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Sleep deprivation increases stroke risk

Habitually sleeping less than six hours a night significantly increases the risk of stroke symptoms among normal-weighing middle-age to older adults, a new study has warned.

The study was conducted on 5,666 people followed for up to three years.
The participants had no history of stroke, transient ischemic attack, stroke symptoms or high risk for OSA at the start of the research.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recorded the first stroke symptoms, along with demographic data, stroke risk factors, depression symptoms and various health behaviors.

After adjusting for body-mass index (BMI), they discovered a strong association with daily sleep periods of less than six hours and a greater incidence of stroke symptoms for middle-age to older adults, even beyond other risk factors.

Time bomb to fight heart disease developed

Researchers have developed a veritable “time bomb”, a nanocontainer, which can increase the effectiveness of treatments against cardiovascular disease and reduce side effects.

Many people die of cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis each year.
Treatment options are currently available to people who suffer from the disease but no drug can target solely the diseased areas, often leading to generalised side effects. Intravenous injection of a vasodilator (a substance that dilates blood vessels), such as nitroglycerin, dilates both the diseased vessels and the rest of our arteries.

Blood pressure can thus drop, which would limit the desired increased blood flow generated by vasodilatation of diseased vessels and needed for example during a heart attack.

But the nanocontainers developed by the researchers from UNIGE, HUG and the University of Basel have the ability to release their vasodilator content exclusively to diseased areas.

Though no biomarker specific to atherosclerosis has been identified, there is a physical phenomenon inherent to stenosis (the narrowing of blood vessels) known as shear stress. This force results from fluctuations in blood flow induced by the narrowing of the artery and runs parallel to the flow of blood.

Blood test to spot patients not responding to painkiller

Researchers have found a way to identify quickly the 5-10 per cent of patients in whom the commonly used painkiller, tramadol, does not work effectively.
A simple blood test can produce a result within a few hours, enabling doctors to switch a non-responding patient on to another painkiller, such as morphine, which will be able to work in these patients.

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid that is metabolised in the liver via an enzyme called cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) to produce a small molecule or “metabolite” called O-demethyltramadol (ODT).

ODT is between two and four times better at inducing analgesia than tramadol that is not metabolised successfully. This is because ODT has a 200-fold higher affinity to the opioid receptors in humans than un-metabolised tramadol, meaning that it binds to the receptors more successfully, blocking out the signals for pain.

“In our hospital we frequently use tramadol after surgery – about 50-60 percent of patients are treated with it, while the rest are treated with nefopam, which is a non-opioid painkiller,” Dr Laurent Varin, an anaesthesiologist at the Caen Teaching Hospital (Caen, France), said.

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