Since one has these mutations at birth, it's like being blessed with naturally low cholesterol. These mutations stand in for statin therapy, lead researcher Dr. Brian Ference, director of the cardiovascular genomic research center at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Indiana, said during Monday's press conference.
"This research is a way of finding out the effects of lowering cholesterol early without having a lengthy clinical trial," Ference said.
The researchers looked at genes from participants of several studies, one including more than 350,000 patients, and found nine specific mutations.
For each single measure of reduced lifetime exposure to LDL cholesterol associated with having the mutations, the researchers found a 50 percent to 60 percent reduction in heart disease risk.
Because the second study was presented at a medical meeting, its conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more about cholesterol, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., director, Ahmanson UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, co-director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program; March 26, 2012, press briefing with: James McKenney, Pharm.D, chief executive officer, National Clinical Research Inc.; Brian A. Ference, M.D., director, cardiovascular genomic research center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit; March 26, 2012, presentations, American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Chicago; March 26, 2012, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online
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