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New Chemical Markers May Not Help Predict Heart Disease

Routine testing for C-reactive protein and 18 other risk factors may not improve risk forecasting

MONDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Testing for novel chemical markers such as C-reactive protein levels may not help predict heart disease risk any better than traditional methods, according to a report in the July 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Aaron R. Folsom, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues analyzed follow-up data on 15,792 adults involved in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. The study explored the link between heart disease and 19 novel risk markers in adults followed up between 1987 and 1989.

The researchers found that traditional risk factors, such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking and antihypertensive drug use, were reliable heart disease predictors. But they concluded that testing for C-reactive protein levels and most other novel chemical markers was unwarranted.

"Our findings suggest that routine measurement of these novel markers is not warranted for risk assessment," the authors write. "On the other hand, our findings reinforce the utility of major, modifiable risk factor assessment to identify individuals at risk for coronary heart disease for preventive action."

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