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Recent findings may lead to improved cholesterol treatment

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

There may soon be improved treatment options for individuals who have received unhealthy cholesterol test results. Researchers have discovered genetic mechanisms by which cholesterol levels may be controlled.

Specifically, investigators from the University of St. Louis found that certain microRNA - miR-33 - control levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. Researchers said that their results could make it possible to target HDL with new medications.

The findings have tremendous implications for cholesterol treatment. Most current strategies focus on lowering LDL, or bad cholesterol. However, HDL has been shown to naturally reduce these levels. Increasing HDL may help prevent cholesterol problems before they have a chance to develop.

"Atherosclerosis costs lives and takes an enormous toll on our health," said Angel Baldan, who led the study. "If the discovery that miR-33 can be used to raise HDL levels leads to better medications, it will have an enormous impact on our ability to treat heart disease."

Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the U.S. Lowering bad cholesterol levels may significantly reduce the number of deaths caused by the condition each year.

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