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UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital begins studies on vitamin D to prevent heart disease
Date:11/8/2011

ed by an increase risk of heart disease," said Dr. McComsey.

Dr. McComsey said the increased risk is due at least in part, to heightened inflammation in these patients and that several studies had indicated that deficiency in Vitamin D may increase inflammation and heart disease risk.

In two new UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital studies, a total of 240 HIV-positive and 240 HIV-negative patients will be studied to understand how Vitamin D deficiency affects inflammation, immune system and risk of heart disease. Also, participants with low vitamin D levels will be randomly assigned to one of three oral dose levels of monthly vitamin D to determine which dose may be the best for reducing heart disease, inflammation as well as boosting the immune system and bone density.

Heart and bone disease, inflammation and immune system function will be measured through biomarkers found in blood and urine samples, and through ultrasound tests that can reveal blockage in arteries and measure thickness of bone. The researchers will also look at the effect of HIV medications on accelerating vitamin D deficiency.

"Vitamin D may present a safe opportunity to reverse the increased cardiovascular disease risk and immune co-morbidities in the HIV population," said Dr. McComsey. "Optimizing Vitamin D concentrations early in the course of HIV infection could offer a simple and cost-effective approach to minimize the risk of HIV-related heart disease and preserve immune function."

In the non-HIV study, researchers are hoping to also find an optimal level of Vitamin D that will help decrease heart risk and inflammation. That is because, similar to the case in HIV, data is also surfacing in the general population linking low vitamin D in the blood to higher risk of heart disease and cancer, both thought to be possibly the result of high inflammation and/or altered immune status.


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Contact: George Stamatis
george.stamatis@uhhospitals.org
216-844-3667
University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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