Coronary heart disease and stroke rank first and third among causes of death for Americans. The division has an important emphasis on investigating the role of lifestyle factors, pharmaceuticals, biomarkers, and genetics in primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention. Dr. Ken Mukamal has studied the effects of behavioral factors - and particularly alcohol consumption - on the incidence and prognosis of myocardial infarction and stroke in a number of national cohort studies, including the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Nurses' Health Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Post CABG Trial, and the Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study. He currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), an ongoing multicenter NHLBI-funded cohort study of older adults and has active NIH grants related to studies of alcohol and other nutritional factors in relation to cardiovascular disease from NHLBI and NIAAA.

In collaboration with Dr. Murray Mittleman and other members of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Dr. Mukamal's work has examined determinants of incident coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and dementia, predictors of post-MI mortality, subclinical atherosclerosis, novel cardiovascular risk factors, and the interrelationships of lifestyle factors with common genetic variation in candidate biochemical pathways. The group also has methodological expertise in studying acute triggers of cardiovascular events, including particulate air pollution and alcohol consumption. In addition, Dr. Mukamal has directed a series of focused randomized physiological trials with the BIDMC General Clinical Research Center, including black tea, alcohol, and DHA, a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid.

Drs. Angela Fowler-Brown and Christina Wee, in addition to their interests in the interactions of race with obesity, have also examined cardiovascular risk. Using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, Dr. Fowler-Brown has demonstrated the importance of health insurance for cardiovascular risk prevention and, in conjunction with Dr. Mukamal, has studied the association of parity with risk of diabetes among women. Dr. Wee has studied the effects of obesity on cardiovascular risk factors and on prognosis of coronary heart disease.

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