In this month's edition of Global Heart (the journal of the World Heart Federation), the authors ask in the editorial: Why do humans develop atherosclerosis?
Is the human genome hardwired to develop atherosclerosis? Can atherosclerosis be entirely prevented? Is atherosclerosis fundamental to the aging process? Have the risk factors that have contributed to the development of atherosclerosis been the same all along human evolution?" The editorial is by Dr Gregory Thomas, Medical Director, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, CA; USA; Dr Samuel Wann, Columbia St. Mary's Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI, USA; and Professor Jagat Narula, Editor-in-Chief of Global Heart and Associate Dean for Global Health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA.
Reviewing the related studies in the issue, the editors comment: "Using x-ray computed tomography (CT), the investigators contributing to this issue of Global Heart have yet to find a culture that did not have pre-clinical atherosclerosis. Unfortunately, like Ponce de León, they did not find an atherosclerosis 'fountain of youth'."
The editors conclude: "The work of the Horus and other research teams suggests that genetically humans are inherently susceptible to atherosclerosis. However, the environment in which humans live, the choices they make, to be active, to avoid smoking, and staying lean, all contribute to determining when in life atherosclerosis will strike." As Horus team member, Dr Michael I Miyamoto of Mission Heritage Medical Group suggests, "As humans we want to die with atherosclerosis, not because of atherosclerosis."