Ground-Breaking Heart Study Coincides with American Heart Association's ‘American Heart Month’ in February

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Researchers at Utah-based Optimum Clinical Research are studying a medication that could address the 'hidden cause' of heart disease.

OCR heart study
People who are watching their diet, getting their exercise or keeping their cholesterol normal are still having heart attacks.

February is American Heart Month and sadly, most people know somebody who has died from a heart attack. But with heart disease mostly attributed to high cholesterol, lack of exercise and a poor diet, a study underway at Salt Lake City-based Optimum Clinical Research could determine whether heart attacks have a hidden cause.

“There is something else we are missing that is causing heart attacks,” said Jared Shields, a researcher at Optimum Clinical Research. “People who are watching their diet, getting their exercise or keeping their cholesterol normal are still having heart attacks.”

Some proteins in the body cause areas of inflammation on artery walls where dangerous cholesterols, plaques and blood clots build up, which cause heart attacks. Those suffering from inflammation who have already suffered a heart attack may qualify to receive treatment and medication through the heart study at no charge. Patients are also compensated for time spent participating in the research.

Visit for information about the study, or call the office at 801-363-7353.

Shields said the medication his team is testing is a “human monoclonal antibody,” which could reduce the harmful inflammation. The study could involve more than 17,000 patients nationwide.

“We want to see if this medication could help reduce heart disease,” Shields said.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, and the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month each February to raise awareness about the disease.

With little known about the causes of some heart disease, Jennifer Merback, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association in Utah, said the group relies on researchers to discover new treatments for the disease.

“We still have so much to learn through research,” Merback said.

She called heart disease the “silent killer.”

“American Heart Month is a fantastic way to bring awareness to the fact that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women,” Merback said.


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