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World-first study using DNA patterns to better predict heart attack risk

DNA patterns which could help doctors assess the risk of a heart attack have been discovered by Australian scientists.

Scientists from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Cambridge University used technology to study DNA from almost half a million people in Britain to help generate a genetic risk factor of having a heart attack.

The Heart Foundation’s chief medical advisor, Professor Garry Jennings, says it’s a step in the right direction, but there’s still a way to go.

“There’s not one single gene, there’s lots of genes, some of which have a tiny effect in raising risk,” he said.

“You’ve got to have a look at the genome.”

He said the analysis would be available eventually, but lifestyle factors, high cholesterol and blood pressure, are just as important.

“What we are moving from is talking about odds in a group of people, to your individual risk,” he said.

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