Heart disease genes and SNPs

Published on March 31, 2024   51 min

A selection of talks on Genetics & Epigenetics

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My name is Steve Humphries. I'm the Emeritus British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics at University College in London. I'm going to talk today about heart disease genes, and single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs.
The outline of the talk is shown here.
I want to start by discussing what are the common risk factors for heart disease. Now, you probably can all name these, but here is a list of what I think are the most important ones. Age and male gender are by far the largest factors. Smoking, obesity, having high blood pressure, being diabetic. Then we get down to things like having a lack of exercise in your lifestyle or lots of stress. Then things we can measure in the blood is having high low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. In the lay press, that's called the bad cholesterol, or low high-density lipoprotein, that's HDL. In the lay press that's called the good cholesterol. Now when you look at these factors, you can see that some are modifiable. You can obviously change whether you're smoking. You can maybe lose weight. You can start taking more exercise. Some are purely genetic. Clearly you can't do anything about your gender. Then some are a bit of both. In other words, you could say, well, I'm smoking because I've got a bad genes, but clearly that's part of your environment. The same thing with some of the other factors there. When we're thinking about what's causing heart disease, we've got to consider both genes and the environment. Let's talk now about what are the processes of heart disease. In some of the slides, I'll call this CHD or coronary heart disease.