Predicting your risk of cardiovascular disease
17 October 2006
One of the hardest problems faced by epidemiologists is recognising just what the major risk factors are.
Bristol’s epidemiologists have developed a novel approach to sorting out the wood from the trees. Because CRP is a protein, it is encoded by genes. The fact that genes are fixed before birth and randomly allocated can therefore be exploited.
Some people have genes that cause naturally high levels of CRP, while others have low or medium levels, but the proportion of people who smoke, take no exercise or have a bad diet will be similar in each of these genetic groups. Using this technique, researchers have shown that CRP is not causally related to high blood pressure. These important results thus allow the search for the real culprit to continue.