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Scott Lear’s matters of the heart

November 20, 2009

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SFU’s Scott Lear researches heart disease—and has a To Do List that looks long enough to cause heart disease.

The kinesiologist and cardiovascular researcher has become the first Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research at St. Paul’s Hospital, established in partnership with SFU.

There and at SFU he has a truly hefty workload, as he continues to investigate why people get heart disease and what they can do to prevent or manage it.

Already he has identified that ethnicity can determine how much and where body fat is stored. As well, he has developed web-based strategies to allow rural patients to receive “virtual” care in their own homes.

His research program will continue to embrace studies of disparities in heart disease rates across different ethnic communities and further explore how technology can help us to break down geographical barriers in the battle against heart disease.

And there’s more to come. . . .

His current and planned work with colleagues from SFU and others includes:

  • Assessing (with SFU’s Diane FInegood and others) data on some 20 participants who kept dietary records and wore accelerometers for three months straight, and were checked weekly for body fat.
    “The purpose is to try to identify how differences in food intake and energy expenditure relate to changes in body fat so that we can . . . provide accurate information regarding weight-change strategies.”
    (Finegood is scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, and is leading a national research project on obesity.)
  • Working towards a new internet-based chronic disease management program for patients with ischemic heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and/or lung disease.
    “The novelty here is providing comprehensive care to people outside of urban areas and also that we will provide coordinated care for patients with more than one disease.”
  • Investigating with colleagues how the environment relates to risk for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease;
  • Investigating body fat and cardiovascular disease risk in different ethnic groups; and looking at immigration and its relation to cardiovascular disease;
  • Using the internet to deliver care to patients in rural and remote areas through his “virtual” cardiac rehab program;

The chair he now holds was established with $1.25 million from Pfizer Canada Inc., $1.128 million from St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, $1 million from an anonymous donor, $750,000 from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon and $1.5 million from SFU.

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