A new genetic label for stroke

by Medindia Content Team on  June 28, 2002 at 5:34 PM General Health News
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A new genetic label for stroke
Some researchers have found out that people under age 48 who suffer a stroke are about four times more likely than their healthy peers to have a defect in a gene called PON1. The gene helps HDL (the good cholesterol) combat the damaging effects of LDL (the bad cholesterol). Although most strokes occur in older people, stroke is not a rare event in younger individuals. Health officials estimate 4percent to 29 percent of the most common form of stroke, those caused by a blood clot breaking off and traveling to the brain, happen in people under age 44. Identifying which people are at increased risk could help prevent some of these strokes.
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Investigators from Texas University School of Medicine observed at two possible mutations on a gene responsible for producing paraoxonasc, or PON1, an enzyme that helps HDL cholesterol prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This process plays a major role in the development of heart and blood vessel disease leading to stroke.

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Blood samples of 120 people who had suffered a stroke before age 44 were compared with those of 120 healthy people the same age. Results showed people who had a stroke were four times more likely than healthy individuals to carry one of the abnormalities. This risk factor was a stronger predictor of stroke than traditional stroke risk factors such as smoking and diabetes. Only high blood pressure was found to be a stronger risk factor. When the mutation was combined with the other risk factors, the risk skyrocketed.

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