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Genetic Risk Score Doesn't Spot Heart Trouble in Women

But family history of early cardiovascular disease a risk factor, study found

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Using multiple genetic markers to create a risk score for cardiovascular disease doesn't work with women, a new study indicates.

U.S. researchers created genetic marker-based risk scores for 19,313 white women in the Women's Genome Health Study. The genetic risk scores were constructed using the National Human Genome Research Institute's catalog of genome-wide association study results published between 2005 and 2009.

Over a median follow-up of 12.3 years, there were 777 cardiovascular disease events (199 heart attacks, 203 strokes, 63 cardiovascular deaths, 312 coronary artery revascularizations) among the women.

There was no evidence that genetic-based risk scores predicted cardiovascular disease risk. However, a family history of premature heart attack was found to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, wrote Nina P. Paynter, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.

The findings "confirm the importance of family history of cardiovascular disease, which integrates shared genetics, shared behaviors and environmental factors," the researchers wrote.

The study is published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about cardiovascular disease.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, Feb. 16, 2010

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