Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Bowl XLII: unhealthy for the heart? Chicagoans must be immune since the Bears are unlikely to ever be in the Super Bowl!

Researchers in Munich, Germany warn that the emotional stress of rooting for your favorite team can be hazardous for your health – and even trigger a heart attack.

The study followed 4,279 adults in Munich in the summer of 2006; on the seven days when the German national soccer team played in international competitions, cardiac emergencies more than doubled. For men, it tripled.

Dr. Dr. Gerhard Steinbeck, the study’s lead author, warns that the Super Bowl could have the same effect on U.S. fans. "I know a little bit about the Super Bowl. It's reasonable to think that something quite similar might happen," Steinbeck told the Associated Press.

Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital and an American Heart Association spokesperson (Mosca was not a study co-author), told Associated Press reporters that fans with heart disease should take precautions on Super Bowl Sunday and call emergency services immediately if symptoms appear. See Associated Press coverage.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another high-profile stroke survivor recovering....

Unfortunately, one of the most effective ways to remind all of us about the wide-spread and constant threat of stroke is to refer to people we know who've recently had a stroke. For some reason, it helps the mind to assign greater priority to the information realated to our fight against stroke and CVD. Even more importantly, many of these stories are about survival and perseverence, capable of inspiring hope in fellow survivors. With that said, here is a link from a story in todays Chicago Sun-Times. Needless to say, we wish the story's subject a speedy and full recovery....

Battling back:
WGN anchor Allison Payne considers ministrokes a 'wake-up call' to health

January 30, 2008
BY ROBERT FEDER Sun-Times Columnist

Allison Payne, the veteran news anchor at WGN-Channel 9, is battling back from a series of ministrokes that has kept her off the air for more than three weeks.,CST-FIN-feder30.article

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Fable of Health Care and the Free Market

This elections season (Is there any other season any more?) the issue of health care is on every one's lips. Different folks offer different solutions. Many talk with disdain about interference from Washington. They just want the government to stay out of health care and let the free market work. Indeed, mention the "Free Market" and some people will buy almost any argument for doing nothing. This is especially true with health care -- or the lack of it -- for millions of Americans. Here's the way I see it: Free Market = Rational Choice, right? Now, you tell me how rational you are when you or a loved one is sick. Are you going to want to hope, to fight for the latest, most expensive treatment or are you just going to say your goodbyes? What do you think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

The State of the Union Address

Did you happen to hear President Bush's State of the Union address? The President focused on a number of very important initiatives that deserve the nation's support. Unfortunately, biomedical research was basically ignored (as usual).

Among the various challenges the President discussed, few can compare to the millions of people who are killed and disabled every year by heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc. Why is so little federal attention devoted to the biggest causes of death, disability and misery? Why is President Bush not directing more taxpayer dollars to research that benefits the most taxpayers?

The federal government is the top funder of biomedical research. Many of today's groundbreaking medical treatments would not have been possible without federal research grants made decades ago. However, three quarters of a million people still die every year from cardiovascular disease alone. Much more can and should be done. With so many lives at stake, this issue touches virtually every family in the country. Does it not deserve 30 seconds in the State of the Union?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Illinois House of Representatives Honors American Heart Association Volunteer CPR Trainers!

Folks at the Statehouse know that by custom the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives rarely presonally acts as the lead sponsor of bills and resolutions. Most of the time the top House leader works in the background, quietly wielding the ultimate power to decide which bills will see the light of day and which will wither on the legislative vine. That's why we were especially pleased to learn that the Illinois House recently adopted a resolution sponsored by the Speaker and co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Cross, the House Republican Leader and Representatives Joann Osmond and Dan Burke who are champions on issues such as AEDs and improving emergency medical response.

House Resolution 908, recognizes the Association and a special group of AHA volunteers who generously gave of their knowledge and time to teach life-saving skills to House staff. Please take a minute to read the resolution. You may even recognize some of the names it mentions.... Here's the link:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Young rapper suffered stroke

It is unfortunate when anyone has a stroke but it is especially tragic when the victim is a seemingly healthy, 39 year old music star. Sources close to Nate Dogg, a prominent rapper and MC are confirming that he suffered a stroke in December of 2007 and is still recovering. A link to the full story is below. This is an unfortunate reminder that young people are not immune. Stroke does not discriminate by race or age, making it an issue for all of us. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Major progress in AHA/AHA's mission, more work ahead!

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new mortality data which shows that, since 1999, coronary heart disease and stroke age-adjusted death rates are down by 25.8 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively. This is amazing news! Although much remains to be done in areas such as stroke, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, etc., I wanted to convey our thanks to every one involved in this effort. Thank you!

You are the Cure!

Not your parents' PE for today's kids....

I am proud to say that the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have been leading defenders of physical education in our schools in Illinois. Our experiences taught us that there is a huge disconnect between the adults, many of whom have anything but fond memories of their own time in PE class, and the reality of today's "New PE."

Good PE today resembles a health club, focusing more on individual fitness and learning healthy lifestyle skills. (Below is a link to an interesting article making this point.) Unfortunately, parents are still remembering embarassing moments being "nailed" during dodgeball or being the last one picked for a basketball game. Until the parents, taxpayers and other investors see the return on investment from the New PE, it'll be an uphill battle....

PE: Focus on Exercise, Not Team Sports
Jan 15, 2008

RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) - With music pumping in the background, the kids in Terry Wade's physical education class are in constant motion, going from sit-ups to jumping jacks to curls with light weights. After their 45-minute session, the sixth-graders who are sweating the most, or as Wade calls it, "burning butter," get stickers."My main goal and emphasis is getting these kids up and moving," said Wade, who teaches at Northrich Elementary in the Richardson school district in suburban Dallas. "It's 'Can this kid do this for a lifetime?' I don't care how good they are. I care if they're having fun." Instead of team sports, Wade and other physical education teachers across the country
are focusing more on individual activities that students can incorporate into their lives long after their school days are over.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Please don't forget....

....if you are not yet a member of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association's You're The Cure! Grassroots Advocacy Network, please sign up at the following link:

Thank you for your support!!!