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Young people with old hearts – the importance of cardiac rehabilitation

Every revolutionary technological discovery in the field of medicine gives us hope for better health and, consequently, a better life. But how long is the journey from the start of observation, confirmation of research results followed by first application to widespread use to treat hundreds of patients? In Europe, the process can take months or years. Meanwhile, around the world, patients are still waiting for help.

One concerning example of slow or inadequate progress in promoting disease prevention is the low level of cardiac rehabilitation in the Arabian Peninsula. An attempt to address this problem was made by a talented Polish scientist, Adam Staroń, MD, who shared with us his passion for science, thoughts on the access to evidence-based medicine and widespread prevention.  

How did your journey with cardiology begin?

It all started with a fascination with the structure of the myocardial fibres, deepened during a fellowship from the European Society of Cardiology in Milan. Over the past few years, I have become significantly intrigued by the role of physical training in cardiac rehabilitation and the search for the best exercises for improving physical performance and cardiac function.

What led to your decision to work abroad? 

I realised that there is no cardiac rehabilitation in the Arabian Peninsula, and this is a place where promoting physical exercise is extremely important, given the lack of physical activity among the population, where the average age is 30. 

What research questions are you currently working on? What scientific achievements are you most proud of so far?

I am currently work on co-authoring a second book in English on

physical training programming. One of my most important achievements so far is the publication of a popular textbook on the importance of training in cardiac rehabilitation. It promotes this knowledge in areas where it is not common and allows us to reach more patients in need or prevent morbidity and death. 

What are the most pressing issues in your field? 

In the context of patient health care – the availability of cardiac rehabilitation, raising its importance, as well as educating doctors and the society. Another difficult aspect is the lack of understanding of decision-makers about the shape and current role of cardiology. From the scientist’s perspective, I can add that there are a lot of extremely talented scientists of different nationalities, many of whom among them have no chance to develop outside the country due to either language limitations or career blocking in their environment, which significantly slows down the development of the field and the achievement of better scientific results.

Why is the mentioned foreign exposure and gaining experience outside the country important in the development of a scientific career?

Exposure to the international scientific community broadens horizons, expands knowledge, expertise and perceptions, which is a professional priority. International experiences allow the process of development as a scientist to significantly accelerate and deepen knowledge and allow the exchange of experience even in very narrow research areas.

What is the latest research in cardiac rehabilitation that is of particular interest for you?

One area of great interest is high-intensity physical training, which is characterised by different parameters than those of regular intensity. Other prominent topics are the training of patients undergoing chemotherapy to support the recovery process, and the effect of training on the function of cardiac muscle fibres. 

In the near future, my scientific focus will be the training to replace the need for medications. The culmination of this research would be the creation of a network of exercise treatment clinics, and the use of individual, personalised exercise prescriptions for patients.

Why is the development of cardiac rehabilitation so important, especially in the Arabian Peninsula?

Among the expected outcomes of widespread popularisation of research findings are a reduction in total, and especially the cardiovascular mortality, following the introduction of rehabilitation after cardiac incidents, as well as the possibility of optimising therapy, for example, after myocardial infarction heart attack.

What advice would you give to young scientists at the beginning of their scientific careers?

First of all, I would recommend that they pursue their dreams, regardless and in spite of everything and everyone.

For more information, read the literature and follow Dr. Adam Staroń’s scientific and popularisation activities and contact through LinkedIn or Coopernicus platform.

Fot. Unsplash

Adam Staroń
Joanna Admin
Member of Coopernicus Team and Politecnico di Milano Student. Graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in Biomedical Informatics.
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