However, the link remains observational and causation has yet to be proven. "We're not certain if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the [HPV and heart disease]," Fujise stressed.
There does seem to be an association between the two, however, and, "if this biological mechanism is proven, a drug compound that inhibits the inactivation of p53 could help prevent CVD in women already infected with HPV," Fujise said.
Two experts in women's cardiovascular health applauded the research.
"It is great that researchers are thinking out of the box to assess cardiovascular risk in women," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health and the Women's Heart Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City. "If more studies confirm these new research findings linking HPV to cardiovascular disease, this would be an additional tool for doctors to assess a women's cardiovascular risk. It would also get younger women to take their hearts seriously."
Cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Stenbaum agreed, calling the new study "incredibly important."
"Due to the public health implications and the pervasiveness of this disease, this correlation sheds a new light on the assessment and risk factor analysis of heart disease in women, many of whom have HPV," said Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "This lends a new direction into the understanding of who is at risk for heart disease and therefore another means for us to prevent it."
Fujise said more research is needed to investigate any possible link between HPV and heart disease in men.
The study received funding from grants from the American Heart Association.
The U.S. National Heart Lung and
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