I'm Dr. Steven Nissen, and I'm Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.
We're trying to improve the heart health of our employees. And we've done some things in the last couple of years that I think will go a long way.
We've banned smoking from the entire institution and by that I mean not just within the hospital and the clinics and the buildings, but on the grounds, in the parking lots, and everywhere.
We think that as a healthcare institution, we should lead the way, and smoking is one of the most hazardous, unhealthy habits that anyone can have and we're basically are not allowing smoking anywhere within the Cleveland Clinic.
Now diet of course also plays a very important role, and we made a decision to take all foods out of the Cleveland Clinic that have trans fats.
Trans fats are the kind of fats that are made with so called hydrogenated oils. And we've learned in recent years that these trans fats raise the LDL, bad cholesterol, and lower the HDL, the good cholesterol.
And so to help our employees be more healthy and make more healthy choices, we've taken all the products with these bad fats out of vending machines, out of our cafeterias. And that will enable, we think, our employees to have a more heart-healthy diet.
Now, we're a research institution and my own group is working very hard at developing new therapies to slow the progression of the plaque buildup in coronary arteries and of course in the arteries to the head that cause heart attacks and strokes.
And some of our current research is targetted at finding new ways to raise HDL, that's the good cholesterol, that we think works by helping to remove plaque from the walls of the artery. We have a number of studies coming up that we hope will actually show us whether these new methods for raising HDL, the good cholesterol, can slow and in some cases even reverse heart disease.