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Health & DNA News

July 2, 2009

Study Suggests Online Genetic Test May Help Smokers Quit

Online genetic tests for lung cancer risk variants are well accepted - and could potentially improve the uptake of smoking cessation aids among smokers, according to a pilot study appearing online last night in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute and elsewhere used online and telephone surveys to gauge smokers' perceptions and understanding of online genetic test results indicating whether individuals carried a copy of the glutathione S-transferase gene GSTM1. Previous research suggests those missing the enzyme have a slightly elevated lung cancer risk.

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June 9, 2009

Genetic Variant Associated with Resistance to Chemotherapy Drug in Women with Breast Cancer

Researchers have found links between an individual's genetics and their response to treatment with chemotherapy. The findings, by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues, show how a genetic variation, located in the SOD2 gene, may affect how a person responds to the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide. Cyclophosphamide is used in the treatment of breast and other cancers.

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May 29, 2009

Obesity 'may be largely genetic'

Becoming overweight as a child is more likely to be the result of your genes than your lifestyle, claims a study. University College London researchers examined more than 5,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins.

Their American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that differences in body mass index and waist size were 77% governed by genes.

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May 15, 2009

The Fires Within - Time Magazine

Not long ago, most doctors thought of heart attacks as primarily a plumbing problem. Over the years, fatty deposits would slowly build up on the insides of major coronary arteries until they grew so big that they cut off the supply of blood to a vital part of the heart. A complex molecule called LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, provided the raw material for these deposits. Clearly anyone with high LDL levels was at greater risk of developing heart disease.

There's just one problem with that explanation: sometimes it's dead wrong. Indeed, half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Not only that, as imaging techniques improved, doctors found, much to their surprise, that the most dangerous plaques weren't necessarily all that large. Something that hadn't yet been identified was causing those deposits to burst, triggering massive clots that cut off the coronary blood supply. In the 1990s, Ridker became convinced that some sort of inflammatory reaction was responsible for the bursting plaques, and he set about trying to prove it.

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