New research has revealed a new way to prevent the world’s number one killer, heart disease.
Doctors say they have discovered that scanning people’s DNA profiles can tell them how likely a person is to develop heart disease, meaning they can start preventative treatment, like lifestyle changes, immediately.
While genetics have long been a known factor when it comes to heart disease, doctors were yet to start using an individual’s DNA profile to assess the risk.
Doctors who worked on the study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, say it could make all the difference.
Mike Inouye, associate professor in Melbourne’s School of BioSciences and senior author of the new study, explains the significance of their work:
“About half of heart disease risk is inherited, yet current approaches don’t use genetics. Our study shows that we can potentially distinguish much earlier in life who is at high risk of heart disease, including heart attack.”
They found that by using the genetic risk score they were able to predict heart disease earlier on its own and, by integrating it into current clinical risk scoring methods, improve the 10-year risk prediction, particularly for those aged 60 and over.
Lead author Dr. Gad Abraham, a computational biologist in Prof. Inouye’s systems genomics lab, says:
“Traditional scores can identify people at very high risk, but without an understanding of the genetics, we still fail to identify a large proportion of people who are going to develop heart disease over the next 10 years.”