What is the MASALA study?

South Asians (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali, and Sri Lankan) have high rates of heart attacks and stroke that is not explained by widely known risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking. The MASALA study is trying to identify what factors lead to heart disease in South Asians. Identification of these factors may help guide future treatments to prevent or cure heart disease in South Asians.

Why is the MASALA study important?

  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide and accounts for 30% of all deaths. South Asians comprise 60% of the world’s heart disease patients. South Asians have the highest death rate from heart disease in the United States compared to other ethnic groups. Studies from around the world have shown that South Asians have a higher burden of cardiovascular risk factors at younger ages.  
  • There are only a handful of long-term studies of South Asians currently. Most studies do not have a comprehensive profile of South Asians to investigate behavioral, social, cultural, and clinical risk factors. MASALA will explore newer emerging risk factors for heart disease.
  • We know very little about the most effective strategies to prevent and treat heart disease in South Asians. The MASALA study will generate new knowledge to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease in South Asians.