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Dr. Hongmei Zhang, Bruns Endowed Professor of Biostatistics and Director of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Environmental Health in the School of Public Health, is collaborating with Dr. Indranill Basu-Ray, a cardiologist, and Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiologist at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and an affiliated Professor at the School of Public Health, University of Memphis, on critical projects in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.
Cardiovascular Disease is the largest killer on the planet. Over 877,500 Americans die of CVD—one-third of all deaths annually. These diseases also take an economic toll, costing our healthcare system $216 billion annually and causing $147 billion in lost productivity. In 2017, the estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $327 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity. The principal mechanism of death in Diabetes is CVD. One of every six dollars spent on health care costs is for CVD. Despite massive developments in technology using newer devices, interventional procedures, and drugs, the disease prevalence has not shown much of a decrease. This calls for out-of-the-box thinking, including initiating lifestyle changes as a public health policy to counter this epidemic. Yoga is the most popular form of integrative medicine used worldwide. While yoga is known to bring about drastic lifestyle changes, it also initiates processes in the body that reduce vascular inflammation, the root cause of CVD.
Zhang and Basu-Ray’s work will help to illuminate yoga’s clinical and therapeutic role in heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and diabetes. The initial focus is on the impact of yoga on major adverse cardiovascular events utilizing advanced statistical methods, including network meta-analyses, that will help understand the role of yoga in preventing and treating this surge of CVD both at a personal and community level. Further studies will elucidate the clinical significance of genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, and other mechanisms to attenuate CVD that yoga has been credited with.
With the expertise from both sides, the projects will establish a strong and potentially productive collaboration between the VA and UofM and offer great research opportunities to graduate and postgraduate students in the School of Public Health. The project would also likely contribute novel research on the clinical significance of yoga as a preventive and therapeutic entity for the largest killer on the planet.
For more information on this research, contact Zhang at [email protected].
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