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Stress & Why The Poor Die Young 2006-09-08

Posted by clype in Glasgow, Health, Science, Scotland.

Heart patients and physicians in Glasgow are leading a worldwide trial of a treatment to stop killer stress in its tracks.

The city’s Royal Infirmary (Glasgow Royal Infirmary ‘GRI’) experts are recruiting people for trials of a drug that could cut levels of a dangerous stress chemical in the bloodstream by almost half.

It means Glasgow is building on the success of two previous trials which have already pointed the way to ending the city’s shocking early death rate — often blamed on stress.

The physicians presented the findings of an earlier study, called ‘Explorer’, which showed that levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) — considered dangerous — were cut by 46 per cent using a cocktail of drugs. Combining the two drugs also cut ‘bad’ cholesterol by 70 per cent.

Now Professor Mr.Chris Packard of Glasgow University and Professor Mr.James Shepherd at ‘GRI’ need patients to test how cutting levels of the protein can protect against heart attacks and strokes.

Mr.Packard said forcing down cholesterol levels in high-risk patients already played a critical role in preventing heart disease. But he added:

[Picture of Chris Packard]
‘The combination of the drugs not only lowered ‘bad’ cholesterol in a highly effective manner, but also addressed the need to increase ‘good’ cholesterol and to reduce “CRP”.’

  • ‘CRP’ levels rise when someone suffers physical or mental stress and levels can become ‘stuck’ if the stress continues.

More of it is found in people who score highly on tests for hostility or anger as well as those with depression and a feeling of hopelessness, and many physicians in the city feel this is a major reason why the poor die younger and the poor in Glasgow die younger still.

Patients in the latest trial, named ‘Jupiter’, are being referred by specialists and some GPs, with Glasgow providing the only UK centre.

The physicians believe that high ‘CRP’ levels can be detected in patients at risk five years earlier than a high cholesterol level would have raised the alarm.

That should allow earlier treatment to stop cholesterol levels reaching the danger point.

The Glasgow physicians presented their findings at ‘The World Congress of Cardiology‘ yesterday 2006-09-08.



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