Some people who seem to be the picture of good health still have heart attacks. A Salt Lake City company is trying to learn why and is looking for more heart attack patients to include in its research.
Optimum Clinical Research is studying whether heart attacks have an unknown, hidden cause.
"There is something else we are missing that is causing heart attacks," said Jared Shields, a researcher and recruitment coordinator at the research facility. "People who are watching their diet, getting their exercise and keeping their cholesterol normal are still having heart attacks."
Shields said one theory is based on proteins in the body that cause areas of inflammation on artery walls. The inflammation can cause plaque and blood clots to build up, which can cause a heart attack.
"What we are doing is holding a study where we are taking blood samples of this protein, called C-Reactive, and giving the person a medication to see if by lowering the inflammation we can lower the onset of heart attacks, stroke and diabetes," Shields said. "This is a long-term study and we are looking for 11,700 people to participate. So far we have around 2,000 participants."
Those enrolled in the study don't know whether they are being given a placebo or the medication, called canakinumab, a monoclonal human antibody used to treat inflammation. To qualify, participants must be 18 years or older and have already had at least one heart attack.
John Chadwick, 61, of Roy, began participating in the study last year.
"I've had Type I diabetes since I was 10 years old, and I've always been insulin dependent," he said. "Diabetes comes with a lot of complications. I've had problems with my eyes and my kidneys, and five years ago I had a heart attack."
Chadwick said he's not participating in the study for himself, but for others.
"Diabetes is such a devastating disease, and the real reason I'm involved in this study is that I want to help prevent others from going through what I have gone through," he said.
Shields said the participants in the study have a wide range of reasons for being involved. Those range from helping others to improving their own quality of life.
"Everyone's reasons are different and very personal," he said. "We get people from all walks of life who are looking for a cure or for a way to give back, but we appreciate everyone who gets involved.
"Many times, good medicines are delayed because we can't find enough people to be in these studies, so the faster we can get people enrolled, the faster we can get the data and get the medication out there to the public."
To enroll, call 801-363-7353. You can also learn more about the study by visiting www.ocresearch.com.