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Intermountain study finds length of DNA strands can predict life expectancy
Date:3/9/2013

art Institute at Intermountain Medical Center tested the DNA samples from more than 3,500 heart attack and stroke patients.

"Our research shows that if we statistically adjust for age, patients with longer telomeres live longer, suggesting that telomere length is more than just a measure of age, but may also indicate the probability for survival. Longer telomere length directly correlate with the likelihood for a longer lifeeven for patients with heart disease," said Dr. Carlquist.

Dr. Carlquist and his colleagues from the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center drew on two unique resources that offer unparalleled opportunity for researchers to study the effects of telomere length and survival rates of heart patients:

  • An archive of peripheral blood DNA samples collected from almost 30,000 heart patients, with as much as 20 years of follow-up clinical and survival data. This is stored in Intermountain Healthcare's world-renowned computerized medical informatics record system.

"With so many samples and very complete electronic records, it's a unique resource," said Dr. Carlquist. "It's unmatched in the world, and it allows us to measure the rate of change in the length of a patient's telomeres over time rather than just a snapshot in time, which is typical for most studies."

  • The opportunity to work with experts from around the world, including Richard Cawthon, MD, PhD, who's an international expert on telomere measurement and function.

"I believe telomere length could be used in the future as a way to measure the effectiveness of heart care treatment," said Dr. Carlquist. "We can already test cholesterol and blood pressure of a patient to see how treatment is working, but this could give us a deeper view into how the treatment is affecting the body and whether or not the treatment is working."


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Contact: Jess C. Gomez
jess.gomez@imail.org
801-718-8495
Intermountain Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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