Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Scientist Mike Dodd began a career to fight a life-threatening heart condition after being told he might develop the illness himself.

As a teenager doctors told him he carried the gene which causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and that sparked an interest in the heart and how it works.

 The 28-year-old said: “It was scary. This is a condition that can cause sudden cardiac deaths. “You can be playing sport or doing something and you get a speeding up on your heart and you can literally drop dead.” The condition means sufferers have an irregular thickness of the heart. Former Oxford United player Mitchell Cole retired from the sport in 2011 after being diagnosed, but died of a heart attack aged 27 in 2012. Dr Dodd, who used to live in Cholsey, said he and his brother Chris were told they had inherited the gene when dad Ian was diagnosed with the condition. He added: “I was 14 when my dad went to the doctors and he realised he had something wrong.

“He had palpitations. His heart would skip beats and he could feel his heart really beating in his chest. Me and my brother were then stopped from doing any exercise until we got monitored.” Being told about the condition got Dr Dodd interested in the heart and he went on to study biochemistry at the University of Bath before doing a Phd in cardio vascular medicine at the University of Oxford and researching the illness. He said: “I remember at school when I found out about this I wanted to find out more about the heart. That’s when I got really interested. “I took an interest in it and felt I had a personal connection to it. It sounds cheesy but it was finally a choice to follow my heart.”
 

He now researches the condition and heart disease in general for the university and is based at Headington’s John Radcliffe Hospital and the physiology department. Dr Dodd, who now lives in Burdell Avenue, Sandhills, with his wife, undergoes ultrasound tests on his heart every year. So far there are no signs that he will develop the condition. He said: “At the moment my heart appears normal, so I may develop symptoms later in life and I may not. It is a scary thing but I felt reassured by the constant monitoring.” But Dr Dodd said he has to be careful and that any strenuous exercise could be the “tipping point”.

Source: Oxford Mail

Similar stories

Continued ethical animal research needed to advance treatment of brain disease, researchers argue

More research is needed to improve the treatment of brain diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s or ADHD. A widely held view within the scientific community is that this cannot be done without ethically conducted animal research. A team of seventy international neuroscientists, including DPAG’s Associate Professor Vladyslav Vyazovskiy, have now published a warning that animal research is under pressure, which endangers the further development of treatments.

Cortex may regulate the need for sleep

Why we sleep, and the processes behind sleep, are amongst the most interesting questions in modern neuroscience. Researchers at the University of Oxford, including DPAG's Molnár and Vyazovskiy group scientists, have now uncovered a new target for sleep investigations within the mammalian brain – the cerebral cortex. The paper, first authored by Dr Lukas Krone, was published today in Nature Neuroscience.

Reducing fat in the diabetic heart could improve recovery from heart attack

New research from the Heather Group has shown that in type 2 diabetes an overload of lipids reduces the heart’s ability to generate energy during a heart attack, decreasing chances of recovery.

The brain’s one-sided teaching signals

A new study by the Lak group reveals a novel facet of dopamine signalling during visual decision making.

Fellowship awarded to Huriye Atilgan to enhance our understanding of value-based decision-making

Congratulations are in order for Postdoctoral Research Scientist Dr Huriye Atilgan who has been awarded a prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Wellcome Trust.