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Frank M. Sacks, MD

Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health

Senior Physician
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Research Interests

Dr. Sacks’s research program is a combination of laboratory research on human lipoprotein metabolism, and clinical trials in nutrition and cardiovascular disease. The laboratory research concerns the acute and long term effects of diet on the kinetics of lipoproteins, cholesterol carrying particles, in humans; the effects of human lipoproteins on vascular wall cells; and biochemical epidemiology of lipoprotein particle types and CVD. Dr. Sacks was Chair of the Design Committee of the DASH study where the DASH diet was designed, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the DASH-Sodium trial. These multi center National Heart Lung and Blood Insitute trials found major beneficial additive effects of low salt and a dietary pattern rich in fruits and vegetables on blood pressure. Dr. Sacks is Co-Chair of the recently published OmniHeart Trial, a multicenter feeding trial that found that a variation of the DASH diet that is higher in protein or unsaturated fat diets further improved blood pressure and lipid risk factors compared to the lower fat DASH-type diet. Dr. Sacks was the Principal Investigator of the Cholesterol and Recurrent Events trial (CARE) which found that pravastatin treatment reduced coronary events and stroke in patients with average cholesterol concentrations. Finally, he is Principal Investigator of a current NIH-sponsored trial on dietary approaches for weight loss and maintenance. In this trial, 4 diets varying in protein, carbohydrate and fat content are being tested in 811 overweight people for 2 years. In a pilot study, a Mediterranean-style moderate fat diet produced better long-term maintenance of weight loss than a conventional low-fat diet.

Selected Publications

Sacks FM, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM, Appel LJ, Bray GA, Harsha D, Obarzanek E, Conlin PR, Miller ER, Simons-Morton D, Karanja N, Lin PH. Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. N Engl J Med. 2001 Jan 4;344(1):3-10. [abstract]

McManus K, Antonio L, Sacks F. A randomized controlled trial of a moderate-fat, low-energy diet compared with a low fat, low-energy diet for weight loss in overweight adults. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Oct;25(10):1503-11. [abstract]

Lee SJ, Campos H, Moye LA, Sacks FM. LDL containing apolipoprotein CIII is an independent risk factor for coronary events in diabetic patients. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003 May 1;23(5):853-8. Epub 2003 Mar 13. [abstract]

Bray GA, Vollmer WM, Sacks FM, Appel LJ, Svetkey LP, Obarzanek E., DASH Collaborative Research Group. A further subgroup analysis of the effects of the DASH diet and three dietary sodium levels on blood pressure: results of the DASH-Sodium Trial. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Jul 15;94(2):222-7. [abstract]

Appel LJ, Sacks FM, Carey VJ, Obarzanek E, Swain JF, Miller ER, Conlin PR, Erlinger TP, Rosner B, Laranjo NM, Charleston J, McCarron P, Bishop LM, OmniHeart Collaborative Research Group. Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. JAMA. 2005 Nov 16;294(19):2455-64. [abstract]

Pischon T, Girman CJ, Sacks FM, Rifai N, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB. Non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in the prediction of coronary heart disease in men. Circulation. 2005 Nov 29;112(22):3375-83. [abstract]

Kawakami A, Aikawa M, Libby P, Alcaide P, Luscinskas FW, Sacks FM. Apolipoprotein CIII in apolipoprotein B lipoproteins enhances the adhesion of human monocytic cells to endothelial cells. Circulation. 2006 Feb 7;113(5):691-700. [abstract]

Zheng CY, Murdoch SJ, Brunzell JD, Sacks FM. Lipoprotein lipase bound to apolipoprotein B lipoproteins accelerates clearance of postprandial lipoproteins in humans. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Apr;26(4):891-6. Epub 2006 Jan 12. [abstract]