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In This Video

  • Michael T. Osborne, MD, is an assistant in medicine in the Cardiology Division at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • He discusses his research focused on preventing cardiovascular disease before it starts using a systems biology approach
  • His team is using imaging to find connections between disparate organ systems and to understand the relationship between these systems that may lead to disease

Michael T. Osborne, MD, is an assistant in medicine in the Cardiology Division at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. In this video, he discusses his research focused on preventing cardiovascular disease before it starts using a systems biology approach. His team is using imaging to find connections between disparate organ systems and to understand the relationship between these systems that may lead to disease.

Transcript

We're very good at treating disease that has developed. However, one gap in cardiovascular disease that continues to gain a lot of momentum is the ability to prevent disease before it becomes a clinically relevant factor. So, my research has long been focused on trying to catch disease before it actually happens.

So, our group under the leadership of Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, has really taken a unique approach to understanding the mechanisms behind disease. It's truly a systems biology approach. So, we're looking at imaging of the entire body that allows us to make connections between disparate organ systems to figure out the relationship between these organ systems that may ultimately lead to disease.

Our group has recently been focused on trying to better understand the way in which the environment and environmental stressors ultimately lead to disease. We've been able to show that the amygdala, the neural center, incredibly important in the emotional and physiological response to stress has an important role in the mechanism leading to disease as a consequence of stressors. More recently we've looked upstream of the amygdala, and we've found that socioeconomic factors and environmental factors including noise, have an incredibly important link to the activity of the amygdala and ultimately relate to the development of these same diseases.

We hope to further define this pathway, mechanistically, using advanced imaging and biomarkers to better clarify targets for potential therapy, with the hopes of ultimately impacting the development of these diseases in a broad population.

The relationship between environmental and psychosocial stressors has long been hypothesized, however, the mechanisms have never truly been understood. And this has held back our ability to treat and modify the effect of environmental and psychosocial stressors on the development of disease. So, by better understanding the mechanisms, we feel that we'll be able to develop novel insights into potential therapies that may ultimately lessen the burden of disease consequent to stress for society as a whole.

Learn more about the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center

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