July 7

New study on L(p)a

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A study came out in today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that has the press all a twitter. CNN reports: Study links fat in bloodstream to heart disease. WebMD headlines: New Blood Test May Help Spot Heart Disease. The WebMD article goes on to report:

There may be a new way to identify those at risk for heart disease, research shows. It’s a blood test for Lp(a) — pronounced “L P little a” — a natural component of blood.

A “new way”? Say what? There were a couple of pages (96-97) devoted to Lp(a) in the Protein Power LifePlan, which was published way back in 2000 and written in 1999. We described it as follows back then:

Lipoprotein (a). Abbreviated Lp(a) and called by most everyone “L-P-little-a,” this carrier molecule is a variant of LDL with an extra apoprotein A attached to it.

Elevated Lp(a) are a putative risk factor for heart disease. Putative, of course, is a weasel word used by those who don’t want to really take a stand that means “we think it’s a risk,” but sounds much more scientific. The nasty little secret about Lp(a) is that levels of it in your blood fall when you increase the saturated fat in your diet. That kind of info sort of rains on the parade of those who want to both vilify saturated fat and make Lp(a) a “putative” risk factor for heart disease. I’ve pulled the New England Journal paper and will read it in its entirety later. I have to make a 6 hour drive today up to Marin County to attend a conference for the next four days. I’ll blog as I have the chance, and will definitely give you a report of my take on the Lp(a) study.


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