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Make saving lives your new year’s resolution by giving blood to innovative new study – University of Reading

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Make saving lives your new year’s resolution by giving blood to innovative new study

Release Date 05 January 2018

The team want to learn more about how different people's blood platelets react

Scientists are calling on members of the public to help make a breakthrough in the fight against the world’s leading cause of death, by literally bleeding for the cause.

The University of Reading is calling for volunteers to provide blood samples for a new heart disease study, examining how factors like blood cholesterol can affect a person’s risk of heart attacks or strokes.

The METPLAR (Understanding Metabolic Factors that Contribute to Platelet Reactivity) study is funded by the British Heart Foundation. It aims to find out why some people’s blood platelets respond to blood vessel damage and drugs differently to others, and therefore learn how medication could be tailored to individuals.

Those feeling guilty about Christmas indulgence, or just interested in their personal health, will also be able to find out their BMI (body mass index) and body fat percentage, among other details, by taking part in the study.

Platelets are tiny blood cells that respond rapidly when we cut ourselves or damage our blood vessels by sticking together and forming a blood clot to prevent bleeding. However, in some cases, large clots can block blood vessels in the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.

Anti-platelet medication has been effective in recent years in preventing clots, yet heart disease remains one of the biggest causes of death in the UK – causing around 200,000 deaths each year – and many questions remain about how best to prevent it.

Blood samples from volunteers are needed to help answer these questions. Scientists in the University’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research will examine whether a person’s hormones, blood cholesterol or insulin sensitivity, among other factors, affects their platelet response, and which medication would be most effective for them.

How to take part

Volunteers are required to visit the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition at the University of Reading for 45 minutes. Your blood pressure, height, weight, waist and hip circumference and body fat composition will be measured and a blood sample will be taken.

You must be a non-smoking man or woman aged 30-65, who is not diabetic or taking medication for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure or inflammatory conditions. Travel costs will be reimbursed.

To take part in the study, call 0118 378 7096 or email

Image credit: Platelets spread on collagen. A.P.Bye; J.M.Gibbins, University of Reading. 

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