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Putting Your Heart Into The Super Bowl

Sports fans may literally live and die on their team’s victories, according to researchers who examined cardiac mortality rates after the home team won and lost the Super Bowl.

Total and cardiac mortality rates in Los Angeles County increased after the football team’s 1980 Super Bowl loss but overall mortality fell after the 1984 the team’s Super Bowl win, researchers concluded from a review of death certificates reported in Clinical Cardiology.

First, authors gave a clinical review. Stress causes a cardiac cascade. The sympathetic nervous system increases and releases catecholamines. This triggers a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, and ventricular contractility increases oxygen demand, causing blood the sheer against and fracture atherosclerotic plaque, the authors explained. Stimulation of alpha receptors in the vasculature further constrict coronary vessels, increasing oxygen demand while limiting oxygen supply to the heart.

Next, they gave a sporting review. Los Angeles has played twice in the Super Bowl, the first time losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers (who play in this Sunday’s Super Bowl, incidentally) in 1980. The Los Angeles Rams, as they were known then, were a long-time hometown team and played the game in nearby Pasadena, Calif. “This game was high intensity,” wrote the authors, “with seven lead changes before Los Angeles lost a fourth-quarter lead and the game.”

Later, a new football franchise arrived in town, the Los Angeles Raiders. In 1984 the Los Angeles Raiders traveled to Tampa, Fla. to beat the Washington Redskins in a more mundane affair.

Now, the review of findings. Researchers combed death certificates based on age, race and sex to compare mortality rates for Super Bowl-related days with non-Super Bowl days and created regression models predicting daily death rates per 100,000. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

When The Body Rights Itself

It’s been a very busy few weeks. Medicine is like that — seldom is “business” steady. Like rainy weeks in the southeast when you think it will never be sunny again, there are weeks when you think everyone’s atria are fibrillating. So there were shocks, and burns, and wires installed. The heart rhythm was rocking, and so were we.

But in all this fury two cases stand out as a reminder that in spite of, not always because of, what we doctors do, the human body can right itself — like it did before their were drugs, procedures, and surgery. (Keep this quiet, though.)

Case 1: A semi-emergent consultation for atrial flutter (AF’s crazy sister) came in. “Something has to be done, Dr. M,” was the message. She was symptomatic and scared (not necessarily in that order), but after a bit of simple doctoring (a pill), the heart rate had slowed and the symptoms abated somewhat. Then after a heavy dose of an AF doctor’s greatest weapon, reassurance and education, we mutually decided on one of my secret treatments for acute AF/AFlutter: A deep breath, a chair, a book, and time. Just in case, though, a cardioversion (shock) was set up for the next morning. I knew that since this was a first episode, that given some time the heart may right itself, without any fury.

Bingo. The text message came the next morning: “Cardioversion cancelled. Patient converted to sinus rhythm right after you saw her yesterday.”  (Grin.) Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Underwear 2.0: The Military’s Vital-Monitoring Briefs

You just can’t make this stuff up:

The underwear project, spearheaded by the nanoengineering professor, was funded by the U.S. military and its effectiveness will likely be tested on the battlefield.

“This specific project involves monitoring the injury of soldiers during battlefield surgery,” Wang told Reuters. “The goal is to develop minimally invasive sensors that can locate, in the field, and identify the type of injury.”

Ultimately, the waistband sensors will be able to direct the release of drugs to treat the wounded soldier.

I wonder what other creative uses our men in uniform will find for this? I can hear it now: “It’s not the size of the device, honey, it’s the metronome that’s in it!” (Heh.)

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Baby-Monitor Bracelets Connect Mommy And Baby

It’s only a concept, but the Sikker (Danish for “safety”) baby monitor is a great idea by designers Jessica Mendoza and Henoc Monte that will likely have both parents and babies alike going gaga.

The bracelets, charged on a docking station during the day, would allow two-way communication between mother and child, as well as the ability for the mother to monitor the baby’s temperature and heart rate. It would also allow the mother to play .mp3 lullabies to the baby.

If built, they’d probably have to ditch the idea of monitoring temperature, since any readings at the wrist would be poor indicators of core body temperature, but connecting parent and child via bracelet is a good idea that has promise, and it’d be great to see this built.

More from Yanko Design: Sikker is for Safety

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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