Chronic Disease Epidemiology Laboratory

RESEARCH FOCUS

The goal of this laboratory is to assess the role of lifestyle and other risk factors and their interactions on the risk of chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

The Chronic Disease Epidemiology Laboratory is collaborating with several large-scale epidemiological studies and clinical trials, including the Louisiana State University Hospital-based Longitudinal Study (LSUHLS), Tianjin Gestational Diabetes Prevention Project (TGDPP), the FINRISK Study, and Tianjin Children Obesity Study. 

LSUHLS: Louisiana State University Health Care Services Division (LSUHCSD) operates seven public hospitals and affiliated clinics in different areas in Louisiana. Since 1997, the LSUHSC facilities have served about 1.6 million unique patients, representing approximately 35% of the Louisiana population. The LSUHCSD Disease Management Evaluation Database contains administrative data, anthropometric and blood pressure measurement data, laboratory data, treatment data, and clinical diagnosis data. All these data have been available in electronic form since 1997 for both inpatients and outpatients. Most patients in LSUHLS have now been followed for more than 10 years. 

TGDPP: This project is an ongoing lifestyle intervention program among 1,180 Chinese women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) at least one year after delivery. The specific aims of the TGDPP are: (1) to test the hypothesis that lifestyle intervention can reduce incident type 2 diabetes in women with prior GDM; (2) to evaluate the interactions between lifestyle intervention and variations in established genes for glucose, insulin resistance, lipids, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in relation to metabolic traits for diabetes in women with prior GDM; and (3) to assess the effects of a lifestyle intervention program in mothers with GDM on their offspring’s health status, including childhood obesity and metabolic abnormalities.

The FINRISK Study: The FINRISK Study is one of the largest prospective epidemiological studies of chronic disease risk factors in the world. The total sample consists of 62,013 individuals from Finland (30,031 men and 31,982 women) aged 25 to 74 years. The follow-up is virtually complete through the nationwide register linkages including the Causes of Death Registry, the National Hospital Discharge Registry, the National Social Insurance Institutions drug register, and the National Cancer Registry. Follow-up databases have been recently updated, and outcome data as of the end of 2008 are available. Approximately 13,000 deaths, 6,000 coronary heart disease cases, 4,000 stroke cases, 3,500 heart failure cases, 800 Parkinsons disease cases, and 6,500 cancer cases have been ascertained during the mean 20 years of follow-up.

Tianjin Children Obesity Study: This retrospective longitudinal study includes 15,928 children aged 3 to 6 years in Tianjin, China. 

Research in this laboratory is supported by the LSU ICON, the American Heart Association, Private Industry Foundation, European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes/Chinese Diabetes Society Program for Collaborative Research between China and Europe, and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Bringing Research in Diabetes to Global Environments and Systems (BRIDGES). 

FACULTY

Gang Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, FAHA