Informatics Research Seminar: Exploring the Data on Salt-induced Hypertension

January 28 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Mildred Pointer, PhD
Presented from NCCU

Broadcast Link: Seminar



End-stage kidney disease is a major public health concern with a mortality rate that exceeds that for cancer and heart attacks (241/1,000 patient years at risk compared to 137/1,000 and 116/1,000 for cancer and heart attacks, respectively).  There are limited treatment options, and the options that are available currently cost $50 billion annually (Medicare and non-Medicare).  This cost is even greater if lost wages due to illness and treatment are considered. In addition to the economic burden of ESRD, there is an accompanying psychosocial burden that includes poor quality of life and strained social relationships.

African Americans (AAs) have a four-fold greater risk for ESRD compared to whites. Although AA make up approximately 12% of the general population, they make up more than one-third of the dialysis patents. The reason for this disparity in ESRD is not definitively known.  We hypothesize that the type of hypertension may account for some of this disparity.  African Americans with hypertension are generally characterized as salt-sensitive. This type of hypertension is known to have associated with it more aggressive and sever kidney injury. We reason that a better understanding of the mechanism of salt-sensitive hypertension will lead to the development of improved treatment and prevention interventions for this type of hypertension, and in return will lead to reduced progression to end-stage renal disease. This presentation will discuss the use of population and large databases used in the research.


Mildred Pointer, PhD is the Director of Cardio-metabolic Research, Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI), and an Associate Professor in Biology at North Carolina Central University, Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Pointer is a founding member of the American Society of Hypertension, and a fellow in the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Council. She has contributed to the field of salt-sensitive hypertension using known animal models of salt-sensitivity and establishing new models of African American hypertension-associated kidney disease. Her work has, in recent years, turned to African American population studies and large open access databases to confirm her findings from the animal models.