Continual exposure to traffic noise may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, British researchers report.

Scientists used data on road traffic noise and hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in London from 2003 to 2010. Compared with average noise levels below 55 decibels, levels above 60 decibels were associated with higher rates of hospital admissions for stroke — 5 percent higher among people 25 to 74 and about 9 percent higher among those 75 and older. All-cause mortality was 4 percent higher for people in noisy neighborhoods. The study was published in European Heart Journal.

Sixty decibels is quieter than most urban environments. But the researchers suggest that the cumulative effect could be significant.

 

Blood Pressure for under-50 set

Higher blood pressure in young adulthood increases the risk for coronary heart disease, a study found.

Researchers followed almost 3,500 men and women for 25 years with periodic physical examinations beginning in 1985, when all were healthy and 18 to 30 years old. They calculated their cumulative exposure to high blood pressure over the years.

The scientists, writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, studied left ventricular dysfunction — damage to the part of the heart that pumps blood to the entire body except the lungs. Left ventricle impairment is a main cause of heart failure. They found the higher the blood pressure, the greater the damage to the left ventricle.

Lead author, Dr. João A.C. Lima of Johns Hopkins, said, “130 /80 or 130 /70 should be the goal for people under 50.” Current guidelines advise 140 /90 for people 30 to 59.

 

cystic fibrosis drug is approved

A new drug for people with the most common genetic type of cystic fibrosis won approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Orkambi is the second cystic fibrosis treatment brought to market by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company based in Boston. It will cost $259,000 a year.

About 30,000 Americans have the disease, which is characterized by the buildup of sticky mucus in the lungs and a gradual decline in lung function. Vertex’s first cystic fibrosis drug, Kalydeco, is applicable to only about 2,000 Americans with particular genetic mutations.Orkambi, by contrast, could be useful for nearly half of cystic fibrosis patients, those who have two copies of the most common mutation, F508del. The initial approval, however, is only for patients 12 and older, encompassing about 8,500 people.

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