Newly identified genetic errors may prevent heart attacks

A new study that included genetic data from more than 190,000 people has identified two genes that, when altered in specific ways, either promote or undermine cardiovascular health. The findings may help guide efforts to design new preventive drugs, similar to the way statins now are prescribed to lower “bad” cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Washington People: Angela L. Brown

Angela L. Brown, MD, associate professor of medicine, leads the Hypertension Clinic at Washington University School of Medicine. Brown has devoted her career to helping patients control their hypertension and to training medical professionals in how to care for such patients.

Quitting smoking after heart attack gives quick boost to mental health, quality of life​​

A new study shows that quitting smoking after a heart attack has immediate benefits, including less chest pain, better quality of daily life and improved mental health. Many of these improvements became apparent as little as one month after quitting and are more pronounced after one year, according to the research led by Sharon Cresci, MD, at the School of Medicine.

Study shows who benefits most from statins

New research suggests that widely used statin therapy provides the most benefit to patients with the highest genetic risk of heart attack. Using a relatively straightforward genetic analysis, the researchers, including Nathan O. Stitziel, MD, PhD, assessed heart attack risk independently of the traditional risk factors.

Errors in single gene may protect against heart disease

Rare mutations that shut down a single gene are linked to lower cholesterol levels and a 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack, according to new research led by Nathan Stitziel, MD, PhD, of the School of Medicine. The gene, called NPC1L1, is of interest because it is the target of the drug ezetimibe, often prescribed to lower cholesterol.

Laughing gas does not increase heart attacks

Nitrous oxide — best known as laughing gas — is one of the world’s oldest and most widely used anesthetics. Despite its popularity, however, experts have questioned its impact on the risk of a heart attack during surgery or soon afterward. But those fears are unfounded, a new study indicates.
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