Researching the connection between high blood pressure and genetics at Washington University

ST. LOUIS, MO- Genetics and lifestyle are connected to heart health.  Prevention and effective treatment rely on extensive studies and clinical trials.  That research depends on a diverse pool of individuals.

Edmund Lowe Sr. is African American. He has survived two strokes.  The retired telecommunications executive now serves as presiding elder for the African Methodist Episcopal Church for parts of Missouri.  “Studies, whether it be for diabetes whether it be for stroke, whether it be for Alzheimer’s, we need to be in all of those studies.”  Lowe says.

What's the connection between, genetics, and blood pressure?  The newest information comes after an international team conducts multiple studies.   Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led the project.   Dr. Lisa de las Fuentes, a cardiologist served on the team.  “There`s the potential, many times, to find avenues of treatment that no one has considered before.”  Dr. de las Fuentes says.
Researchers have confirmed there's a connection between race and heart health.

“We`ve known for a long time that some groups are more susceptible to high blood pressure than others. For example, in African Americans high blood pressure tends to occur at younger ages and it tends to be more difficult to control. “says Dr. de las Fuentes.
Lowe knows just how precious life is.  “With the strokes that I had, it was full recovery every time.  But I was very concerned that the third one would be the one that would be awful bad.” Lowe says.

Edmund Lowe was not involved in the international smoking and blood pressure study, but he's been interviewed for other research projects.   Dr. De las Fuentes says over 600,000 people were involved in the international study, but they needed more people of African descent.  “We didn`t have enough people left for the replication or what we call the validation phase of the research.  And until we do that there is still going to be that doubt, that we have truly found a novel association.”  Dr. de las Fuentes says.

The study zeroed in on some new information regarding genetic pathways for hypertension.  “We identified 83 regions that were novel, meaning it had not been verified in the published literature today.   There is the potential, many times, to find avenues of treatment that no one has considered before.“ says Dr. de las Fuentes.

Volunteers are always needed by researchers.  If you want to explore what's out there, click the link below for more information about the Research Participant Registry at Washington University School of Medicine.
Https://vfh.wustl.edu/           Phone number: (314) 362-1000