JCU research has legs
JCU researchers within the Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Diseases and the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) are seeking healthy volunteers for an upcoming study into why arteries block.
The study will identify lifestyle and biological differences between groups of healthy older people, and those suffering from peripheral artery disease to better understand practices which protect against blood vessel disease in older age.
Dr Joe Moxon from the research team said approximately 10% of the population over the age of 40 in Australia have some type of peripheral artery disease which leads to ballooning (aneurysm) or blockage of arteries, particularly within the legs – and crucially, many don’t know it until it’s too late.
“There are few medications to treat peripheral artery disease, which leaves surgery as the main form of treatment. This has an associated risk of serious complications and limited durability in many cases,” he said.
“This study will identify markers and lifestyle practices that may be a predictor to ill health in later life. We hope that this will allow us to identify what healthy people look like at the molecular level and develop better guidelines around what steps can be taken to improve the health of older Queenslanders.”
Ms Lisan Yip said the research team is specifically seeking healthy people over the age of 60 from the Townsville region to participate in the study.
“We see a lot of patients with peripheral artery disease, but surprisingly little attention is paid to the healthy population,” she said.
“We are seeking healthy volunteers with no prior history of heart attack, stroke or aneurysm who can be directly compared at the physical and molecular level with our patients. Studying these elements will provide the research team with a benchmark of what good physical shape in older age looks like.
“Understanding these differences will enable scientists to understand how peripheral artery disease develops and progresses, which can help with earlier diagnosis and treatment of the disease or development of new therapeutics,” Ms Yip said.
Volunteers will have their health and diet assessed by completing questionnaires and talking to a researcher. There will be a physical assessment and information collected on their height, weight, waist and hip measurement and blood pressure. They’ll also have some blood taken.