Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Medical Condition Detection Advance

"You could be going around thinking you're completely healthy, yet have ongoing disease in your coronary arteries."
"...There hasn't been a way to detect this process [artery-clogging blood clots] in the body until we [GD Biosciences] developed this PULS test."
"Cholesterol is important [in detecting the presence of heart disease] because if it's elevated it tells you [that you] have a greater risk of developing heart disease. But those levels do not tell you if your heart already has [sustained some] injury."
"It's telling you [the blood test, akin to testing a vehicle's engine light] there's a problem but your 'car' hasn't developed symptoms yet."
Dr. Douglas Harrington, clinical professor, University of Southern California
Blood test can assess heart attack risk, Vancouver conference hears
Dr. Douglas Harrington presented information about the PULS test at the 20th World Congress on Heart Disease, held at a Vancouver hotel.   Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , Province

Those attending the 20th World Congress on Heart Disease taking place in Vancouver listened to and viewed a presentation by a clinical professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California speaking about a new and practical test, labelled Protein Unstable Lesion Signature (PULS). This is a blood test meant to detect protein leaking from lesions that develop in arteries as a result of cholesterol circulating in the blood stream and damaging those arteries.

The lesions are unstable, and when they rupture they produce blood clots which in turn block arteries and this causes heart attack. The ruptures are held to be responsible for up to 75 percent of all heart attacks. Until the development of this blood test there was no way of determining what was happening in the body and detection of the destructive process went undiagnosed. The testing that is done conventionally zeroes in on the measurement of cholesterol in the blood.

And while cholesterol remains a significant marker of what may be happening within the body, enabling clinicians to predict a breakdown of natural processes leading to a heart attack, the full landscape of the heart's health is not captured. The situation is complicated by the fact that 50 percent of people entering hospital with heart attacks show levels of cholesterol that fall into the normal range.

The test itself is designed to be used with people forty years of age and older. It measures nine protein markers for the purpose of gauging the state of current injury levels in the heart. It took fifteen years of research n the development of lesions appearing in animals and humans in a project involving the collaboration between USC, Stanford University and University of California Los Angeles, along with other institutions.

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