medical science

A Look at 10 AHA-Backed Research Breakthroughs

AmericanHeartAssociationOver the course of nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has maintained a commitment to fighting heart disease and stroke by educating health professionals and the general public about the best ways to improve cardiovascular health. The organization’s work is also largely focused on supporting and advancing cardiovascular research. Since its inception in 1924, the AHA has invested over $4.1 billion into research projects and initiatives, which is more than any other US-based nonprofit organization.

Over the years, the AHA’s funding has supported a number of research breakthroughs in the areas of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Many of these research breakthroughs have helped to improve global health by advancing understanding and/or treatment of heart- and vascular-related issues. In order to provide a better understanding of the AHA’s impact on health care worldwide, here is a brief look at 10 groundbreaking research projects that were backed by funding from the AHA:

 

  1. Study on Diuretics and Blood Pressure

In 1949, AHA-funded research helped Dr. Alfred Farah to pioneer the study of how diuretics affect heart and kidney function. His research into diuretics, which help to control blood pressure by ridding the body of excess water and sodium, led to advancements in the pharmacological treatment of heart disease. Diuretics are still considered one of the best classes of drugs for controlling blood pressure and treating heart failure.

 

  1. Research on Dietary Fat and Cholesterol

Before the 1950s, there was little understanding of the link between dietary fat and serum cholesterol levels. This changed after the AHA backed research led by Dr. Ancel Keys, a physiologist who spearheaded what has become known as the Seven Countries Study. The study linked fat and cholesterol for the first time and led to dietary recommendations that remain in place today.

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  1. Pacemaker Research

The earliest advancements in pacemaker technology and research were supported by the AHA. In 1957, Dr. William Weirich used the first pacemaker to treat a patient with heart blockage. His work on early battery-operated wearable pacemakers led to the creation of today’s fully implanted pacemaker devices.

 

  1. Artificial Heart Valves

In addition to pacemakers, the AHA helped to support the advancement of artificial heart valves, which were first developed by Dr. Albert Starr and Lowell Edwards. The pair’s work in the 1960s has had long-lasting effects. Over the years, the Starr-Edwards valve, which is still used today to help people with diseased heart valves, has saved millions of lives.

 

  1. CPR Research

Widely known as the fathers of CPR, physicians James Jude, Guy Knickerbocker, and William Kouwenhoven pioneered the use of external cardiac massage with the support of AHA funding. Research into the lifesaving potential of CPR was first reported in 1961 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

 

  1. Advancement of Microsurgery

Used across a range of surgical disciplines, microsurgery was first performed by Dr. Julius Jacobson in the early 1960s. His work, which was funded in part by the AHA, has led to widespread advancements in surgical practices.

 

  1. The Work of Biochemist Mildred Cohn

For 14 years, the AHA provided funding to support the research activities of Mildred Cohn, the AHA’s first female career investigator. Cohn was a pioneer in the use of new technologies to study and measure organic chemical changes. Her work as a biochemist contributed greatly to the understanding of nuclear magnetic resonance. It also led to the development of new medical technologies, including nuclear magnetic resonance, which remains one of the most advanced imaging methods in use today.

 

  1. Blood Pressure Research

With the help of AHA funding, Dr. Maurice Sokolow led a 20-year study that examined the effects of high blood pressure. The results of his study, which were published in 1966, showed that chronic high blood pressure reduces one’s life expectancy and can lead to various complications affecting the heart and other areas of the body. Dr. Sokolow also designed and built one of the first portable blood pressure recorders, which helped to advance later blood pressure studies.

 

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  1. Children’s Heart Health

In 1990, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat respiratory distress syndrome, which affects premature infants with defects of the heart and lungs. The drug, Exosurf Neonatal, was developed by Dr. John Clements, who served as an AHA Career Investigator for decades. In later years, the AHA continued its work in the area of children’s heart health by partnering with the Children’s Heart Foundation to provide $22.5 million for research into congenital heart defects.

 

  1. Study on Oxygen and Physiology Function

Over the years, the AHA has supported several researchers who went on to earn the Nobel Prize for their work. One of the most recent is Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, a John Hopkins University researcher who received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discoveries related to the interplay between cell metabolism, physiological function, and oxygen availability. Since 1993, Dr. Semenza’s Nobel Prize-winning work has been supported by funding from the AHA.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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Here Are the Top Programs the Purple Heart Foundation Supports

purpleheartfoundationWith origins dating back more than six decades, the Purple Heart Foundation has a long history of supporting initiatives for military veterans and their families. The group’s activities help ensure that the nation’s veterans can lead fulfilling lives after transitioning from military service.

Over the years, the Foundation has led programs that provide education, occupational training, health services, and support for those dealing with combat-related injuries and disabilities.

While the Purple Heart Foundation oversees several of its own programs and service initiatives, the group mainly functions as the fundraising arm of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Launched in 1932, the Order is the country’s only military service organization with a membership body made up entirely of Purple Heart recipients.

With support from the Foundation’s donors and fundraising activities, MOPH has been able to launch and grow a wide range of programs for the nation’s military community. Whether you are already a Purple Heart Foundation supporter or just now considering making a donation, take a look at some of the MOPH programs that receive funding from the Foundation’s donor dollars:

 

MOPH National Service Program

MOPH operates on an annual budget of approximately $6.4 million. Nearly $5 million of this is directed toward its National Service Program (NSP). Each year, approximately 125,000 veterans and their family members receive assistance via NSP. It operates through a nationwide network comprising 72 service offices staffed by over 100 trained National Service Officers.

The Order’s team of National Service Officers assist veterans in filing benefits claims with Veterans Affairs (VA). Regardless of whether they are a member of MOPH, veterans whose benefits have been denied by a local VA office can also turn to NSP for expert legal representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Among other things, NSP assists with VA claims related to employment, housing, education, job training, and medical care. Over 12,000 claims were submitted to the VA through the program in fiscal year 2017.

 

Purple Heart Trail

For more than 25 years, MOPH has been overseeing the Purple Heart Trail program. It aims to create a nationwide connected system of roadways, bridges, and monuments honoring the country’s Purple Heart recipients.

The idea for the Trail was first introduced by a member of MOPH Chapter 1732 in Virginia. The program was launched as an MOPH resolution during the organization’s 1992 National Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Following the launch of the Purple Heart Trail, the first monument was dedicated in Mt. Vernon, Virginia, George Washington’s burial location. Since then, the trail has been extended to 45 states as well as the United States territory of Guam. The local roads, highways, and monuments that make up the Trail are marked by signs of various designs and formats.

In addition to roadways and physical monuments, government leaders and citizens of local municipalities can work with MOPH to establish Purple Heart cities, counties, universities/colleges, etc. To find more information about the Purple Heart Trail and a map of current Purple Heart locations, visit www.purpleheart.org.

 

POW/MIA and Homeless Veteran Outreach

In addition to honoring men and women who have been wounded in combat, MOPH has worked throughout its history to ensure that prisoners of war and those reported missing in action are remembered and accounted for. The Order maintains a close relationship with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which oversees a searchable online database of both unaccounted-for and accounted-for POWs/MIAs. MOPH provides a link to the DPAA database on its website.

Another area of focus at MOPH is homelessness among military veterans. While this issue has improved in recent years, it still persists. As part of MOPH’s efforts to assist veterans who have been displaced without a permanent residence, local chapters across the country participate in Stand Down events.

These provide food, shelter, clothing, medical support, and other services for the veteran community. On the national level, the Order works closely with VA and other groups to connect those in need with homelessness resources.

 

Promoting Americanism and Good Citizenry among Youth

Another major component of MOPH’s work is focused on promoting patriotism and a love of US history in the nation’s schools. The Order does this under the leadership of its National Americanism Officer, who helps connect teachers and leaders of other organizations with various educational resources.

These resources include printable PDF versions of patriotic songs and historical documents. MOPH’s website features PDFs of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and The Star-Spangled Banner, among other documents.

The Order also encourages young people to serve their country through its support of senior and junior ROTC programs in public schools across the United States and Department of Defense schools worldwide.

Additionally, MOPH is currently working through its Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service program to create a new merit badge for the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. The proposed badge would recognize youth for volunteering their time to serve the nation’s veterans.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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Promoting Healthy Living at the American Heart Association

AHAlogoIn addition to advancing research and promoting effective cardiovascular treatments and care, the American Heart Association (AHA) serves as a public resource for people worldwide looking to improve their overall health and well-being. As part of these efforts, the organization offers a variety of resources and information on its website. The group also works closely with several companies on initiatives aimed at public health. Here’s a closer look at the AHA’s advice and work in the area of healthy living:

 

Championing the Healthy for Good Movement

The driving force behind the AHA’s healthy living activities is its Healthy for Good movement, which invites people to improve their health and lives by making simple changes in their activity levels and eating habits. The movement is focused on providing science-based information coupled with “you-based motivation.” Whether they are focused on losing weight, eating healthier, getting active, or reducing stress, Healthy for Good provides tips, videos, and life hacks that people can use to advance their goals.

 

Move More

A main component of Healthy for Good is all about encouraging and helping people to become more active in their daily lives. Along with medical professionals and other health-focused groups, the AHA recommends that people start with a goal to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. To support individuals in reaching this goal, the organization offers information on fitness basics alongside a number of tips for getting active.

Those interested in learning more about fitness will find a variety of articles on the AHA website. The articles cover physical activity recommendations for adults and children as well as topics such as staying hydrated and keeping cool during warm-weather workouts. The website also features articles on exercises that target specific goals, such as building balance, endurance, and/or flexibility.

Part of staying active involves staying motivated, and the AHA offers plenty of advice and tips in this area as well. The motivation-focused articles from the AHA cover topics such as overcoming fitness plateaus, setting fitness goals, and celebrating fitness successes. The AHA also offers an infographic on how to get energy when one is too tired to work out.

 

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Eat Smart

Of course, the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement also focuses on assisting people in their efforts to eat better. To help them make simple changes to their overall eating patterns, the organization provides a wide range of tips, articles, and infographics on nutrition basics. Individuals can turn to the AHA website for specific, science-backed information related to fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. Visitors to the website can also find articles on picking healthy proteins, reading food labels, healthy snacking, and many other related topics.

In addition to the informative tips and articles, the AHA provides a variety of free heart-healthy recipes. Visitors can search the website for recipes according to specific courses, ingredients, and lifestyles. The organization has even published a variety of cookbooks that are available in brick-and-mortar stores as well as the AHA online shop.

The AHA’s efforts to promote healthy eating also include helping people learn to shop for, prepare, cook, and properly store their food. At www.heart.org, those looking to improve their cooking skills can read cooking guides and watch instructional cooking videos. The videos feature easy-to-follow instructions on everything from how to properly use a knife to how to avoid freezer burn.

 

Be Well

Healthy for Good is not only about improving physical health but also one’s overall well-being. Along with eating the right foods and getting the appropriate amount of activity, living well includes managing stress, getting adequate sleep, fostering positive relationships, and quitting unhealthy habits.

The AHA’s resources for helping people to live well include stress-management tips and ideas for stress-busting activities. Other tips, articles, and infographics focus on promoting better sleep by changing certain tech-device habits and establishing productive bedtime and wake-up routines. In the area of general mental health, the AHA provides resources on mindful eating, meditation, depression, and the importance of gratitude.

As it puts people at a much higher risk for heart disease and stroke, smoking has been one of the AHA’s major areas of focus for several decades. Getting Healthy for Good requires that people give up smoking regardless of whether they’re addicted to traditional tobacco cigarettes or nicotine-filled e-cigarettes. In addition to providing a wealth of information about the harmful effects of tobacco and vape products, the AHA connects individuals with toll-free hotlines and other resources to help them quit and enjoy better health.

 

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AHA’s Healthy Living Collaborations

The AHA has a long history of working with corporations and other nonprofit groups to advance its mission goals. As part of the Healthy for Good movement, the organization is currently leveraging support from the food, beverage, dining, and retail industries to make healthier drinks and food more accessible. The AHA also works with industry groups to implement its Heart-Check Food Certification Program, which makes it easier for consumers to identify heart-healthy food choices in grocery stores and restaurants.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

A Look at the Latest Top Stories from the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) works to reduce death caused by heart disease and stroke. As part of these efforts, the organization partners with government agencies, lawmakers, and other nonprofit groups to inform public policy and create health-promoting initiatives that benefit people of all ages.

The AHA’s latest activities have been directed toward several specific groups, including young people, women, and Native Americans. Read on to learn about all the latest news from the AHA.

 

Warning against the Consumption of Sugary Drinks

In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the AHA recently released a joint policy statement endorsing a suite of public health measures aimed at reducing the consumption of sugary drinks among the nation’s youth. According to the statement’s authors, American children and adolescents consume over 30 gallons of sugar-laden beverages each year. The consumption of added sugars has been linked to numerous health problems, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

To reduce children’s access to cheap sugary drinks, the AAP and AHA recommend several broad policy solutions to be implemented on the local, state, and national levels. These include recommendations to increase public education and decrease the marketing of sugary drinks to children and teens. The AAP and AHA’s joint policy statement also recommends raising the price of sugar-laden beverages via an excise tax.

 

New Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Guideline

CPRThe AHA and American College of Cardiology (ACC) recently outlined the key recommendations of the latest Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease guideline. The guideline, which was released during ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Sessions, provides practical recommendations for reducing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and associated issues such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

The lifestyle recommendations outlined in the guideline include eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco products. The ACC and AHA also advise that clinicians use caution when prescribing preventative aspirin use to people without known cardiovascular disease.

 

Fighting to End Tobacco and Nicotine Use

For several decades, one of the major policy priorities of the AHA has been focused on drastically reducing tobacco use and exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke. Recently, the organization released a new policy statement that outlines what health care providers and the public health community must do to achieve what the statement’s authors call the “tobacco endgame.”

In addition to minimizing the use of combustible tobacco products, the statement calls for close examination of e-cigarette use, a trend which is particularly prevalent among youth. Specific actions highlighted in the statement include strengthening government oversight of tobacco and nicotine products. This includes enhancing the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations concerning the manufacture, design, and marketing of both combustible tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

 

Improving Heart Attack Care

As one of the nation’s top accreditation and certification organizations, the AHA oversees various initiatives to improve patient care. Many of these programs are based on AHA’s clinical guidelines covering various cardiac disease and stroke topics. Together with the health care evaluation organization The Joint Commission, the Association has developed new certifications for hospitals that treat stroke and cardiac patients.

Beginning in July 2019, hospitals can begin working toward the Primary Heart Attack Center (PHAC) and Acute Heart Attack Ready (AHAR) certifications. In addition to recognizing hospitals for providing consistent, evidence-based heart attack and stroke care, the PHAC and AHAR certifications support the AHA’s efforts to save lives by promoting health care excellence worldwide.

 

New Campaign Supports Native Nutrition

fruitSince 2015, the AHA has worked with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) to support efforts aimed at Native-led dietary health advocacy. As part of this work, the AHA and SMSC have recently partnered with First Nations Development Institute and the American Indian Cancer Foundation to launch the Policy Innovation Fund.

Focused on improving nutrition and reducing health disparities in Native American communities, the $1.6-million fund will provide grants that tribes and Native-led organizations can use for nutrition and health policy initiatives at the tribal, state, and national levels. Administrators of the Policy Innovation Fund are in the process of soliciting proposals for competitive grants ranging from $75,000 to $100,000.

 

Research Goes Red Initiative

Through its Go Red for Women movement and other initiatives, the AHA raises awareness and funds lifesaving research focused on ending heart disease and stroke among women. During American Heart Month in February 2019, the Association announced the launch of the Research Goes Red initiative, which aims to engage women in valuable scientific research in the area of heart health.

Launched in collaboration with Verily’s Project Baseline, Research Goes Red will leverage the AHA’s Go Red for Women community to invite women nationwide to share their health information and volunteer for clinical research projects. The initiative supports the overall goals of Project Baseline, which seeks to improve lives by driving health care innovation.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.