Cardiovascular diseases represent a large socioeconomic burden worldwide (Roger et al., 2004). These disorders account for almost every second death in Europe (4 M deaths each year). The worldwide financial burden accounts for 80 billion US$ and approximately € 17 billion in the EU per year. Chronic heart failure alone affects close to 11 million people in Europe and the USA with 900,000 new cases annually (prevalence of 0.4 to 2% in Europe). Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization, while >50% of patients seek re-admission within 6 months after treatment (Nieminen et al., 2006). Hence, a contribution towards the identification and validation of novel therapeutic targets capable of counteracting adverse cardiac remodelling, as proposed here, will have a major impact in reducing socio-economic costs for the EU public system while at the same time reducing hospitalization and mortality.
We intend to understand how metabolic changes impact on heart function, to identify risk factors and an efficient strategy to counteract cardiovascular disease onset in the elderly.
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