View Full Version : Surprising Links Between Infection and Heart Disease

Ballet Mom
12-16-2009, 03:42 PM

Looks like the research direction is already shifting.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Domino Effect: Surprising Links Between Infection and Heart Disease

At SDSU's BioScience Center, researchers are studying why some people develop heart disease and others don't.

Roberta Gottlieb, M.D., has a compelling way to demonstrate the pervasiveness of heart disease.

“Look to your right,” she says. “Now look to your left. One of the three of you is going to die of heart disease.”

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the Western world and a growing concern in developing countries. Yet researchers still don’t fully understand why some people develop artherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and others don’t.

Gottlieb is director of San Diego State University’s BioScience Center, the only multidisciplinary center in the country to focus its research on the critical nexus of infection, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

“We are beginning to recognize how bacteria contribute in much more subtle ways to chronic disease,” Gottlieb said. “Many chronic illnesses previously attributed to genetics and environment are now being recognized to have, as causal or contributing factors, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.”

To improve public health

The mission of the SDSU BioScience Center is to understand the role of microorganisms in cardiovascular diseases, and to use these discoveries to improve public health, Gottlieb said. Researchers study metabolic connections to cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Additonally, they investigate host-pathogen interactions that lead to autoimmunity directed against the heart.

Gottlieb’s own research focuses on finding ways to salvage heart muscle following heart attack and documenting a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease.

Working with local populations

The ongoing study of periodontal disease and vascular function in Native American young adults and Hispanic high school students is examining the potential of a causal relationship between oral hygiene and the development of artherosclerosis.

Other research at the BioScience Center involves the development of vaccines to protect children from coxsackievirus and influenza infection that may lead to heart disease decades later; and the potential threat of exposure to the disease Trypanosoma cruzi from imported acai berries.


12-16-2009, 04:04 PM
Awesome story BalletMom!!!

The only problem I have with that article is the title.

Surprising Links Between Infection and Heart Disease

If you believe in natural selection there is nothing surprising about the connection. :)
Most people are perfectly healthy until something comes along and konks them on the head.

BTW this came out just a few weeks ago.

Stroke and Heart Disease Trigger Revealed (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130161808.htm)

Scientists have identified the trigger that leads to the arteries becoming damaged in the disease atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes, in research published in the journal Circulation. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London, say their findings suggest that the condition could potentially be treated by blocking the molecule that triggers the damage. The research also suggests that bacteria may be playing a part in the disease.

The trigger identified in the research is a molecule called TLR-2. This 'receptor' molecule lives on the surface of an immune cell and when it recognises harmful molecules and cells, including bacteria, it switches the immune cell into attack mode, to protect the body. It can also switch on the immune cells when the body is under stress.

Those stories explain this news item from 2008.

Pneumococcal Vaccine Associated With 50 Percent Lower Risk Of Heart Attacks (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006180506.htm)

12-16-2009, 04:53 PM
Infection and heart disease - my dentists have always pre medicated me (penicillin) due to the fact that I have a prolapsed valve. And because I know about this connection, I won't see a dentist who won't.

Thing is - when teeth are professionally cleaned, this kicks up a lot of bacteria in the mouth which can get into the blood stream through bleeding or swallowing. Maybe everyone should be pre-medicated?

Those who neglect their dental health altogether ... maybe at higher risk for other health related problems?

I don't know - but it keeps me brushing, flossing and in the chair every six months pre medicated of course .. haven't had so much as a cold in years (knock on wood).