Scientists identify new marker for heart disease

February 22, 2011, University of Calgary

A new study from the Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine is shedding light on an underlying cause of heart disease.

Published research led by UCalgary's Dr. Todd Anderson and his colleagues at four sites across Canada finds that endothelial dysfunction (blood vessel lining) can predict who is at risk for developing . By identifying this new marker in patients doctors may be able to intervene early to prevent the progression of heart disease.

"The study has demonstrated that in addition to traditional , measures of blood vessel function are predictive of who goes on to develop cardiovascular complications," says Anderson who is the study's principal investigator, and director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta.

The observational study followed 1574 healthy firefighters over a period of ten years. At the beginning of the study each firefighter had an ultrasound of his brachial artery in the arm to measure blood vessel function and was then followed every six months for the 10 year period. Over the course of the study some of the study participants had cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and this allowed the research team to see what measurements correlated.

"The information obtained by these simple tests improves our ability to detect, among healthy individuals, those who will go on to have vascular events, with more precision and reliability than if we just tallied their traditional risk factors, as most clinicians do now," says Dr. Francois Charbonneau, a co-investigator and also from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine and a member of the Libin Institute. "More research is required to see if these tests can be used in the population at large."

Wayne Morris is one of the firefighters who enrolled in the study. He's now 60-years-old, was followed by the researchers for the last decade and luckily had no . "I enrolled in the project. I felt this was an extremely worthwhile study. Any study that will help the health professionals better predict who is at greater risk could be a life saver for people," he says.

Coronary artery diseases remain a major cause of death and disability in North America and can lead to heart attacks and congestive heart failure.

More information: The study was published in the January 4th issue of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ambitious global virome project could mark end of pandemic era

February 23, 2018
Rather than wait for viruses like Ebola, SARS and Zika to become outbreaks that force the world to react, a new global initiative seeks to proactively identify, prepare for and stop viral threats before they become pandemics.

Forecasting antibiotic resistance with a 'weather map' of local data

February 23, 2018
The resistance that infectious microbes have to antibiotics makes it difficult for physicians to confidently select the right drug to treat an infection. And that resistance is dynamic: It changes from year to year and varies ...

Scientists gain new insight on how antibodies interact with widespread respiratory virus

February 22, 2018
Scientists have found and characterized the activity of four antibodies produced by the human immune system that target an important protein found in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to new research published ...

Study reveals how kidney disease happens

February 22, 2018
Monash researchers have solved a mystery, revealing how certain immune cells work together to instigate autoimmune kidney disease.

Past encounters with the flu shape vaccine response

February 20, 2018
New research on why the influenza vaccine was only modestly effective in recent years shows that immune history with the flu influences a person's response to the vaccine.

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.