How Nuts Can Protect Your Heart

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 4, 2016

Assorted Roasted Nuts in Small Bowl

BWH researchers discovered that greater intake of nuts is associated with lower levels of inflammation.

Contributors: Dr. Ying Bao is an epidemiologist in Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Paul Ridker is Director for the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH.

In a study of more than 5,000 people, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that greater intake of nuts was associated with lower levels of biomarkers of inflammation, a finding that may help explain the health benefits of nuts. The results of the study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Previous studies have consistently supported a protective role of nuts against cardiometabolic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, and we know that inflammation is a key process in the development of these diseases,” said corresponding author Dr. Ying Bao, an epidemiologist in BWH’s Channing Division of Network Medicine. “Our new work suggests that nuts may exert their beneficial effects in part by reducing systemic inflammation.”

Previously, Dr. Bao and her colleagues observed an association between increased nut consumption and reduced risk of major chronic diseases and even death, but few studies had examined the link between nut intake and inflammation. In the current study, the research team performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which includes more than 120,000 female registered nurses, and from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which includes more than 50,000 male health professionals. The research team assessed diet using questionnaires and looked at the levels of certain telltale proteins known as biomarkers in blood samples collected from the study participants. They measured three well-established biomarkers of inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6) and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2).

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Food Choices during Pregnancy Matter

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 7, 2016

Food Choices during Pregnancy Matter

Dr. Sarbattama Sen, a BWH neonatologist, has found that pro-inflammatory diets during pregnancy are associated with lower-than-expected birthweight in certain groups.

Contributor: Sarbattama Sen, MD, is a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

The effects of a woman’s food choices during pregnancy and the impact on her health and the health of her baby are not well understood.

“We have known for some time that diet plays a key role in inflammation and that excessive inflammation is associated with negative health effects in adults. There have been few studies, however, investigating the role of inflammation in pregnancy, when both the health of the mother and the fetus are at stake,” said Dr. Sarbattama Sen, a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at BWH.

A recent study led by BWH researchers used the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) to score a woman’s diet during pregnancy and to measure the influence of her diet on both inflammation during pregnancy and on maternal and infant outcomes before and after childbirth. The DII assigned an inflammatory score to food components. Previous studies in non-pregnant adults have found that some food components, such as caffeine and trans, saturated, and monounsaturated fats, have a pro-inflammatory effect, while others, such as vitamin A, beta carotene, fiber and magnesium, have an anti-inflammatory effect.

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Recognizing American Heart Month

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 9, 2016

heart-stethoscope
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, but many advances are being made in the fight against heart disease. In recognition of American Heart Month, we have compiled videos from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center experts to provide you with information on many of the latest approaches in heart disease treatment and prevention.

Targeting Inflammation– A Key to Preventing Heart Disease

Research led by Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, determined that people with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation, are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future. In this video, Dr. Ridker discusses the role of inflammation in heart disease.

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hsCRP: The Hidden Factor in Heart Disease and Stroke

Posted by Blog Administrator March 2, 2012

Dr. Paul Ridker

Dr. Paul Ridker, Director, BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Your doctor probably gives you a lot of numbers after your check up. Ever wonder which ones you really need to know? When it comes to your cardiovascular health, C-reactive protein (CRP) is one of your most important numbers.

Measured by a blood test known as a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) test, CRP is an indicator of chronic low-level inflammation in the body, which could indicate increased risk for heart attack and stroke. A landmark study by Dr. Paul M. Ridker, Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), demonstrated that people with elevated CRP levels and normal LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”) are at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, his study, known as the JUPITER trial, showed that the use of statins (cholesterol-reducing medications) among people with elevated CRP levels and normal LDL cholesterol reduced their risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events by nearly 50 percent.

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