Hard Plaque a Strong Indicator of Heart Attack Risk
A new study from researchers at the Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, suggests that “hard” or calcified plaque could be a stronger indicator of heart attack risk than “soft” or noncalcified, lipid-heavy plaque. The new findings counter previous research that held soft plaque to be a more reliable predictor of severe cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
The study looked at artery plaque in 224 patients with diabetes but with no history of heart disease. Following patients for close to seven years, on average, researchers analyzed plaque composition in all of the study participants via computed tomography (CT) and correlated their data with risks of unstable angina, heart attack and death.
While noting that more studies are needed, the IHI team will also continue to carry out CT scans in hopes of confirming their early findings.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today
Suicide Rates Rising Faster in Rural America
While America’s suicide rate has been slowly rising over the past two decades, less-urban areas of the country are seeing a sharper increase in recent years, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Citing economic pressures – especially beginning around 2007-2008, when the Great Recession hit – the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic and other factors, CDC researchers wrote that “geographic disparities in suicide rates might be associated with suicide risk factors known to be highly prevalent in less urban areas, such as limited access to mental health care, made worse by shortages in behavioral health care providers in these areas, and greater social isolation.”
Suicide accounted for around 600,000 deaths in the U.S. from 1999 to 2015, researchers said, with men four times more likely than women to kill themselves. By age, two groups – those 35- to 64 years old, and people 75 and older – saw the highest suicide rates.
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Sourced from: CBS News