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Oct 02, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HEART ATTACK RESPONSE TIME INFORMS TREATMENT

Emergency angioplasty is the treatment of choice for doctors treating heart attacks soon after the onset of symptoms. A recent study suggests as time elapses, the relative benefits of angioplasty versus drug therapy become almost negligible. Researchers from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center report angioplasty only beats clot-busting drugs in a narrow one-hour window after the onset of the attack. Given logistical constraints of patient transport and hospital facilities, the study suggests angioplasties might not be more beneficial than drug treatment in many cases. It takes about 108 minutes for angioplasty to begin on patients who go directly to a hospital that can do the procedure and 185 minutes for it to begin when patients require re-transport to a second hospital. The new analysis adds fuel to the controversy over how, when and where hospitals treat heart attack victims.


The Van Gogh stereotype of the brooding, troubled artist may have biological truth to it. Scientists at Harvard University find while most people's brains shut out unnecessary or irrelevant input through a process called "latent inhibition," the brains of highly creative people -- such as the undergraduates who participated in the test -- tend to be more open to incoming stimuli. This neurologic open-mindedness is a trait shared by people with various forms of mental psychosis, most notably schizophrenia. "Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked," said lead author Shelley Carson. "It appears likely that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought might predispose to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishment under others."


Dartmouth researchers are working on a new treatment for the 1.5 million people worldwide with an incurable hereditary disease called retinosis pigmentosa. Currently, RP results in blindness but the Dartmouth Medical School team may be on to a possible treatment. RP results from a single genetic mutation that causes the retinal protein rhodopsin to mis-fold, triggering a domino effect that destroys the retina. By mapping the sequence of molecular events leading to the mis-folding, the researchers are close to devising a treatment strategy. "We now have a molecular understanding of the abnormal proteins," said lead author John Hwa. "We can move ahead to the ultimate goal of designing effective drugs to delay the degeneration that occurs to people suffering from RP."


A new study helps explain why obese people are prone to high blood pressure. The link between obesity and hypertension is well-established as one among many risks associated with being overweight. Now, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia find obesity alters the formation of a fatty acid -- arachidonic acid -- essential to modulating salt-water balance in the kidneys. The kidneys are the primary organs responsible for maintaining healthy blood pressure. Further research may produce treatments for controlling hypertension in obese individuals.


(Editors: For more information on CREATIVITY contact Jessica Whiteside at (416) 978-5948 or For DMS Communications contact (603) 650-1492 or DMS.Communications@Dartmouth.EDU. For HEART contact Kara Gavin at (734) 764-2220 or For OBESITY contact Donna Krupa at (703) 527-7357 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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