Low birth weight linked to heart disease
While we know that the earliest changes of atherosclerosis can begin in children and teenagers. Our recent studies, in collaboration with Dr Michael Skilton at The University of Sydney, have shown that the origins of heart disease and vessel disease can begin even earlier – in the foetus. Those babies born ‘small for dates’, that is in the lowest five per cent of birth weights at term delivery, appear to be at high risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life. With this in mind, we’ve planned a series of novel intervention studies, mainly with fish oils, to see if we can reverse this risk factor with early intervention.
The effects of exercise
Although it is well known that exercise is good for the heart, the optimum type, duration, intensity and age at which the maximum benefits accrue are relatively poorly studied. This study will look at the effects of exercise on atherosclerosis in healthy young adults at risk of heart disease and in mouse models of atherosclerosis, with the aim of answering some of these questions.
The role of right ventricle in health and disease
Pulmonary vascular disease (high blood pressure in the lungs) is a severe condition that affects many young adult Australians. The right ventricle is the smaller of the two pumps of the heart and the one that is affected by diseases of the lungs. In a novel series of studies, we will be looking at the important function of the right ventricle in health and disease and also, in detail, during pregnancy.
Sleep disordered breathing during pregnancy
We hope to undertake an important study about sleep disordered breathing during pregnancy and the potential effects on heart health of the mother and of the unborn baby.