Cardiovascular Disease; Progress in reducing cardiovascular disease is stalling in the United States. Development of new ways of preventing and treating cardiovascular disease has proved frustrating recently with several trials of promising interventions, such as vitamin D and anti-inflammatories, failing at a late stage. Moreover, shorter lives in men than women, partly due to higher rates of cardiovascular disease in men than women, remain unexplained.
The cardiovascular disease
Study of CVD currently includes a wide range of perspectives addressing the key question of how the embodiment of social and environmental factors occurs, with particular interest in the role of early life factors and “stress”. The developmental origins of health care and disease, inspired by observations from Europe of ischemic heart disease (IHD) associate with very limited early life conditions, has very influential in re conceptualizing health from a life course perspective; so with an emphasis on the role of adaption to early life conditions affecting health throughout life.
To address this gap, CUNY SPH Professor Mary Schooling has re-conceptualized chronic disease; hence within well-established evolutionary biology theory. Specifically growth and reproduction trading-off against longevity; so possibly in a sex-specific manner, may inform the development of interventions. Consistent with this theory, several of the most effective interventions for cardiovascular disease, such as statins, do affect the reproductive axis.
To ensure this search for novel interventions for the leading causes of global morbidity; also mortality is on a firm footing, Professor Schooling and colleagues tested whether the central driver of reproduction; i.e., gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) increases the risk of ischemic heart disease; so using genetically predicted GnRH to reduce bias.
Evolutionary biology theory
Consistent with evolutionary biology theory; so the study found that genetically predict higher GnRH with a higher risk of ischemic heart disease. The findings were publish in the journal SSM Population Health. Showing a central tenet of evolutionary biology in humans is very exciting; so more importantly it validates using well establish evolutionary theory; hence to inform the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, says Schooling.
However, causes are normally consistent but not always relevant in all settings. Replication in a non Western population; so is currently not possible, but would be very valuable. Tenth, reproduction affects other drivers of longevity, such as immunity; so might be expect to promote infections and protect against auto immune conditions.
This study provides some empirical evidence in humans of a key aspect of evolutionary biology, i.e., the trade-off between reproduction and longevity, by showing that GnRH1, specifically, is positively with IHD. This study implies that GnRH1, its drivers and its consequences, are potential targets of intervention for the leading cause of global morbidity and mortality.