Monday, August 3, 2009

Reduced omega-3 and elevated trans-fatty acid levels predict nonfatal heart attack better than established risk factors

An article published online on June 9, 2009 in the British Journal of Nutrition reported the conclusion of a study conducted by South Korean researchers that red blood cell fatty acid profiles may prove to be a better predictor of who is at risk of heart disease than Framingham risk factors.

Framingham risk scores are calculated from values for the following traditional risk factors: age, gender, smoking status, total cholesterol levels, HDL-cholesterol levels, diabetes history and hypertension history. While an individual’s Framingham score is 70 to 80 percent accurate in predicting coronary heart disease risk, it fails to take into account more recently recognized risk factors that could improve its predictive value.

The researchers, from the Hanyang University in Seoul, matched 50 men and women with acute nonfatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) with 50 age and gender-matched controls who did not have a history of heart attack. Red blood cells were analyzed for levels of trans-fatty acids (undesirable fatty acids found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil), and the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (found in fish and the algae they feed on). Continue Reading

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