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We will study the impact of a high nutrient dense diet on the degree of regression of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The results can be expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of an ideally designed diet to maximize reversal of atherosclerosis compared to routine cardiology practices.
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in western industrialized countries. Conventional treatment of CAD is failing to positively impact the millions of people who rely on it to save their lives.
In the most recent study investigators reviewed 61 trials, involving 25,388 patients, in a meta-analysis comparing angioplasty and stent placement with no treatment or medications alone. A meta-analysis pools numerous studies on the same subject. The findings indicated that there was no evidence that angioplasty and stent placement for coronary artery disease resulted in fewer heart attacks or deaths when compared to patients with the same level of disease who were not treated in this manner.1
Interventional cardiology and cardiovascular surgery has already been disproven, in the sense that it has not been shown to extend the lifespan of patients with atherosclerotic heart disease. Searching for and treating obstructive plaque does not address the areas of the coronary vascular tree most likely to rupture and cause heart attacks. To abandon the theory of stretching and cutting out areas with plaque would shut down interventional cardiology, nearly all cardiovascular surgery, and many suppliers of the biotechnology. In many cases, interventional cardiology is the major income generator to hospitals. The reduction or ending of this ill-conceived, out-dated and ineffective technology would dramatically downsize hospitals in the United States and free up over $100 billion annually in medical care costs. Besides being ineffective, interventional cardiology places the responsibility in the hands of the doctor and not the patients. When patients finally realize they must take control of their heart problems with aggressive dietary modifications (and when needed, medications for temporary periods) can make a major contribution to solving the health crisis in America.
The regression of plaque and the protection from future cardiac events with drug treatment offers mild benefits only. The majority of patients go on to incur future events and a cardiac related death.
There are no documented studies comparing the effectiveness of a high nutrient plant-based diet (HND) with conventional drug therapy in a controlled scientific study with a large number of participants. Dr. Ornish’s Lifestyle Heart Trial, tested yoga, meditation and exercise with a vegan diet. It was a landmark study, but it had a limited number of patients; the average amount of reversal was modest.
We intend to perform a controlled, interventional study evaluating the impact of a HND diet on body weight, blood test risk factors, blood pressure, and IMT ultrasound scores in 100 patients with significant atherosclerosis over the course of 2 years. At least 30 more participants with a similar disease burden who are cared for by conventional cardiologists will be recruited also.
In this proposed study, a special ultrasound which includes IMT (Interior Media Thickness) measurement technology to evaluate the thickening of plaque in the carotid arteries. IMT is a measurement of arterial wall thickness. Research has shown that the degree of carotid (neck artery) plaque at specific measurement points in the neck is highly correlated with the degree of plaque burden and risk of coronary (heart) artery disease.2 In essence, the extent of plaque in the carotid arteries is a surrogate marker for the degree of atherosclerotic disease in the heart. Carotid artery IMT monitoring with ultrasound enables this study to closely monitor the effects on plaque advancement or reversal without exposing the participants to radiation, or invasive medical tests. It is relatively inexpensive and 100 percent safe, so the test can be repeated 2 or 3 times each year on the participants and the results carefully documented.
- Trikalinos TA, Alsheikh-Ali AA, Tatsioni A, et al. Percutaneous coronary interventions for non-acute coronary artery disease: a quantitative 20-year synopsis and a network meta-analysis. Lancet 2009; 373(9667):911-918.
- O’Leary DH, Polak JF, Kronmal RA, Manolio TA, Burke GL, Wolfson SK Jr. Carotid-artery intima and media thickness as a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke in older adults: Cardiovascular Health Study. N Engl J Med. 1999;340:14-22