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Title: Feasibility of a high-protein Mediterranean diet and resistance exercise program for cardiac rehabilitation.

After a cardiac event such as a heart attack, people attend cardiac rehabilitation services to stop the disease getting worse. Some people with heart disease may not look ‘overweight’ but may have lower levels of muscle and higher levels of fat which may put them at greater risk of another heart attack. The PRiME research group at Liverpool John Moores University wanted to test the feasibility and acceptability of a high-protein Mediterranean-style diet and resistance exercise program to help increase muscle mass in cardiac rehabilitation patients.

Richie Kirwan, PhD researcher on the study said, ‘We needed people with a history of heart disease. Research for the Future were able to quickly contact their relevant volunteers and in about a month we had over 40 responses for our initial questionnaire including a number of people who were willing to participate in further, follow up questionnaires related to different aspects of our research. We also managed to recruit 7 people to participate in telephone interviews which provided very valuable qualitative data for our research. We learned which aspects of our proposed protocol were acceptable and those which needed further development and why. All of this information is vital for improving intervention protocols and for patient participant involvement aspects of research grant applications. Besides the data we gathered, our interaction with Research for the Future was wonderful. They were not only attentive to our needs but also very giving of their time and experience, helping us add a more human touch to our questionnaires. This is an aspect that researchers can often neglect. Research for the Future regularly checked in with us to enquire about the progress of our recruitment and offered suggestions for how to maximize our responses. Without them, our research simply would not have been possible and I look forward to working with them again in the future.