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Dr. Valentin Fuster Delivers 2012 Nahum J. Winer Lecture on Trends in Cardiovascular Field

On October 10, 2012, NYAM welcomed Dr. Valentin Fuster of The Mount Sinai Medical Center to deliver the 2012 Nahum J. Winer Lecture on “Transitions from Cardiovascular Disease to Health (2012-2020): The Challenge of Identifying Subclinical Disease.”

Dr. Fuster’s presentation covered the three main trends that are occurring in today’s cardiovascular field: the new technology, specifically the emergence of imaging, genetics, and tissue regeneration; the integration of the heart and the brain in health and disease; and the shift from treating disease to promoting health.

Dr. Fuster called cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide, a “disease of modern times”—while genetics does play a role in factors such as how different smokers, for example, are affected by the disease, it is primarily driven by behavior. “This is a disease we can reverse if we want to,” Dr. Fuster stressed.

He provided a timeline of developments in technology from 1990 to the present, including the latest innovation, 3-D ultrasounds that can be used to identify plaques in various areas of the body. He noted that because subclinical disease is a “silent disease”—many people don’t know they have it—technology is crucial in identifying the disease in at-risk individuals. Fortunately, he said, the new technology is four times more predictive than conventional risk factor profiling used today. Furthermore, he predicted that in less than five years, an 3-D ultrasound will cost a mere $50, making these crucial tests economical enough for use in developing countries.

Dr. Fuster also spoke of the potential for identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease along with those for cardiovascular disease. The goal, he said, is “stopping Alzheimer’s before it starts” by identifying and treating at-risk individuals before symptoms manifest.

Finally, Dr. Fuster shared a range of successful studies suggesting the efficacy of health intervention programs aimed at three different age groups (children, adults, and older adults). In one study, a “polypill” developed for adults over age 70 who are at risk of heart attack and stroke was found to be effective, and the pill has so far been approved for use in three countries, with Dr. Fuster predicting that the U.S. will soon follow suit.

“We have to really compromise between technology and the human part of medicine—we can’t go to one extreme or the other,” Dr. Fuster said in summary.

The slides from Dr. Fuster's presentation may be viewed here.

About Dr. Fuster

Dr. Valentin Fuster serves The Mount Sinai Medical Center as Director of Mount Sinai Heart, the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, and the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health. He is the Richard Gorlin, MD/Heart Research Foundation Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is currently the General Director of the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) in Madrid, Spain. Among the seemingly countless positions of distinction that he holds are Past President of the American Heart Association and Past President of the World Heart Federation. Twenty-six distinguished universities throughout the world have granted him Honorary Doctorate Degrees. Dr. Fuster is the only cardiologist to receive the two highest gold medal awards and all four major research awards from the four major cardiovascular organizations.
Dr. Fuster has published more than 800 Pubmed articles on the subjects of coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and thrombosis, and he has become the lead editor of two major textbooks on cardiology, The Heart and Atherothrombosis and Coronary Artery Disease (with Dr. Eric Topol and Dr. Elizabeth Nabel). Dr. Fuster has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Nature journal that focuses on cardiovascular medicine (Nature Reviews, Cardiology, April 2009) and he is the Editor of the new AHA Guidelines and Scientific Statements Handbook, which compiles all the latest information.

About Nahum J. Winer

Nahum J. Winer was a respected research and clinical cardiologist. Along with his distinguished work for the New York County and New York State Medical Societies, the staff of Lenox Hill Hospital, and other organizations including the AMA and the New York Cardiological Society, he served as an officer of the The New York Academy of Medicine for many years. His family has created this lectureship in celebration of his many contributions to medicine.

Nahum J. Winer was born in New York City. He completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University and received his Medical Degree from the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn. He trained at Montefiore Hospital, Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn, and Peter Bent Brigham in Boston.

After service in the Army Air Corps, where he ran the 117th Evacuation Hospital, Dr. Winer was active in the clinical practice of medicine and served on the staff of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City for 42 years. His special interest in research was ballistocardiography, an area to which he contributed many important publications.

His colleagues and patients remember him as an enthusiastic researcher and dedicated physician.

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Posted on October 16, 2012

Gina Ravosa
Director of Marketing & Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
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New York, NY 10029
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