New Genes Associated with Blood Pressure and Hypertension

High blood pressure or hypertension affects more than one in three people worldwide and is a major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure [1]. The degree with which blood pressure traits can be inherited suggests a genetic component. However, limited consistent evidence of genes associated with blood pressure have been produced. A new study in the journal Nature Genetics reports for the first time a number of genes showing significant associations with blood pressure and hypertension across the genome [2].


Although large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been used successfully to identify genes associated with common diseases and traits, studies on blood pressure or hypertension have failed to identify loci at a genome-wide significant threshold (p-value < 5 x 10-8). The significance of GWAS data relies on several variables, including the accuracy of phenotypic measures, density of markers and size of the study population. Thus, if blood pressure variation in the general population is due to multiple genetic factors with small effects, a very large sample size is needed to identify them.

Pharmacogenetic Algorithm Accurately Predicts Warfarin Dosing

This article was written by Noelle K. LoConte, M.D.

Warfarin (brand name Coumadin) is one of the most commonly used anticoagulants (meaning a medication that thins the blood). It is used in a variety of medical situations, including atrial fibrillation, blood clots and when there is an increased risk of blood clotting due to genetic predisposition. When a patient is on warfarin, they need frequent blood draws to measure blood thinness and frequent dose adjustments until they have reached a stable level of blood thinning.


Chiropractic Adjustments and Artery Dissection: Is Your Neck in Safe Hands?

Cervicocerebral arterial dissections are increasingly recognized as a cause of stroke, particularly in young people. The term “cervicocerebral arterial” refers to the arteries in the neck and brain, while the term “dissection” refers to a tear in the inner wall of a major artery. An arterial dissection leads to the intrusion of blood within the layers of the artery wall. Depending upon which layers blood collects, an arterial dissection can cause narrowing of the channel within the artery (termed stenosis), which restricts blood flow, or an aneurysmal dilation, meaning a localized, blood-filled bulge in the artery wall.

Study Questions Ability of Garlic to Lower LDL Cholesterol

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week concluded that garlic supplementation does not improve cholesterol profiles in people with moderately high levels of LDL cholesterol (defined here as a fasting plasma LDL cholesterol concentration of 130 to 190 mg/dL, a triglyceride level less than 250 mg/dL and body mass index, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, of 19 to 30). The study is the first independent, long-term assessment of raw garlic and two popular garlic supplements. Raw garlic (4g/day for 6 months), powdered garlic and aged garlic extract supplement were tested on 192 adults with moderately high levels of LDL cholesterol. None of the garlic forms studied had statistically or clinically significant effects on LDL cholesterol or other plasmid lipid concentrations. The results contradict other recent findings suggesting that garlic may be beneficial in heart health by reducing moderately high levels of LDL cholesterol in adults [1-2].

Caffeine May Prevent Heart Disease in the Elderly

Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provides protection against the risk of heart disease mortality among the elderly. The study, published in this months issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that participants 65 years of age or older with higher caffeinated beverage intake exhibited lower relative risk of cardiovascular disease and heart disease mortality than did participants with lower caffeinated beverage intake [1].