Monday, January 14, 2008

cholesterol - new discoveries

january 14 2008

Most people now know the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol is called the good cholesterol, because it's believed it carries no risk, and might even be beneficial.

LDL cholesterol is called the bad cholesterol. It forms plaques that eventually can block arteries, causing heart attacks and other cardiovascular troubles.

When people are given statins the intention is to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol. That way cardiac risk is reduced.

Already 11 genes were identified that play a role in cholesterol regulation.
Now 7 new genes are identified, according to a research report in Nature Genetics (jan 13 2008).

The research involved almost 20,000 people in three countries (Italy, Sweden and Finland.)
First 8.800 people were involved in genetic studies.

More than 2 million genetic variations were studied.
After that 25 genetic variants, which together are responsible for about 25 percent of levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol were identified.

Then the incidence of different variants were studies in relation to the incidence of heart disease in those individuals.

To confirm the results a study was done of 11,000 individuals from the three populations.

Interesting is that the changes the genes brought about on HDL cholesterol levels had no influence on the risk of heart disease. So it seems to be that the good cholesterol probably is just neutral cholesterol.

Only the genetic changes that affect LDL cholesterol influence the risk of heart disease. Some of the 7 genes showed these effects.

The researchers also confirmed the role of 11 previously identified cholesterol-related genes in the risk of heart disease.

Discoveries like these enable researchers to focus their attention on the places where new medicines can be targetted to change the risk of heart disease.
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