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Feb 15 2011

Fish Oil Has “Dramatic” Benefits for Heart Health, According to NYCOM Researcher

Old Westbury, New York (Feb. 15, 2011) – A breakthrough study shows that fish oil prevents pressure-related damage to the heart, according to research by a professor at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM) of New York Institute of Technology.

A. Martin Gerdes, Ph.D., NYCOM’s recently appointed Chair of Biomedical Sciences, made the conclusion after a two-year study conducted by his research group at Sanford Research/University of South Dakota. The findings are published in the Feb. 15 volume of the American Heart Association’s scientific journal Circulation.

Gerdes’ research team measured the development of cardiac scar tissue in mice that were fed diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil and in those who were fed regular diets. Both the treatment and control groups of mice had been subjected to surgery that constricted aorta, the heart’s major artery, modeling the effects of acute injury and high blood pressure in humans.

“Fish oil had a dramatic effect in inhibiting scarring of the heart, or fibrosis,” Gerdes said. “Since excessive scarring of the heart is likely the primary cause of heart failure with impaired relaxation and there are currently no treatments, this is an important observation.”

Heart failure is the number on killer in the US and the most expensive medical diagnosis. In nearly 50 percent of heart failure patients, the ability of the heart to contract is normal but relaxation is impaired. A major underlying cause is believed to be excessive scar tissue buildup in the heart. Because of the current lack of treatment options for this condition, patients with heart failure from impaired relaxation are a major concern. Gerdes hopes that the results of this experiment will translate to humans and lead to improved patient outcomes.

With more than 18 years of experience as a department chair and institute director and 35-plus years of teaching experience, Gerdes looks forward to furthering cardiovascular medicine research and knowledge at NYCOM, which recruited him last month. He adds that NYCOM Dean Thomas Scandalis “sincerely wants NYCOM to gain a national reputation for excellence in research.”

The study is summarized in a paper titled “Omega-3 Fatty Acids Prevent Pressure Overload–Induced Cardiac Fibrosis through Activation of Cyclic GMP/Protein Kinase G Signaling in Cardiac Fibroblasts.”

Read more

Newsday: Omega-3 found to stave off heart scarring
AARP: Omega-3 found to stave off heart scarring

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