The objective of the Family Atherosclerosis Monitoring in Early Life (FAMILY) study was to measure the environmental, metabolic and genetic factors that contribute to the development of excess adiposity and obesity-related diseases that can have beginnings from the time of pregnancy to early childhood.
The results of the study will lead to a better understanding of the role of our genes and their interaction with the fetal/maternal environment in the development of adiposity, pre-diabetes and risk factors for heart disease in early childhood, school age, adolescence and young adulthood.
With this knowledge, we can then develop recommendations to help women to have healthier pregnancies, and for better nutrition and lifestyle practices for growing children and young adults.
We collected information on nutrition, meal patterns, physical activity, growth, health, risk behaviours, socio-economic status, feeling of well-being and blood profiles, including analysis of genetic markers up to 10 years of age. All of this information is being analyzed so that we can determine how each of these factors influence development of body fat during childhood and risk of obesity-associated markers of disease at 3, 5 and 10 years of age.
We will also assess the heart health at the 10-year visit by performing a carotid ultrasound testing on the mother and the child.
Prospective birth cohort
Koon Teo is a Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, McMaster University, and provides senior leadership to PHRI’s direction and research studies. He has served as the acting director of the Division of Cardiology at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, and Chief of Cardiology, McMaster University Medical Centre. His wide range of work includes 16 book chapters, 356 articles and 280 abstracts featured in more than 15 medical journals worldwide.
He was the Canadian Principal Investigator for the COURAGE trial the results of which impact the practice of cardiology worldwide, and for the Canadian Institute for Health Research funded ongoing FAMILY study examining the origins of obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors in early childhood. He is also co-principal investigator of The International Polycap Study (TIPS).
Executive Director; Senior Scientist
Salim Yusuf is an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist, whose work over 40 years has substantially influenced prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Born in India, medically qualified at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore in 1976, he received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained a DPhil from Oxford, during which he (along with Richard Peto, Rory Collins and Peter Sleight) initiated the concepts of large, simple trials, and meta-analysis. He proposed the concept of combination drug treatment for prevention of CVD to achieve large reductions in CVD with a single pill (now called the polypill concept), but more importantly has been evaluating the concept through large randomized trials.
He leads several global studies involving more than 60 countries in every inhabited continent of the world aimed at enhancing knowledge about the biological, behavioural and societal causes, consequences, and approaches to the control of heart diseases, and strokes through large multi-country programs such as INTERHEART, INTERSTROKE, and PURE.
He holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Chair and has received (among others) the Lifetime Research Achievement award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society; the Paul Wood Silver Medal of the British Cardiac Society; the European Society of Cardiology gold medal, the clinical Research Prize of the American Heart Association and the International Award and the Braunwald Lecture of the American College of Cardiology. He has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame; been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2014. He has received four honorary doctorates, and is among the top 20 most cited health researchers in history.
Salim Yusuf has published more than 1,000 articles in refereed journals, rising to the second most cited researcher in the world for 2011. He has mentored more than 120 scientists, several of whom are in leadership positions across the globe. He has been President of the World Heart Federation (2015-2016), where he initiated several programs (the Emerging Leaders program, road maps for CVD control and a course for training primary care practitioners in CVD prevention) aimed at halving the CVD burden globally within a generation. The World Heart Federation has recognized his contributions by naming the program the Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Programme.
He is a Distinguished University Professor of Medicine, and Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Chief Scientist, Hamilton Health Sciences.
Sonia Anand is a Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University; Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity in McMaster’s Department of Medicine; Director of McMaster’s Population Genomics Program; inaugural Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society; and Director, Chanchlani Research Centre for Global Health at McMaster, among other roles.
Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. Sonia has published more than 200 articles in peer review journals. Shas been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Katherine Morrison is Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, and a Principal Investigator for childhood risk factors research at PHRI. She has received various awards including the Excellence in Pediatric Research Award, and a Heart and Stroke Foundation Fellowship in Preventive Cardiology. Katherine is supported in her research by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Hamilton Academic Health Sciences Organization, and McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Dipika Desai oversees many epidemiologic studies, including the South Asian birth cohort, START, the South Asian Heart Risk Assessment (SAHARA), and the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds (CAHHM), as well as management assistance and oversight in the utilization of samples from a number of other studies.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from the M S University in Baroda, India, and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia.
Senior Research Coordinator
Nora Abdalla has been working at PHRI for 15 years with a primary focus on coordinating observational birth cohort studies, and has been part of the ACT COVID 19 treatment trial team since March 2020.
She obtained a Bachelor degree in Medicine and Surgery, a Masters of Science in Paediatrics from Cairo University, and is a Master of Public Health candidate at the University of Waterloo.
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