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Concept: Stroke

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Poor lifestyle behaviors are leading causes of preventable diseases globally. Added sugars contribute to a diet that is energy dense but nutrient poor and increase risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity-related cancers, and dental caries.

Concepts: Cancer, Disease, Genetic disorder, Nutrition, Obesity, Stroke, Dental caries, Sucrose

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Background The most appropriate targets for systolic blood pressure to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among persons without diabetes remain uncertain. Methods We randomly assigned 9361 persons with a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher and an increased cardiovascular risk, but without diabetes, to a systolic blood-pressure target of less than 120 mm Hg (intensive treatment) or a target of less than 140 mm Hg (standard treatment). The primary composite outcome was myocardial infarction, other acute coronary syndromes, stroke, heart failure, or death from cardiovascular causes. Results At 1 year, the mean systolic blood pressure was 121.4 mm Hg in the intensive-treatment group and 136.2 mm Hg in the standard-treatment group. The intervention was stopped early after a median follow-up of 3.26 years owing to a significantly lower rate of the primary composite outcome in the intensive-treatment group than in the standard-treatment group (1.65% per year vs. 2.19% per year; hazard ratio with intensive treatment, 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64 to 0.89; P<0.001). All-cause mortality was also significantly lower in the intensive-treatment group (hazard ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.90; P=0.003). Rates of serious adverse events of hypotension, syncope, electrolyte abnormalities, and acute kidney injury or failure, but not of injurious falls, were higher in the intensive-treatment group than in the standard-treatment group. Conclusions Among patients at high risk for cardiovascular events but without diabetes, targeting a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg, as compared with less than 140 mm Hg, resulted in lower rates of fatal and nonfatal major cardiovascular events and death from any cause, although significantly higher rates of some adverse events were observed in the intensive-treatment group. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01206062 .).

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Stroke, Blood pressure, Artery, Orthostatic hypotension

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Background The effect of endovascular thrombectomy that is performed more than 6 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke is uncertain. Patients with a clinical deficit that is disproportionately severe relative to the infarct volume may benefit from late thrombectomy. Methods We enrolled patients with occlusion of the intracranial internal carotid artery or proximal middle cerebral artery who had last been known to be well 6 to 24 hours earlier and who had a mismatch between the severity of the clinical deficit and the infarct volume, with mismatch criteria defined according to age (<80 years or ≥80 years). Patients were randomly assigned to thrombectomy plus standard care (the thrombectomy group) or to standard care alone (the control group). The coprimary end points were the mean score for disability on the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale (which ranges from 0 [death] to 10 [no symptoms or disability]) and the rate of functional independence (a score of 0, 1, or 2 on the modified Rankin scale, which ranges from 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating more severe disability) at 90 days. Results A total of 206 patients were enrolled; 107 were assigned to the thrombectomy group and 99 to the control group. At 31 months, enrollment in the trial was stopped because of the results of a prespecified interim analysis. The mean score on the utility-weighted modified Rankin scale at 90 days was 5.5 in the thrombectomy group as compared with 3.4 in the control group (adjusted difference [Bayesian analysis], 2.0 points; 95% credible interval, 1.1 to 3.0; posterior probability of superiority, >0.999), and the rate of functional independence at 90 days was 49% in the thrombectomy group as compared with 13% in the control group (adjusted difference, 33 percentage points; 95% credible interval, 24 to 44; posterior probability of superiority, >0.999). The rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage did not differ significantly between the two groups (6% in the thrombectomy group and 3% in the control group, P=0.50), nor did 90-day mortality (19% and 18%, respectively; P=1.00). Conclusions Among patients with acute stroke who had last been known to be well 6 to 24 hours earlier and who had a mismatch between clinical deficit and infarct, outcomes for disability at 90 days were better with thrombectomy plus standard care than with standard care alone. (Funded by Stryker Neurovascular; DAWN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02142283 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Posterior communicating artery, Disability

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Objectives To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease at higher resolution by examining the initial lifetime presentation of 12 cardiac, cerebrovascular, abdominal, or peripheral vascular diseases among five categories of consumption.Design Population based cohort study of linked electronic health records covering primary care, hospital admissions, and mortality in 1997-2010 (median follow-up six years).Setting CALIBER (ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records).Participants 1 937 360 adults (51% women), aged ≥30 who were free from cardiovascular disease at baseline.Main outcome measures 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease, including chronic stable angina, unstable angina, acute myocardial infarction, unheralded coronary heart disease death, heart failure, sudden coronary death/cardiac arrest, transient ischaemic attack, ischaemic stroke, intracerebral and subarachnoid haemorrhage, peripheral arterial disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.Results 114 859 individuals received an incident cardiovascular diagnosis during follow-up. Non-drinking was associated with an increased risk of unstable angina (hazard ratio 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.21 to 1.45), myocardial infarction (1.32, 1.24 to1.41), unheralded coronary death (1.56, 1.38 to 1.76), heart failure (1.24, 1.11 to 1.38), ischaemic stroke (1.12, 1.01 to 1.24), peripheral arterial disease (1.22, 1.13 to 1.32), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (1.32, 1.17 to 1.49) compared with moderate drinking (consumption within contemporaneous UK weekly/daily guidelines of 21/3 and 14/2 units for men and women, respectively). Heavy drinking (exceeding guidelines) conferred an increased risk of presenting with unheralded coronary death (1.21, 1.08 to 1.35), heart failure (1.22, 1.08 to 1.37), cardiac arrest (1.50, 1.26 to 1.77), transient ischaemic attack (1.11, 1.02 to 1.37), ischaemic stroke (1.33, 1.09 to 1.63), intracerebral haemorrhage (1.37, 1.16 to 1.62), and peripheral arterial disease (1.35; 1.23 to 1.48), but a lower risk of myocardial infarction (0.88, 0.79 to 1.00) or stable angina (0.93, 0.86 to 1.00).Conclusions Heterogeneous associations exist between level of alcohol consumption and the initial presentation of cardiovascular diseases. This has implications for counselling patients, public health communication, and clinical research, suggesting a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol in prevention of cardiovascular disease is necessary.Registration clinicaltrails.gov (NCT01864031).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Cardiology, Heart, Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Cardiovascular diseases

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Background Thrombectomy is currently recommended for eligible patients with stroke who are treated within 6 hours after the onset of symptoms. Methods We conducted a multicenter, randomized, open-label trial, with blinded outcome assessment, of thrombectomy in patients 6 to 16 hours after they were last known to be well and who had remaining ischemic brain tissue that was not yet infarcted. Patients with proximal middle-cerebral-artery or internal-carotid-artery occlusion, an initial infarct size of less than 70 ml, and a ratio of the volume of ischemic tissue on perfusion imaging to infarct volume of 1.8 or more were randomly assigned to endovascular therapy (thrombectomy) plus standard medical therapy (endovascular-therapy group) or standard medical therapy alone (medical-therapy group). The primary outcome was the ordinal score on the modified Rankin scale (range, 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating greater disability) at day 90. Results The trial was conducted at 38 U.S. centers and terminated early for efficacy after 182 patients had undergone randomization (92 to the endovascular-therapy group and 90 to the medical-therapy group). Endovascular therapy plus medical therapy, as compared with medical therapy alone, was associated with a favorable shift in the distribution of functional outcomes on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days (odds ratio, 2.77; P<0.001) and a higher percentage of patients who were functionally independent, defined as a score on the modified Rankin scale of 0 to 2 (45% vs. 17%, P<0.001). The 90-day mortality rate was 14% in the endovascular-therapy group and 26% in the medical-therapy group (P=0.05), and there was no significant between-group difference in the frequency of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (7% and 4%, respectively; P=0.75) or of serious adverse events (43% and 53%, respectively; P=0.18). Conclusions Endovascular thrombectomy for ischemic stroke 6 to 16 hours after a patient was last known to be well plus standard medical therapy resulted in better functional outcomes than standard medical therapy alone among patients with proximal middle-cerebral-artery or internal-carotid-artery occlusion and a region of tissue that was ischemic but not yet infarcted. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; DEFUSE 3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02586415 .).

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Stroke, Therapy, Modified Rankin Scale, Ischemia, Randomness, Disability

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 To quantify the dose-response associations between total physical activity and risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and ischemic stroke events.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Hypertension, Obesity, Stroke, Heart disease, Ischemia, Ischaemic heart disease

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Background We evaluated whether rivaroxaban alone or in combination with aspirin would be more effective than aspirin alone for secondary cardiovascular prevention. Methods In this double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 27,395 participants with stable atherosclerotic vascular disease to receive rivaroxaban (2.5 mg twice daily) plus aspirin (100 mg once daily), rivaroxaban (5 mg twice daily), or aspirin (100 mg once daily). The primary outcome was a composite of cardiovascular death, stroke, or myocardial infarction. The study was stopped for superiority of the rivaroxaban-plus-aspirin group after a mean follow-up of 23 months. Results The primary outcome occurred in fewer patients in the rivaroxaban-plus-aspirin group than in the aspirin-alone group (379 patients [4.1%] vs. 496 patients [5.4%]; hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66 to 0.86; P<0.001; z=-4.126), but major bleeding events occurred in more patients in the rivaroxaban-plus-aspirin group (288 patients [3.1%] vs. 170 patients [1.9%]; hazard ratio, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.40 to 2.05; P<0.001). There was no significant difference in intracranial or fatal bleeding between these two groups. There were 313 deaths (3.4%) in the rivaroxaban-plus-aspirin group as compared with 378 (4.1%) in the aspirin-alone group (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.96; P=0.01; threshold P value for significance, 0.0025). The primary outcome did not occur in significantly fewer patients in the rivaroxaban-alone group than in the aspirin-alone group, but major bleeding events occurred in more patients in the rivaroxaban-alone group. Conclusions Among patients with stable atherosclerotic vascular disease, those assigned to rivaroxaban (2.5 mg twice daily) plus aspirin had better cardiovascular outcomes and more major bleeding events than those assigned to aspirin alone. Rivaroxaban (5 mg twice daily) alone did not result in better cardiovascular outcomes than aspirin alone and resulted in more major bleeding events. (Funded by Bayer; COMPASS ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01776424 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Low-density lipoprotein, Statistical significance, Infarction

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Amyloid-β (Aβ) is a peptide deposited in the brain parenchyma in Alzheimer’s disease and in cerebral blood vessels, causing cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). Aβ pathology is transmissible experimentally in animals and through medical procedures in humans, such as contaminated growth hormone or dura mater transplantation in the context of iatrogenic prion disease. Here, we present four patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures during childhood or teenage years and presented with intracerebral haemorrhage approximately three decades later, caused by severe CAA. None of these patients carried pathogenic mutations associated with early Aβ pathology development. In addition, we identified in the literature four patients with a history of neurosurgical intervention and subsequent development of CAA. These findings raise the possibility that Aβ pathology may be transmissible, as prion disease is, through neurosurgical procedures.

Concepts: Immune system, Brain, Stroke, Prion, Amyloid, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, Cerebral amyloid angiopathy

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Background Although many patients with venous thromboembolism require extended treatment, it is uncertain whether it is better to use full- or lower-intensity anticoagulation therapy or aspirin. Methods In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study, we assigned 3396 patients with venous thromboembolism to receive either once-daily rivaroxaban (at doses of 20 mg or 10 mg) or 100 mg of aspirin. All the study patients had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy and were in equipoise regarding the need for continued anticoagulation. Study drugs were administered for up to 12 months. The primary efficacy outcome was symptomatic recurrent fatal or nonfatal venous thromboembolism, and the principal safety outcome was major bleeding. Results A total of 3365 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analyses (median treatment duration, 351 days). The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 17 of 1107 patients (1.5%) receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban and in 13 of 1127 patients (1.2%) receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, as compared with 50 of 1131 patients (4.4%) receiving aspirin (hazard ratio for 20 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.20 to 0.59; hazard ratio for 10 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.47; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of major bleeding were 0.5% in the group receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban, 0.4% in the group receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, and 0.3% in the aspirin group; the rates of clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding were 2.7%, 2.0%, and 1.8%, respectively. The incidence of adverse events was similar in all three groups. Conclusions Among patients with venous thromboembolism in equipoise for continued anticoagulation, the risk of a recurrent event was significantly lower with rivaroxaban at either a treatment dose (20 mg) or a prophylactic dose (10 mg) than with aspirin, without a significant increase in bleeding rates. (Funded by Bayer Pharmaceuticals; EINSTEIN CHOICE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02064439 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Stroke, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Dose, Aspirin, Bayer

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Background Among patients with a proximal vessel occlusion in the anterior circulation, 60 to 80% of patients die within 90 days after stroke onset or do not regain functional independence despite alteplase treatment. We evaluated rapid endovascular treatment in addition to standard care in patients with acute ischemic stroke with a small infarct core, a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion, and moderate-to-good collateral circulation. Methods We randomly assigned participants to receive standard care (control group) or standard care plus endovascular treatment with the use of available thrombectomy devices (intervention group). Patients with a proximal intracranial occlusion in the anterior circulation were included up to 12 hours after symptom onset. Patients with a large infarct core or poor collateral circulation on computed tomography (CT) and CT angiography were excluded. Workflow times were measured against predetermined targets. The primary outcome was the score on the modified Rankin scale (range, 0 [no symptoms] to 6 [death]) at 90 days. A proportional odds model was used to calculate the common odds ratio as a measure of the likelihood that the intervention would lead to lower scores on the modified Rankin scale than would control care (shift analysis). Results The trial was stopped early because of efficacy. At 22 centers worldwide, 316 participants were enrolled, of whom 238 received intravenous alteplase (120 in the intervention group and 118 in the control group). In the intervention group, the median time from study CT of the head to first reperfusion was 84 minutes. The rate of functional independence (90-day modified Rankin score of 0 to 2) was increased with the intervention (53.0%, vs. 29.3% in the control group; P<0.001). The primary outcome favored the intervention (common odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 3.8; P<0.001), and the intervention was associated with reduced mortality (10.4%, vs. 19.0% in the control group; P=0.04). Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage occurred in 3.6% of participants in intervention group and 2.7% of participants in control group (P=0.75). Conclusions Among patients with acute ischemic stroke with a proximal vessel occlusion, a small infarct core, and moderate-to-good collateral circulation, rapid endovascular treatment improved functional outcomes and reduced mortality. (Funded by Covidien and others; ESCAPE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01778335 .).

Concepts: Stroke, Modified Rankin Scale, Barthel scale