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Growing healthy hearts - how passive smoke exposure and elevated blood pressure early in life impacts adult cardiovascular health
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Growing healthy hearts - how passive smoke exposure and elevated blood pressure early in life impacts adult cardiovascular health

Dr Costan Magnussen, Institution: University of Tasmania

2015 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2016-2020


The risk of heart disease is defined by factors in early and later life. This project will help determine the role that childhood factors play in the development of adult heart disease. I will do this using eight studies from across the world that have followed individuals from childhood into adulthood. Project funding will enhance the existing data by expanding outcome and exposure measures.

I will focus on the roles of childhood blood pressure and passive smoke exposure, two factors that my previous work has shown to have a direct and long-term influence on heart health. Specifically, I will examine the ability of these childhood risk factors to determine an individual’s risk of adult heart disease. I will determine if there are critical times in early life where the long-term effects of these risk factors can not be reversed and will identify the exposure pathways that lead to adult heart disease.

Unlike corrective efforts made later in life, focusing on early-life factors will help identify periods during the plastic phases of development where timely intervention or prevention might lead to improved lifelong heart health as well as savings in health expenditure. The project’s findings may improve the way we identify those at risk of heart disease and help develop public health policies and interventions to reduce these risks. By building upon existing studies, this project represents a cost-effective opportunity to improve the future heart health of today’s children.

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