Attending AHA19 Online From Anaheim, CA

 I have gone back and forth with attending the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions online in 2017 (AHA17), to onsite (AHA18), and this year (AHA19) I attended online again. There was absolutely no comparison between attending AHA18 to the online versions! I was the first to say that going to conference is overwhelming because there is so much to see and so many people to meet. I have since come to appreciate the benefits to attending meetings onsite. Generally, I stay within my session [Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, Vascular Biology (ATVB) or Hypertension (HTN)]. Attending online gives some limitations, such as being at home, work, or traveling, there is a time restraint as well as multiple distractions. I experienced them all! I was traveling to a conference that conflicted with AHA19, thus the distractions of traveling and keeping up with my meeting responsibilities was a lot to juggle. Once I was home, there was everything that goes along with getting settled back into the routine of things that gave me a distraction. This year was a beast of responsibilities, but before I discourage you from attending a meeting online, let me share some benefits and things that I enjoyed about having the flexibility of being online rather than onsite.

With all the distractions I experienced viewing AHA19 online, the main benefit was that I was able to watch sessions at my own pace as well as read the transcripts while the speaker was talking. In previous years I did not use that function; this year, I used it for almost all sessions, and it was wonderful. To be able to take screenshots of the talk and look things up later was the best tool in my toolbox. Additionally, there was a textbox that allowed viewers to ask questions to the speaker without standing in long lines and potentially not getting a response. That has happened to me more times than not because, as chance would have it, the best speakers and researchers show up to AHA meetings. These are the opportunities to get the best guidance regarding research methodology, mentoring, clinical expertise, and networking with some of the best in every discipline from around the globe.

I had the privilege of sitting in on several topics that sparked my interest. For example:

  • Update in Clinical Lipidology – Aspirin: Who Needs it Anymore? Discussing what markers should be considered with prescribing aspirin; role of and how to interpret the stenosis score; and considerations of patients with diabetes, family history of nonclassified plaque
  • Clinical Trials—ASPREE (JJ Mcneil, NEJM 2018; MATCH); ISAR REACT 5 Trial; and GLOBAL LEADERS)

Share some of your favorite parts of AHA19 with me in the comments or follow me on Twitter (@AnberithaT); also @ahameetings and @ATVBCouncil. Let’s keep this conversation going. Did you attend online or onsite?

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s) alone and do not represent those of the American Heart Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The Early Career Voice blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.



Keep Out The Rain

cvd umbrella

It has been well established that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a condition that leads to chronic symptoms that are generally thought of as a primary disease. However, vascular injury leads to subsequent disease such as metabolic disease, obesity, high blood pressure and kidney disease. There are several contributing factors starting a person on the path of having cardiovascular disease. Some of these include:

  1. Oxidative (ox)stress—potentially results in DNA damage
  2. Increased low density lipid (LDL) that can become oxidized into oxLDLs
  3. Overeating/over-nutrition leads to hormonal imbalances and subsequently obesity and/or metabolic disease
  4. Distress/Eustress is controversial, but the body does not know the difference and they can both lead to shear stress due to increased blood flow through laminar areas of the vascular system.
  5. Toxins that come produced within the body (endobiotics) or enter the body from outside source (xenobiotics). Environmental effects have strong impacts on how the body responds. It is important to manage the things that are within one’s control such as smoking, exercise, and consuming a well-balanced diet.

With people livings becoming busier, it is easy to miss the warning signs. A slight weight gain here or a headache there. What then can be done about the progression of CVD and other disease states such as hypertension? I am glad you asked. Controlling hypertension for example can be maintained by making lifestyle changes consisting of exercising at least 150 minutes per week, modifying one’s diet to potentially include the dash diet, and reducing stress levels. This sounds like a lot but planning ahead is key. Often times I find myself going to a fast food restaurant because I have gotten too hungry to cook, or because I have not had time to go shopping. When I plan ahead and purchase my food for a week and pack healthy snacks, I evade the urge to go for those french fries (my go-to weapon against hunger). Additionally, I find I am less stressed if I spend some time performing rigorous exercises or get moving throughout the day. I attempt at least 250 steps every hour and 10,000 steps over the course of the day.

However, the symptoms are not the same for everyone, thus one should know what to look for to identify vascular disease early as well as forming a trusting relationship with a primary care provider because, “You’re the Cure”!! Let’s keep this conversation going. Follow me on Twitter (@AnberithaT) or on my site. I will take a deeper look at each of these topics and discuss what, if anything, can be done to combat or control these symptoms.



Managing High Blood Pressure by Managing Stress

manage stressWe are faced with a number of changes in our lives. The old saying, “life happens” generally means take the changes as they come and keep it moving. The human body is not equipped to distinguish between distress and eustress. Amazing life changes happens such as getting acknowledged for an accomplishment, passing the preliminary exams for a PhD program, getting the job of your dreams, or even getting the funding you have worked so hard to apply for consideration. Contrarily, changes that can be viewed as less than optimal such as being passed over for a promotion, losing the sole source of your family’s income, death of dreams, and rejection are all sources of stress. Good or bad, these events affect hypertensive rates potentially leading to a more serious chronic illness such as heart attacks, strokes, or even metabolic disease.

Often people, especially scientist and clinicians think their stress is just a way of life and there is nothing that can be done about that constant state. Scientist are always on the hunt for research funding and publishing; while clinicians holds the consequences of a person’s life in each of their decisions. These are significant burdens for a person to hold. It is imperative to manage stress as a means of preventing and treating high blood pressure. It is definitely easier said than done, but attempting these steps to control stress could lead to a better life:

  • Sleep quality and quantity can make a huge difference in managing mental alertness and energy but sleep allows the body time to relax and heal. Quality sleep can aid in the reduction of blood pressure leading to vascular repair.
  • Reiki principles that include meditation enhances muscle and mental relaxation. This include activities such as guided imagery, deep breathing, and massage therapy to act as stress-relievers.
  • Strengthen your social network. Connect with others by taking a class, joining an organization, or participating in a support group.
  • Try to resolve negative situations quickly so they do not fester. It is best to let go of adverse events and interactions; whether it is something that is in or out of your control
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a counselor. Although there is a negative stigma surrounding seeing a therapist they are the best resource for dealing with stressful situations because your spouse, friends, and neighbors generally have as much going on as you and their opinions can be clouded by their own experiences.

I recently started working with a mentor to help with stress and how to interact with individuals to manage stress. As the young adults say, “I like to keep it 100” but often being brutally honest is not received well by the masses. I also made the determination that whether working or interacting on a personal level, I will not extend myself beyond my comfort zone nor will I compromise my values or ethics to fit into anyone’s idea of what I should be doing. Staying true to oneself is among the first steps to happiness and managing blood pressure. I have found that when I over extend myself, my stress level increases and my performance decrease in some areas (namely self care). My life, your life, is not worth negativity. Being that stress is inevitable, I choose the eustress. It is my opinion that this type of stress leads to self happiness and the contribution of the happiness of others.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like to share some of your methods for dealing with stress or how you keep your life stress limited, let me know comment or tweet @AnberithaT so we can share ideas.



Highlighting Karen A. Griffin, MD, FAHA, FASN, FACP – Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA)

The Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) is open to researchers and medical professionals with an interest in cardiovascular disease and stroke. To be eligible for this fellowship, one must have up-to-date membership of either Premium Professional or Premium Professional Plus of one of the AHA councils for at least two years and must be affiliated with the Council in which the application will be submitted. FAHA is not only a reflection of stature, but also a record of valuable service to the AHA and the council.

Karen A. Griffin, MD, FAHA, FASN, FACPDr. Karen Griffin, who presented a seminar in April 2019 at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Department of Physiology, has carried the FAHA designation for several years, but now serves as Chair of the Council on Hypertension. The Council’s mission is to “Foster excellence in hypertension research and education and to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier, lives.” Dr. Griffin was a Fellow of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) for many years until recently when ASH became a part of the Council of Hypertension, which was an exciting venture for both Dr. Griffin and the Council. In 2016 she was nominated by Dr. Chris Wilcox, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Georgetown University, and elected by the Council members as Chair-elect.  In that role she served as Chair of the program committee for the Council during which time a fourth concurrent session was added to the Hypertension Scientific Sessions that nicely dove tails additional clinical programming from ASH within the Council meeting.  This session, known as Concurrent D, consisting of Clinical Practice/Clinical Science and Primary Care tracks, was purposed to enhance translational advances from research to clinical practice as a means of improving patient care.

Dr. Griffin received her medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, and subsequently completed her internal medicine residency and clinical/research fellowship in nephrology at Rush. She began her 28-year career at Loyola University Medical Center and the Edward Hines, Jr. VA.  and is currently a Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) at the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University and Renal Section Chief at the Edward Hines, Jr. V.A.  As a clinician, she is primarily focused on hypertension in kidney disease and has been Director of Loyola’s AHA Designated Comprehensive Hypertension Program.  Her research focus has been on the role of hypertension on the progression of chronic kidney disease and the impact of altered hemodynamics in the development and progression of diabetic and obesity-related nephropathies. She has received research funding from the NIH and Merit Review and published more than 80 articles, invited reviews and book chapters. Dr. Griffin has served as chair of the Joint Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development and Clinical Science Research and Development Services of the Scientific Merit Review Board in addition to chairing the VA Merit Review Renal Study Section and National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, Research committee. Additionally, she has served as a reviewer for several NIH study sections. She has also served as chair of the Professional and Public Education committee for the American Heart Hypertension Council and was a member of the American Society of Nephrology Hypertension Advisory Group.  Dr. Griffin is recipient of the American Medical Women’s Association Awards for Leadership and Academic Excellence, the Student’s Choice Award from the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Arthur C. Corcoran Memorial Lecturer of the Council on Hypertension.

Yet, despite her numerous accomplishments as a physician scientist, she holds fast to her belief in compartmentalization as a strategy for a balanced life.  As a physician scientist the demands on one’s time are challenging and necessitates often working extended hours but she has learned the art of multi-tasking and makes an effort to get off the grid to prevent burnout and have time for family and friends. Dr. Griffin encourages early career professionals to create a life outside of work, which translates to increased productivity when returning to work.  Dr. Griffin, for instance, enjoys bicycling, pilates, gardening, fishing, and horse racing. Do you have any similarities?

Dr. Griffin also urges early career professionals to set short term achievable goals for the week and to tackle each day with vigor and passion, completing each defined task and moving goals closer to completion. In addition, you should network and become part of FAHA, along with the Fellows In Training (FIT) program, in order to open doors and participate in AHA leadership. These steps will lead to career advancement as well as being a mark of achievement. Finally, she says to not get discouraged as we all face those hurdles along the way and the difference between those that succeed and those that don’t is an unwavering persistence, be it with grant submissions, publications, promotions, etc.

Likewise, as Chair (and Member-At-Large) of the Council on Hypertension, Dr. Griffin encourages membership in the Council because “it is all inclusive of basic and clinical research making it a hub for all specialties related to the field of hypertension research in addition to realizing the translation of such research to the evaluation and management of patient care.  The annual Council meeting is of a size that allows excellent opportunities to network and enjoy the fellowship of scientists and clinicians that form the hypertension community at-large in addition to seeing good friends acquired over the years of Council membership.” She encourages you to submit your abstracts for Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2019, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from September 5-8, 2019 and hopes to see you there!


Apple Watch, Fitbit or RESPeRATE – Can They Assist in Lowering Blood Pressure?

which device should I choose?

We see people walking around with the wearable devices everyday without regard to whether they really make a difference with metabolic parameters. These devices all have the capability of prompting wearers to take steps, stand up when sitting, but they can also alert wearer to slow breathing. A poster presented at Experimental Biology in Orlando by Evan D. Jette, a student from the Usselman’s lab at McGill University in Montreal, QC, Canada made the argument these wearable devices can potentially lower blood pressure (BP). I was interested in whether there was more research surrounding these wearable devices, especially Fitbit and Apple because I noticed they were prevalent among conference goers.

Evan’s research suggested there was a trend with blood pressure among clinical populations (high BP or T2DM) indicating that slower breathing (~15 breaths per min) can potentially have a positive impact on diastolic BP. He further indicated that the Fitbit may have been optimal in lowering BP via respiratory rate due to the ability of the Fitbit to customize breathing to the wearer rather than generating a standardized rate for all subjects. These data leave me to wonder, since the RESPeRATE is marketed to lower blood pressure by controlling breathing, and most people own wearable devices such as commercially available Fitbits or Apple Watches, would these devices really assist in BP modulation?

There is a significant amount of literature surrounding the heart rate capability of the wearable devices, but negligible data referencing changes in blood pressure. The exception is RESPeRATE taking the stand that their product is “clinically proven to lower blood pressure”. In the study by Jette, participants that undergo low to moderate exercise exhibited no significant difference in heart rate with either the Fitbit or the Apple Watch. However, under extreme conditions such as high impact training, accuracy was reduced across both devices. The Fitbit provided heart rates that were equivalent to the Polar monitor (a heart rate monitor strapped to the subject’s chest). I wonder under these experimental conditions will RESPeRATE have similar outcomes.

Nevertheless, I did not find any data that supporting these wearable devices playing a role in reduced BP. I think the Usselman’s group is on to something with exploring the use of these wearable devices to modulate BP. However, a healthy lifestyle that incorporate the AHA Life’s Simple 7 will assist in blood pressure reduction. So, keep wearing your fitness devices to maintain an enhanced level of motivation and stay connected to a community of people that will support your BP reduction goal.


Importance of Outreach

Peter Wagner MDThe Experimental Biology conference is here again! This year we donned on the wonderful city of Orlando, FL (April 6-10, 2019) where we fill the air with all topics physiology. Generally, we only look at the research portion of meetings/science, but what about the future generations that are to come up after us? The American Physiological Society has implemented initiatives to address that question. I spend my day following the PhUN (Understanding Physiology) sessions where undergraduate students presented their summer research projects and K-12 teachers learned how to incorporate physiology in the classroom.

During the PhUN session, there were about 50 outreach people presenting 25 posters. Some of the attendees made enlightening statements about the event. For example, Dr. Noah Marcus has participated in this event for several years, but since conferences can be a bit overwhelming and busy, he took a break from conferences but could not stay away. Dr. Marcus stated, “One interesting thing about PhUN week is that it does not only focused on the activities the scientist conducts in the classroom, but also how effective the lectures/labs are at the school the activities were conducted.” Furthermore, he suggests formulating partnerships with museums and local institutions. From a teacher’s perspective, Jane Schuster, a teacher from a local FL school system and Physiology Workshop for Life Science Teachers participant, had positive things to say about the Outreach program. Jane stated, “This program has assisted in obtaining connections from other teachers, how they get resources, as well as how to incorporate current research in the class instruction.” She was excited to report that her research professor to came to her classroom for PhUN week, leading to increased student enthusiasm in regard to how the sciences are used in the real world.

Pool with slideAs an Outreach Fellowship recipient from the APS and a vascular scientist, I participated in PhUN week at Sale Elementary School in Columbus. Being that PhUN week was focused on cardiovascular disease, I took a box of lab supplies out to the school to teach the students lab safety, how to collect primary cells, prepare them for slides, and view them under the microscope. I spent the last two days teaching how we use their classroom math in protocol formulation and subsequently writing techniques to summarize the findings. As serendipity would have it, the students were on a section that were easily translatable to what I prepared as talking points.

I would encourage people to do more outreach in schools. In these situations, scientists are preparing future generations of researchers, as well as training young learners to be prepared for what awaits them in college and the workplace. I have taught students from K-12, community college, university, and Adult Education to English as a Second Language, so I can say that seeing the students at different stages, one can appreciate the importance of supporting the educational process to take some of the burden off the instructors.

Quite a bit of my time has been spent preparing for this meeting and participating in K-12, but I will spend the last days of the meeting focusing more on vascular science. There is a lot of the APS Heart and Circulatory section that has a wide range of oral and poster sessions to cover, and I hope you all find news worthy.

Continue to follow me on Twitter for meeting highlights and post any comments or questions you may have. @AnberithaT


Apoptosis, Necrosis, and Necroptosis – Are They Important in Vascular Injury?

Have you ever wondered the difference between necrosis and apoptosis and how that relationship relates to vascular injury? What about whether they can be one and the same at any point in the cell death process?

Cellular death can be either natural or trauma induced.  The primary difference between the two is that the necrotic pathway consist of the premature death of cells and tissue from a cause of factors, such as infection, toxins, or trauma. Necrosis can often time lead to the detriment of the organ system and/or organism.  Whereas, apoptosis provides beneficial effects to the organism –  a process of programmed cell death that is a result of housekeeping pathways.  It produces cell fragments called apoptotic bodies that engulf and remove contents of a damaged cell before it can become toxic to an organism.  For example, in the vessels, macrophages engulf oxidized low density lipoproteins (oxLDLs) resulting in foam cells. These oxLDL are not metabolized properly causing the cell to undergo apoptosis. The result is chronic inflammation.

With that being said, the apoptotic pathway acts in the Fas receptor (Apo-1 or CD95) in the binding site of the transmembrane protein part of the fas ligand (FasL).  Interaction between Fas and FasL results in the formation of a death-induced signaling complex.  A primary mechanistic cause of cell death is the proteolytic caspases; enzymes that initiating the degradation of the cellular organelles leading to cell shrinkage and rounding due to the proteinaceous cytoskeleton by caspases.  The caspases that are suggested to initiate this programing are FADD, caspase-8 and caspase-10. However, there are other pathways that can induce apoptosis, which are not lucid.  Since FasL plays an important role in the immune system and the progression of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it will bind to TNF to induce apoptosis of the immune cells in attempt to increase the number of healthy cells and, in the case of atherosclerosis, eliminate the lipid laden cells in the vessel wall.

Necroptosis is a relatively novel form of necrosis. This pathway suggests necrosis can be programmed, favoring the immunogenic nature of defense against a pathogen by the immune system. Being a caspase independent pathway, necroptosis allows cells to undergo the suicide process in the presence of viral caspase inhibitors to contain the virus to a specific region. Necroptosis has been shown to play a role in disease processes such as autoimmune diseases, pancreatitis, and myocardial infarction using TNFα and its receptor TNFR1 that is associated with TRAF2 signaling. Phosphorylation of MLKL allows for the insertion of permeabilized plasma membranes leading the release of damage-associated molecular patterns initiating the inflammatory response. The growing relevance of necroptosis is the pathophysiology can lead to the understanding of many pathologies such as acute tissue damage including hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and atherosclerosis as well as some cancers. Ischemia-reperfusion injury is a major burden of organ transplants, thus contributing to tissue damage resulting from activation of the necroptosis pathway. Understanding this pathway, could be a seductive means of controlling vascular injury.

What are your thoughts on this topic? I am interested in learning more about this as a viable research focus for the cardiovascular therapeutic area.



Thomas Willis Lecture Award Lecture at ISC19

The International Stroke Conference 2019 (ISC19) was packed with all things stroke. In my previous blogs I outlined the expectations and highlights from the daily goings on in Hawaii. Here I will summarize the Willis Lecture presented by Frank Ray Sharp, MD, FAHA entitled “Molecular Markers and Mechanisms of Stroke.” ISC19 is a premier setting to disseminate the basic science behind cerebrovascular disease as it impacts patient care.

It is well established that ischemic stroke occurs as a result of narrowing of arteries to the brain due to disrupted laminar blood flow. My research has focused on the inflammatory response that leads to the lipid accumulation in the vessels; however, Dr. Sharp’s research, although focused on the brain (neuroscience), can be translated into studies affecting the atherosclerotic vessel.

Identifying canonical pathways and molecular functions of genes, such as histone deacetylase 9 (HDAC9) that are associated with large vessel atherosclerotic stroke, could assist in identifying factors that contribute to peripheral immune, lipid, and clotting systems resulting in vascular injury. For example, an intracerebral hemorrhage has T-cell receptors and CD36 genes (in addition to iNOS), toll-like receptors, macrophages, and T-helper pathways that are differentially expressed; whereas ischemic stroke displays more non-coding RNA. However, both have the potential to undergo angiogenesis, NFAT regulation of immune response, and glucocorticoid receptor signaling pathways. Based on this awareness, we can conclude that all strokes are not one and the same.

What is more, this body of research uncloaked the Biomarkers of Acute Stroke Etiology (BASE) study utilizing RNA targeting as a viable therapeutic model to improve ischemic stroke outcome. BASE is an ongoing observational study that works to identify serum markers that could potentially define the etiology of acute ischemic stroke. Patients in this study present within 24 hours of the onset of their stroke, blood samples are collected at various intervals to obtain RNA gene expression data. There is cutting-edge research being conducted on treating patients with a microRNA-122 mimic and inhibiting NOS2. Evidence is mounting on the role of microRNA-122, a compound that is produced in the liver and secreted into the blood, reduction contributing to a heightened inflammatory response and subsequently the onset of ischemic stroke. Additionally, NOS2 has been shown to be a major player in initiating the inflammatory cascade post-ischemic stroke. Thus, the utilization of a microRNA-122 mimic in addition to a NOS2 inhibitor can potentially modulate an infarct volume as well as lengthening the therapeutic window while extend vascular protection post-ischemic stroke.

There were so many aspects of ISC19 that it would be too exhaustive to cover them all in one blog post, but I would be remised to not mention the telerehabilitation in home versus therapy in clinic for patients with stroke. This rehabilitation method is conducted remotely and quite resembles palliative care. I may be “old school,” but this telemedicine has been on the incline, so we should understand more about how it works. Clinicians use telemedical devices to obtain data such as heart beat, ECG, blood pressure and oxygen saturation for cardiovascular rehabilitation. Employment of telehealthcare reduces the time in hospitals and subsequently bills related to medical care. Patients can conduct rehabilitation exercises at a time that is most convenient to them and hospital staff can connect remotely to the patient’s computer to customize the exercise based on the results of the test. Additionally, health conditions can be assessed in real time and various training forms can be initiated based on patient’s progress.

The take home here, is that science is changing and as a result medical care is changing. We as patients, scientist, and clinicians should gain awareness of how these changes affect us and how we can get/give the best care. Know your risk. Know your options.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Share your questions so we can learn more together. Follow me on Twitter @AnberithaT, Instagram @AnberithaMatthews and @AHAMeetings for more information on being heart smart.

Save the Date for ISC 2020, February 19 – 21, hosted in exciting Los Angeles, California!




What’s Happening Here At The International Stroke Conference in Hawaii?

Getting to Hawaii was quite the event! I underestimated the flight and how I would feel with such time zone changes. However, the International Stroke Conference 2019 (#ISC19) was worth all the efforts. The meeting objectives were sufficiently described in the program book and my previous blog. As promised, there were sessions to equip scientists and clinicians with tools in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, management, and rehabilitation of cerebrovascular disease as well as nursing. The sessions that I was able to partake in were the following:

  1. Clinical Rehabilitation and Recovery Oral – I spent the first part of the morning here learning about the biomarkers to improve stroke rehabilitation covered in the clinical trial data and predictors of post stroke depression using qualitative data in patient after ischemic stroke. Although these presentations were informative, I had my eye set on other topics as well, so I had to leave the session a tad early.
  2. Medical therapy for Symptomatic Carotid Stenosis: Time for Modern Data – Seemant Chaturvedi, MD shared his research on ‘Genetic Guidance for Antiplatelet Therapy’ followed by Brian Hoh, MD discussing the answers he found to the question ‘Do HTN Targets Matter?’ Studies presented here show there is a link between hypertension and changes in white matter in the brain that affect cognitive functions. Dr. Bath expounded on his recent article in Stroke (2018) sharing mechanisms of how this damage could potentially occur.
  3. Looking into the Brain Through the Eye: Re-examining the Retina as a Surrogate Marker for Cognitive Disorders – There is growing evidence that the dental and optical examinations can be a window into health. I previously blogged about the bacteria found in the mouth is also identified in atherosclerotic plaques. In this session, clinicians/scientist looked at the retina as a window to the brain and subsequently health. These sessions suggested the retina can assist in the post-mortem prediction of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke based on the linear relationship between number of plaques in the retina and the brain. Current research tools are extremely invasive thus predictions are not feasible in living patients. The tools described here included Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT, not to be confused with over-the-counter) as a diagnostic tool, adding to repertoire of skills to increase the ability to interpret cognitive impairment.

I am looking forward to the information presented on tomorrow. I will give more insights into what I think is the highlights of the meet in my next blog. Keep following me on Twitter @AnberithaT and be sure to ask any question that may be answered during the ISC19 or after.



Going to Honolulu, Hawaii Bae-Bae!!!

The International Stroke Conference 2019 (ISC19) is held in conjunction with the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM) this year. This session promises a unique learning opportunity. The meeting expectations is for participants to be exposed to the most recent advances in basic stroke and how it translates into clinical research. Additionally, the program coordinators expect attendees to take away tools they can use in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, management, and rehabilitation of cerebrovascular disease. With the tools discussed during this conference, scientist/clinicians will have a new repertoire of skills to increase their ability to interpret the ever changing spectrum of stroke and the mechanism of stroke recovery, as well as the impact on cognitive impairment.

The dual effort of @AHAMeetings #ISC19 and #ISCBFM allows for this program to boast three separate pre-conferences symposia, including the State-of-the-Science Stroke Nursing Symposium, the ISC Pre-Conference Symposium I: Stroke in the Real World (focusing on rare causes of stroke), and the ISC Pre-Conference Symposium II: Stroke in the Lab World: Cutting-Edge Topics in Experimental Stroke Research. The expected attendance of over 4,500 professionals, exhibitors, and service from around the world makes for a networking friendly environment. There will be over 1,500 symposia including: a) debates, b) oral scientific abstract presentations, c) provocative poster sessions that include professor-moderated abstracts, and d) state-of-the-science technologies that include simulations. There are going to be over 21 categories covered related to stroke topics as well as clinical topics centered on risk, emergency care, neuroimaging, diagnosis or etiology and more! Basic science categories will focus on vascular biology, experimental mechanisms and models. If those are not enough, there will be specialized ones focused on pediatric stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, nursing, preventive strategies, vascular cognitive impairment, aneurysms, subarachnoid hemorrhage, neurocritical care, vascular malformations, and ongoing clinical trials. Further, Miguel Perez-Pinzon, Chair of the ISC19 program committee, promises a chance to experience the island of Oahu for education and networking with thousands of cerebrovascular experts from around the globe. He described Oahu as “truly one island – tropical playground and urban fantasy.” Partake in one of the many outdoor activities, explore the rich Hawaiian history, or just enjoy one of the exquisite beaches.

I know it’s a lot of science and clinical data for one conference, and there is no way for any one person to attend every session. There will be a lot of vascular enthusiasts like me onsite, tweeting and blogging all the goings-ons. I will look forward to communicating with you on Twitter during this conference in Hawaii, but don’t forget to download the ISC19 Mobile Meeting Guide app, or visit strokeconference.org and the online program planner. Follow me on Twitter @AnberithaT for conference highlights and live tweeting. See you in Hawaii!!!


Save the Date for ISC 2020, February 19 – 21, hosted in exciting Los Angeles, California!