Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.

Heart Disease Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.

— -- I'm Thomas Wang, a cardiologist and staff member at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiology Division and Heart Center.

The MGH has a very broad research enterprise focused on understanding some of the causes of coronary artery disease in geared toward understanding better ways to diagnose and treat patients with coronary artery disease.

These efforts includes initiatives both in the basic science laboratory, as well as initiatives by clinical investigators such as myself and my colleagues.

For instance, my colleagues and I, through a long-standing collaboration with the Framingham Heart Study, have been studying whether there are screening tests that may help to detect individuals who are at risk of coronary artery disease but who are otherwise asymptomatic.

We're also interested in understanding whether there are some under-recognized are any risk factors for heart disease including things like vitamin D deficiency which are quite common but may have effects on the heart which have yet not been appreciated.

We recently found in the Framingham population for instance that those with low vitamin D levels were actually at about a 60 percent excess risk of developing heart disease over the ensuing years.

Other colleagues of mine in the division and in the radiology department have been looking at new diagnostic testing modalities to identify individuals either in the emergency room or in the doctor's office who have heart disease but that has been previously undetected because they are not having symptoms.

Again these initiatives complement many of the basic science efforts that are going on today in laboratories throughout the division, focused on understanding the root causes of coronary artery heart disease. Hopefully, one day these efforts will improve the management and care of our patients.