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Health News Round-Up: Cardiac Health Gains and Heart Attack Response

The Latest in Heart Health and Treatment

Recent health news from across the web: a heart attack primer, insulin gets smart, the evidence on medical marijuana’s effectiveness, and more.Thanks to advances in comprehension and communication, emergency treatments for heart attacks are becoming ever faster and more effective. In the case of a heart attack, a speedy response can be lifesaving. This is why emergency response teams have evolved to assess and alert medical staff while still on the road, and hospitals and emergency doctors continue to refine treatment protocols in search of faster ways to open blockages and restore blood flow. This recent New York Times article offers a wealth of information about heart attacks, including step-by-step infographics. The simple question-and-answer style clearly describes heart attack symptoms to watch for and spells out the swift, critical actions to take if they appear.

(A Possibly Lifesaving Guide to Heart Attacks; New York Times)

The heart attack guide is part of a larger New York Times series entitled ‘Mending Hearts,’ which offers an overview of the latest in heart science and medical advances. For example, this related article in the series investigates current thinking about blood pressure. It’s accepted that lower numbers are better than higher ones, but exactly how low to aim for at any given age and health status — and how aggressively to pursue such a target with drug regimens — remains the subject of developing research.

(Blood Pressure, the Mystery Number; New York Times)

Diabetes Treatments Get Smarter

Controlling blood sugar in diabetes involves many related steps, most notably monitoring levels of blood glucose and, when necessary, adjusting them by injection of insulin, several times each day. But one research team is working toward automation of the process, with a foolproof, long-lasting new device. Scientists from the University of North Carolina and NC State have been testing an innovation that can be applied to the skin as a patch, with miniscule needles that both sense glucose in the blood and release insulin to control it. Although the relatively painless patch has been found to be effective in mice, further experiments are necessary before clinical trials can begin toward drug approval.

(Diabetes: ‘smart insulin patch’ could revolutionize glucose control; MNT)

Community Approach to Hospice Care

Author Karen M. Wyatt, M.D., dives into a little-known concept in U.S. end-of-life care: the ‘social model’ of collaborative, community hospice care. For patients who may not have the financial or caregiver resources to die at home, the residential hospice home may represent an alternative to a hospital or skilled nursing setting.

(Social Model Hospice Homes May Revolutionize End-of-Life Care in the U.S.; Huffington Post)

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