London: The Mediterranean diet, believed tobe the healthiest in the world, may not be that good forcertain people as it may raise their risk of heart attacks, anew study has claimed. It has long been thought that a diet rich in olive oil,nuts and oily fish is good for health because it can reducethe levels of bad cholesterol, which is blamed for cloggingarteries and increasing the risk of heart attacks.
"We`ve confirmed high HDL cholesterol is in factassociated with risk in a certain group of patients." The findings, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis,and Vascular Biology, could also explain disappointing resultsfrom a trial of an experimental drug called "torcetrapib"designed to increase HDL cholesterol. In 2006, pharma company Pfizer had to halt the trial dueto a surprisingly excessive number of unexplained heartattacks and deaths that were linked with higher levels of goodcholesterol. Co-researcher Prof Charles Sparks said: "The ability toidentify patients who will not benefit from efforts toincrease HDL cholesterol is important because they can beexcluded from trials testing medications that aim to raise HDLcholesterol. "With these patients excluded researchers may findraising HDL cholesterol in the remaining population iseffective in reducing cardiovascular disease risk." The researchers believe genetics and environmentalfactors -- particularly inflammation -- decide what effectgood cholesterol has on patients. Given an inflammatory environment a person`s unique setof genes determines whether HDL transforms from good to bad inthe heart disease process, they said. In the high-risk subgroup of patients they also identifiedtwo genes associated with recurrent heart attacks -- CETP thatmoves cholesterol away from the vascular system and is likedwith HDL and "p22phox", which influences inflammation-relatedprocesses and is associated with CRP. Prof Corsetti said: "Our research is oriented around theability to better identify patients at high risk. "Identifying these patients and determining what putsthem at high risk may be useful in choosing treatmentstailored to the specific needs of particular patientsubgroups. This gets us another step closer to achieving thegoal of personalised medicine." PTI
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