Getting to the heart of good health

Getting to the heart of good health

Cardiovascular illness is the biggest killer in the world.

Our researchers are finding new ways of preventing and treating heart disorders, reducing the impact on people’s lives—and deaths.

World first research has uncovered a type of blood cell in the walls of arteries that causes inflammation, which may trigger recurrence of heart attacks or strokes that follow a heart attack.

Dr Peter Psaltis and his team have also discovered these cells in other organs and tissues, where they contribute to inflammatory responses to bodily insult or injury. This could be anything from a broken leg to sunburn.

“The more we understand about these novel cells, the more we believe they can be targeted or harvested and used to treat different diseases in the future,” he says.

“It could revolutionise the way we treat coronary artery disease and heart attacks.”

We are also looking into abnormal heart rhythms, a common cause of heart failure and stroke.

Professor Prashanthan Sanders leads a holistic approach to treatment, managing lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise to improve results.

The doctors work one-on-one with patients, setting individual and achievable goals to reduce the risks that lead to cardiovascular problems.

The results have been rewarding, with 40 per cent of patients no longer needing medication or an invasive medical procedure.

This research has influenced clinical guidelines worldwide and Dr Sanders is taking the holistic treatment interstate and overseas.

 “Seeing the outcomes for patients—the impact on their personal lives, how they’ve gained control over a disease that previously stopped them doing things—that’s the most fulfilling part of the research and our group’s motivation to do more.”

Taking the research in another direction is Dr Christopher Wong, who leads a team testing a new medication that simultaneously targets high blood pressure, diabetes and excess weight.

“Ultimately, we hope that this new medication may reduce symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizzy spells and prevent complications such as stroke, heart failure, and premature death.“

Tagged in Health and biotech, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke prevention, holistic treatment