Emory clinical research highlights for #AHA16

Clinical research presentations at 2016 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions: telomeres + circulating progenitor cells, food deserts, and troponin as risk marker for atrial fibrillation.


Telomere Shortening, Regenerative Capacity, and Cardiovascular Outcomes Nov. 13, 4:45 pm, Room 346-347

Aging, in general, depletes our bodies’ regenerative capacities. Arshed Quyyumi, MD and colleagues at Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute have shown how circulating progenitor cells or CPCs, which regenerate blood vessels and correlate with outcomes in cardiovascular disease, are a finite resource.

Working with Quyyumi, research fellow Muhammad Hammadah, MD is presenting data on how telomere length interacts with the levels of CPCs, in a study of mental stress ischemia in 566 patients with stable coronary artery disease. Telomeres tend to shorten with ageing and cellular stress, and their length has been a widely studied biomarker.

Hammadah concludes that low leukocyte telomere length is associated with decreased regenerative capacity, independently of age and cardiovascular risk factors. However, telomere length and CPC levels are independent and additive predictors of adverse cardiovascular outcomes (such as death, heart attack, stroke, or hospitalization for heart failure), he finds. Hammadah is a finalist for the Elizabeth Barrett-Connor Research Award for Young Investigators in Training.

Neighborhood Income Rather Than Food Access is Associated With Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes in Food Deserts

Nov. 15, 1:30 pm, Science and Technology Hall-Population Science Section

Emory researchers have previously shown that people living in “food deserts” in the Atlanta area are more likely to have a higher burden of cardiovascular risk factors and higher markers of cardiovascular risk. Research fellow Heval Mohamed Kelli, MD follows up on this work with a larger group of patients, from the Emory Cardiovascular Biobank. Food deserts are defined (by the USDA) by two components: low-income and low access to healthy food. Kelli shows that neighborhood income is the stronger statistical driver of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

High-sensitivity Troponin-I is Predictive of Incident Atrial Fibrillation in a High-Risk Patient Population

Nov. 15, 1:50 pm, Science and Technology Hall-Population Science Theater

The biomarker troponin is routinely used to assess acute damage to the cardiac muscle. In addition, at low levels, it is predictive of the development of atrial fibrillation, in a group of patients with suspected coronary artery disease (Emory Cardiovascular Biobank). Higher levels (≥median 4.7 pg/mL) doubled the risk of incident AF over five years. Also notable: the biomarkers FDP, suPAR, CRP, and HSP70 were not associated with incident AF after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

Presented by William Schultz, MD, working with Arshed Quyyumi, MD and colleagues at Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute. For background, please see related work on troponin + mental stress ischemia by Hammadah.

Posted on by Quinn Eastman in Heart Leave a comment

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Quinn Eastman

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