Efforts to gather cardiovascular research data from around the world, store it in a computerized data base and then make it available to all researchers who need it are beginning with a group of scientists from the University of Utah, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Parma University of Italy.
Representatives from the three institutions recently met at the U. to begin the development of a "standardized" reporting system to which all would have access."Many cardiovascular problems and much of the research being done are similar throughout the world," said Dr. Robert Lux, associate professor of cardiology at the U. Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute. "We don't as yet, however, have a standardized system that allows us to use each other's data."
The idea is that scientists will be able to enter their findings into the computerized system and can pull from it data from all the studies, translated in such a way as to be understandable and useful.
One of the Japanese scientists, Toshimitsu Musha, professor of physics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said even thought the amount of fish eaten in his country reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease, such disease is frequent. Two major studies are being conducted in Japan.
Italian scientists Macchi Emilio, associate professor of physiology at Istituto Di Fisiologia Generale, Parma University, carries out similar studies in his country where research findings suggest differences in heart disease based on diet. Northern Italians use butter and have higher incidence of heart disease than do southern Italians who use olive oil.
"We're only in the earlier stages of designing and implementing a research information or data system common to all," Lux said. "We are establishing a long-term collaboration that eventually will help us identify and characterize heart disease in its early stages."