Grand Rounds: Mediterranean Diet to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases of Aging

Event Date: June 4th, 2019

Samia Mora, MD

Grand Rounds: Mediterranean Diet to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases of Aging

Presented by: Samia Mora, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events but the precise mechanisms through which Mediterranean diet intake may reduce long-term risk of CVD are not well understood. Dr. Mora and her colleagues aimed to investigate the biological mechanisms that may mediate this cardiovascular benefit.


Date/Time: Tuesday, June, 4 | 8-9am (followed by coffee hour)
Venue: Bornstein Family Amphitheater, BWH, 45 Francis St. Boston, MA

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Research Methods and Findings

Using a prospective study of 25,994 initially healthy women enrolled in the Women’s Health Study who were followed up to 12-years, Dr. Mora evaluated potential mediating effects of a panel of biomarkers (in total 40 biomarkers) that represent different CVD pathways and clinical factors. Women consuming a Mediterranean-type diet had up to a quarter reduction in CVD events over long-term follow-up.

For the MED-CVD risk reduction, biomarkers of inflammation, glucose-metabolism/insulin-resistance, and adiposity contributed most to explaining the association, with additional contributions from pathways related to blood pressure, lipids – in particular HDL or triglyceride-rich lipoprotein metabolism, and to a lesser extent LDL cholesterol, branched chain amino acids, and small molecule metabolites.

Speaker Biography

Samia Mora, MD, MHS is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. She is a cardiovascular medicine specialist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she is the Director of the Center for Lipid Metabolomics.
She also has joint appointments in the Divisions of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Women’s Health.

Dr. Mora received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed an internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and a cardiovascular disease fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she also obtained a Masters in Health Science (Epidemiology) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is board certified in cardiovascular disease and echocardiography, and is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and American Society of Echocardiography. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of JAMA Internal Medicine and Atherosclerosis.

Dr. Mora’s clinical interests include cardiovascular prevention, lipids, modifiable risk factors, and women’s health. The author of over 140 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Mora’s research focuses on risk factors and prevention of cardiovascular disease. She is actively involved with several randomized clinical trials and observational studies, having served on the Endpoints Committee of the Women’s Health Study, the Clinical Coordinating Committee of the JUPITER trial, and currently on the Steering Committee of the VITAminD and OmegA-3 Trial (VITAL), and the Harvard Investigator on the Gulf Population Risks and Epidemiology of Vascular Events and Treatment (Gulf PREVENT) study. Dr. Mora recently developed the free Aspirin-Guide mobile app (available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and on the web).


  1. Assessment of Risk Factors and Biomarkers Associated with Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Women Consuming a Mediterranean Diet.
    Shafqat Ahmad, PhD; M. Vinayaga Moorthy, PhD; Olga V. Demler, PhD; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD; Paul M Ridker, MD, MPH; Daniel I. Chasman, PhD; Samia Mora, MD, MHS
    JAMA Network:Open. 2018;1(8);e185708. doi:10.1001/jamaopennetwork.2018.5708

2. Raw and Red Hot: Could inflammation be the cause of myriad chronic conditions?
Harvard Magazine, May-June 2019

3. Mediterranean diet works by adding up small improvements
Harvard health Publishing, March, 2019

4. What’s behind Mediterranean diet and lower cardiovascular risk?
    Science Daily, December, 2018

5. Why is the Mediterranean Diet so Healthy? Study Lets Us Count The Ways
WBUR, December, 2018

6. How the Mediterranean Diet Can help Prevent Heart Disease in Women
    U.S. News & World Report, February, 2019