In the March issue of Nature Genetics, Kari Stefansson and colleagues report the identification of the first gene associated with a higher risk of both heart attacks and strokes, the diseases that result in the death of most people in developed countries. Since the genetic markers they studied are associated with just a twofold increased risk of incurring a heart attack, this work is just the first step toward the goal of unravelling the complex interplay of genes with significant environmental factors such as diet and exercise. But, the gene identified, ALOX5AP, works to stimulate the conversion of fats to molecules important in inflammation and in the development of atherosclerosis. So the interplay of cardiovascular risk genes, dietary fats and anti-inflammatory drugs can now be investigated.
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Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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