Raising awareness of heart disease
21 March 2017
Researchers from the School of Biosciences recently took part in a ‘Pop-up Lab’ event at the National Assembly for Wales. Organised by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the event aimed to raise awareness of heart disease and of the cardiovascular research taking place in Wales.
Every day in Wales, 25 people lose their lives to cardiovascular (heart and circulatory) disease. It is estimated that 375,000 people live with the disease in Wales with a total annual healthcare cost of more than £440 million.
BHF currently funds £7 million for research in Wales to fight against cardiovascular disease.
Two BHF-funded grant holders from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, Dr Dipak Ramji and Dr Branko Latinkic, along with co-workers Dr Jessica Williams, Mr Joe Moss and Mr Alex Joseph participated in the event at the Senedd and led a series of research engagement activities.
The purpose of these activities was to educate the public on the possible reasons why cardiovascular disease is so prevalent in Wales, how incidences could be reduced, and how BHF-funded research is working to understand the disease and to find new treatments.
Dr Latinkic’s research is focused on trying to understand how heart muscle cells normally develop in order to apply that knowledge to making cardiomyocytes that could be used in regenerative medicine.
Research in Dr Ramji’s laboratory is focused on understanding the health benefits of certain products from food sources called nutraceuticals, and how they could be used to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.
The nutraceuticals include a natural fatty acid known as dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid, hydroxytyrosol found in olives, and catechins present in cocoa, green tea and blackberries.
“Through this interactive event we were able to inform the public on the importance of a healthy diet to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and tell them about our research on how naturally occurring food products can slow down many key steps in the development of cardiovascular disease.” Said Dr Ramji.