Nicholas Downing, MD

All posts by Nicholas Downing, MD

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April 9th, 2015

Association Between Shorter Height and Heart Disease Largely Explained by Genes

The “well-established” link between shorter adult height and increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) is largely explained by height-associated genetic variants, researchers conclude in the New England Journal of Medicine. Using data from genome-wide association studies, the researchers examined the relationship between 180 height-associated genetic variants and CAD among 65,000 cases (adults with histories of […]


March 16th, 2015

Folic Acid Supplementation Helps Reduce Stroke Risk in Certain Populations

Supplementation with folic acid might help prevent stroke in adults with hypertension — particularly in those with low serum folate levels — according to a study presented on Sunday at the American College of Cardiology conference in San Diego and published in JAMA. Over 20,000 Chinese adults with hypertension and without histories of MI or […]


January 26th, 2015

Isolated Systolic Hypertension in Younger Adults Linked to Increased CV Mortality

Young and middle-aged adults with isolated systolic hypertension face increased long-term risks for coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers studied some 27,000 adults in the Chicago area who were under age 50 and had their blood pressure measured […]


July 30th, 2014

Heart Groups Update Guidelines on Stable Ischemic Heart Disease

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have issued a focused update to their 2012 guideline on diagnosing and managing patients with stable ischemic heart disease (IHD). The update, published in the Journal of the College of Cardiology, includes a new section on the role of invasive coronary angiography for the diagnosis […]


July 16th, 2014

HPS2-THRIVE: The Final Chapter in the Niacin Story?

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Findings from HPS2-THRIVE raise uncomfortable questions for physicians.


July 8th, 2014

USPSTF Finalizes Recommendations on Carotid Artery Stenosis Screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis in the general adult population (grade D recommendation). Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the statement reiterates the group’s 2007 guidance. The harms of screening outweigh the benefits, the task force says. The groups notes that all screening strategies (e.g., […]


April 28th, 2014

Calorie, Fat Consumption Up Among Statin Users

Calorie and fat consumption increased significantly from 1999 to 2010 among statin users — but not among nonusers — according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study. The researchers conclude that “the importance of dietary composition may need to be reemphasized for statin users.” The researchers evaluated 24-hour dietary recall data from nearly 28,000 adults participating in […]


April 24th, 2014

Study Details Cardiovascular Events in Cannabis Users

One quarter of cardiovascular events among young cannabis users might be fatal, according to a small study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers examined 35 cardiovascular events (1.8% of roughly 2000 adverse events) in cannabis users reported to the French Addictovigilance Network from 2006 to 2010. Nearly half the patients reported using cannabis […]


March 10th, 2014

Azithromycin, Levofloxacin Linked to Increased Risks for Arrhythmia and Mortality Compared with Amoxicillin

Azithromycin and levofloxacin carry higher arrhythmia and mortality risks than amoxicillin, according to an observational study in the Annals of Family Medicine. The FDA issued a cardiac warning on azithromycin in March 2013. Researchers studied nearly 1.8 million U.S. veterans (mean age, 57) who received outpatient prescriptions for one of the three antibiotics from 1999 to […]


March 10th, 2014

Generic Lipitor Recalled Again

Ranbaxy has recalled over 60,000 bottles of generic atorvastatin after a pharmacist found a 20-mg tablet in a sealed bottle labeled with the 10-mg dose. The FDA considers this a class II recall, indicating “a remote chance of severe adverse consequences or death due to the product flaw,” Reuters reports.