The Heart Attack Chronicles





Produced by Shelley Schlender for KGNU

AmbulancePart 1:  The Heart Attack (LISTEN (30 MINUTES) He had just dropped his his daughter at school when he realized he was having a heart attack . . .  Our anonymous heart attack survivor, and Paramedic Chantel Benish tell what a 911 response is like.  We’ll also hear from experts about hotly debated risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol tests.  Our experts include Front Range Preventative Imaging’s Medical Director, Dr. Bill Blanchet, Former American Heart Association President Dr. Robert Eckel, and expert on diseases of aging, Dr. Ron Rosedale.  For our music, thanks to David Harris and Sheldon Sands.This Program Broadcast on KGNU, Monday, February 11th, 3 PM
 Judy Roderick_Part 2:  Due to Complications of . . . . (LISTEN 30  MINUTES) Boulder Musician Dexter Payne shares the story of his longtime companion, Blues Singer Judy Roderick, who died of heart failure, at the age of 50,  due to complications of diabetes.  We’ll hear about the complications of an autoimmune disease, called “Type 1” and the more common Type II diabetes, which is linked to being overweight.  We’ll hear from Dr. Bill Blanchet and Dr. Jeff Gerber about tests for early detection of diabetes, plus some unconventional ways to reverse the condition through diet.  We also offer extended versions of the conversations with Boulder Social Worker Barry Erdman and Health Scientist Ron Krauss.   This Program broadcast on KGNU, Tuesday, February 12th, 3 PM

micah_true_2188662c Part 3: Running to Live . . . Running to Death. (LISTEN 30 MINUTES)  We discuss heart benefits of exercise and limitations, including for young athletes, and whether running hundreds of miles helped or hurt the heart of the  Micah True (immortalized in the bestselling book, Born to Run).   Naturopathic Physician Steve Parcell shares his personal experience with an unusual heart attack risk, plus tests such as the EKG and calcium heart scan.  This Program broadcast on KGNU, Monday, Feburary 18th, 3 PM
Broken_heartPart 4:  Mending Broken Hearts.  LISTEN 30 MINUTES  We visit Boulder’s Front Range Preventative Imaging with KGNU Station Manager Sam Fuqua, as he does a calcium heart scan and learns the results.  We talk with people in the community about how heart health responds to stress and to relaxation, and we discuss the role of stress, and how to reduce it, with Boulder psychiatrist, Will Van der Veer.  For our music, thanks to Fergus StoneDavid Harris and Sheldon Sands  This Program broadcast on KGNU, Tuesday, Feburary 19th, 3 PM

 Part 5:  Call in Show.  LISTEN (55 MINUTES) Join host Shelley Schlender and a panel of health experts, who invited calls about heart health.  Experts include

This LIVE Program broadcast on KGNU, Thursday, February 21st, 8:35 AM


  10 comments for “The Heart Attack Chronicles

  1. Gerry Turner
    February 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    What a great show. The discussions I have listened to did not mention the recent work in Vitamin K. Here is a good overview with a list of references:

    • February 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you for the link, Gerry, and we appreciate your thoughts. – Shelley

    • February 26, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Gerry – The link you provided to Vitamin K2 and arterial calcium deposition is probably one of the best articles I have seen! Micronutrients were not discussed, but consider the value of all the fat soluble vitamins like A, D and K2. Limiting natural saturated fat consumption from animals sources can predispose one to deficiencies of these important micronutrients, so avoiding saturated fat does not make sense from this perspective. Perhaps we could take a vitamin pill instead, but there may be much more benefit to consume these micronutrients in their natural state. Here is a great article by Chris Masterjohn on the topic: – Dr Jeff

  2. February 27, 2013 at 8:38 am

    From my book Dare to Live:
    There are two main types of vitamin K, vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). There are seven subclasses of vitamin K2 MK-4 up through MK-10. Though vitamin K in all its forms is an important nutrient, vitamin K2 may be most beneficial for preventing human diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. Vitamin K gets its name from its role in coagulation from the German spelling “Koagulation.” Deficiency of vitamin K impairs the ability to form blood clots and the drug Coumadin blocks vitamin K activity. This is how it acts as an anticlotting agent.

    One way in which we learned about the benefits of vitamin K2 is from the studies on people taking Coumadin and those getting dialysis for chronic kidney disease. One of the unpleasant side effects of long-term Coumadin therapy is above average coronary artery calcification due to the inhibition of vitamin K. Dialysis also removes vitamin K from the body and chronic dialysis patients demonstrate elevated artery calcification. Phylloquinone (K1) is abundant in dark-green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils (Geleijnse, et al., 2004). The main dietary sources for menaquinone (K2) in our diet are meats and fermented foods such as cheese (Geleijnse, et al., 2004).

    Blood vessels and calcified plaque contain a protein called MGP which is vitamin K activated. This MGP protein plays a role in inhibiting vascular calcification. Animals that are missing vascular MPG get massive calcification of their arteries. A large epidemiologic study designed to examine what makes some people live longer than others called The Rotterdam study demonstrated that those who had the most aortic calcification had the least amount of vitamin K2 in their blood (Geleijnse, et al., 2004). Another study reported in the Journal Circulation demonstrated that higher dietary intakes of K2 resulted in less coronary calcification (Beulens, et al., 2009).

    Researchers have even conducted studies demonstrating that high levels of the inactive form of MPG could be used as a test to determine who may be at higher risk of vascular calcification. Vitamin K2 activates this enzyme.

    The question that remains is: if you are not deficient in vitamin K2 and have coronary artery calcification will taking extra vitamin K to help reverse your plaque? We don’t know for sure yet but it’s starting to look that way. In a study on aortic artery smooth muscle cells from cows researchers induced calcification with chemicals and found that vitamin K2 along with a common osteoporosis drug could inhibit calcification from progressing (Saito, Wachi, Sato, Sugitani, & Seyama, 2007).

    Another study on rabbits with high cholesterol and coronary calcification demonstrated that high doses of vitamin K2 was able to inhibit the progression of plaque but did not make it regress (Kawashima, et al., 1997), however, a study on rats did show that supplementing with K2 could cause plaque to regress (Schurgers, et al., 2007).

    We are still waiting for human studies to be conducted to prove that taking supplemental vitamin K2 can reverse coronary calcification in people. Based on my clinical experience, I am optimistic that these future studies will show beneficial effects.

    • February 27, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Fascinating. Thank you for this additional information, Steve. For all of you doctors who are providing additional comments, a question: Blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin were once a key part of therapy after a heart attack or stroke, and many doctors prescribed them with the admonition that the patient should limit the intake of foods high in Vitamin K, such as broccoli. The rationale was that Vitamin K improves the ability of the blood to produce blood-clotting factors, and in someone prone to blood clots that lead to heart attack or stroke, the doctors wanted to limit the body’s ability to make blood clot, and thus, they wanted to limit intake of Vitamin K. But if doctors have had the ability for some years now, based on research studies, to know that Vitamin K reduces the risk of plaque, has that changed what doctors recommend for a patient at risk of blood clots?

      For instance, are more doctors replacing the use of Coumadin with alternative therapies such as higher intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, which also tend to reduce the risk of blood clots? Are more of them recommending tests to check whether the cellular membrane level of Omega 3 is high enough to be in the healthy normal range? Or are more doctors encouraging a steady intake of Vitamin K, and adjusting their blood thinning drugs accordingly?

      • March 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Yes. Patients are now supposed to be encouraged to continue to eat leafy greens and other sources of vitamin K at a consistent levels and the Coumadin is adjusted accordingly. The key is CONSISTENT. Nothing else had really changed, however, cardiovascular labs do now offer omega 3 testing. Omega 3 fatty acids are not considered by conventional medicine to be a treatment for clotting disorders.

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