Dr. H. Robert Superko MD, FACC, FAHA, FASPC

President at Cholesterol, Genetics, and Heart Disease Institute

Dr. Superko is an internationally recognized expert in preventive cardiology trained at the State University of New York and the University of California-Davis. He conducted multiple NIH funded clinical trials as Director of the Stanford University Lipid Research Clinic and Laboratory (LRC-CPPT) from 1981 to 1990, Director of the University of California, Berkeley, Cholesterol Research Center at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 1990 to 2000, Director of Research at Berkeley HeartLab from 2000 to 2004, and Chairman of Molecular and Genetic Cardiology at the Fuqua Heart Center and Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia from 2004 to 2009. He was Chief Medical Officer and Vice President at Celera Corporation (a gene discovery company) and affiliated with Quest Diagnostics from 2009-2014. He is affiliated with the Mercer University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Atlanta, Georgia and currently Chairman of the non-profit Cholesterol, Genetics, and Heart Disease Institute.

Dr. Superko has participated in many CME programs and committees as a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. He was Director of the American Heart Association Lipid Disorders Training Center in California and Chairman of several National CME programs. He has received many awards and honors, most recently the Larry King Cardiac Foundation Physician Laureate award for life-time efforts in preventive cardiology.

He is on the editorial board of five medical journals and a reviewer for twenty-nine. He has published 125 manuscripts, 19 text book chapters, one public book and 127 abstract presentations.

His current interests involve individual response to lifestyle and pharmaceutical induced change in factors linked to coronary heart disease. This includes the use of genetic tests to identify patient subgroups that respond differently to specific therapeutic interventions that result in a differential effect on clinical outcomes.

The Prevé program provides multiple layers for health and wellness assessment, including an easy to read and interpret laboratory report with historical data and educational materials, intuitive lifestyle management tools that allow you to track nutrition, heart health, physical activity and behavior, as well as, the ability to build your own community for support, ideas,and advice.

Having access to any one of the many features of the Prevé program could be beneficial to the personalized wellness plan of an individual, but the fact that all of these features are available to individuals in one place elevates Prevé to another level!

The Prevé Program was developed to fulfill an unmet need in the beneficial use of a patient’s laboratory test results and improve personalized healthcare. Currently some medical tests are difficult for patients to obtain due to payment restrictions by medical insurance companies. Many of these tests have valid clinical utility supported by numerous clinical research trials. By providing a means of affordable access to these tests, along with comprehensive lifestyle management tools, Prevé empowers their members through personalized diagnostic, Heart Health nutrition, fitness and behavioral information, to participate with their personal physician in a pro-active approach to prevention of many medical issues.

Medical issues can be quite complex and difficult to understand for individuals not formally trained in medicine. However, knowledge of the presence or absence of blood test markers linked to medical problems can enlighten the individual and create a foundation from which they can take appropriate steps to prevent or retard a disease in collaboration with their personal physician.

Some of these blood test markers are not standard tests for a routine “healthy person” exam. Yet they can be quite revealing and provide more insight into the risk of a disease than standard tests. Take, for example, blood cholesterol. It is true that high blood cholesterol identifies people at higher risk for a heart attack, but, most people who suffered a heart attack DO NOT have high blood cholesterol. A 2009 study by the American Heart Association, in 136,905 individuals admitted to the emergency room with a documented heart attack, had a “bad” LDL-cholesterol less than 130 mg/dl (generally considered not high risk) and 23% had a LDL-cholesterol less than 70 mg/dl and considered quite normal.

However, the 75% of 136,905 people with a “normal” LDL-cholesterol believed they were OK, yet they suffered a heart attack! These 102,678 people suffering a heart attack with “normal” LDL-cholesterol were probably quite surprised!

Something other than high blood cholesterol was contributing to the heart attacks in 75% of 136,905 people suffering a heart attack.

This is where the Prevé program can be useful. Assessment of advanced blood test markers, associated with heart attack risk, can inform the individual that a potential problem may exist in more detail than standard tests, and lay the foundation for a more educated and personalized treatment plan in coordination with the individuals’ personal physician.

  1. Sachdeva et al. AHJ, Vol 157, 111-117 Jan2009
  2. Superko HR, King S 3rd. Lipid management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a new strategy is required. Circulation.2008 Jan 29;117(4):560-8.
  3. Superko HR. Advanced lipoprotein testing and subfractionation research Tool or Clinical Utility? Circulation2009;119:2383-2395.

I’ve spent my entire career as a preventative cardiologist with the goal of helping individuals understand that the development and progression of disease is a complex series of events that depend on multiple factors. Genetics, Nutrition, Behavior and Physical Activity are a few examples of these factors. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is considered a gene-environment disorder, meaning, genes may load the gun, but environment often pulls the trigger. Some of these factors can be modified, for example nutrition and body fat, and others can’t, for example genetics. The importance of knowing potential risks and the ability to possibly reduce those risks through identification of hidden risk factors is an essential step to a healthier, longer life.

While medicine has made great strides in reducing the number of deaths due to heart attack and stroke, heart disease is still the number one killer of both men and women. While many heart attack victims have no prior warning, in many instances there are early indicators of increased risk for heart disease as well as diabetes, kidney disease, cognitive impairment and others. Most of these early indicators can be found by performing blood tests and if abnormal markers are detected, there is a good chance to potentially reverse or delay the progression of CHD.

Brenda Garrett-Superko RN

Brenda’s medical career, since graduating from nursing school, has been primarily dedicated to cardiovascular disease. She has worked in intensive care (handling patients at most risk), cardiac rehabilitation (addressing patients after their heart attacks and cardiac procedures), and outpatient management. Ultimately, she and her husband, Robert Superko, MD, a leader in preventive cardiology and research, established clinics to assess family members that are at risk for heart disease through advanced testing and genetic screenings. Her passion to learn more and share that knowledge has led to participating in numerous cardiovascular research studies and providing lectures to medical audiences across the US. Serving on numerous American College of Cardiology (ACC) committees and being recognized with the ACC for the Inaugural Distinguished Associate Award is a testament to her dedication and devotion to cardiovascular prevention and education.

Beyond writing and health coaching for Prevé; she helps to organize heart disease screenings for Firefighters, who are at especially high risk for premature heart disease. Her joys include walking the beaches, sailing with her husband, and cooking for friends and family. Her family includes 4 grown sons and their rescue border collie.

It is scientifically undisputable that the disease of atherosclerosis (the root cause of heart attacks and strokes) begins to develop years prior to the onset of or IF any physical symptoms occur. Scientists and medical professionals across the world have known for decades that atherosclerosis is not simply ONE disorder. It is a multi-disorder disease. It is both inherited and environmental in nature as well as it is inflammatory and pro-thrombotic (clot forming).

A troubling concept for me has been that very limited and routine lab testing has been used to assess one’s personal risk for this very complex disease far too often. In reality, there has been tremendous scientific laboratory breakthroughs beyond the traditional, routine labs that do provide incredibly valuable personalized risk detection as well as numerous medical management options. There is no better tool for detecting ‘root causes’ of heart disease as well as other chronic diseases than utilizing scientifically reliable advanced laboratory testing and personalizing one’s own health management. This is why I am excited and proud to endorse the Prevé Program.

Scientifically, we know that even identical twins, by their individual lifestyle choices and environmental interactions, will have their own unique and individual risk exposure to developing chronic diseases. Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide is a complex disease that is highly influenced not only by genetics, but by our nutritional patterns, lifestyle choices, stress and environmental exposure. Personalized medicine utilizes scientific laboratory testing, as well as assessing an individual’s environmental exposures and then tailors a specific health management plan, which is in stark contrast to utilizing very limited and dated laboratory tests to screen and then treating everyone the same.

What is most critical and important to understand in regards to early detection of disease and preventive actions is that it DOES make a significant and impactful difference! The majority of detectable disease risks are absolutely reversable. Why wouldn’t someone interested in their personal health and wellness want to have the opportunity to ‘chart a new course’ in lieu of running directly into a disastrous disease that can implode with a heart attack or a stroke? We can only change what we understand needs to be changed. I believe it is every individuals’ RIGHT to have the option to access their personalized health risks and to partner with knowledgeable physician providers so that they have the best opportunity in leading quality and healthy lives.

After years of working with patients that had suffered heart attacks; I saw many survive and too many that did not. Those that did survive, did so primarily because they received medical care or procedures early enough. This was of course, great news for the patient as well as for their family. Immediately following a heart attack and often in a rehab setting; every patient commits to changing any harmful lifestyle and nutritional choices that were linked to their heart attack. But of course, this did not always happen and ultimately, they would return with more progressive and debilitating disease. But the patients in which I was most interested and concerned for were those patients in which there were no ‘bad habits’ to pinpoint as to why their heart attack occurred, they were not overweight, they didn’t smoke or their cholesterol was normal. Why did they have a heart attack? Two patient cases (that are unfortunately too common) include a 39-year-old, male, athletically fit, vegetarian and a non-smoker with normal cholesterol and a 40-year-old mother of two, high HDL, normal weight and non-smoker, both suffering sudden and fortunately, non-fatal heart attacks. These patients had risks BEYOND standard lab testing but were detectable with advanced testing.

Once I learned of available advanced biomarkers and genetic tests that could identify risks and alerts to the causes of heart disease; I pushed to start clinics in which patients and their family members could be tested and fully educated. As of today, I have yet to stop promoting the use of advanced screenings to anyone and everyone that cares to prevent a heart attack or stroke.