Once solely a research funder, Alberta Innovates has evolved to also be an effective broker, coach and catalyst for health care solutions [among other sectors].

When Dr. Scott Garrison read a Spanish study that suggested taking blood pressure pills at bedtime could reduce stroke, heart attack or death by more than 50 per cent he decided take the next step: look for support to fund a project to test the results.

Dr. ScottGarrison Courtesy of the Edmonton Examiner 2015
Dr. ScottGarrison Courtesy of the Edmonton Examiner 2015

The result was the BEDMED project, and Dr. Garrison hopes it will prove what the Spanish MAPEC study suggests. If it does, it will exceed all other methods we use to reduce cardiovascular risk. "The benefit to the healthcare system and patient would be potentially large for virtually no extra effort," said Dr. Garrison.

Cardiovascular disease, most notably stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure account for one-in-three deaths and one-in-six hospital admissions - high blood pressure is a risk factor for these conditions. Conclusions from the BEDMED study could positively impact our acute care system, as Alberta healthcare costs attributed to hypertension were estimated at $1.4 billion in 2010.

Initial funding for the BEDMED project originated from EnACt along with the trial coordinator who provides ongoing support on this project. We are the primary funder for EnACt, joining several academic and community partners to support this infrastructure that enhances Alberta's existing practice-based research networks as well as academic and community practitioners conducting primary care research.

Dr. Garrison leveraged this funding and acquired an Innovative Clinical Trials grant through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

With assistance from the Alberta Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit's Patient Engagement Platform, work is well underway. The SPOR SUPPORT Unit has helped Dr. Garrison access participants to determine whether heart attack and strokes are reduced by taking blood pressure medication at bedtime. He will also be looking for who may be at risk if they switch the time they take their medication.

Learn how you can become a volunteer for the BEDMED project.

Watch this Edmonton Global News story: Alberta researchers want to test benefits of taking blood-pressure medication at night.

Read more in the June 19 issue of the University of Alberta's Folio.