“I think Dr. Sadayappan’s pioneering research will make a significant impact,” said Dr. Deeptankar DeMazumder, assistant professor in the UC Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease and UC Health cardiologist. “Very little is known about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in general.”
“The majority of studies have conventionally been done on Caucasian males, and much less is known about the impact of gender and race on disease development and progression,” said DeMazumder. “We know that race is an important factor and we need studies like this to get this information out there. There are ways to more effectively treat or prevent cardiomyopathy when diagnosed early, but when causes are genetic, the effects can be variable and less apparent until you develop full blown disease.”
“Certainly, we can not rigorously test everybody’s hearts continuously,” said DeMazumder. “By the time your heart is thick, you already have the disease and you don’t really suspect it. What is it about being South Asian that predisposes you to this? That is the missing link, the information we don’t have. I think this study will contribute important information in that regard while also increasing awareness in the community. In the future we can use that to screen people at high risk just as we do now for some of the other causes of heart failure or heart disease.”
Sadayappan has spent more than 20 years unlocking the science behind hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but his latest effort to reach the community seems just as important.
“As a scientist at the end of the day I want to take whatever I do in my lab and benefit my community,” said Sadayppan. “Otherwise, what I do is not valuable. This is translational research and Red Saree is what I am giving back to the community. We have to give medicine, treatment, knowledge or consultation to make a difference.”
Dr. Deepak Krishnan, associate professor of surgery at UC and part of an advisory board for Red Saree, offered kudos to Sadayappan for his work with Red Saree.
“What he has done is he has identified community leaders in Cincinnati who are from different regions of India, speak different languages and have different traditions, to take the message forward that we are at increased risk of cardiovascular-related death," said Krishnan, a UC Health surgeon. "We learn from him and we spread that knowledge.”
The challenge is to keep that message from getting lost in the hussel and bussel of everyday life.
“Being an educator and a surgeon and care provider I feel I have the moral responsibility to spread the word to my peers,” said Krishnan. “You have to make a lot of noise to be heard when so many are trying to live the immigrant life and succeed in an adopted community.”
“The one thing I can’t change is my genes,” said Krishnan. “In order to stay ahead of the game we have to adapt our lifestyles through exercise, diet and stress management.”
Photo illustration features members of the group Red Saree as lead art. Presentation by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative Services. Shown in the photo illustration from left to right are Aradhana Valecha, Bhuvaneswari Sakthivel, Latha Samu, Rama Kasturi, Preeti Bansal Kshirsagar, Subhadra Suresh, Kani Palanikumar and Abitha Sukumaran.