Statistical Considerations in Reporting Cardiovascular Research

“As biomedical scientists, we have an obligation to get the numbers right,” declares AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology Editor-in-Chief Dr. Irving H. Zucker in the opening of this insightful discussion on, that’s right, statistics. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill boring lecture on statistics, however. Listen as Irv Zucker (University of Nebraska Medical Center) interviews authors Merry L. Lindsey (University of Mississippi Medical Center), Gillian A. Gray (University of Edinburgh), Susan K. Wood (University of South Carolina School of Medicine), and Douglas Curran-Everett (National Jewish Health) about their new Guidelines in Cardiovascular Research article that provides clear, useful, and approachable guidance to authors and reviewers for reporting statistics in cardiovascular research. The authors discuss reporting precise p-values, using standard deviation rather than standard error, and looking beyond the t-test to more detailed analyses and visualization tools for processing datasets. This podcast is full of sage advice about planning statistical considerations early in the study design phase. “Being proactive rather than reactive will make the study stronger,” noted Merry Lindsey. Listen now for more from these experts.

 

Merry L. Lindsey, Gillian A. Gray, Susan K. Wood, and Douglas Curran-Everett Statistical Considerations in Reporting Cardiovascular Research Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published August 8, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00309.2018

Unregulated Ca2+ Cycling Exacerbates DMD Cardiomyopathy

Does improving intracellular calcium handling through cardiac-specific phospholamban ablation in a mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy affect the development of cardiomyopathy? In this podcast, Associate Editor Junichi Sadoshima (Rutgers New Jersey Medical School) interviews first author Michelle Law (University of Minnesota) and content expert Sakthivel Sadayappan (University of Cincinnati) about the new study by Law and co-authors. Using the mdx mouse model, phospholamban ablation was studied in the context of dystrophic cardiomyopathy. Law et al found that although calcium cycling was enhanced in myocytes, DMD cardiomyopathy was surprisingly worsened in vivo. Given that there are both calcium mishandling and mechanical stress components to DMD cardiomyopathy, do the authors suspect that unregulated Serca2a pump function damaged the sarcolemma and increased fibrosis and myocyte death? Listen and find out.

 

Michelle L Law, Kurt W Prins, Megan E Olander, and Joseph M Metzger Exacerbation of dystrophic cardiomyopathy by phospholamban deficiency-mediated chronically increased cardiac Ca2+ cycling in vivo Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published August 17, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00341.2018

Sex Differences in Depression-Like Behavior Post Myocardial Infarction

Nearly one-fifth of heart failure patients develop depression or depression-like symptoms and are therefore at greater risk for additional cardiac events and mortality. Inflammation in the hypothalamus has been shown to play a role in heart failure progression and depression. Is there also a link between the presence, or absence, of estrogens in the brain and heart failure comorbid with depression? In this special extended-length podcast, Associate Editor Kaushik Patel (University of Nebraska Medical Center) interviews senior author Frans H.H. Leenen (University of Ottawa Heart Institute) and content expert Adam Case (University of Nebraska Medical Center). Past clinical studies have clearly shown that post-menopausal women with heart failure are at higher risk for developing depression compared to premenopausal women. Disappointed with previous animal studies performed only in male rats, Leenen and co-authors embarked on designing new animal studies to specifically address sex differences. Najjar et al reported that young female rats were protected from depression by the presence of estrogens, compared to both male rats and post-menopausal female rats. Listen now as our experts discuss these novel studies as well as the interplay of peripheral inflammation, central inflammation, and cardiac sympathetic afferent pathways in the development of depression with heart failure.

 

Fatimah Najjar, Monir Ahmad, Diane Lagace, and Frans H.H. Leenen Sex Differences in Depression-Like Behavior and Neuroinflammation in Rats Post MI: Role of Estrogens Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published July 27, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00615.2017