colleagues found.
As part of the study, researchers compared about 15,000
people who had suffered their first heart attacks with
someone of the same age, sex and location who had not
had a heart attack.
Participants were followed over five years, until March
2003. Their cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure were
tested, and they were asked about their diet, exercise
Together, heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 killers
worldwide, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation
The study will be published in Sept. 11 issue of the medical
journal The Lancet.
The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and
37 other funding sources, including several pharmaceutical
companies that didn't attach any conditions to their funding.
pop tied to higher diabetes risk in women
CHICAGO - Sugary drinks may be partly to blame for increased
rates of type 2 diabetes and weight gain in women, a new
single serving of pop can contain the equivalent of 10
teaspoons of sugar.
with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin, or
their bodies become resistant to it. Obesity is strongly
linked to the condition. The extra calories from pop may
explain part of the increased risk for diabetes, researchers
They noted rates of diabetes are rising as consumption
of sweetened drinks like pop and fruit juice has increased.
The team from Boston studied data from more than 91,000
female nurses, looking for a relationship between frequent
consumption of pop and diabetes.
of the women were free of diabetes when the study began
in 1991. The researchers tracked participants' weights
and dietary information every four years until 1999.
Matthias Schulze, now at the German Institute of Human
Nutrition, and his colleagues at Harvard University identified
741 cases of type 2 diabetes.
The team found women who consumed one or more sugary drinks
a day gained almost three times as much weight as those
who drank no more than one a week.
Women drinking sugary beverages were also 1.3 times as
likely to develop diabetes, after adjusting for factors
like weight, diet and lifestyle differences, the researchers
reported in Tuesday's Journal of the American Medical
"In conclusion, our findings suggest that frequent
consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may be associated
with larger weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes,
possibly by providing excessive calories and large amounts
of rapidly absorbable sugars," the researchers said.
In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Caroline Apovian
of Boston University noted women with a higher intake
of pop tended to have dietary patterns and lifestyle habits
that increased their risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes
and heart disease.
Apovian said doctors could be alerted to unhealthy habits
by asking patients about their consumption of sugary drinks.
The study's findings also lend support for calls to ban
pop machines in schools, she said.
The American Beverage Association said the study's conclusions
are not scientifically sound, adding weight gain and unhealthy
lifestyles lead to diabetes, rather than drinking pop
Written by CBC News Online staff