Using the NIH Figshare instance to share a cholesterol calculator for reuse and further collaboration and development

Alan T. Remaley

Maureen Sampson

Using the NIH Figshare instance to share a cholesterol calculator for reuse and further collaboration and development

Alan T. Remaley

Maureen Sampson

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A case study of Dr. Alan Remaley and Maureen Sampson

Dr. Alan Remaley, Director of the Immunoassay and Special Chemistry section in the Department of Laboratory Medicine of the Clinical Center and Section Chief of the Lipoprotein Metabolism laboratory in the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Maureen Sampson, a research Medical Technologist in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, have shared an equation calculator for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) on the NIH Figshare Instance.

This calculator — used to estimate the LDL-C, commonly called “bad cholesterol,” level in patients with a high risk of heart disease — is a more accurate way of measuring these levels than ever before. Due to poor tests for LDL-C, a calculation called the Friedewald equation was developed at the NIH in 1972 to better measure LDL-C levels in patients; this calculator is afurther improvement on the initial 1972 calculator. “Because everything is computerized these days, it makes using a more complex equation easier,” said Maureen.

“Maureen and I used a mathematical approach that hasn’t been used before andrealized that there were several parameters: a standard lipid panel which includes triglycerides (another type of fat), total cholesterol, and high-density lipoproteincholesterol (HDL-C),” said Alan. “We used a more complicated equation and were able to fit these parameters into it. This is the basis for our latest paper.”

This paper has been published in JAMA Cardiology, a widely-accessed journal, to reach as many cardiologists and medical professionals as possible who can use it. The calculator itself is an Excel spreadsheet that calculates the LDL-C using the Friedewald equation, the Martin Factor —an improvement on the Friedewald equation developed a few years ago, — and the new Sampson equation developed by Maureen, Alan, and their colleagues.

“We wanted to make sure it was freely, openly available and not patented, so we uploaded the spreadsheet to the NIH Figshare instanceto allow people to very quickly implement this equation in their clinical laboratory andhopefully improve upon it,” said Alan.

Alan and Maureen have data from other papers published previously that they will similarly share to make them as discoverable and reusable as possible, especially as they are often emailed to provide the data behind their publications. “Anything that suits itself to sharing is a good idea,” said Alan. “It empowers people and it’s the perfect solution to sharing our data.”

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