World-renowned epidemiologist Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., the first Sir Richard Doll research professor in Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, is guiding the university toward the pinnacle of clinical biomedical research. Hennekens was the third most-widely-cited medical researcher in the world from 1995 to 2005, and five of the other top 20 were his former trainees or fellows. He has clarified numerous causal, therapeutic and preventive factors in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), most notably his groundbreaking research on low-dose aspirin.

As the principal investigator of the Physician’s Health Study, Hennekens was the first to demonstrate that aspirin could prevent a first heart attack for which he received the Senior International Aspirin Award, which has been granted to only five individuals worldwide.

With respect to the use of aspirin in the prevention of a first heart attack, Hennekens said that men and women alike can benefit from aspirin therapy, although these benefits may manifest themselves differently at different ages.

“More research is needed, especially among the apparently healthy elderly, to complete the totality of evidence,” Hennekens said. “In the meantime, for apparently healthy men and women, the guiding principle in deciding whether to use aspirin should be based on one’s absolute risk of a first coronary event.”

Most recently, in a lead article published in the June issue of the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs , Hennekens discusses the strengths, limitations, and clinical and regulatory considerations of the combination of two drugs with statins.

Statins are used for the treatment of lipid disorders, in particular, elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol in patients with and without prior CVD. These drugs reduce risks of myocardial infarction, stroke and death from CVD.

Hennekens also was the U.S. principal investigator for the International Studies of Infarct Survival, the second of which demonstrated the benefits of aspirin administered during a heart attack.  He is also a founding member of the Antiplatelet Trialist’s Collaboration demonstrating the benefits of aspirin among a wide range of survivors of prior occlusive vascular disease events.  Hennekens wrote the American Heart Association Guidelines for aspirin use in 1997.  He was also the founding principal investigator for the Women’s Health Study on aspirin. 

In addition to his position at FAU, Hennekens is a part-time Special Government Employee (SGE) serving as consultant to the Division of CardioRenal Drugs of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


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