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A gene linked to heart attack was found

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American scientists claim to have succeeded in locating the first gene that has a direct link to heart attacks. Until now, it was not known about a specific gene whose mutation could directly cause heart attacks. The scientists base their conclusions on one family in Iowa in the USA, all of whose members suffered from heart disease as a result of a problem in the heart artery and all of them had the mutation in the gene. The scientists published the results of the research in the latest issue of the magazine Science

The gene in which the mutation is found, which is apparently rare, is called MEF2A and is located on chromosome 15. According to Dr. Eric Topol, from the Cleveland Clinic who headed the team of researchers, the gene plays a central role in protecting the walls of the heart's artery from the narrowing that ultimately causes blood flow to be blocked and causing a heart attack. From the results of the analysis performed among the extended family, it emerged that the members of the family have a mutation in the MEF2A gene which causes part of the genetic information that makes up the gene to be missing. As a result, a protein that has a role in protecting the walls of the heart artery does not function, the artery is blocked and the heart attack becomes certain.

"This is the first heart attack gene," said Topol, "in this family, everyone who carried the mutation in this gene was destined to have a heart attack, while those who did not carry the mutation did not suffer from the problem." According to Topol, "past experience shows that from the moment you find the first garden, you begin to decipher the whole story."

However, further research will be required to determine whether the gene plays a role in causing heart attacks in people outside of families where the mutation is 'inherited'. Now the team is preparing to analyze additional genes related to the problematic gene, with the aim of checking if they can also be linked to heart diseases.

Yuval Dror, Haaretz, Walla, news agencies

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