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).
The very activities that can increase HDL — exercising, losing weight and stopping smoking — also do their part to protect against