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Study uncovers 13 new genes that increase risk of heart attacks

April 04, 2016

The Heart Institute's contributions to the consortium were led by the Institute's Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre. The Ruddy Centre is the only one of its type in Canada and only one of a handful of cardiovascular genetics research centres worldwide. The Ruddy Centre's scientific team included the director and principal investigator, Dr. Roberts, laboratory director Alexandre Stewart, PhD, biostatistician George A. Wells, and Dr. Ruth McPherson, an endocrinologist and molecular biologist.

The CARDIoGRAM study is the latest significant progress to emerge from the Heart Institute. The Institute previously identified gene 9p21 which was the first genetic risk factor recognized for heart disease and the first major new cardiovascular risk factor since the discovery of cholesterol. The Institute has also located a variety of other genes influencing diseases such as atrial fibrillation and biological processes such as obesity.

Research has shown that up to 40% of heart disease can be prevented by modifying cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and other lifestyle causes. At the same time, it is known that about 50% of the risk of heart disease is due to genetic factors. Comprehensive prevention programs are needed that not only deal with lifestyle issues but also address the genetic aspects of heart disease. When this occurs, it is believed that heart disease will be dramatically reduced or possibly eliminated within 50 years.

Source: OTTAWA HEART INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA