Micro-bubbles may be able to detect heart disease early on

A study conducted by Isabelle Masseau, D.V.M., M.Sc., Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (MU) College of Veterinary Medicine, revealed that artery inflammation, an early sign of heart disease, may be detectable using micro-bubbles.

During her research, Masseau attached antibodies to bubbles and then injected them into pigs that had heart disease. The antibodies traveled toward the site of inflammation in the pigs and she was able to locate them using an ultrasound machine. Masseau noted that this was the first time that the procedure had worked on larger animals, and even though it may be a few years until it can be used on humans, the micro-bubbles’ success is a significant step in the battle against cardiovascular illnesses.

“It can be very difficult to detect early signs of heart disease, especially without the use of invasive procedures,” said Masseau. “Doctors often have to wait until serious symptoms occur, such as chest pain or heart attacks, before they are aware of a problem, and many times that is too late. Targeted micro-bubbles have the potential to be able to detect early signs of heart disease very non-invasively.”

Also, during her research, Masseau had the test pigs do cardiovascular exercises before she injected them with the micro-bubbles. She found that exercise did not have any effect on the arterial inflammation, although she did note that this doesn’t mean that exercise is not important for heart health.

If further experimentation with the micro-bubbles in animals proves to be successful, MU colleagues may request permission from the federal government to test on humans.

Inflammation in heart disease
According to the American Heart Association, scientists are not sure as to how inflammation causes heart attack and stroke, but many times it is linked with the two conditions. In order to maintain cardiovascular wellness, patients should also keep healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels through dieting and exercise.

The Mayo Clinic recommends eating a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables to avoid consuming excessive fatty foods, which can cause heart disease. Fruits and veggies also contain nutrients that may help ward off cardiovascular disease.

The University of Maryland also notes that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce pressure and raise “good cholesterol” while lowering the fat found in blood, known as triglycerides. People can get omega-3s from chia seeds, flax seeds and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.