Congrats Aniket!

At the 5th annual Canadian National Medical Student Research Symposium, DAL medical student (and former HeartLand Tour core team member) Aniket Hooda won the “ Experienced Researcher Poster Presentation” for his poster presentation entitled: Community Assessment of Risk and Education for Atrial Fibrillation (CARE-AF). This poster presentation was based on the research study Aniket conducted during our 2012 HeartLand Tour! For more information on the research study, please read below to our news post summarizing the study. Congrats Aniket!

Keeping Nova Scotia Youth on the road and OFF the streets

The HeartLand Tour is a proud recipient of the Nova Scotia Minister’s Award for Leadership in Crime Prevention! Justice Minister Ross Landry presented the Minister’s awards for Leadership in Crime Prevention during the 5th annual crime prevention symposium in Halifax on March 27, 2013.

The HeartLand Tour is very excited that our efforts to engage the community in a healthy lifestyle have been recognized as a positive alternative to crime. In the words of Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry, “We all have a responsibility to help young people make the choices to avoid a life of crime”. Mr. Landry spoke about his own involvement in the HeartLand Tour at the symposium, noting the direct connection between good health and crime prevention.

The HeartLand Tour is an example of including the entire province in an initiative that is positive and healthy. “It not only serves its own mandate around raising awareness of heart disease, it also sets the finest of examples by engaging the community in a healthy lifestyle, making it fun and accessible, as well as an alternative to crime. It’s about role models out on their bikes showing the province we can achieve whatever we set our minds to if we work as a collective!” stated HeartLand Tour President Dr. Nick Giacomantonio.

Summary of the 2012 Heartland Tour Medical Study

2012 Nova Scotia HeartLand Tour by Bicycle

Atrial Fibrillation is the most commonly identified cardiac arrhythmia. Its occurrence has been increasing in our society and is a major cause of thromboembolic events, predominantly strokes.

Beyond age, there is evidence to suggest that the rise in AF is also due to increasing prevalence of other cardiac risk factors such as hypertension and obesity and possibly sedentary lifestyles. In 2009, the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) established a Risk Score for the future development of AF in an individual or population. To the best of our knowledge, there has been minimal literature on the clinical application or population health assessment applying this risk score.

The present study compared the burden of risk between highly motivated active individuals participating in the 2012 Heartland Tour (HLT) with a lesser-motivated general population cohort. We utilized the FHS model to determine individual 10-year future risk for the development of AF, as well as the Godin-Shephard Leisure Time Exercise Score to stratify the highly motivated and general population cohorts. In 139 eligible participants of the 2012 HLT, the average 10-year risk of developing AF was 2.63% and the Exercise Score was 51.6. In 169 members of the general population, the average 10 year risk of AF was 8.63% with an exercise score average of 30.0 (p-value <0.001 for AF risk and <0.04 for exercise score). These results are in keeping with a recent systematic review of all literature regarding exercise and AF that show a positive benefit of routine moderate exercise in reducing the burden of AF (Giacomantonio et al. 2012). In conclusion, this study is the first application of the Framingham Risk Score for the future development of AF as applied to individuals on a community level. It shows us that moderate physical activity as the Heartland Tour is associated with a low risk of developing Atrial Fibrillation and that low physical activity has more than 3 times greater risk of developing this rhythm disturbance which has a high risk of associated stroke and potential for heart failure. Events as the Heartland tour should be encouraged and supported to engage more of the general population.

The Nova Scotia Heartland Tour would like extend our gratitude towards Dalhousie Medicine for their support of this study and the Tour itself; and to Dalhousie medical student Aniket Hooda for conducting the study.

Most importantly, we wish to sincerely thank all those who participated in the study.

This study will be submitted for presentation at the upcoming Canadian Cardiovascular Conference, Montreal, October 2013.