Channing Stroke Risk and Prevention Research

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Understand Lifestyle, Dietary, Biochemical and Genetic Risk Factors for Stroke and Identify Preventive Strategies

Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S. and the fourth- and fifth-leading cause of death for women and men in the U.S. Worldwide, stroke is the second-leading cause of death. Women account for a majority of stroke deaths (60%), and stroke rates are substantially higher in U.S. blacks.

Stroke can be caused either by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain (ischemic stroke) or by rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke), and the mechanisms and risk factors for these types may differ. The most common risk factors include age, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes.

Current Research

Investigators at the Channing Division of Network Medicine (CDNM) have built a comprehensive research strategy to:

  • Study the epidemiology of stroke
  • Identify genetic determinants of stroke through collaboration with large international consortia
  • Identify underlying mechanisms and biomarkers associated with risk of stroke

We use multidisciplinary approaches to understand risk factors for stroke and identify preventive strategies.


CDNM investigators have identified a wide number of lifestyle, dietary, biochemical, and genetic risk factors for stroke.

Lifestyle and Nutrition Factors

CDNM investigators have examined a wide range of lifestyle factors, including obesity, physical activity, alcohol use, hormonal and reproductive exposures, and dietary patterns and factors, with risk of ischemic, hemorrhagic, and total stroke.


NIH-funded research has supported CDNM investigations of sex hormones, adipokines, fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin D with risk of ischemic stroke.


NHLBI-funded research currently supports our investigation of metabolomic signatures for ischemic stroke among women in the Nurses’ Health Studies (I and II).

Network Approaches

CDNM investigators have been using network approaches to examine metabolomic profiles using subnetworks and disease pathway models

Study Populations

Study populations utilized by CDNM investigators include:

  • Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II
  • Health Professionals Follow-up Study
  • Women’s Health Initiative

National and International Collaborations

Stroke investigators at CDNM are involved in the NINDS Stroke Genetics Network (SiGN) Study, the International Stroke Genetics Consortium, CoMETS, and NHLBI Trans-Omics in Precision Medicine (TOPMed), which facilitate access to an extensive repertoire of multi-omic data.