Gene Mutation May Protect Blacks From Heart
THURSDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- About one-fourth of all
black men and women carry a genetic mutation that dramatically
reduces their risk for coronary artery disease, new research
The mutation is found on a gene that has been linked to a
higher risk for heart disease among other races, the
investigators noted. But their study found that in black men and
women who carry this single variation, the risk for arterial
narrowing or clogging drops fivefold.
"What we think we have here is the first confirmed hereditary link to cardiovascular disease among African Americans, and it is a protective one," epidemiologist Diane Becker, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hopkin's Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study's senior investigator, said in a Hopkins news release.
Blacks face a greater risk for heart disease than any other
racial group, the study authors noted.
For their study, reported in the Jan. 27 online issue of the
Journal of Human Genetics, the researchers analyzed the blood of 548 black men and women, 26 to 60 years old, who lived in Baltimore. None had heart disease when their blood was drawn. For confirmation, blood sampling and analysis was done on several hundred comparable residents of Atlanta and Durham, N.C.
In addition to the shield against coronary artery disease that
was found for those with a single mutation, the study also
determined that people who had inherited the same mutation from
both their mother and their father -- thus carrying two copies --
had a tenfold drop in their risk for coronary artery disease. About
6 percent of blacks in the United States fall into that category,
the researchers said.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more on
coronary artery disease.
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