The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is strongly committed to supporting research aimed at preventing and treating heart, lung, and blood diseases and conditions and sleep disorders.
NHLBI-supported research has led to many advances in medical knowledge and care. However, many questions remain about various diseases and conditions, including atherosclerosis.
The NHLBI continues to support research aimed at learning more about atherosclerosis and its related diseases. For example, NHLBI-supported research includes studies that:
- Examine how genetics may play a role in causing atherosclerosis
- Explore how nutritional and behavioral therapies can help treat coronary heart disease risk factors
- Examine how inflammation and insulin resistance affect people who have P.A.D.
- Explore the effects of fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) on the body's arteries
Much of this research depends on the willingness of volunteers to take part in clinical trials. Clinical trials test new ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat various diseases and conditions.
For example, new treatments for a disease or condition (such as medicines, medical devices, surgeries, or procedures) are tested in volunteers who have the illness. Testing shows whether a treatment is safe and effective in humans before it is made available for widespread use.
By taking part in a clinical trial, you can gain access to new treatments before they're widely available. You also will have the support of a team of health care providers, who will likely monitor your health closely. Even if you don't directly benefit from the results of a clinical trial, the information gathered can help others and add to scientific knowledge.
If you volunteer for a clinical trial, the research will be explained to you in detail. You'll learn about treatments and tests you may receive, and the benefits and risks they may pose. You'll also be given a chance to ask questions about the research. This process is called informed consent.
If you agree to take part in the trial, you'll be asked to sign an informed consent form. This form is not a contract. You have the right to withdraw from a study at any time, for any reason. Also, you have the right to learn about new risks or findings that emerge during the trial.
For more information about clinical trials related to atherosclerosis and its related diseases, talk with your doctor. You also can visit the following Web sites to learn more about clinical research and to search for clinical trials:
For more information about clinical trials for children, visit the NHLBI's Children and Clinical Studies Web page.
What is atherosclerosis?05/22/2014
Describes how the build-up of plaque over time causes atherosclerosis which can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. Shows how in atherosclerosis, plaque builds up inside the arteries which can cause a heart attack. Explains that the main treatment for atherosclerosis is lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and being physically active.