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The World in Medicine
November 10, 1999

Genetic Link to Heart Disease

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JAMA. 1999;282(18):1713. doi:10.1001/jama.282.18.1713-JWM90009-3-1

A new finding from researchers in Germany lends support to a genetic link in the development of heart disease.

In a study of 50 people with a family history of heart disease occurring before age 60, the researchers discovered an impaired ability to regulate blood flow to the heart. The impairment stems from malfunctions in coronary artery endothelial cells that control expansion and relaxation of blood vessels. Without proper blood flow regulation, atherosclerotic plaque may form more quickly in the vessels and increase the risk of myocardial infarction.