Dr Jun Yang has been awarded a prestigious $100,000 research grant from the Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation to find out more about how aldosterone might cause cardiovascular disease.
Aldosterone is an important hormone in our body, but if produced in excess it can cause high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. While it’s known that levels of aldosterone can change in our bodies over time, it is unclear when this occurs and how it affects our health.
Along with the support of a Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant, Dr Yang will collaborate with Emeritus Professor Lawrence Beilin and Professor Trevor Mori from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study, and renowned hypertension specialist, Professor Markus Schlaich, to see whether aldosterone levels at a young age impact heart disease as you get older.
Using blood samples taken from more than 1000 people monitored since birth, they will measure participants’ aldosterone levels from blood taken at different ages (17, 22 and 27 years) and analyse them for markers of cardiovascular injury. This will help them determine if high aldosterone levels at a young age impact heart disease as you get older.
Dr Yang said early detection could be critical for reducing rates of cardiovascular disease.
“Simple and targeted treatments are available. So if we can establish a relationship between high levels of aldosterone and cardiovascular disease, particularly in its early stages, then a timely intervention can be offered to minimise disease burden,” Dr Yang said.
How critical is aldosterone to human health?
At any one time, high blood pressure can affect six million people globally and is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. High levels of aldosterone may be the primary cause in as many as 10 to 20 per cent of these cases. This is treatable and potentially curable, though early diagnosis is crucial to allow for a timely intervention.
Dr Yang is a Research Fellow at Hudson Institute of Medical Research; Consultant Endocrinologist at Monash Health; Early Career Research Fellow with School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University; Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Department of Molecular Translational Science, Monash University.
Prof Peter Fuller, Dr Morag Young (Hudson Institute); School of Clinical Sciences at Monash University; Prof Trevor Mori, Emeritus Prof Lawrence Beilin and Prof Markus Schlaich (University of Western Australia); Prof Michael Stowasser (University of Queensland); Dr Stella May Gwini (Barwon Health).
Hudson Institute communications
t: + 61 3 8572 2697