New research suggests abdominal aortic aneurysm will afflict millions of baby boomers

People over 55, a demographic group that will soon include a large percentage of baby boomers, are at highest risk to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a little-known but potentially fatal disease that affects the segment of the aorta that runs through the abdomen. The most deadly complication is rupture, a condition in which the aneurysm breaks open and profuse bleeding results. To date, however, the exact cause of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) remains unknown, and in its early stages, the disease often produces few, if any, symptoms.

To combat this deadly disease before it reaches epidemic proportions, researchers have made tremendous strides in diagnosing, preventing and treating cases of AAA. To highlight the latest advances in understanding this disorder, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons are cosponsoring a three-day conference, The Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Genetics, Pathophysiology, and Molecular Biology on April 3-5 at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, New York, Amsterdam & 113th street in Manhattan.

More than forty investigators from the U.S., England, Denmark, Sweden, Japan and other countries are expected to attend. The conference is a sequel to a groundbreaking symposium that was held ten years earlier and will examine the kinds of dramatic improvements in diagnosis, prevention of complications and treatment that did not exist a decade earlier.

New Insights into Complex but Poorly Understood Disease

"The incidence and prevalence of AAA is rising," observed Gilbert Upchurch of the University of Michigan, one of the organizers of the conference. Despite this, he notes that much work remains to be done and that the science behind it "is in its infancy."

By taking an interdisciplinary approach that integrates new insights into the etiology and pathology of this disease, however, researchers hope to unlock the mysteries of AAA. "Abdomi

Contact: Jennifer Tang
New York Academy of Sciences

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