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Cholesterol testing should still play a central role in determining heart risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

In recent years, genetic testing has become a popular method for assessing an individual's risk for a range of conditions. However, individuals who have been relying on the method to determine their heart risk may want to consider seeking a simple cholesterol test.

Researchers from Stanford University recently found that a popular method of genetic testing that is supposed to predict a patient's risk of developing atherosclerosis is actually relatively unreliable when it comes to predicting the condition.

They found no association between the risk of developing atherosclerosis and the variant of the KIF6 gene, which genetic testing as a biomarker for heart risk.

"This study puts the nail in the coffin," said Tom Quertermous, who led the study. "This is such a big study - if there was a significant association between this variant and coronary disease, we would have found it."

For the study, researchers examined medical data from 17,000 patients who had been treated for atherosclerosis and 40,000 healthy patients.

Quertermous added that genetic testing may still play a role in building a complete picture of patients' overall heart risk. However, more traditional procedures such as blood pressure and cholesterol testing should still be the basis of such determinations.

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