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DNA is not Destiny When it Comes to Heart Attack Risk

In This Video

  • Using a polygenic score of DNA sequence polymorphisms, researchers quantified genetic risk for coronary artery disease in three prospective cohorts
  • Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle
  • They determined adherence to a healthy lifestyle among the participants using a scoring system consisting of four factors: no current smoking, no obesity, regular physical activity and a healthy diet

A large scale genetic study led by Sekar Kathiresan, MD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Genomic Medicine, has found that having a favorable lifestyle in terms of weight, physical activity, not smoking and eating a healthy diet can help individuals with a high genetic risk of having a heart attack reduce their risk by over 50 percent. Dr. Kathiresan is the Ofer and Shelly Nemirovsky MGH Research Scholar.

Refer a patient to the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center

Learn more about Dr. Kathiresan's Lab


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Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital set out to find what drives the “good stress” and “bad stress” responses in the heart. In preliminary in vivo studies, they found that the answer may lie in the gene known as DNA damage-inducible transcript 4-like (DDiT4L)