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Tascforce recruits 2500th volunteer

7th September, 2010 @ 10.29 am

Photo opportunity: 2pm on Thursday, September 9th at the Clinical Research Centre, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. Mr Frank Sherriff, the TASCFORCE project’s 2500th volunteer will be screened by staff to assess his risk of heart disease and stroke.

A major research project in Tayside and Fife looking at preventing Scotland’s biggest killers - heart disease and stroke - has just recruited its 2500th volunteer.

Heart attack and stroke are still amongst the most common causes of illness and death in Scotland, despite major advances in preventive medicine.

The TASCFORCE Project, led by the University of Dundee, aims to find out whether screening techniques could be more effectively used to identify people at risk of heart disease so that it can be prevented or treated at an early stage.

'National guidelines are in place to assess whether an individual is at risk of heart and blood vessel disease, and thus requires treatment. We believe, however, that some people may still be at risk, but that the current methods of assessments fail to detect this,' said project leader Professor Jill Belch, of The Institute of Cardiovascular Research (TICR) at the University of Dundee.

'This project has been designed to identify these people, to screen for early signs of heart disease and to establish how effective new screening techniques, are in predicting the risk of heart disease so that it can be prevented or treated at an early stage.'

The project aims to recruit 5000 men and women from Tayside and Fife. This week Mr Frank Sherriff, of Dundee, became the 2500th person to volunteer to take part in the project.

'I became aware of the project through a `Healthy Lives’ initiative at work and immediately decided to sign up for it,- said Mr Sherriff, a lecturer in Welding and Fabrication at Dundee College.

'I was happy to take part because it essentially involves a fairly thorough health check-up - a bit like going for your MOT - which was something I had been considering for a while but didn’t feel I should bother the doctor with.

'My job is one where there can be a lot of smoke and fumes, so you do think about what effect that might be having. Getting your general health checked out can only be a good thing, and doing it this way doesn’t put a strain on resources at the GP practice, and may also benefit many people for years to come through the research aspect.'

Volunteers to the study have to be aged 40 years or over and without diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart or blood vessel disease. Eligibility is established by completing a simple health questionnaire.

Each participant who qualifies for the study is then required to make an initial visit to the Clinical Research Centre at Ninewells to have their blood pressure, weight and height measured and will have an ECG performed (a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart). A sample of blood will be taken to measure cholesterol, blood glucose and a chemical called BNP (B-type Natriuretic Peptide). BNP is made in the heart and indicates how well the heart is working.

These measurements, along with smoking status and a family history of heart or stroke disease, will be used to calculate the risk of developing heart disease. All participants found to be at risk using these standard methods of assessment, will receive appropriate advice and guidance on how to receive treatment.

Depending upon the level of the chemical BNP, participants will be invited to the second stage of the study which involves having an MRI scan of the heart and blood vessels in a purpose-built unit within the Clinical Research Centre.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer for the study or wants further information should contact Roberta Littleford on 01382 633963 or e-mail tascforce@dundee.ac.uk.


The MRI scanner was purchased as a result of a financial support from the Souter Charitable Trust.

The project has full ethical approval and is sponsored by the University of Dundee. Professor Jill Belch, Professor of Vascular Medicine, The Institute of Cardiovascular Research (TICR) at the University of Dundee is the Principal Investigator.

For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
E-MAIL: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk
MOBILE: 07800 581902


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