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Navy Growler jet noise over Whidbey Island could impact 74,000 people’s health

Thu, 09 May 2024 17:10:52 +0000

As often as four days a week, Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island fly loops overhead as pilots practice touch-and-go landings. The noise is immense. New research from the University of Washington shows that the noise isn’t just disruptive — it presents a substantial risk to public health.

Bob Wilbur thought he’d found a retirement home that would be a place of peace. Nestled against Admiralty Bay on the western edge of Whidbey Island, the three-story house is surrounded by trees and shoreline. It offers the kind of quiet that only an island can provide. Except when the Growlers fly. 

As often as four days a week, Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft based at the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island fly loops overhead as pilots practice touch-and-go landings. The noise is immense, around the level of a loud rock concert. “It interrupts your day,” Wilbur said. “You’re unable to have a pleasant evening at home. You can’t communicate. You constantly try to organize your day around being gone when the jets are flying.” 

New research from the University of Washington shows that the noise isn’t just disruptive — it presents a substantial risk to public health. Published May 9 in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, an analysis of the Navy’s own acoustic monitoring data found that more than 74,000 people are exposed to noise levels associated with adverse health effects 

“Military aircraft noise is substantially more intense and disturbing than commercial jet noise,” said lead author Giordano Jacuzzi, a graduate student in the UW College of the Environment. “Noise exposure has many downstream effects beyond just annoyance and stress — high levels of sleep disturbance, hearing impairment, increased risk of cardiovascular disease — these have real impacts on human health and quality of life. We also found that several schools in the area are exposed to levels that have been shown to put children at risk of delayed learning.”

Guided by conversations with community members and local advocacy groups, researchers analyzed four weeks of acoustic and flight operations data collected by the Navy in 2020 and 2021, in addition to prior-year data collected by a private acoustics company and the National Park Service. Researchers then mapped noise exposure across the region to estimate how much noise specific communities were exposed to in an average year. 

This map shows the simulated noise exposure associated with adverse health effects. Contours are shown in 5 decibel increments, beginning at 45 decibels day-night average sound level.

Researchers estimated that two-thirds of Island County residents, including everyone in the cities of Oak Harbor and Coupeville, were exposed to potentially harmful levels of noise, as was 85% of the population of the Swinomish Indian Reservation.  

In total, an estimated 74,316 people were exposed to average noise levels that posed a risk of annoyance, 41,089 of whom were exposed to nighttime noise levels associated with adverse effects on sleep. Another 8,059 people — most of whom lived within fairly close proximity to aircraft landing strips – were exposed to noise levels that can pose a risk of hearing impairment over time. 

“Our bodies produce a lot of stress hormone response to noise in general, it doesn’t matter what kind of noise it is. But particularly if it’s this repeated acute noise, you might expect that stress hormone response to be exacerbated,” said co-author Edmund Seto, a UW professor of environmental and occupational health sciences. “What was really interesting was that we’re reaching noise exposure levels that are actually harmful for hearing. Usually I only think of hearing in the context of working in factories or other really, really loud occupational settings. But here, we’re reaching those levels for the community.  

Taken as a whole, the potential harms can be quite serious, Seto said. “Imagine people trying to sleep, or children in school trying to understand their teachers and you’ve got these jets flying.” 

Every monitoring station on Whidbey Island measured noise events in excess of 100 decibels when jets were flying. In some instances, noise levels were “off the charts” — exceeding the limits of models used to predict the health effects of noise exposure around the world.  

“We found it striking that Growler noise exceeds the scientific community’s current understanding of the potential health outcomes,” said co-author Julian Olden, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences. “For this reason, our estimates of health impacts are conservative.” 

The noise has been the subject of community disputes and legal controversy since 2013, when the U.S. Navy moved more Growler jets onto Whidbey Island and increased the number of flights to more than 110,000 per year. Bob Wilbur is a member and the current chair of Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, a community group that has sued the Navy over the jet noise and increased flight operations. The group also helped facilitate the UW study, and Wilbur is a co-author.  

Like other military aircraft, the Growlers’ noise differs significantly from commercial jets — louder and deeper, the kind of sound that people feel before they hear.  

“It’s the intensity, the intermittent nature of the noise, and the low-frequency energy specifically,” Jacuzzi said. “Those three things are very different than what you experience from normal commercial flights, which are predictable and high in altitude. When Growlers fly over a home, they emit a rumbling noise that penetrates windows and shakes walls.”  

While commercial jet noise has been the subject of extensive study, research into military aircraft noise is relatively rare. Previous UW-led research found that military flights were the largest cause of noise pollution on the Olympic Peninsula. While discussing that study, Whidbey residents complained that the noise disturbed their sleep and interfered with students’ schoolwork, which prompted this new line of inquiry. While conducting this study, researchers worked closely with community members and advocacy groups and held multiple webinars to share results and shape future work.  

“Our research was motivated by the growing chorus of complaints by Washingtonians across multiple counties,” Olden said. “We believe the science speaks for itself. It’s no longer a question of whether noise impacts people, but how, where and how much these effects are experienced.” 

Other authors are Lauren Kuehne of Omfishient Consulting, and Anne Harvey and Christine Hurley of Sound Defense Alliance. This research was funded by the UW Population Health Initiative.

For more information, contact Jacuzzi at gioj@uw.edu. 

Virtual reality environment for teens may offer an accessible, affordable way to reduce stress

Wed, 01 May 2024 15:18:51 +0000

Working with teens, UW researchers have designed RESeT: a snowy virtual world with six activities intended to improve mood. In a 3-week study of 44 Seattle-area teens, researchers found that most used the technology about twice a week without being prompted and reported lower stress levels after using the environment.

Three images each set in 3D animations of a snowy forest show, from left to right: a gray sign that reads “Welcome to RESeT”; a post with six small signs on with arrows and the words from top to bottom “River Boats,” “Scavenger Hunt,” “Rock Stacking,” “Rabbits,” and “Bird Search”; a red sign with an image of a bird on it and the text “FOLLOW THE SONG.”

Working with teens, UW researchers designed RESeT: a snowy virtual world with six activities, listed on the center image, intended to improve mood. The left panel shows the welcome screen, and the panel on the right shows an activity where teens can use sound to find birds.Björling et al./JMXR 2024

Social media. The climate crisis. Political polarization. The tumult of a pandemic and online learning. Teens today are dealing with unprecedented stressors, and over the past decade their mental health has been in sustained decline. Levels of anxiety and depression rose after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compounding the problem is a shortage of mental health providers — for every 100,000 children in the U.S., there are only 14 child and adolescent psychiatrists.

In response to this crisis, University of Washington researchers studied whether virtual reality might help reduce stress for teens and boost mental health. Working with adolescents, the team designed a snowy virtual world with six activities — such as stacking rocks and painting — based on practices shown to improve mental health.

In a 3-week study of 44 Seattle teens, researchers found that teens used the technology an average of twice a week without being prompted and reported lower stress levels and improved mood while using it, though their levels of anxiety and depression didn’t decline overall.

The researchers published their findings April 22 in the journal JMIR XR and Spatial Computing. The system is not publicly available.

 

“We know what works to help support teens, but a lot of these techniques are inaccessible because they’re locked into counseling, which can be expensive, or the counselors just aren’t available,” said lead author Elin Björling, a UW senior research scientist in the human centered design and engineering department. “So we tried to take some of these evidence-based practices, but put them in a much more engaging environment, like VR, so the teens might want to do them on their own.”

The world of Relaxation Environment for Stress in Teens, or RESeT, came from conversations the researchers had with groups of teens over two years at Seattle Public Library sites. From these discussions, the team built RESeT as an open winter world with a forest that users could explore by swinging their arms (a behavior known to boost mood) to move their avatar. A signpost with six arrows on it sent users to different activities, each based on methods shown to improve mental health, such as dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

In one exercise, “Riverboat,” users put negative words in paper boats and send them down a river. Another, “Rabbit Hole,” has players stand by a stump; the longer they’re still, the more rabbits appear.

“In the co-design process, we learned some teens were really afraid of squirrels, which I wouldn’t have thought of,” Björling said. “So we removed all the squirrels. I still have a Post-It in my office that says ‘delete squirrels.’ But all ages and genders loved rabbits, so we designed Rabbit Hole, where the reward for being calm and paying attention is a lot of rabbits surrounding you.”

To test the potential effects of RESeT on teens’ mental health, the team enrolled 44 teens between ages 14 and 18 in the study. Each teen was given a Meta Quest 2 headset and asked to use RESeT three to five times a week Because the researchers were trying to see if teens would use RESeT regularly on their own, they did not give prompts or incentives to use the headsets after the start of the study. Teens were asked to complete surveys gauging their stress and mood before and after each session.

On average, the teens used RESeT twice a week for 11.5 minutes at a time. Overall, they reported feeling significantly less stressed while using RESeT, and also reported smaller improvements in mood. They said they liked using the headset in general. However, the study found no significant effects on anxiety and depression.

“Reduced stress and improved mood are our key findings and exactly what we hoped for,” said co-author Jennifer Sonney, an associate professor in the UW School of Nursing who works with children and families. “We didn’t have a big enough participant group or a design to study long-term health impacts, but we have promising signals that teens liked using RESeT and could administer it themselves, so we absolutely want to move the project forward.”

The researchers aim to conduct a larger, longer-term study with a control group to see if a VR system could impart lasting effects on mood and stress. They’re also interested in incorporating artificial intelligence to personalize the VR experience and in exploring offering VR headsets in schools or libraries to improve community access.

Additional co-authors were Himanshu Zade, a UW lecturer and researcher at Microsoft; Sofia Rodriguez, a senior manager at Electronic Arts who completed this research as a UW master’s student in human centered design and engineering; Michael D. Pullmann, a research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UW School of Medicine; and Soo Hyun Moon, a senior product designer at Statsig who completed this research as a UW master’s student in human centered design and engineering. This research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health through the UW ALACRITY Center, which supports UW research on mental health.

For more information, contact Björling at bjorling@uw.edu and Sonney at jsonney@uw.edu.

Q&A: UW researchers on the unseen community effects of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders

Wed, 03 Apr 2024 15:55:26 +0000

Starting in the earliest days of the 2020 outbreak, a team of researchers at the University of Washington conducted real-time surveys of King County residents, asking what measures people had taken to protect themselves, how their daily lives had been affected and what worried them most.  

In the foreground, purple block letters "UW." In the background, a young student works at a laptop on a kitchen table.

Tabea Schendekehl, then a UW undergraduate, attends class from home in the fall of 2020.

As unprecedented as the outbreak of COVID-19 felt, it was far from the first time a deadly disease has swept the globe. Historians have identified epidemics and pandemics dating as far back as 430 B.C. Records tell us how these diseases spread and how many people died, but not people’s personal experiences of the crises.  

COVID-19 presented a rare opportunity to document in real-time how people processed the tumult of a pandemic, and how necessary public health measures affected their lives. Starting in the earliest days of the 2020 outbreak, a team of researchers at the University of Washington conducted real-time surveys of King County residents, asking what measures people had taken to protect themselves, how their daily lives had been affected and what worried them most.  

The results, published in February in the journal PLOS One, provide a glimpse into the subtle effects that public health measures like social distancing and stay-at-home orders had on the community.  

UW News spoke with Kathleen Moloney, research scientist at the UW Collaborative on Extreme Event Resilience, and Nicole Errett, a UW assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and director of the new Center for Disaster Resilient Communities, to discuss the study, how people experienced those early months and what public health practitioners can learn for future pandemics.  

It’s been four years since COVID-19 changed all our lives, and more than two years since we started to emerge into this new normal. Why is it important to share this research now, to understand people’s experiences of the pandemic and collective efforts to limit COVID’s spread?  

Kathleen Moloney: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is unlikely to be the last pandemic we face. To fully understand this pandemic’s impacts and better prepare for the next, we need research studies like ours — where data was collected in real time, from March to May of 2020 — that document the lived experiences of communities during the pandemic. For example, by documenting how people in King County experienced the social distancing measures in real-time, our study provides valuable insights into which negative impacts were most acute during the early stages of the pandemic. Our results, combined with evidence from other research studies, can provide direction for researchers and policymakers to explore effective interventions for future pandemics. 

Nicole Errett: It is really important to start collecting data in the immediate aftermath of a disaster to understand effects on health and well-being, but researchers face a variety of administrative, logistical and ethical challenges when designing rapid-response research studies. By sharing our approach in this paper, we can provide ideas and guidance for other investigators while designing studies for future disasters, whether those are caused by an infectious disease or natural hazard.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in a lot of ways, and was for most Americans the most significant disruption to our daily lives ever. How unusual are events like this in human history? What do we know about how past pandemics and epidemics have affected the people who lived through them?  

KM: During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we often heard comparisons to the 1918 influenza pandemic, as closures of schools, businesses and other community gathering spaces were implemented in response to both. However, it isn’t really possible to compare the experiences of those who lived through COVID-19 with those who lived through the 1918 Flu and other pandemics throughout history, because there weren’t any research studies conducted at the time to document those experiences. That’s why rapid-response disaster research, like our study, is so important.  

In the paper you evaluate the unintended impacts of efforts to slow the pandemic, like people losing their jobs and students falling behind in school. How do you think about that delicate balance between public health and individual well-being?  

KM: I don’t think of protecting public health and individual well-being as opposing priorities that need to be balanced. Public health, as a field, is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and well-being of the individuals that make up communities. Disruptions to employment and schooling can negatively impact long-term health outcomes, and ideally, these potential consequences should be considered when thinking through the type and duration of social distancing measures. Unfortunately, all the empirical research needed to inform those decisions was limited prior to this pandemic.  

You asked participants about steps they took to protect themselves at the height of the pandemic. Some steps had pretty low rates of participation — for example, only 63% of people said they stopped going to the gym, and 82% of people avoided large gatherings. What does that say about the effectiveness of our collective response to the pandemic?  

KM: I want to give the caveat that our survey only captured participants’ self-reported behavior at a single point in time. For example, someone who responded to the survey on March 19th, 2020, that they had not stopped going to the gym might have stopped the next week, when the statewide Stay Home, Stay Safe order was issued. Our survey was also a convenience sample, and therefore shouldn’t be considered representative of the compliance of King County residents as a whole with various social distancing recommendations.  

With that said, those numbers were still slightly surprising. The narrative we often hear of public acceptance of COVID-19 social distancing measures is that compliance was initially high, and then decreased over time due to factors such as message fatigue — there’s research documenting this phenomenon. We need additional research to confirm this, but our results might indicate that there was also an initial lag in compliance with the social distancing recommendations implemented in response to COVID-19.  

Overall, these measures still appear to have been effective, despite imperfect or slightly delayed compliance among certain residents. 

NE: At the time of our survey, our understanding of disease transmission was still evolving. It’s possible that people took measures they thought were protective (like hand washing) while attending these gatherings, based on their understanding of transmission at the time. It would have been interesting to re-survey folks at various time points throughout the pandemic to see how their behavior evolved as the pandemic, and our understanding of the disease, progressed. 

You evaluated participants’ well-being as described in their written stories about their experience. What trends appeared there, and were they what you expected to find?  

KM: Two findings surprised me in particular. First, less than half of our participants described impacts to their social life — I expected the percentage to be much higher. It would be interesting to know how that result might change if we surveyed the same participants at a later point in the pandemic, when social distancing measures had been in place for longer. I was also surprised to see the poorest average well-being reported by those over the age 65, and the highest average well-being reported by 18-to-34 year olds. This is in contrast to several other national-scale studies in the US and Europe, which found worse mental health impacts in young adults.  

Given that older adults are more likely to reside alone in the U.S. than in most other countries and report high rates of social isolation and loneliness even during non-pandemic times, interventions to mitigate the mental health impacts of future pandemics on older adults probably deserve special attention.  

In their written responses, participants most frequently described a negative financial or employment-related impact, even more than social impacts. How might that change how we prepare to help people through future crises?  

KM: Knowing which negative impacts are most prevalent at various points in the pandemic, and how these impacts differ between groups, can help us develop more specific, more effective interventions to prevent these unintended consequences in the future. We saw that employment and financial impacts were the top concern for every age group except those 65 and older — this group expressed higher concern about physical health and social impacts. So while an early intervention to mitigate the financial impacts of a future crisis on younger adults could be effective, we would likely want to prioritize different resources for older adults.  

What’s also interesting is that many of the concerns our participants reported, both in written narratives and the close-ended survey questions, were about impacts to others, rather than themselves. Concern and empathy for fellow community members’ well-being is something that we should want to cultivate for many reasons, but specifically in a pandemic context, there’s evidence that decreased concern for others’ well-being is correlated with decreased compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions. Something we should also think about while preparing for future crises is how we can foster the concern for others and the sense of community that were clearly present during the early stages of the pandemic to make sure they endure.  

NE: The pandemic influenced the development — or at least accelerated the uptake — of systems that allowed many folks to work safely from the comfort of their own home without financial or employment impacts. However, folks with jobs in “essential” services and sectors often had to physically report to work, and often interface with the public. My colleague, Marissa Baker, found that folks that couldn’t work from home are lower paid. Accordingly, I’d suspect that employment and financial concerns would be disproportionately borne among lower wage workers, who would have to choose between their health and safety and their income. In advance of the next pandemic, we need to figure out ways to keep these folks safe and at work.  

For more information, contact Errett at nerrett@uw.edu or Moloney at kmoloney@uw.edu. 

Q&A: UW expert on the rising rates of immunosuppression among U.S. adults

Wed, 13 Mar 2024 19:16:20 +0000

A new UW study places the prevalence of immunosuppression at around 6.6% of American adults — more than twice as high as previously understood. That rise could have broad implications for how we navigate the late stages of COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics.  

A woman with long dark hair adjusting a white face mask.

Credit: Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, as it became clear that people with suppressed immune systems were particularly vulnerable to the worst of the virus, public health officials prioritized their protection. Leaders presented stay-at-home orders and masking requirements as measures to prevent the virus from spreading to high-risk individuals. And when vaccines became available, many governments placed immunocompromised  people near the front of the line.  

All the while, public health officials believed only about 3% of the American population was immunocompromised.  

New research from the University of Washington suggests that number may have been a drastic undercount. The study, published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, places the prevalence of immunosuppression at around 6.6% of American adults — more than twice as high as previously understood. That rise could have broad implications for how we navigate the late stages of COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics.  

UW News spoke with co-author Melissa Martinson, a UW associate professor of social work, about the reasons behind the rise and how public health officials can better serve this growing population. 

Immunosuppression and the experiences of immunocompromised people have become more visible in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and our collective attempts to slow its spread. How has that added visibility affected people’s experiences?  

Melissa Martinson: The COVID-19 pandemic really brought the experiences of immunosuppressed (more commonly called immunocompromised) people to the public attention, and the voices of this population and other medically vulnerable people were important to how people interacted in their communities in the early days of the pandemic. Early in the pandemic, public health guidance was focused on protecting medically vulnerable people. Four years on, that guidance has changed, and most folks are engaging in activities similarly to before the pandemic.  

However, for some immunocompromised people, the lack of community protections today despite their continued risk of contracting COVID-19, can be an isolating experience.  

You set out to find a better estimate of the prevalence of immunosuppression nationwide. Why is a more accurate number important?  

MM: We were surprised by reports in the popular media that said about 3% of American adults were immunocompromised. Much of my research focuses on framing U.S. health in an international context, and we had seen estimates of immunocompromise prevalence in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada that were much higher than the widely reported American estimate.  

Getting an updated and accurate estimate is important because immunosuppressed people are more likely to experience viral and bacterial infections, and these infections are more likely to be severe. We also now know that this population is still advised to take precautions against COVID-19 due to the higher risk of serious outcomes like hospitalization, death, and long COVID. This is a group who also has access to public health tools like additional vaccine doses and antiviral treatment (such as Paxlovid) regardless of age, so it is important that these tools are readily available to this population.Having an accurate estimate of the prevalence of immunosuppression can ensure that we have adequate supply of these tools. 

You estimate that about 6.6% of American adults have immunosuppression, which is more than twice as high as the figure in 2013 (2.7%). That’s quite the jump. What’s behind it?  

MM: Unfortunately, we can’t answer this question definitively with the available data. However, we know that since prevalence was last estimated, immunosuppressive therapies for autoimmune diseases have been prescribed much more frequently and more of these medications are available. It might also be that more people have a better understanding of their immunocompromised health status due to conversations with their healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with awareness from public health guidance.

We also found that the proportional increase in prevalence was almost 2.5 times between 2013 and 2021, and this increase was even higher for some subpopulations including males, people with Hispanic ethnicity, adults under 50, and older adults ages 70 to 79.  

You write that the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to the increase of immunosuppression prevalence. One obvious possibility is that the virus itself weakened people’s immune systems, but do you see any other ways in which the pandemic might have contributed to that rise? 

MM: New evidence does suggest that COVID-19 leads to an increased risk of autoimmune conditions that may result in immunosuppression either through the condition itself or medication to treat the condition. We also looked at the data available for the second half of 2020, and the rates were similar to 2021. To us, this suggests that more people may have been informed about their immunosuppressed status in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and conversations they may have had with their healthcare providers due to their increased risk of serious outcomes from infection.  

From a public health perspective, what changes might we need to consider making in the face of these findings? How do we help to protect a population that might be twice as large as previously thought?  

MM: It is important to note that almost 1 in 15 adults is immunosuppressed and that this population may need additional precautions in workplaces, schools and universities, and especially medical settings. Making sure that our gatherings and built environment are accessible to people who are at greater risk is something that we can all do. Measures such as ventilation, air filtration, and mask use can protect immunocompromised people in public settings.  

The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, but this is a medically vulnerable group who is still advised to follow precautions that many people have given up at the end of the public health emergency in 2023. Given the recent changes in COVID-19 isolation guidelines from the CDC, it is important for the public — and policymakers — to consider that between older adults and this immunosuppressed population at high risk, it is worthwhile to use and promote tools like testing, vaccines, sick leave and staying home when ill, and use of masks or respirators to reduce virus spread to vulnerable people. 

For more information, contact Martinson at melmart@uw.edu.  

Q&A: How a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease could also work for Type 2 diabetes

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 18:25:07 +0000

Alzheimer's disease and Type 2 diabetes are part of a family of amyloid diseases that are characterized by having proteins that cluster together. UW researchers have demonstrated more similarities between the two diseases.

Of the 38 million Americans who have diabetes at least 90% have Type 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes occurs over time and is characterized by a loss of the cells in the pancreas that make the hormone insulin, which helps the body manage sugar.

These cells make another protein, called islet amyloid polypeptide or IAPP, which has been found clumped together in many Type 2 diabetes patients. The formation of IAPP clusters is comparable to how a protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients sticks together to eventually form the signature plaques associated with that disease.

A person standing in front of the Seattle skyline

Valerie Daggett

Researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated more similarities between IAPP clusters and those in Alzheimer’s. The team previously showed that a synthetic peptide can block the formation of small, toxic Alzheimer’s protein clusters. Now, in a recently published paper in Protein Science, the researchers used a similar peptide to block the formation of IAPP clusters.

UW News asked co-senior author Valerie Daggett, a UW professor of bioengineering and faculty member in the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute, for details about protein aggregation and how these synthetic peptides work.

Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes are part of a family of amyloid diseases that are characterized by having proteins that cluster together. What’s happening?

Valerie Daggett: There are over 50 of these amyloid diseases, and they start out with their respective proteins in their biologically active, good form. But then the proteins start changing structure and globbing together. These aggregates can be different sizes. They can have different underlying structures and different effects on the cells around them.

Early in the process there are smaller clusters, which are toxic, and they set off all kinds of problems. This leads to a very complicated disease because lots of other things go awry in response to these toxic clusters. Over time, these clusters combine to form non-toxic structures: longer strands and finally large deposits, such as the Alzheimer’s plaques.

Many people know that protein aggregation plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Can you describe what’s happening here?

A banner advertising the fact that Valerie Daggett will be speaking at this year's university faculty lecture. Click this banner to learn more about the event. Valerie Daggett will deliver this year’s University Faculty Lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 1.

VD: In the case of Alzheimer’s, these small, toxic protein clusters are running around the brain attacking neurons and then over time there’s enough damage that we start to see symptoms. By the time these clusters have combined to form the non-toxic plaques, there’s already been a lot of damage. It becomes similar to trying to treat stage 4 cancer. That’s why we want to get in early.

What’s happening with Type 2 diabetes?

VD: It’s similar, except it’s happening in the pancreas instead of the brain. In healthy people, cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, secrete IAPP along with insulin. The normal, active form of IAPP helps with metabolism maintenance. But when IAPP changes shape, it starts to form these toxic clusters and then it starts attacking the beta cells. And these clusters are equal-opportunity toxins. We, and many others, have shown that you can put them on different cell types and they will kill the cells.

In this paper, you show that the IAPP clusters go through an “alpha sheet” phase. What does this mean and why is it significant?

VD: We’ve been looking at these amyloid systems for a long time and we started seeing this weird protein structure. It’s like every other one of the protein building blocks, called amino acids, has had this crankshaft motion on it. Half of them are rotated the wrong way.

At first we thought: “That’s got to be an artifact. Nobody discovers a new structure.” But we’ve since shown that this “alpha sheet” structure is real. And proteins in all the amyloid systems we’ve looked at — 14 now including Type 2 diabetes — form these alpha sheet structures when they’re in these small, toxic clusters. No one had seen that for IAPP before this paper.

Also in this paper, you showed that a synthetic peptide was able to bind and neutralize the toxic IAPP clusters and keep beta cells alive. What’s special about this peptide and how does it work?

VD: Previously, we designed synthetic peptides to bind to the toxic protein clusters in Alzheimer’s disease. The idea here is for these peptides to take these clusters out of commission before they can wreak havoc on the cells. The peptide we made also forms an alpha sheet structure, but it is not toxic to the cells. It binds really tightly to the clusters, and we’re currently studying what happens to the clusters after it binds.

In this paper, we showed that our synthetic peptides also work against the toxic IAPP clusters, which means this could be a potential therapeutic in the future.

Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent amyloid disease — it affects half a billion people worldwide. A lot of people associate Type 2 diabetes treatment with changing lifestyle measures, but that doesn’t work for everyone. A drug that could help minimize the damage IAPP does to the pancreas could be really helpful.

Two panels of microscopy images showing groups of cells. In the panel on the left, there is more green throughout the group of cells. In the panel on the right, there is only a little green, which is clustered in the middle of the group of cells.

Microscopy image of beta cells making IAPP (left) and IAPP plus one of the team’s synthetic peptides (right). The synthetic peptides bind to the small toxic IAPP clusters to take them out of commission before they can wreak havoc on the cells. This binding also prevents the clusters from combining to form larger non-toxic structures, such as longer strands and finally large deposits. Shown here, the cells without the synthetic peptide (left) have more of those larger structures (more green) than the cells with the synthetic peptide (right, less green). Other colors in these images are labeling insulin (red) and cell nuclei (blue).Hsu et al./Protein Science

This paper had two lead authors: Cheng-Chieh Hsu, who completed this research as a UW doctoral student of molecular engineering and is now at Columbia University, and Andrew T. Templin, who completed this research as an acting instructor of medicine in the UW School of Medicine and is now at Indiana University. Additional co-authors on this paper are Tatum Prosswimmer, a UW doctoral student of molecular engineering; Dylan Shea, who completed this research as a UW doctoral student of molecular engineering and is now at Ambit Inc; Jinzheng Li, who completed this research as a UW undergraduate student majoring in biochemistry and is now a student at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences; Barbara Brooks-Worrell, who completed this research as a senior research scientist in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition in the UW School of Medicine and is now at Tacoma Community College; and Dr. Steven E. Kahn, professor of medicine in the UW School of Medicine.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the University of Washington Office of Research, the UW Department of Bioengineering, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Diabetes Association and a UW Mary Gates Research Scholarship.

For more information, contact Daggett at daggett@uw.edu.

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Assessing Real-World Effectiveness and Implementation of Telehealth-Guided Provider-to-Provider Communication among Rural Communities

Tue, 04 Jun 2024 11:23:28 -0500

Notice of Special Interest for research that generates evidence on the real-world effectiveness of telehealth collaboration among healthcare providers for consultation, second opinions, and other purposes, referred to as provider-to-provider telehealth (PPT). PPT offers remote access to critical health expertise that might not exist locally in some rural communities. Geographic coverage: Nationwide -- National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

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A Cultural Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country

Tue, 30 Apr 2024 14:30:47 -0500

Grants for projects designed to reduce rates of death and disability from chronic diseases and the prevalence of commercial tobacco use, prediabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, oral disease, and other chronic disease risk factors and conditions in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Geographic coverage: Nationwide -- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Louisiana Healthcare Workforce Collective Impact Grants

Tue, 30 Jan 2024 15:29:53 -0600

Grants to community coalitions in Louisiana to identify and address pressing community health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health, obesity, workforce development, and healthcare access, quality, and cost. Geographic coverage: Louisiana -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation

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Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas Mini-Grant Program

Thu, 04 Jan 2024 16:02:39 -0600

Small grants to support health improvement projects in Arkansas. Geographic coverage: Arkansas -- Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas

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Rural Health Care Outcomes Accelerator

Tue, 01 Aug 2023 14:11:15 -0500

A 3-year initiative designed to eliminate rural health disparities by helping hospitals and clinicians provide high-quality evidence-based care. Assistance includes free access to evidence-based programs, consultants, networking, and recognition. Geographic coverage: Nationwide -- American Heart Association

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New telehealth stroke certification available to health care professionals

Tue, 04 Jun 2024 12:00:21 GMT

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Clinicians can demonstrate their commitment to expanding, maintaining equitable stroke care through this American Heart Association certification for individuals

DALLAS, June 4, 2024 — Significant barriers prevent or slow treatment for many patients with stroke, including long travel times to stroke center hospitals and the lack of availability of stroke specialists who can evaluate the patient and determine if they are a candidate for treatment.[1] Telehealth stroke care, also known as telestroke, can expand access to rural areas and other communities that face barriers to stroke care.

A new American Heart Association certification for health care professionals is designed to help standardize training and increase skills and competencies for health care providers in telehealth stroke care delivery, as well as help improve stroke outcomes through the integration of telehealth. This is the third individual certification available through the American Heart Association’s best-in-class, science-based certification portfolio.

An estimated 9.4 million Americans ages 20 and older have had a stroke, and stroke accounts for about 1 of every 19 deaths in the United States.[2] Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. And the problem is only getting worse — projections show a 20.5% increase in stroke prevalence by 2030.[3]

Telehealth stroke care uses interactive videoconferencing to provide specialists timely data to assist clinicians at the bedside in stroke-related decision-making for people seeking care at distant facilities that do not have a stroke neurologist available around the clock.

“Timely access to the latest therapies through expanded use of telehealth-enabled stroke care has been shown to greatly improve the quality of care and reduce disability from stroke, especially in areas with fewer neurologists and stroke experts,” said Lee Schwamm, M.D., FAHA, volunteer member of the American Heart Association Center for Telehealth Expert Panel; senior vice president and chief digital health officer of Yale New Haven Health; and associate dean of digital strategy and transformation at Yale School of Medicine. “The American Heart Association’s individual telehealth stroke certification is a way for health care professionals to ensure they are providing the highest quality of care and leveraging this evolving delivery modality to its fullest potential.” 

The new telehealth individual certification, supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, is available through the Association’s Professional Education Hub™. The certification is an offering of the American Heart Association Center for Telehealth.

The certification is open to licensed medical professionals who complete prerequisite education. The certification process features:

  • high-quality, evidence-based online telehealth stroke education that combines research, hands-on experiences and best practices;
  • assessment delivery via live remote-proctoring, certification award and renewal via American Heart Association platforms; and
  • individual promotional opportunities by display of personalized certificate award and credentials, which are good for three years.

Additional Resources:

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About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $4.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $600 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. For more information, visit https://helmsleytrust.org/

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Michelle Rosenfeld: 214-706-1099; michelle.rosenfeld@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org


[1] Jauch EC, et al. Recommendations for regional stroke destination plans in rural, suburban, and urban communities from the prehospital stroke system of care consensus conference. Stroke. 2021 52(5), e133-e152.

[2] Chapter 15. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2024 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. January 24, 2024. Circulation. 2024;149:e347–e913. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001209.

[3] Ibid.

Nueva certificación en telesalud para ataque o derrame cerebral disponible para profesionales de la salud

Tue, 04 Jun 2024 12:00:20 GMT

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Los médicos pueden demostrar su compromiso de ampliar y mantener la atención equitativa en casos de derrame cerebral a través de esta certificación de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) para individuos

DALLAS, 4 de junio de 2024 — Significativas barreras impiden o retrasan el tratamiento para muchos pacientes que han sufrido un derrame cerebral, incluidos los largos tiempos de viaje a hospitales especializados y la falta de disponibilidad de especialistas en esta patología que puedan evaluar al paciente y determinar si son candidatos para el tratamiento.[1] La atención de telesalud por derrame cerebral, también conocida en inglés como telestroke, puede ampliar el acceso a áreas rurales y otras comunidades que enfrentan barreras para la atención de esta patología.

Una nueva certificación de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) para profesionales de la salud está diseñada para ayudar a estandarizar la capacitación y aumentar las habilidades y competencias de los proveedores de cuidados de salud en la prestación de atención de telesalud por derrame cerebral, así como para ayudar a mejorar los resultados de un derrame cerebral mediante la integración de la telesalud. Esta es la tercera certificación individual disponible a través del portafolio de certificaciones de primer nivel, basadas en la ciencia, de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón).

Se estima que 9.4 millones de estadounidenses de 20 años o más han sufrido un derrame cerebral, y esta afección representa aproximadamente 1 de cada 19 muertes en los Estados Unidos.[2] El derrame cerebral sigue siendo la causa principal de discapacidad a largo plazo en los Estados Unidos. Y el problema no hace más que empeorar; las proyecciones muestran un aumento del 20.5 % en la prevalencia de derrames cerebrales para 2030.[3]

La atención de telesalud para derrames cerebrales utiliza videoconferencias interactivas para proporcionar a los especialistas datos oportunos que ayuden a los médicos de cabecera en la toma de decisiones relacionadas con el derrame cerebral para las personas que buscan atención en centros distantes que no cuentan con un neurólogo especializado en este tipo de enfermedades disponible las 24 horas.

“Se ha demostrado que el acceso oportuno a las últimas terapias mediante el uso ampliado de la atención de derrames cerebrales habilitada por telesalud mejora en gran medida la calidad de la atención y reduce la discapacidad por derrame cerebral, especialmente en áreas con menos neurólogos y expertos en este tipo de accidentes”, dijo Lee Schwamm, M.D., FAHA , miembro voluntario del Panel de Expertos del Centro de Telesalud de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón); Vicepresidente Sénior y Director de Salud Digital de Yale New Haven Health; y Decano Asociado de Estrategia y Transformación Digital de Yale School of Medicine. “La certificación individual en telesalud para derrame cerebral de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) es una forma para que los profesionales de la salud se aseguren de proporcionar el más alto nivel de atención y aprovechen esta modalidad de prestación en constante evolución a su máximo potencial”. 

La nueva certificación individual de telesalud, respaldada por The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, está disponible a través Professional Education Hub™ de la Asociación. La certificación es una oferta del Centro de telesalud de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón).

La certificación está abierta a los profesionales médicos con licencia que completen la formación previa. El proceso de certificación incluye lo siguiente:

  • Educación sobre derrames cerebrales en telesalud en línea de alta calidad basada en evidencia, que combina investigación, experiencias prácticas y mejores prácticas;
  • realización de evaluaciones a distancia en directo, concesión y renovación de certificaciones a través de las plataformas de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) y
  • oportunidades promocionales individuales mediante la exhibición de certificados personalizados y credenciales, con una validez de tres años.

Recursos adicionales:

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Acerca de la American Heart Association
La American Heart Association es una fuerza incansable cuyo objetivo es prolongar la vida y la salud de todos. Nos dedicamos a garantizar la igualdad en materia de salud en todas las comunidades. A través de la colaboración con numerosas organizaciones y el impulso de millones de voluntarios, financiamos investigaciones innovadoras, defendemos la salud pública y compartimos recursos para salvar vidas. La organización con sede en Dallas ha sido una fuente de información sobre salud líder durante un siglo. Durante 2024, el año de nuestro centenario, celebraremos 100 años de historia y logros relevantes. Mientras nos preparamos para el segundo siglo de descubrimiento e impacto, nuestra visión es promover la salud y la esperanza para todos, en todo el mundo. Comuníquese con nosotros en heart.orgFacebookX o llamando al 1-800-AHA-USA1.

Acerca de The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspira a mejorar vidas apoyando esfuerzos excepcionales en los Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo en materia de salud e iniciativas selectas basadas en el lugar. Desde 2008, cuando Helmsley comenzó a otorgar subvenciones de manera activa, ha comprometido más de $4,500 millones para una amplia gama de fines benéficos. El Programa de Atención Médica Rural de Helmsley financia proyectos innovadores que utilizan tecnologías de la información para conectar a los pacientes rurales con atención médica de emergencia, llevar las últimas terapias médicas a pacientes en áreas remotas y brindar capacitación de última generación para hospitales rurales y personal de servicios de emergencia médica. Hasta la fecha, este programa ha otorgado más de $600 millones a organizaciones e iniciativas en los estados de Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Dakota del Norte, Dakota del Sur y Wyoming. Para obtener más información, visite https://helmsleytrust.org/.

Para consultas de medios de comunicación: 214-706-1173

Michelle Rosenfeld: 214-706-1099; michelle.rosenfeld@heart.org

Para consultas públicas: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org y stroke.org 


[1] Jauch EC, et al. Recomendaciones para planes regionales de destino de derrames cerebrales en comunidades rurales, suburbanas y urbanas derivadas de la conferencia de consenso sobre el sistema de atención prehospitalaria para derrames cerebrales. Stroke. 2021 52(5), e133-e152.

[2] Capítulo 15. Estadísticas sobre enfermedades cardíacas y derrames cerebrales — actualización de 2024: Un informe de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón). Miércoles, 24 de enero de 2024. Circulation. 2024;149:e347–e913. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001209.

[3] Ibid.

The American Heart Association, Walmart Foundation collaborate to address food insecurity

Mon, 20 May 2024 13:00:23 GMT

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The Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund receives $900k for sustainable, community-led solutions

DALLAS, May 20, 2024 — The American Heart Association, which is marking 100 years of service saving lives, and its Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund received a $900,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity. The Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund is an Association Social Impact Fund supporting local community organizations working to break down socioeconomic barriers to health in under-resourced communities.

This recent infusion of funding will support companies and organizations that combat food insecurity in targeted local communities. The Association’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund provides essential financial capital to these enterprises that, in many cases, struggle to source private venture capital or alternative sources of funding that allows them to accelerate their growth and scale their impact. Previous financial support from the Walmart Foundation has already enabled more than 20 social benefit organizations across Atlanta and Chicago to improve local food ecosystems.

“The Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity is dedicated to strengthening communities by addressing food insecurity to deliver health equity for all,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president and COO, Walmart Foundation. “We are proud to extend our support of the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund to help community-based entrepreneurs build sustainable programs that expand access to affordable and healthy food.”

Recipients of funding from the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund include both non-profit organizations and for-profit companies working to positively impact the risk factors that affect cardiovascular health in historically excluded communities. Access to healthy food is a key factor in maintaining heart health since only 10% of adults in the U.S. consume the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake to support a healthy lifestyle[1]. Through the Walmart Foundation’s contributions, the Fund specifically supports social enterprises offering solutions that address food security especially among mothers, infants and those with diabetes.

“Many social impact entrepreneurs lack the resources and funding they need to grow successfully,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer for the American Heart Association. “With help from generous supporters like the Walmart Foundation, the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund supports organizations that have a deep understanding of and commitment to the people within the communities in which they work and a track record of sustainability so they can make a difference for the long term.”

Since 2018, the American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds, including the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund, have provided financial support to more than 130 for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises addressing key social drivers of health across the country. The Social Impact Funds invest in organizations improving health equity by addressing such issues as access to quality health care, food insecurity and economic empowerment, all factors that can deeply impact cardiovascular health.

Additional Resources

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact, our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

About the American Heart Association Social Impact Funds
The American Heart Association’s Social Impact Funds, including the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund, channel capital to small and medium-sized organizations that know their community best and whose ideas accelerate innovation to address local community and national health challenges. With a focus on improving health equity and expanding access to capital, the Funds support accessible, high quality health care, food security and economic empowerment. Since launching in 2018, the Funds have provided $21.5 million in financial support to more than 130 local enterprises to positively impact the well-being of nearly 5 million people. Learn more about our work at heart.org/socialimpactfund.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Rebecca Torres-Fisher, rebecca.torres@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org and stroke.org


[1] Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations (Jan. 2022)

La American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) reconocida por Fair360 por su diversidad, equidad e inclusión en el lugar de trabajo

Tue, 21 May 2024 15:28:25 GMT

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La principal organización sin fines de lucro es reconocida como la mejor empresa para junta directiva y entre las empresas destacadas

DALLAS, 16 de mayo de 2024 - La American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) , una fuerza global cuyo objetivo es una vida más saludable para todos y la cual celebra 100 años de servicio para salvar vidas, es reconocida como empleador ejemplar por Fair360 en dos categorías: Empresas Líderes para Junta Directiva y Empresas Destacadas. Fair360, anteriormente conocida como DiversityInc, utiliza datos comparativos para ayudar a las organizaciones a desarrollar lugares de trabajo justos e inclusivos utilizando información de referencia y de mejores prácticas. La lista completa de los premiados 2024 está disponible en el sitio web de Fair360.

Esta evaluación anual reconoce a los empleadores de los EE. UU. por su excelencia en la promoción de la equidad en el lugar de trabajo a través de áreas clave que incluyen la gestión total, programas de talento, responsabilidad del liderazgo, prácticas laborales, equidad de proveedores y filantropía. Los resultados se derivan de encuestas enviadas por empleadores con más de 750 empleados en los Estados Unidos.

La Asociación sin fines de lucro aparecía en el primer lugar entre las Mejores Empresas para Junta Directiva y como una de las Empresas Destacadas; el último premio de una serie de reconocimientos recientes a la diversidad por parte de varias organizaciones.

“La American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) se enorgullece de ser reconocida por Fair360 por nuestro fuerte compromiso con la diversidad, la equidad y la inclusión, lo cual es especialmente significativo en el año de nuestro centenario”, dijo la Directora Ejecutiva Nancy Brown. “Es fundamental para nuestra misión de salvar vidas e increíblemente importante para todos nosotros tener un lugar de trabajo que promueva la salud y el bienestar de cada empleado”.

Desde su fundación en el año 1924, la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) ha luchado contra las enfermedades cardíacas y los ataques o derrames cerebrales y ha ayudado a las familias y a las comunidades a prosperar. La misión de la Asociación es ser una fuerza implacable para un mundo con vidas más largas y saludables, independientemente de raza, etnia, género, religión, edad, idioma, orientación sexual, nacionalidad y capacidades físicas o cognitivas. Los líderes, voluntarios y personal de la organización están comprometidos a garantizar que la fuerza laboral, el lugar de trabajo y la misión de la Asociación tengan un impacto compartido en las diversas poblaciones de los Estados Unidos. Puede encontrar más información sobre el compromiso de la Asociación con la diversidad y la inclusión en www.heart.org/diversidad.

Otros reconocimientos recientes para la Asociación incluyen Mejor Empleador de Medianas Empresas de los Estados Unidos por Forbes, Firmante de Compromiso de AARP, Empleador Amigable con las Personas Mayores y Empleador Certificado Líder en Discapacidad de la Organización Nacional sobre Discapacidad.

Recursos adicionales:

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Acerca de la American Heart Association

La American Heart Association es una fuerza incansable cuyo objetivo es prolongar la vida y la salud de todos. Nos dedicamos a garantizar la igualdad en la salud de todas las comunidades. A través de la colaboración con numerosas organizaciones y la ayuda de millones de voluntarios, financiamos investigaciones innovadoras, defendemos la salud pública y compartimos recursos que salvan vidas. La organización con sede en Dallas ha sido una fuente de información sobre salud líder durante un siglo. Durante 2024, el año de nuestro centenario, celebraremos 100 años de historia y logros relevantes. Mientras nos preparamos para el segundo siglo de descubrimiento e impacto, nuestra visión es promover la salud y la esperanza para todos, en todo el mundo. Comuníquese con nosotros a través de heart.org, Facebook, X o llamándonos al 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

Para consultas sobre medios de comunicación: 214-706-1173
Para consultas públicas: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org y stroke.org

Las nuevas recomendaciones de atención posparto se centran en el riesgo de ECV

Tue, 11 Jun 2024 15:22:47 GMT

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Un grupo convocado por la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) recomienda una atención integral centrada en la paciente y una cobertura médica hasta los 12 meses posteriores al parto para mejorar los resultados de la salud materna y reducir las disparidades

DALLAS, 16 de mayo de 2024 - Las muertes relacionadas con el embarazo en EE. UU. han aumentado un 140% en las últimas tres décadas y las enfermedades cardiovasculares son la principal causa.[1] A pesar de las pautas médicas existentes sobre el embarazo y la salud cardiovascular, las tendencias actuales en los resultados médicos sugieren una oportunidad significativa para mejorar el sistema de atención, especialmente en el periodo posparto. 

La American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón), la principal organización voluntaria del mundo centrada en la salud del corazón y el cerebro, que este año conmemora 100 años de servicio para salvar vidas, convocó recientemente a un grupo de líderes de opinión para elaborar recomendaciones exhaustivas con el fin de mejorar los sistemas de atención posparto. El grupo también analizó la educación de los profesionales de la salud sobre los riesgos cardiovasculares relacionados con el embarazo, con el objetivo de mejorar los resultados de la salud materna y reducir las disparidades.

“El embarazo es una prueba de esfuerzo cardiopulmonar que puede desenmascarar enfermedades cardiovasculares subyacentes o revelar una mayor propensión a desarrollar enfermedades cardiovasculares en el futuro como consecuencia de acontecimientos o resultados adversos durante el embarazo”, afirma la doctora Rachel Bond, miembro voluntario del Grupo de redacción del sistema de atención posparto de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) y especialista en prevención y salud cardiaca de la mujer. “Las enfermedades cardiacas durante el embarazo dejan a las parturientas con un mayor riesgo de por vida de sufrir enfermedades cardiovasculares después del parto y conllevan un mayor riesgo para sus hijos”.

Las nuevas recomendaciones requieren:

  • acceso a una cobertura sanitaria completa durante los 12 primeros meses tras el parto para todas las pacientes puérperas;
  • educación estandarizada para todos los profesionales sanitarios que puedan encontrarse con una paciente embarazada o puérpera;
  • ​atención integral centrada en la paciente, así como colaboración y respeto por todos los miembros del equipo de maternidad, incluidas las parteras, las doulas, los profesionales de la salud mental, los trabajadores comunitarios de la salud, entre otros; y
  • control de los factores de riesgo durante la atención rutinaria preconcepcional e interconcepcional, incluida la detección de factores de riesgo cardiovascular como la presión arterial, el perfil lipídico en ayunas, el peso y la intolerancia a la glucosa/diabetes y otros biomarcadores menos conocidos. ​

Se trata del último avance de la Iniciativa para el avance de la salud materna mediante la mejora de la calidad y la educación profesional integral de la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón), lanzada en julio de 2022 con el apoyo financiero de Merck for Mothers, el esfuerzo global de Merck en materia de salud materna para ayudar a crear un mundo en el que nadie tenga que morir al dar a luz.

“Apoyamos con orgullo a la American Heart Association (la Asociación Americana del Corazón) en su incansable labor encaminada a construir vidas más largas y saludables”, comentó Jacquelyn Caglia, directora de aprendizaje, comunicaciones y programas estadounidenses de Merck for Mothers. “Estas nuevas recomendaciones ampliarían enormemente el acceso a una atención materna de alta calidad para todas las mujeres del país y son especialmente importantes para los grupos infrarrepresentados, que sabemos que tienen más probabilidades de verse afectados por factores de riesgo potencialmente mortales, como las enfermedades cardiovasculares”.

En una fase anterior de la Iniciativa para el avance de la salud materna, la Asociación lanzó un curso en su Professional Education Hub™ sobre el papel de la salud cardiovascular en la salud materna. En el curso, expertos interdisciplinarios identifican y explican el mayor riesgo cardiovascular y las comorbilidades coadyuvantes que afectan a las mujeres embarazadas y puérperas con afecciones cardiovasculares.

La siguiente fase de este importante trabajo incluye convocar a líderes y profesionales clínicos de la salud materna que puedan determinar formas de integrar las recomendaciones adecuadamente y supervisar el proceso de inclusión, así como los resultados de su adopción. ​

 Recursos adicionales:

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 Acerca de la American Heart Association
La American Heart Association es una fuerza incansable cuyo objetivo es prolongar la vida y la salud de las personas. Nos dedicamos a garantizar la igualdad en materia de salud en todas las comunidades. A través de la colaboración con numerosas organizaciones y el impulso de millones de voluntarios, financiamos investigaciones innovadoras, defendemos la salud pública y compartimos recursos para salvar vidas. La organización con sede en Dallas ha sido una fuente de información sobre salud líder durante un siglo. Durante 2024, el año de nuestro centenario, celebraremos 100 años de historia y logros relevantes. Mientras nos preparamos para el segundo siglo de descubrimiento e impacto, nuestra visión es promover la salud y la esperanza para todos, en todo el mundo. Conéctese con nosotros a través de heart.orgFacebookX o llamando al 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

Para consultas de medios de comunicación: 214-706-1173

Karen Springs: 214-706-4831; karen.springs@heart.org

Para consultas públicas: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org y stroke.org


[1] Lewey J, et al. Opportunities in the Postpartum Period to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk After Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2024;149:e330–e346. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001212