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Cheap DNA test to predict cardiovascular risk?

Tuesday October 9th, 2018

A cheap, one-off DNA test early in life could predict if someone had a high risk of a heart attack, according to new international research published last night.

The researchers, led by the University of Leicester, University of Cambridge and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia, used UK Biobank data to develop and test the Genomic Risk Score (GRS), which can identify people who are at risk of developing coronary heart disease prematurely because of their genetics.

Writing today in the latest edition of Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team reveals that the GRS, which costs under $50US, was better at predicting someone’s risk of developing heart disease than each of the classic risk factors for coronary heart disease alone and that the its ability to predict the disease was mainly independent of these known risk factors.

They analysed genomic data of nearly half a million people from the UK Biobank research project, aged between 40-69 years, which included more than 22,000 people who had coronary heart disease.

They found that people with a genomic risk score in the top 20% of the population were more than four-times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than someone with a genomic risk score in the bottom 20%.

Men who appeared healthy by current NHS health check standards but also had a high GRS were as likely to develop coronary heart disease as someone with a low GRS and two conventional risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Senior author Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester and Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation said undergoing GRS could be a cost-effective way of preventing coronary heart disease.

Journal of the American College of Cardiology 8 October 2018

Tags: Australia | Genetics | Heart Health | UK News

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