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Evidence gap / Question

Pro@Heart contribution

Impact

How healthy is it to be a high-level endurance athlete?

We will quantify important health outcomes using an unbiased prospective design

Pro@Heart will identify health benefits / risks associated with long-term endurance exercise to inform future health promotion and prevention strategies.

Studies suggest that some heart rhythm problems may be more common in athletes. Is this true?

This will be the first study to prospectively assess the rate at which arrhythmias develop in athletes.

 

Pro@Heart will provide the definitive evidence on the rate at which heart rhythm problems develop in athletes relative to non-athletes.

Most endurance athletes have heart enlargement termed “athlete’s heart”. Whilst short-term studies suggest that this is very healthy, the long-term effects are not well defined.

This study will link individual features (heart size, structure and function) to long-term health outcomes.

Pro@Heart will identify features that are associated with an increased risk of health problems. This will enable clinicians to target the few athletes who need preventative care or who need more careful surveillance.

Is fitness and cardiovascular adaptation to exercise determined more by training or by genetic factors

The degree to which genes (inherited from family) and environment (exercise) mix to cause health benefits or problems is a major focus of this study. Pro@Heart employs state-of-the-art genetic techniques to unravel these questions.

Pro@Heart will enable us to identify genetic markers so that clinicians can use simple gene tests to diagnose or exclude heart conditions at a very early stage.

Can talent be identified early?

Links between the comprehensive cardiovascular measures performed at the beginning of the study and future performance will be assessed.

Though not a primary focus of Pro@Heart, this will be the best available resource from which to identify cardiovascular markers of future performance.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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