Columbia Researchers Honored at American Heart Association Conference

September 10, 2019

Researchers from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health were honored by the American Heart Association (AHA) at the Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2019 Conference held in New Orleans earlier this month. Senior author Dr. L. H. Lumey, professor of epidemiology, and Columbia Mailman students Ms. Shumin Rui (biostatistics) and Mr. Chihua Li (epidemiology) presented their abstract “Antihypertensive Treatment Stops Cognition Decline in Elderly Chinese With Hypertension,” at the conference where they received the Paul Dudley White International Scholar Award. The award recognizes authors that contributed to the highest ranked accepted abstract to the AHA‎ 2019 Hypertension meetings submitted from the U.S.

As one of the founders of the American Heart Association, Dr. Paul Dudley White was also a champion for global cardiovascular health strategies. The work chosen by their peers “reflects Dr. White’s vision for global excellence in cardiovascular science and medicine.”

While high blood pressure appears to accelerate cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults, early findings from the paper showed that treating high blood pressure may stop this acceleration. The researchers analyzed data collected on nearly 11,000 adults from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) between 2011-2015.

Earlier research led by Dr. Lumey found that a majority of Chinese elderly who were diagnosed with hypertension and/or type 2 diabetes in 2011 said they were unaware of having the diseases when examined again in 2015,  causing public health concerns. This shows that the effective communication of health examination results deserves monitoring as it may be a challenge.

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