New scientist profile: Dr. Swapnil Hiremath harnesses science to bust medical myths

January 29, 2019

Dr. Swapnil Hiremath is inspired by his patients to uncover the truth behind medical dogma. For example, he played a lead role in busting the myth that contrast dye should never be used in medical imaging in people with serious kidney disease. He is also searching for practical solutions to help people with hypertension lower their blood pressure. Eating less salt does reduce blood pressure, but people often have trouble changing their shopping and eating habits. Dr. Hiremath is leading a clinical trial to test whether consultation with a dietitian and weekly follow-up phone calls can help. An author of over 100 papers, Dr. Hiremath is passionate about connecting with kidney experts and countering health misinformation on social media. He co-founded the twitter-based journal club #NephJC. These twice-monthly twitter chats regularly attract 60-100 kidney specialists from around the world to analyze research articles and discuss current practice.

Dr. Hiremath was recently appointed as an associate scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is a staff nephrologist at The Ottawa Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa.

“A lot of the research I do is contrarian. I like to test common knowledge to see if it holds true,” said Dr. Hiremath.

Research at The Ottawa Hospital led by scientists like Dr. Hiremath is possible because of  generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion 

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

University of Ottawa: —A crossroads of cultures and ideas

The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe.

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