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MUHC cardiologist played instrumental role in identifying key predictor for cardiovascular disease

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Published: 1 Apr 2008

The American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology today recognized the key importance of an additional predictor of cardiovascular disease - a protein called apolipoprotein B (apoB).

The American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology today recognized the key importance of an additional predictor of cardiovascular disease- a protein called apolipoprotein B (apoB). In a statement in the April edition of the scientific journal Diabetes Care, the two major American healthcare organizations recommend patients' levels of apoB should henceforth be considered the key index of the adequacy of LDL lowering therapy. Until now, the level of LDL-cholesterol has been used for this purpose.

MUHC cardiologist and McGill professor Dr. Allan Sniderman, and his colleagues, have been instrumental in identifying the importance of apoB as an index of the risk of heart attacks and strokes. At the moment, cardiovascular risk is assessed by measuring the blood levels of LDL cholesterol (sometimes called "the bad cholesterol") and HDL cholesterol ("the good cholesterol").

ApoB accurately measures the number of LDL particles but LDL cholesterol does not because the mass of cholesterol per LDL particle can vary so much. It turns out that cardiovascular risk is more powerfully related to the number of apoB particles than to the mass of cholesterol they contain.

Many of the studies that support this conclusion have been done in Quebec. Dr Sniderman has been particularly involved in this field and has led and participated in many research projects here and internationally. "Recognizing the role of apoB is a major change in how we consider and manage CVD," explains Dr. Sniderman "I am especially proud that we at McGill University as well as our colleagues at Laval University have contributed so much to this advance. This new approach will save many lives, both in Canada and world-wide."

Using apoB as a primary index of LDL lowering therapy would be a significant change from current practice.

Dr. Sniderman is a researcher in the Cardiovascular Diseases and Critical Care Area of the Research Institute of the MUHC, and a cardiologist at the MUHC. He is also the Edwards Professor of Cardiology in the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University.

The statement of the the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology can be found at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org , or attached to this release.

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University--the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge. www.muhc.ca

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and health-care hospital research centre. Located in Montreal, Quebec, the institute is the research arm of the MUHC, the university health center affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. The institute supports over 600 researchers, nearly 1200 graduate and post-doctoral students and operates more than 300 laboratories devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental and clinical research. The Research Institute operates at the forefront of knowledge, innovation and technology and is inextricably linked to the clinical programs of the MUHC, ensuring that patients benefit directly from the latest research-based knowledge.

The Research Institute of the MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec. For further details visit: www.muhc.ca/research.

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Contact: Isabelle Kling
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