Do Not Forget the Old in Enthusiasm for the New and Exotic
In an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Claude Lenfant, MD, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, warned that cardiologists not forget to use older medications and treatment strategies in their enthusiasm for new techniques and treatments.
“Although the potential for the fields of molecular biology and genetics to improve identification of persons and populations at risk, to predict the evolution of a disease in a specific patient, and to optimize pharmacological intervention is exciting and worthy of pursuit, physicians must not lose sight of perhaps more mundane but clearly effective approaches such as lowering blood pressure, reducing obesity and physical inactivity, and applying other proven therapeutic strategies (eg, β-blockers, aspirin) in a timely fashion,” said Dr Lenfant.
In his editorial, Dr Lenfant said he thinks the field of cardiology is on the cusp of new findings that will prove important in the understanding of atherosclerosis. “On the eve of the next millennium, it is safe to predict that the importance and application of molecular genetics and functional genomics will play major roles in the further improvement of cardiovascular health.” He praised research such as that published in the special cardiovascular-themed issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that appeared on December 1. “However, translation of these research results into lifestyle changes, public health interventions, and clinical practice, remains a major challenge. Experts and public health advocates decry with alarm the cardiovascular health status of the populace, particularly regarding obesity, physical inactivity, and inadequate use of established cardiovascular treatments for primary and secondary prevention. Others speculate that this is not just a US problem but a global one.”
According to Dr Lenfent, “The real challenge of the new millennium may indeed be to strike an appropriate balance between the pursuit of exciting new knowledge and the full application of strategies that are already known to be extremely effective but considerably underused.”
- Copyright © 2000 by American Heart Association