In a development that paves the way for earlier intervention and lifestyle changes, researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a risk score that predicts coronary heart disease based on DNA profiles.
Currently, risk is calculated through clinical and lifestyle indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking, as well as family history.
But, despite advances in genomic technologies, genetics does not yet feature in heart disease risk.
“About half of heart disease risk is inherited, yet current approaches don’t use genetics,” said Associate Professor Mike Inouye.
“Our study shows that we can potentially distinguish much earlier in life who is at high risk of heart disease, including heart attack.”
The researchers were able to identify the top 20% of men who were at high lifetime risk, leading to disease 12-18 years earlier than men at the bottom 20% of risk.
These high-risk individuals could be candidates for early intervention.
“So far, we’ve been missing half the picture, but given the great strides being made by genomics in understanding human disease, we expect this approach to one day be part of routine clinical practice,” said Dr Gad Abraham.
For more about this research, click here. [Story credit: Melbourne University newsroom]
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