Sunday, February 26, 2006

Do your genes increase your risk for CAD?

The risk of coronary artery disease is increased by 15% to 31% by genetic variants in a pair of genes that regulate the formation of blood clots, according to researchers in the most comprehensive assessment to date of the role of hemostasis genes in risk of coronary artery disease.

A meta-analysis of 191 studies, which tracked seven genes that regulate hemostasis, determined that a mutation of the factor V gene increased the relative risk by 17%while a variant of prothrombin was associated with a 31% increase in relative risk.

The genetic variants aren't common, with about 3 percent of whites carrying the protein V version and 1 percent carrying the prothrombin version.

"They are not common enough or associated with enough risk to warrant screening for them. In the future, if a number of weakly acting gene variants are identified, that might warrant screening. At the moment, the question is hypothetical."

Yet, the findings have important implications for "designing new therapies that target blood clotting pathways to help prevent heart disease. More generally, they suggest that bigger and deeper studies than have been customary will be needed to identify the genetic causes of heart attacks."

A must-read on blood clotting disorders. I've known many who have heart disease without common risk factors. This information could be very valuable for them and their blood relatives.

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