Sparrow/MSU study link, sex and heart health in older people

Published: Sept. 20, 2017

LANSING, MI – A new research project funded by the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research is studying how sex life in a relationship impacts the cardiovascular health of older people.

The project, which began in the spring, will study up to 80 people aged 65 or older over a year’s time. The participants, some of whom are from the Sparrow Medical Group Senior Health Clinic, must have a regular, intimate partner. They will respond to a survey from researchers, who will study their medical records, looking at areas such as blood pressure results.

“Most evidence in this area is based on younger people,” said Hui Liu, Ph.D., a Professor of Sociology at MSU and lead researcher on the project. “This is a topic that is so underexplored because people don’t talk about it.

“There’s a stereotype that older people don’t have sex. But that isn’t true – a sex life is very important to older people.”

The research team also includes Raza Haque, M.D., a Sparrow Geriatrics Physician and Associate Professor Family Medicine at MSU, and Donna Wang, M.D., MSU Professor of Medicine.

The Center for Innovation and Research is a formal partnership between Sparrow and MSU, bringing together innovators and supporting partnerships between the systems to identify problems, design new approaches, strategies, processes and technologies that address care problems and challenges. An important key to helping Sparrow fulfill its mission and vision is through medical research.

Choose Wisely. Choose Sparrow.