Individuals with 2 copies of a relatively common mutation in the HFE gene have a substantially increased risk of stroke, according to research by Danish investigators (Ellervik C et al. Neurology. 2007;68:1025-1031).
As many as 1 in 4 Europeans carries 1 or 2 copies of this mutation, called H63D, which causes an increase in the amount of iron absorbed by the body.
In the study of 9178 individuals from the Danish general population, followed up for 24 years, 504 developed ischemic cerebrovascular disease, 393 of whom experienced an ischemic stroke. The researchers found that persons with 2 copies of H63D (about 1.7% of participants) were 2 to 3 times more likely to develop ischemic cerebrovascular disease and ischemic stroke than those without the mutation.
Stephenson J. Stroke Risk Gene. JAMA. 2007;297(15):1646. doi:10.1001/jama.297.15.1646-d