American Heart Association joins UCSF in research study to fight heart disease, stroke

DALLAS, Dec. 5, 2013 The American Heart Association has joined the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in supporting the Health eHeart Study, a unique and transformative health research project.

This large-scale, long-term study harnesses the power of everyday digital and mobile technology, including smartphone apps, to gather data from study participants. Researchers will use that data to learn the best ways to predict and prevent heart disease and stroke.

“In my 30-year career as a researcher and physician, I've never seen a study as innovative as the Health eHeart Study,” said Elliott Antman, M.D., President-elect of the American Heart Association and co-chair of the study’s Scientific Advisory Committee. “The most up-to-date digital technology is the latest weapon in our battle against these two diseases and I believe this could change how we try to prevent heart disease and stroke. as well as treat those conditions when they occur.”

The Health eHeart Study is led by three UCSF faculty members: Jeffrey Olgin, M.D., Galo-Chatterjee Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of UCSF’s Division of Cardiology; Greg Marcus, M.D., M.A.S., Director of Clinical Research for UCSF’s Division of Cardiology; and Mark Pletcher, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Research Consultation at UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute and cardiovascular epidemiologist.

Their goal is to enroll one million people age 18 and older from all over the world. Already, more than 5,000 people have signed up.

Joining the study is easy – at http://bit.ly/18DJOpj participants answer a series of demographic questions including personal and family medical history and lifestyle habits to establish a baseline. Every six months, there are additional questions about activities and health events.

What makes the study so unique is information-sharing through smartphone apps and wireless devices such as at-home blood pressure or blood sugar monitors, and even digital scales. Participants have the option of tracking and sharing key data such as blood pressure, diet, weight, exercise and smoking status — all key pieces of information used to assess cardiovascular health. Their information is seamlessly fed into a protected data system.

“This is an exciting opportunity to collect real-life data using technology that is already pervasive in our daily lives,” said Marcus.

 “Getting a blood pressure reading or an ECG in your doctor’s office is just a snapshot of the given moment, but now we’ll be able to see big data streamed almost in real time as people are going about their daily activities,” said Antman, a Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “This presents a total paradigm shift in how we learn about human health.”

“Collecting this data faster — and cheaper — means we may be able to more readily put into practice what we learn,” said Olgin. “We can make quick adjustments in our initiatives as needed and ultimately make significant impacts in saving lives.”

Enrollment of participants in the Health eHeart Study has already reached levels that take years to achieve in traditional clinical research studies. Several initial research projects are already underway. Healthy people as well as those with cardiovascular disease are encouraged to sign up.

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For Media Inquiries:
American Heart Association - Cathy Lewis: (214) 706-1324; cathy.lewis@heart.org

University of California-SF – Leland Kim: (415) 502-9553; leland.kim@ucsf.edu


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