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Examining Racial Disparities and Cardiovascular Health

In America, black adults are 30% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than white adults. More than half of this racial disparity may be attributed to substantially greater rates of high blood pressure and vascular dysfunction in black adults.

Georgia Southern University’s Biodynamics and Human Performance Center and Medical Laboratory Sciences program have teamed up to examine the biological basis for these racial differences to aid in the development of effective prevention and treatment strategies.

One possible mechanism for this health disparity being examined by the team is the difference in skin pigmentation, which can influence cardio preventive Vitamin D levels. Through the use of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the team is able to measure Vitamin D levels in plasma samples from their ongoing racial disparities and cardiovascular health study.

By pairing Vitamin D values with measures of skin pigmentation and the team’s comprehensive assessments of cardiovascular health, they are able to determine whether low Vitamin D levels may be contributing to higher blood pressure and vascular dysfunction in black adults, which will help to inform future interventions and therapeutic strategies seeking to alleviate racial disparities in CVD.

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were purchased using a Graduate Student Organization grant awarded to Josiah Frederic, graduate sports medicine student.

The research team consists of both faculty and students from the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology as well as the Department of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Sciences. Team members include the following:

  • Brett Cross, graduate sports medicine student
  • Joe Vondrasek, graduate sports medicine student
  • Josiah Frederic, graduate sports medicine student
  • Zoe Lincoln, undergraduate health sciences student
  • Peter Gaither, graduate sports medicine student
  • Wesley Blumenburg, graduate sports medicine student
  • Andrew Flatt, Ph.D., assistant professor
  • Greg Grosicki, Ph.D., principle investigator and assistant professor
  • Amy Frazier, MS, – MLS (ASCP)cm, lecturer
  • Carol Jordan, M.Ed., MLS(ASCP) SMcm, clinical coordinator and senior lecturer
  • Anna Bryan, undergraduate medical laboratory sciences student

Posted in Faculty Highlights, General Announcements, Research