Dr Rajiv Chowdhury is co-leading a major study of cardiovascular disease.
A study of cardiovascular disease in Bangladesh co-led by a Gates scholar is attracting international attention as statistics show the number of people suffering from the disease has increased 3,500% in the last two decades.
The BRAVE [Bangladesh Risk of Acute Vascular Events] study, co-led by Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, began seven months ago in pilot form in readiness for a subsequent large-scale study. However, already it is the largest study of its kind in the country due to the huge number of patients who have been arriving at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases in Dhaka to take part.
Medical officers are recruiting three times as many patients as originally anticipated and 1,000 patients will be involved by the end of this year. Bangladesh is thought to have the highest rates of CVD in South Asia, but it has been little studied until now. It was originally anticipated in the 1990s that there would be a 100% increase in CVD in Bangladesh by 2020, but there has already been a rise of 3,500%.
Dr Chowdhury says the research team plan to build the first epidemiological resource in Bangladesh to test current and future hypotheses about potential risk factors. He thinks factors may include rapid urbanisation, population density, the environment, nutritional problems and genetic problems may play a part.
Already the BRAVE study has been getting international attention and was the subject of a Wall Street Journal blog this week.
Dr Chowdhury  is doing a PhD in Public Health and Primary Care and is the first Bangladeshi student to be awarded a Gates Cambridge scholarship.
Picture credit: Renjith Krishnan and www.freedigitalphotos.net