The Heart Disease Gene: Was Davy Jones a Victim?
With the passing of the legendary Monkees’ lead singer Davy Jones, many across the country are mourning. Some of you may be thinking, “He was only 66 years old, for chrissakes!” In the end, it was a heart attack that took this talented musician (and revered dreamboat). But is that the whole story?
Could Jones have prevented that fatal attack? Or, as recent research points out, could his death be blamed on a genetic deformity . . . specifically one that only affects men?
Digging Deeper into Heart Disease
Heart disease: it can affect anyone who isn't careful about their diet, right? Sure, genes and hereditary traits can also influence the risk of heart disease, but at the end of the day it really comes down to how you take care of yourself.
While these statements have some degree of truth to them, it is not the entire story.
Even though heart disease can occur in anybody, it tends to affect males more often than women. In fact, health officials estimate that two out of three heart disease patients are male, and they are aware that males tend to develop heart disease much earlier than females . . . sometimes even a decade earlier or more. But the strange part is that no one knows exactly why this is.
However, according to a new study that was published in The Lancet, scientists believe that the reason may lie in the Y chromosome, which, as you might have learned from biology class, is found only in men.
Details of the Study
The study, which has only been performed once (and thus obviously needs to be replicated several times to add to its credibility), introduces unique new ideas but is not yet seen as a definitive answer.
The results found that of all the British men who were studied, each one had one of two variants of a cluster of genes on their Y chromosome. The group who had one type of gene cluster had a 50 percent increased risk of developing heart disease compared to the other group of males who contained the other cluster of genes. The study also found that this increased risk had nothing to do with other, more traditional factors that go into determining the risk of heart disease, such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking.
Answers, and More Questions
It is still not clear why these genes have such a strong influence on the development of heart disease; but it certainly helps to shed a different light on the potential causes for heart disease, or any other disease for that matter.
These findings help answer the question of why some people can go their entire lives being obese, drinking and smoking, and still not develop heart disease; while others who make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle end up getting it despite those efforts.
If scientists are able to single out this cluster in men through mainstream screening procedures, they might be able to find a way to decrease the likelihood of that person suffering from a heart attack or stroke. While a lot more work needs to be done to ensure the validity of this study, it is a step in the right direction after so many efforts in other areas have proved fruitless.