Navigation Links
Cigarette after Valentine snuggle deadlier for some
Date:2/12/2008

The proverbial cigarette after a Valentines Day snuggle can prematurely end a love affair, as new evidence emerges that a common defect in a gene significantly increases a smokers risk of an early heart attack. Researchers say that as much as 60 to 70 percent of the population has a gene defect that delivers a one-two punch to smokers: In a recent published study, heavy smokers with this common gene variant experienced a heart attack around the age of 52.

Weve all heard the stories: Someones great-uncle has smoked three packs of cigarettes since he was 14, and now, at the age of 88, hes living a fine, healthy life, said Arthur Moss, M.D., director of the Heart Research Follow-up Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Contrast that with the 52-year old neighbor, who also was a heavy smoker, and just last week, dropped dead from a heart attack. Why is it that some smokers seem unaffected by their habit and even outlive the healthiest individuals, while many other smokers suffer significant cardiac events at a relatively young age? We think we now know why.

According to Moss, the answer lies is a common deviation of the gene CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein), a protein found in all people that controls cholesterol metabolism. Smokers with a common form of this gene are likely to suffer a heart attack 12 years earlier than a non-smoker, while smokers who do not carry this variant appear to be protected and have the same risk of heart attack as non-smokers.

While genes have long been linked to diseases, its only been recently that researchers have been able to begin unraveling the intricate interplay between genes and the environment. By understanding how certain environmental factors such as diet, chemicals and even smoking can influence how well or not a particular gene works, scientists hope to provide new approaches to help decrease a persons risk of disease.

In this case, researchers zeroed in on CETP, which manages a persons level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the good cholesterol. Unlike low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which build up plaque on artery walls and predispose a person to heart attacks or strokes, HDL helps filter LDL out of the blood and chips away at the plaque lining artery walls.

When CETP has a common defect, it makes the protein controlling HDL work on overdrive. This overactive protein more furiously attacks HDL, breaking it into smaller particles that are more easily cleared from the blood, leading to decreased HDL levels and less good cholesterol.

Its this efficient removal of HDL caused by the CETP gene defect that puts people at higher risk of an early onset of heart disease, said Moss. The problem only gets worse for smokers who have this form of CETP, because smoking is known to also lower HDL levels. The cumulative effect is a dramatic drop in the age such smokers are likely to experience a heart attack about a dozen years earlier than someone who also has the variant but does not smoke.

Moss added that the research also helps explain why some heavy smokers appear to beat the odds when it comes to heart disease.

If youre a smoker and you dont carry the CETP variation, you have the same risk for heart disease as a non-smoker carrying the same gene, he said. These smokers can thank their lucky genes for not suffering heart attacks at a young age.

Moss conclusions are based on patients enrolled in the THROMBO Study, a multi-center trial that collected blood samples and medical histories from patients who had suffered their first heart attack in the 1990s. Researchers were able to retrieve frozen blood samples from 814 study participants to determine if they had the CETP gene deviation. Other interesting findings concerning smokers include:

  • How much you smoke impacts your risk: Researchers found that heavy smokers those who smoke more than one pack a day are likely to suffer heart attacks about 12 years earlier than nonsmokers; for those who smoke less than one pack a day, the age difference is only six years.

  • Smokers can recover lost ground within one year of quitting. Those who had smoked more than one pack a day gained about four years within one year of quitting, while those who had smoked less than one pack a day gained about six years.

Moss believes his work touches on a theme that is becoming more prevalent in all fields of medicine.

When we were younger, we learned how genes gave us a certain hair or eye color. But we are increasingly finding that our ability to untangle a persons genes can help us understand why some get certain diseases and some dont. I wouldnt be surprised if theres a similar gene variation that predisposes some smokers to other diseases, such as lung cancer, he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Germaine Reinhardt
germaine_reinhardt@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-6517
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cigarette smoke, alcohol damage hearts worse as combo
2. Cigarette smoking may accelerate disability in those with MS
3. After more than 100 years apart, webworms devastate New Zealand parsnips
4. Twinkle after-effect can help retinal patients detect vision loss quickly and cheaply
5. After drought, ponds keep up with the Joneses
6. Expecting an afternoon nap can reduce blood pressure
7. Simulation reveals how body repairs balance after damage
8. Clearance of hepatitis C viral infection after liver transplantation
9. Geron Demonstrates hESC-derived cardiomyocytes improve heart function after myocardial infarction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2017)... ARMONK, N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... IBM ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy ... combined with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances ... breaches. With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell ... the Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) ... international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase ... value in various industries. France ... the international market, with a 30 percent increase in the ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... -- Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional motor sense ... Genoa, Italy . The first 30 robots will be available ... USA . The technology was developed and patented at the IIT ... Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro investment from entrepreneur Sergio ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2017)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2017 , ... The ... in recognizing infertility as a disease gives new hope to patients and hopefully sheds ... says Kaylen Silverberg, M.D. , an infertility expert and founding partner of ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... June 27, 2017 , ... Brain State Technologies, ... Kickstarter campaign on June 15th to fund production of the new B2v2 wearable ... original Kickstarter goal by more than 150% in a little over a week. ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... , ... Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. announces the release of the Mobility Assist, ... lifts patients safely from a seated to a standing position without staff support using ... the latest in a line of Biodex products promoting safe patient handling. , The ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... , ... According to a recent report from the Environmental ... negative short- or long-term effects on benthic communities. , The ESTCP evaluated ... the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Washing. Data ...
Breaking Biology Technology: