Nearly 50 years ago, investigators from the Framingham Heart Study first associated elevated blood cholesterol levels with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Over the ensuing decades, epidemiologic studies deepened the understanding of the disease process. Higher levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) were associated with increased CVD risk, whereas higher levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) were associated with decreased CVD risk. Moving from association to causality required interventional clinical trials. Could drugs that reduce LDL-C levels or raise HDL-C levels decrease the risk for CVD?
Sniderman AD, Peterson ED. Genetic Studies Help Clarify the Complexities of Lipid Biology and Treatment. JAMA. 2017;318(10):915–917. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11750