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Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:13 am Post subject: 'Good' cholesterol (HDL) surprise
"June 3 (Bloomberg) -- 'Good' cholesterol that scientists have thought helped unclog arteries had no effect on heart disease in a study, casting doubt on a theory drugmakers have spent more than $1 billion pursuing."
"Researchers studied people who have a genetic condition that causes them to produce very low levels of HDL cholesterol, expecting they'd be about twice as likely to have heart disease. Instead, they had no greater risk, according to a study published today by the Journal of the American Medical Association."
"This may explain why the experimental drug torcetrapib, which New York-based Pfizer spent more than $1 billion developing, raised HDL levels without providing heart benefits, the study said."
[My take: The medical community really doesn't know very much about cholesterol, in spite of over a decade of large-scale tampering with this very necessary substance. -- Darrell]
This study notwithstanding there does seem to be some compelling evidence that high HDL levels do have a protective effect; I recall a recent TV episode of the PBS science program Nova in which a group of extremely active elders in their 90s were studied. Tests indicated the amount of
atherosclerosis was extremely low, and their HDL levels were amazingly high, perhaps because of a gene they all shared.
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