Dr Andrew Kirk at the Bunbury Business Club

Guest Speaker Dr Andrew Kirke from The Val Lishman Health Research Foundation in collaboration with the Rural Clinical School Bunbury addressed the Bunbury Business Club to discuss a ground breaking research program, FHSW (Familial Hypercholesterolaemia South West).  The research program aims to identify people in the community who are at risk of a heart attack or stroke in their thirties and forties.

About the Disease

Familial Hypercholesterolaemia is an inherited disease and those that carry the gene have a 50% chance of passing this condition on to their children. The main risk is that it causes serious heart disease and can result in a heart attack or stroke even in younger people.  There is a 1:500 ratio of sufferers in general community and yet 80% of those cases go undetected.  Cholesterol is treatable with medication.

About the Project

As a community driven and independent volunteer organisation promoting health research in the South West, the Foundation is committed to regularly informing the community on research projects as well as improved community understanding and awareness of health related topics. The ground breaking project is identifying people who are at risk of a heart attack or stroke in their 30’s and 40’s. The aim is to find those with inherited high cholesterol before the condition, Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) becomes life threatening. Researchers have already detected people at risk over the last 2 years and the team hope to have definitive answers on the most effective way to detect the condition by mid-2013. Dr Andrew Kirke and Mrs Rita Barbour are key researchers within this project and accomplished speakers in their chosen health and lecturing fields and are enthusiastic to improve community understanding of FH and be a resource for the South West community.

Dr Andrew Kirke works with the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia and the Val Lishman foundation attracts funds for research projects that are of interest to the community and Western Australia.  FHSW is based in Bunbury and services Mandurah to Margaret River and is very much aimed at developing local skills in the community.