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Researchers find genetic variants associated with high homocysteine levels

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

High homocysteine test results may reveal that individual is at a higher risk for suffering a heart attack, and now a new study has found that a set of genetic variations may contribute to higher levels of the amino acid.

A team of researchers analyzed genetic samples from participants. They reported in the journal BMC Medical Genetics that 20 unique variations contribute to a person's homocysteine levels. The team was hoping to find that these genetic variations correlated other genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but the results did not indicate that this is the case.

Still, the results could be put to other uses. Testing for genetic variations associated with homocysteine levels could help predict whether or not a patient is at risk for excessive levels of the amino acid and consequently heart disease.

Furthermore, better understanding the role of the amino acid in relation to heart disease could improve treatment of cardiovascular disease. High homocysteine test results are closely associated with heart attack risk, but studies have shown that lowering these levels does not necessarily reduce the risk.

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