Cardiovascular Risk in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury

Oche Itodo, University of Bern

Introduction: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a major cause of disability and morbidity affecting humans exposed to neurotrauma with a worldwide spread and an incidence of 18 cases/yr. per 1 million individuals in Switzerland. Individuals with SCI often have comorbidities like cardiovascular diseases (CVD) which can be directly or indirectly related to their primary condition. It is the leading cause of mortality in this sub-population. Genome epigenetic modifications play a role in biological pathways underlying CVD. Important lifestyle factors like physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption are suggested as important epigenetic modifiers. Almost no initiatives studying epigenetic modifications in SCI subjects has focused on CVD. The overarching aim of this study is to comprehensively investigate the role of epigenetic modifications after SCI as potential prognostic biomarkers of SCI and indicators of vascular aging. Systematic reviews of human and animal models, laboratory analysis of samples from the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort (SwiSCI) biobank which will be matched with data from the cohort for data exploration to find any links and relationships will be performed. Expected conclusion: We hope our comprehensive evaluation of individuals with SCI will inform interventions and targeted prevention strategies addressing modifiable CVD risk factors in this population.

Keywords: Spinal cord injury, cardiovascular diseases, epigenetics, biomarkers

Short Biography

Before joining the Institute of Social and preventive Medicine and the University of Bern to pursue his PhD in 2019, Oche Itodo obtained his Master’s degree in Public Health from the EHESP French School of Public Health in Paris. He carried out internships as an epidemiologist at the French Ministry of Health and the French National Public Health Agency (Santé Publique France) - both in Paris. He has previously worked as a laboratory technologist with the US president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief (PEPFAR) regional laboratory in partnership with Harvard School of medicine in Nigeria and recently served in the capacity of Public Health consultant for Non-governmental organizations in Nigeria and France. His current research interests include chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and spinal cord injury as well as disability and human functioning.

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