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October 23/30, 2002

Homocysteine and Coronary Heart Disease: How Great Is the Hazard?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2002;288(16):2042-2043. doi:10.1001/jama.288.16.2042

In this issue of THE JOURNAL, 2 meta-analyses critically review the coronary heart disease (CHD) risks related to blood levels of homocysteine and a common variant of methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), a gene that is known to be an important regulator of homocysteine metabolism.1,2 The authors summarize data on the potential effects of this genetic variant and plasma homocysteine levels on CHD risk and conclude that the risks are increased modestly. While the authors do not recommend new approaches to evaluate persons at risk for CHD, the study findings do provide a perspective on how scientists assess the utility of newer biomarkers and genetic factors that may contribute to CHD risk.

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