A big data cardiovascular study out of the University of California, San Francisco is enrolling volunteers from around the world in a quest to learn more about heart disease.

Conducted solely online, the study is expected to look at the heart health of a million people once enrollment is complete within the next decade, says Madelaine Faulkner, MPH, project director of Health eHeart at UCSF.

The study’s investigation goals include:

• Predicting heart disease based on measurements; behavior patterns including sleep, diet, activity; and family and medical history,

• determining what causes episodes of atrial fibrillation and studying how behaviors, diet, genes, and other diseases interact to cause it,

• using technology to develop ways to improve cardiovascular health and to rigorously test them to determine their effects on health,

• using mobile technology and sensors to keep people with heart failure out of the hospital;

• assessing whether it improves heart health to be connected with people and whether there are physical benefits to engaging in online social networks,

• predicting when heart disease will get worse before someone needs hospitalization and even before the patient knows something is wrong, and

• answering questions about whether people with different kinds of genes are more vulnerable to particular heart disease risks, such as alcohol.