Latest Issue of Science News


‘Good’ cholesterol may be overrated

Surprise result questions heart protection from HDL

2012 SCIENCE NEWS TOP 25: 19

Sometimes new research makes us reconsider what we know. One example this year was cholesterol, which has long been divided into black-and-white simplicity — good and bad, HDL and LDL. Because people with higher HDL tend to have fewer heart attacks (and those with high LDL have more of them), it has been a fair distinction.

Or has it? An international team looked at medical data from thousands of people with and without a history of heart attacks, a collection that included some who had genetic variants resulting in higher-than-average HDL.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that having naturally higher HDL imparted no added protection against heart attacks (SN: 6/16/12, p. 14).

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.