`Gene variation makes men more prone to heart diseases`
`Gene variation makes men more prone to heart diseases`
Updated on Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 16:22
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London: It`s been believed that men suffer more from cardiac problems than women. Now, scientists claim they have found a genetic clue to explain why males are more vulnerable when it comes to heart diseases.

Researchers at the Leicester University found a cluster of significant genetic variations in the Y chromosome -- the area of DNA men inherit from their fathers.

The variation called l-haplogroup makes men 55 per cent more likely to develop coronary disease, they found.

Researchers, however, said it was too early to tell whether the gene has a greater effect on the health of the heart than factors such as smoking and high blood pressure.

But, the findings may help doctors to develop more treatments on a case by case basis, said Professor Nilesh Samani, who led the research.

He said men may suffer through lacking the protection that younger women get from oestrogen.

"We set out to determine if men with differing types of Y chromosome were at differing risk of heart disease," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"We tested nearly 3,000 British males and found those carrying the l-haplogroup variant had a 55 per cent higher risk of coronary heart disease."

The difference was not explained by traditional factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking.

The l-haplogroup variant is thought to have been brought to Europe by arrivals from the Middle East some 25,000 years ago.

It is more common in northern Europe -- raising speculation that it might explain why heart disease rates are higher in the UK than in Mediterranean countries.

Peter Weissberg of British Heart Foundation said it was too early to know what impact the gene might have on heart disease.

However, he said that if the genetic variation was linked to a risk factor such as hypertension then the discovery might be useful because men with high blood pressure could be treated more aggressively.

"We are a long way off being able to judge the potency of this genetic effect. This will not be a test you can get in the near future," Professor Weissberg added.

The new study was released at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Stockholm.


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