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Scientists uncover possible genetic link to stroke risk

Category: DNA, Paternity and Genetic testing

Scientists have found a genetic variant common to millions of people which may raise the risk of stroke. The variant was found during an analysis of the DNA of almost 20,000 people from the U.S. and Europe.

In a study released in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers said roughly 20 percent of whites and 10 percent of blacks have at least one copy of this variant gene. Each increases the relative risk of stroke by approximately 30 percent.

"Even though this variant is common, it has a modest effect on stroke risk," said Eric Boerwinkle, one of the researchers on the study, adding that people shouldn't alter the current prevention and disease testing strategy.

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., causing more than 150,000 deaths per year and often can cause serious long-term disabilities.

The researchers found two genes near each other, both strongly linked with the most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke makes up 90 percent of all strokes and is caused by blockage of blood vessels in the brain.

Risk factors for stroke include diet, smoking, and factors easily determined by blood tests such as cholesterol, CRP, and the presence of diabetes.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19133504-ADNFCR

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