NOVEMBER 25, 1996


FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Officials at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth today (November 25, 1996) announced the institution's participation in a major study of more than 8,000 patients in the U.S. and in Scandinavia with hypertension and a type of heart enlargement known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).

The study will evaluate whether there are benefits of trying to reverse LVH, which afflicts some 13 million people in the U.S. The condition is often caused by chronic high blood pressure and is an important cardiac health risk factor.

Frederick A. Schaller, D.O., chief of cardiology and associate professor of medicine at UNT Health Science Center, is the principal clinical investigator for the study. "We think this project will help provide the medical community with a definitive answer to one of the most important questions facing cardiology today: does attempting to reverse LVH help to reduce deaths?", he said. Co-investigator of the study at UNT Health Science Center is Muriel Marshall, D.O., associate professor of family medicine.

The study will enroll 3,000 patients in the U.S. so that the effects of two medications can be compared. Both are marketed in the U.S. for reducing high blood pressure. The study is sponsored by Merck & Co., Inc., the distributor of one of the drugs.

Candidates for the clinical investigation are men and women between the ages of 55 and 80 who have hypertension and LVH.

"Since most patients don't know they have LVH, that diagnosis will be made as part of our screening procedure," Dr. Schaller said.

Medical evaluations, tests and medications associated with the study at UNT Health Science Center are free of charge to patients who volunteer to participate. The study --- called LIFE for Losartan Intervention For Endpoint --- is expected to continue for five years, Dr. Schaller said.

Persons interested in participating in the study or seeking additional information should call the UNT Health Science Center's Office of Clinical Research at (817) 735-0256.

In addition to the LIFE study, physicians and surgeons at the UNT Health Science Center are participating in some 20 other clinical research projects, including investigations into improved treatments for cervical disc disease, chronic pain, ulcers, stroke and arthritis.