Washington: A new study has challenged a tenet of modern medicine that raising a person’s HDL — the so-called ‘good cholesterol’ — will necessarily lower the risk of a heart attack.The new research underscores the value of using genetic approaches to test biological hypotheses about human disease prior to developing specific drugs.A team led by researchers from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) explored naturally occurring genetic variations in humans to test the connection between HDL levels and heart attack.By studying the genes of roughly 170,000 individuals, the team discovered that, when examined together, the 15 HDL-raising variants they tested do not reduce the risk of heart attack.“It`s been assumed that if a patient, or group of patients, did something to cause their HDL levels to go up, then you can safely assume that their risk of heart attack will go down,” said senior author Sekar Kathiresan, director of preventive cardiology at MGH, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an associate member of the Broad Institute.“This work fundamentally questions that.”Each of the variants Kathiresan and his colleagues studied reflects potentially distinct ways the body might raise HDL.
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