Erica P. Gunderson, PhD, MS, MPH: Building More Female Cardiometabolic Data


A discussion on the winning qualities of the CARDIA study, and why it's also hard to replicate.

The CARDIA study, initiated in 1985, has been delivering cardiovascular risk development and outcome data for the same young adult population for 4 decades now.

Among the key contributing findings from the 5100-plus cohort is the interpreted risk of cardiovascular disease development in women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy.

Though the CARDIA study continually benefits expert understanding of cardiovascular disease development and risk factors to this day, its trial design and execution may not be easily replicated.

In an interview with HCPLive during The Metabolic Institute of America’s (TMIOA) 2021 Heart in Diabetes sessions in New York, NY this weekend, Erica P. Gunderson, PhD, MS, MPH, Senior Research Scientist, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, discussed the GDM-specific outcomes derived from the CARDIA cohort.

Gunderson also discussed the value, and inherent hurdles, in conducting long-term, diverse cohort assessment in cardiology:

“I think observational studies are challenging and these large cohort studies are extremely difficult to do in a pragmatic sense, but also in terms of coordination and funding. And NHLBI really has put in a huge investment in the study, and it's yielded some very unique data and findings. It’s a valuable observational cohort. And for these types of questions around pregnancy, you can’t randomize people to GDM pregnancy or an adverse outcome. You can’t randomize people to lactation or not. You have to do the most rigorous observational study design with multiple rigorous measurements of confounders and analytic techniques that are involved—time to event, careful follow-up timing for outcomes, and really high-quality measures of risk factors or changes.”

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