CAHHM -The Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds



Image based on Brain by Dierk Schaefer and We Heart by Jeremy Brooks

CAHHM is a Canada-wide study looking at the early causes and risk factors of heart disease and stroke. It will build on The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP), which is a cancer prevention initiative. CAHHM will greatly expand CPTP's pool of participants as well as add a cardiovascular disease component to the project.

The project is led by multiple well-established Canadian research groups dedicated to understanding chronic disease. CAHHM partnering groups include the Canadian arms of the PURE Study, the 5 regional groups that make up CPTP, the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) Biobank, the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) and newly recruited aboriginal cohorts.

The study aims to recruit a total of 9,700 men and women aged 35-69 from across all cohorts. Our Vancouver site aims to recruit 300 PURE participants for the study and will be asking all PURE participants to complete one additional questionnaire for CAHHM.


Heart disease, stroke and brain health all impact the quality of life of people living in Canada, and they also increase the cost of health care. CAHHM is a unique opportunity to bring together Canadian experts and existing chronic disease studies. Working together at a larger scale can help us to better understand the early causes and risk factors of these conditions and to learn how they progress to the disease states.

We are also interested in determining how the places in which we live and work influence aspects of our lifestyles such as physical activity, food intake, and stress. By better understanding the causes of poor health and disease, we will be able to identify risk factors for disease. We will also learn how to identify poor health early in order to optimize health services, access and treatment for at-risk individuals.


1. To understand the role of socio-environmental and contextual factors (such as societal structure, activity, nutrition, social and tobacco environments, and access to health services) on cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, subclinical disease, and clinical CV events at the individual and population levels. This will include investigating the impact of contextual factors on geographic variation in CV disease (i.e. rural vs. urban, and east to west gradient), and their relative impact compared to individual level factors.

2. To characterize the unique patterns of contextual factors as well as acculturation, cultural continuity, and migration experience as related to individual CV risk factors, health service utilization, and clinical outcomes among high risk ethnic groups including South Asians, Chinese, African origin, and reserve-based Aboriginal people from across Canada.

3. To identify markers for early subclinical dysfunction in the brain, vessels, heart and abdomen using magnetic resonance imaging, and to investigate the associations with contextual and individual determinants of these markers, as well as to assess the predictive value of novel markers of subclinical dysfunction on the development of clinical CV events.


We have recruited 350 participants from the PURE Study to undergo a brain, heart and abdomen MRI as well as clinical testing to measure cognitive performance. Detailed risk-factor data, including physical measurements collected through the main PURE Study are used alongside these imaging and cognitive measures. We are also asking all 2,700 PURE participants to complete the CPTP cancer prevention questionnaire, providing a large and comprehensive data set.