New funding to investigate causes of high blood pressure and heart disease

Hudson Institute

Hudson Institute is a key player in an exciting new primary aldosteronism (PA) project investigating the causes of PA, a common and potentially preventable cause of cardiovascular disease.

Associate Professor Jun Yang is part of national new Primary aldosteronism project investigating causes of high blood pressure.
Associate Professor Jun Yang

This primary aldosteronism (PA) project was awarded $812,785 from the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund’s Western Australia Cohort Studies-Research Support Program.

Primary aldosteronism project meets the Raine Study

Using two generations of data from the Raine Study, Professor Trevor Mori from the University of WA and a multi-institutional team of collaborators including Hudson Institute’s Associate Professor Jun Yang will measure markers in the blood samples of 1,500 Raine Study participants at age 34 and 2,500 of their parents. The results will help researchers evaluate the relationship between indicators of primary aldosteronism and cardiovascular health across two generations.

A hidden cause of disease for more than half a million Australians, PA is a form of high blood pressure caused by overactive adrenal glands that make too much aldosterone. Aldosterone is a salt-retaining hormone which is important for salt balance but harmful to the heart, kidneys and brain if produced in excess.

Approximately six million adults in Australia live with hypertension, and around one in 10 of these have primary aldosteronism. Primary aldosteronism is under-diagnosed in the community but can be effectively treated once identified. It is unclear how the disease evolves and affects health over time, or if genetics play a role.

Relationship between PA and cardiovascular health

The results of Professor Mori’s study will increase awareness of a highly treatable condition and facilitate its diagnosis in the WA healthcare system. Apart from directly benefiting consumers and upskilling the medical workforce, this work will also inform early interventions to minimise cardiovascular risk in people with high blood pressure.

The Raine Study

Based in Perth, the Raine Study is one of the largest and longest-running studies of human health from pregnancy into adulthood to be conducted anywhere in the world. Since 1989, participants in the Raine Study have provided researchers with a powerful base of population health data collected at different points in time from four generations of the same families.

By comparing original data from the Raine study which measured participants at 17 and 27 years of age to them now at age 34, researchers will also learn how these markers may change over time and decipher how genetics contribute to PA.

These results will be the first to determine the prevalence of PA in the Western Australian population and its impact on health from young adulthood.

The Raine Study is uniquely placed to help researchers gain insight into the impact of early life events, interventions and risk factors on health and disease throughout life. It was one of three cohort studies to receive funding through the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund’s inaugural Western Australia Cohort Studies-Research Support Program (FHRI WACS-RSP). The FHRI WACS-RSP provides funding for up to three years for population health research projects that use data and/or bio-specimens from WA’s largest cohort studies.

The project is a collaboration between Professor Trevor Mori from The University of Western Australia’s Medical School, A/Prof Jun Yang and her team at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and researchers from Monash University, the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research and Princess Alexandra Hospital (Queensland).

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