Leader in Heart Medicine Dies at 85

Sir James Black, a leader and pioneer in heart medicine died Sunday at the age of 85. Black was a Nobel piece prize pharmacologist who’s breakthrough work saved a countless number of lives.

Sir James’s was responsible for the discovery of the drugs propranolol and pronethalol — which work by blocking the body’s own response to stress hormones. Black changed the way doctors approached helping heart patients.

“One of the few things that really deserves the moniker Landmark” said Dr. Clyde Yancy, the president of the American Heart Association. “Easily millions of patients have been helped with beta-blocking therapies.”

Beta blockers shot out beta receptors in organs like the heart and lungs. They reduce the effect of excitement/physical exertion on heart rate and the force of contraction.

Some common beta blockers used today are: acebutolol, betaxolol, bisoprolol, propranolol, atenolol, labetalol, carvedilol, metoprolol, and nebivolol.

Doctors have found that the use of beta blockers in heart attack patients has significantly lowered the chance of death, and thanks to Sir James Black, they are also used to help remedy abnormal heart rhythms, anxiety, angina, headaches and high blood pressure.

For more of Sir James Blacks personal story, check out this story.

He will certainly be missed and the work he leaves behind will continue to help in the lives of many.

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