New blood test can predict heart attacks

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Heart attacks are a leading cause of death globally, and the search for effective prevention methods is ongoing.

In a new study, a team of researchers led by Professor Johan Sundström at Uppsala University has developed a new method for predicting the risk of a heart attack within six months using a standard blood test.

This innovative approach, detailed in their publication in Nature Cardiovascular Research, aims to revolutionize how high-risk individuals are identified and motivated to adopt healthier lifestyles.

The traditional method of identifying risk factors for heart attacks has been through long-term studies, typically spanning five to ten years.

However, these methods often overlook the dynamic biological processes that occur in the months leading up to a heart attack.

Sundström points out the increased risk associated with stressful life events, such as a divorce or a cancer diagnosis, highlighting the need for a more immediate and sensitive risk assessment tool.

To address this, Sundström and his team, in collaboration with European researchers, analyzed blood samples from 169,053 individuals without prior cardiovascular disease across six cohorts.

They identified 420 individuals who suffered a heart attack within six months and compared their blood samples to 1,598 healthy individuals from the same cohorts.

This comparison revealed about 90 molecules linked to the risk of a first heart attack, suggesting that current standard blood tests could be sufficient for predicting this risk.

The development of a simple online tool that allows individuals to assess their heart attack risk based on standard blood test results is a key outcome of this research.

The tool’s accessibility is intended to empower people to take proactive steps in managing their health, such as adhering to preventive treatments or making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking.

The significance of this research lies not only in the immediate application of the online tool but also in the potential for future treatment options.

The team plans to conduct further studies on the identified molecules to explore new treatment possibilities.

Additionally, a planned study in Uppsala will assess whether the online tool effectively motivates individuals to pursue preventive measures against heart attacks.

This initiative is part of the Uppsala-based population study EpiHealth, one of the six cohorts involved in the research.

By leveraging data from such large-scale studies, the research team at Uppsala University is paving the way for innovative approaches to heart attack prevention.

Their work underscores the importance of dynamic and personalized health assessments in addressing one of the world’s most pressing health challenges.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to higher risk of heart failure, and results showing Blackcurrants could improve artery functions, blood pressure in older people.

The research findings can be found in Nature Cardiovascular Research.

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