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Press Releases

Great Recession heightened cardiovascular risk factors, study finds

"The Great Recession, from late 2007 to mid-2009, was associated with heightened cardiovascular risk factors, including increased blood pressure and glucose levels, according to a new UCLA-led study. The conditions were especially pronounced among older homeowners and people still in the work force, two groups that may have been especially vulnerable to the stresses this recession brought about." Learn more about this study of MESA data by clicking the link below. (Released March 13, 2018)

Air Pollution may Lower Levels of "Good" Cholesterol, Increase Risk of Heart Disease

People living near heavily trafficked roadways may be at higher risk of heart disease due to fine particles in the air that lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, according to a new study from MESA Air. Learn more by clicking the link below. (Released May 10, 2017)

Calcium Supplements May Damage the Heart

Does calcium from a supplement affect the body differently than calcium from food? MESA researchers published new evidence that calcium supplements may damage the heart, even though calcium-rich diets appear to be protective of the heart. Learn more at the link below. (Released October 11, 2016)

Watch a news video of the study findings here:

MESA Air Study Pinpoints how Air Pollution Harms your Heart

Dr. Joel Kaufman, the leader of the MESA Air study, led a 10-year study of 6,000 people in six cities that found air pollution accelerates deposits of calcium in heart arteries, a known cause of heart attack and stroke. To learn more about this ground-breaking research, check out the link below. (Released May 24, 2016)

High Coronary Calcium Score May Signal Increased Risk of Cancer, Kidney and Lung Disease

MESA researchers have been very focused on studying cardiovascular diseases, but the data collected from MESA participants can also provide insights into other, non-cardiovascular diseases. MESA researchers originally measured the amount of coronary artery calcium (CAC) in participant’s blood vessels because CAC is a well-known predictor of heart disease and stroke. Recently, investigators noticed that a high CAC score might also be predictive of cancer and kidney and lung diseases. To learn more about the possible association between CAC and non-cardiovascular diseases, check out the link below. (Released March 9, 2016)

Male and Female Hearts Don’t Grow Old the Same Way

MESA participants had detailed pictures of their hearts taken using MRI scans in 2002 and again around 2012. By looking at the ways the hearts changed in volume and wall thickness over this ten-year period, MESA researchers discovered something interesting: male hearts and female hearts had both changed over time, but in different ways! These findings may help to explain some of the differences in risk for heart failure between men and women, and could someday lead to gender-specific treatments. To learn more about how male and female hearts aged differently and the potential impact of this research, check out the link below. (Released October 20, 2015)

Most Clinical 'Calculators' Over-Estimate Heart Attack Risk

Researchers looked at five "risk calculators" doctors use to weigh their patients’ risk of suffering heart attacks or strokes. They compared the numbers of heart attacks and strokes these 'calculators' predicted MESA participants would experience to the numbers MESA participants actually experienced. Turns out, most of the calculators significantly over-estimate patient risk! This is problematic because doctors use these calculators to help them decide what treatments or preventative strategies their patients need—and if they don’t have an accurate understanding of patient risk, it is harder for doctors to choose the best plan. Fortunately, MESA researchers are working to develop newer, better tools for assessing risk. For more information about this research, check out the link below. (Released February 16, 2015)

Chronic Stress, Depressive Symptoms, and Hostility Associated with Increased Risk of Stroke

MESA researchers discovered an association between negative emotions like stress, depression, and hostility and increased risk of stroke. The association appears to be independent of other stroke risk factors like smoking and high blood pressure. "There’s such a focus on traditional risk factors—cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking and so forth—and those are all very important, but studies like this one show that psychological characteristics are equally important," said Susan Everson-Rose, Ph.D., MPH, lead author of the study. For more information about this research, check out the link below. (Released July 10, 2014)