Scientists find gene tied to blood clots

Scientists from King’s College London say they may have found a specific fault in a gene that may promote the formation of blood clots, the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. The hope is that gene tests may help doctors one day to identify people at greater risk of having a heart event.

To conduct their study, the researchers reviewed more than 80 studies involving about 50,000 people, which is the largest analysis of this genetic fault to date. They found that individuals with the PIA2 gene, which appears to affect a protein called glycoprotein Illa - present on platelets, natural clotting cells in the blood, were 10 to 15 percent more likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot that blocked blood supply to the brain than those without the gene. For people with two copies of the gene the risk rises by up to 70 percent from this baseline. The authors note that although this gene increases risk, the percentage also depends on an individual's baseline risk, which depends on factors such as smoking, diet, weight and exercise.

The team cautions that overall, the genes play a smaller role in risk than more established factors, such as high blood pressure and obesity.

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Sourced from: BBC, Gene linked to higher stroke and heart attack risk