suPAR: A New Approach to Treating Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. Many patients with CVD have signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and those with CKD are often times disproportionately affected by CVD.

This interconnectedness was further explored in a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that identified a new immune target, suPAR, as a protein that causes kidney disease and atherosclerosis, the most common form of CVD. Unlike traditional approaches to treating CVD such as controlling blood pressure and lowering cholesterol, this breakthrough research offers a new approach to treatment from an entirely different perspective.

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Go with Your Gut: Understanding How the Microbiome and Diet Influence Health


Over the past decade, microbiome research has provided key insights into the relationship between our gut and our health. There are trillions of organisms in our gut, comprising the microbiome that complements our human biology, distinct from our genome. These gut microbes affect us in many ways, from affecting our mental health to our ability to fight cancer.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Federico Rey and his research group are trying to understand how our diet might help or harm the important microbial communities in our gut. “If we can understand how microbes interact with diet, we can personalize nutrition to match diet with the composition of the gut microbiome and promote health,” Rey says.

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Really? Strong Emotion Can Precipitate A Coronary Event?

If you are a fan of movies (or perhaps the television show Gunsmoke), you might recall this classic scene: an elderly man is involved in an altercation, or attack, some stress-inducing event. He suddenly clutches his chest, gasps, falls to the ground and dies.

It’s easy to think of this scene as purely theatre, but sadly it is theatre imitating life. That is to say, there truly can be a stress-related component to heart attacks. Emotional and/or physical stress has been shown to cause the release of the catecholine norepinephrine. Here we look at a report that examines some of the ways an endocrine event like norepinephrine release, in response to a sudden flush of anger or excitement, can result in the physiology events of sudden arterial rupture and death.

The article is “Bacteria present in carotid arterial plaques are found as biofilm deposits which may contribute to enhanced risk of plaque rupture”  (1). Continue reading “Really? Strong Emotion Can Precipitate A Coronary Event?”