Medical World Rocked: Reducing Inflammation NOW PROVEN to Cut Risk of Heart Attacks
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Medical World Rocked: Reducing Inflammation NOW PROVEN to Cut Risk of Heart Attacks

News Staff — Brigham and Women's Hospital
Sep 5, 2017

"These findings represent the end game of more than two decades of research, stemming from a critical observation: Half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol.” – Dr. Paul M. Ridker

(Boston, MA) — Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital today announced results of a clinical trial culminating from 25 years of cardiovascular research work. (Photo Credit: PXHERE)

At the European Society of Cardiology meeting and in a paper published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine, Paul M. Ridker, MD, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH, and colleagues presented findings from CANTOS (Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study), a trial designed to test whether reducing inflammation among people who have had a prior heart attack can reduce risk of another cardiovascular event in the future.

The team reports a significant reduction in risk of recurrent heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular death among participants who received a targeted anti-inflammatory drug that lowered inflammation but had no effects on cholesterol. 

"These findings represent the end game of more than two decades of research, stemming from a critical observation: Half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol," said Ridker. "For the first time, we've been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk. This has far-reaching implications. It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients - targeting inflammation - we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations." (Photo Credit: Brigham and Women's Hospital)

"In my lifetime, I've gotten to see three broad eras of preventive cardiology. In the first, we recognized the importance of diet, exercise and smoking cessation. In the second, we saw the tremendous value of lipid-lowering drugs such as statins. Now, we're cracking the door open on the third era," said Ridker. "This is very exciting."

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