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Join 1 million others in the biggest heart study ever

Posting in Food

The Health eHeart Study wants to enroll one million people and gather more data about heart health than any research study has done before.

Using smartphones to gather real-time health measures, they’re looking for patterns that might give advance warning of heart attack and predict the onset of irregular heart beats and stroke. Wall Street Journal reports.

This new initiative amounts to a large-scale, digital version of the hugely influential Framingham Heart Study -- still going after 65 years, it contributing to America’s greater-than-50-percent decline in death rate from cardiovascular disease. It’s how we know smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are major risk factors.

[But] the 10-year risk score can't predict exactly who might have a heart attack next week or next year… And it remains unknown why many people with seemingly low risk end up with a heart attack or stroke while some who smoke, eat poorly or get little exercise live into their 80s.

This new effort out of the University of California, San Francisco, hopes to develop precise strategies to predict development of heart disease in people who don't yet have it, and slow its progression among those who do.

Almost all data can be collected without a doctor visit. The sheer volume of participants might wash out the effect of bad data from not having in-person visits:

  • eVisit surveys every six months
  • GPS-enabled phones record whether you’re at a fast-food restaurant, farmer's market, or bedridden in a hospital
  • Photo app estimates meal portion size, calorie content
  • Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure cuff sends readings via smartphone to the study database
  • Other sensors/apps to track pulse, heart activity, sleep, exercise, weight

Treating heart disease costs $315 billion every year. So far the study is privately funded. People can sign up for the study here.

[WSJ]

Image: qthomasbower via Flickr

— By on March 27, 2013, 5:41 AM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure