Can seafood save Russian women?

Martin Steinholt

14. January 2008

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Can seafood reduce the risk of Russian women suffering from cardiovascular diseases? Scientists are keen to find out.

Cardiovascular diseases are the principle cause of death among Russian women.

A new research project by Nofima (formerly Fiskeriforskning), together with the University of Tromsø and the University of Arkhangelsk, will study the connection between seafood and cardiovascular diseases in the northern part of Russia.

Comparison

Doctorate Research Fellow Natalya Petrenya will carry out the study as part of the three-year project.

"We want to compare women who live in the city of Arkhangelsk, women who live on the coast and women of the indigenous Nenets people," says Petrenya. "The main focus is on which risk indicators for cardiovascular diseases we can find in these groups when we look at how much seafood they consume."

Each group will comprise around 200 women. Blood tests will be taken of all the women to measure fatty substances, including cholesterol. The quantity of the proteins ApoA and ApoB in the blood will also be checked. These proteins are used as indicators of whether the woman is in the danger zone for cardiovascular diseases.

Choosing women

The mortality rate among men from cardiovascular diseases is even higher than that for women. In that case, why do research on women and not men?

"The answer has a lot to do with the role of women today" says Jon Øyvind Odland, Professor at the University of Tromsø and doctor in Bodø.

"Women have responsibility for the entire family, food traditions and grocery shopping. If we can determine that seafood plays a positive roll, we can, to play it up a bit, influence the entire society if we reach the women."

Norwegian women

A large-scale study of women and cancer (NOWAC) is currently in progress. This study is also looking at risk factors and what the women eat.

"By also gathering data from Russia, we can see if there are differences in both a positive and negative direction," says Odland. "Seafood plays an important part in what we consume in the Northern Regions and if we are able to show there is a positive effect regarding cardiovascular diseases we will have come a long way."

Contact people

Professor Jon Øyvind Odland, phone +47 90 95 38 87

Director of Research Even Stenberg, phone (direct) +47 77 62 90 89

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