The Hearts and Minds Study

Years funded:
2017 - 2020

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mental illness are the leading causes of chronic illness and death globally. 

They frequently co-occur in adulthood. However, the shared developmental mechanisms underlying this relationship are poorly understood, reflecting the lifelong genesis of cardiovascular health and dysfunction, beginning long before overt disease. 

Dr Kate Lycett’s innovative research examines timing, duration, and strength of mental health changes across the preceding 10 years, relating to developing cardiovascular health in two age groups. 

Dr Lycett’s aims are to quantify the extent to which, at both ages (11-12 years/ mid-adulthood):
1. Trajectories of mental health and general wellbeing spanning the preceding 10 years predict CV structure and function. 
2. Common biological mechanisms (cellular ageing/ inflammation) underlie both mental health and cardiovascular risk at these intermediary stages of the life course. 

She will analyse 2015 data from the nationally-representative Child Health Checkpoint, a NHMRC-funded project collecting paired physiological and biological assessments on 1,900 child-parent dyads. 

From linked biennial data in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Dr Lycett will derive mental health changes across the life course to examine these relationships. Demonstrating that cardiovascular and mental health share common biological pathwayswill be a major contribution to understanding mental health’s pathogenetic role in CVD development.

Researcher Profile

Dr Kate Lycett

Institute: Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
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