"Cardiovascular disease is the single largest killer in the United States," said Dr. March. "We need to better understand who is at risk for this disease and how to reduce that risk. This institute should provide valuable information and a unique window into the future health of Americans because we are studying, in parallel, genes, proteins and characteristics of repair cells, as well as individual health behaviors and how all these factors interact to contribute to each individual
Volunteers for the study initially will be sought among people preparing to undergo heart catheterizations at the Clarian Cardiovascular Center, but the study will eventually expand to a wider population of participants. Calling the study "the next generation of cardiac research," Dr. March said the results should identify sets of markers (signatures) that are predictive for heart disease, and help us understand how to lower risk.
Volunteers will be monitored over many years to understand how their blood vessel status and heart health change over time. Such longitudinal data can help researchers understand biological compensation " the ability of some individuals to overcome, while others succumb to the same risk factors. Integrating detailed social and behavioral information with the biological factors will help researchers answer the questions about how genes and the environment interact to raise or lower the risk of disease.
"For example, biological data may enable researchers to understand how healthy behaviors, such as exercise, change the cardiovascular system at the level of proteins, cells and cell structures," said Dr. March.
Initially, 1,000 participants will be enrolled in the study and researchers will collect information on their lifestyle behavior over a period of years. Biological data from blood analysis will be collected
Contact: Mary Hardin or Cindy Fox Aisen