Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lowering cholesterol early in life could save lives

06.08.2008
UC San Diego researchers advocate intervention beginning in childhood

With heart disease maintaining top billing as the leading cause of death in the United States, a team of University of California, San Diego School of Medicine physician-researchers is proposing that aggressive intervention to lower cholesterol levels as early as childhood is the best approach available today to reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease.

In a review article published in the August 5, 2008 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation, pioneering lipid researcher Daniel Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor emeritus of medicine at UC San Diego, and colleagues Christopher Glass, M.D., Ph.D. and Joseph Witztum, M.D., both UC San Diego professors of medicine, call current approaches to lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease "too little, too late."

They state that with a large body of evidence proving that low cholesterol levels equate with low rates of heart disease, "...our long-term goal should be to alter our lifestyle accordingly, beginning in infancy or early childhood" and that "…instituting a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet in infancy (7 months) is perfectly safe, without adverse effects…"

According to Steinberg, progress has been made in the treatment of coronary heart disease in adults with cholesterol lowering drugs like statins. However, while studies show a 30% decrease in death and disability from heart disease in patients treated with statins, 70% of patients have cardiac events while on statin therapy. Promising new therapies are under development, but with an alarming rate of coronary heart disease in the U.S. today, action to curtail the epidemic is needed today.

In fact, they propose that lowering low-density lipoproteins (the so-called "bad cholesterol") to less than 50 mg./dl. even in children and young adults is a safe and potentially life-saving standard, through lifestyle (diet and exercise) changes if possible. Drug treatment may also be necessary in those at very high risk.

"Our review of the literature convinces us that more aggressive and earlier intervention will probably prevent considerably more than 30% of coronary heart disease," said Steinberg. "Studies show that fatty streak lesions in the arteries that are a precursor to atherosclerosis and heart disease begin in childhood, and advanced lesions are not uncommon by age 30. Why not nip things in the bud?" Such early signs of heart disease should be taken as seriously as early signs of cancer or diabetes, he said.

Physicians have been slow to measure cholesterol, much less prescribe cholesterol lowering regimens in children and young adults who are otherwise healthy. However, the UC San Diego team notes that studies of Japanese men in the 1950s showed that consuming a low-fat diet from infancy resulted in lifelong low cholesterol levels, and their death rate from heart disease was only 10% of the rate of cardiac-related death in the U.S. Even with risk factors such as cigarette smoking and diabetes, heart disease deaths remained significantly lower in Japanese men with lifetime levels of low cholesterol. This protective effect was lost in Japanese who migrated to the United States and adopted a Western diet leading to higher blood cholesterol levels.

Interventions today typically begin in adults diagnosed with high cholesterol levels or other risk factors or symptoms of coronary artery disease. However, initiating cholesterol-lowering interventions in 50-year-old adults, even if successful, is unlikely to reverse established arterial disease and will therefore have limited impact on the occurrence of adverse events related to coronary heart disease.

Citing the success of lowering cholesterol levels in children diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, the UC San Diego team suggests that programs to lower cholesterol in the population at large from childhood on, with the ideal LDL level set at 50 mg./dl. or less (in those at highest risk), will have a long-term beneficial effect and lower the nationwide rates of coronary artery disease. They do not advocate using drug therapy to reach these levels, especially in children with no other risk factors, but to achieve these low levels through "TLC," or "therapeutic lifestyle changes," such as diet and exercise.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has declared "war" against the parallel epidemics of obesity and diabetes. The researchers conclude that "The weapons for those wars—education and behavior modification—are the same as those needed for a 'war' on coronary heart disease."

They propose that "A concerted national effort might dramatically reduce morbidity and mortality due to three major chronic diseases…It would take generations to achieve and it would require an all-out commitment of money and manpower to reeducate and modify the behavior of a nation. Is that impossible? No. We have already shown that even a frankly addictive behavior like cigarette smoking can be overcome (eventually)."

Leslie Franz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>