Seeking the genetic keys to atrial fibrillation
(NC) Dr. Michael Gollob's father was in his 40s and healthy when he developed atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition involving an irregular heart beat.
While his father lived into his 80s, not all AF patients do as well. Affecting about 350,000 Canadians, AF is “reaching epidemic proportions,” says Dr. Gollob – and it puts people at much higher risk for stroke.
Helping to understand AF at a genetic level and develop effective treatments is a goal of Dr. Gollob, who is a cardiac electrophysiologist and director of the Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic and Arrhythmia Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Medications and procedures are frequently ineffective,” he says. “That's why it's important to get a grasp on this situation.”
The focus of his laboratory is to discover genes that, when defective, can give rise to AF in otherwise healthy people. Already, he and colleagues have identified two such genes. “By understanding how these defective genes alter the physiology of the heart and cells, we may be able to develop better treatments,” he says.
Dr. Gollob, recipient of a 2013 Heart and Stroke Foundation Mid-Career Investigator Award, hopes his research will one day help people like his father. “Presently we use a one-size-fits-all approach. We're aiming for targeted medical therapy.”
Find out more about AF at www.heartandstroke.ca/bepulseaware. While on the site, take a look at a few of the helpful short videos and share them with interested friends and family.
Word count: 240
Articles are provided free of charge. Articles appearing on web sites, must credit www.newscanada.com. Articles appearing in Print, must credit News Canada with (NC) at beginning of an article or – News Canada at the end. Any source/sponsor of the information quoted in the text must also be identified as presented. Images are only to be used with corresponding editorial copy. Usage of News Canada articles constitutes your acceptance of these terms and an agreement between you and News Canada.