Homocysteine levels better at predicting cardiovascular risk

Homocysteine levels predict cardiovascular risk in older people better than classic measures and other biomarkers, a BMJ study has found.

Dutch researchers assessed 302 85-year-olds who had no history of cardiovascular disease. They measured risk factors used in Framingham scores and levels of homocysteine, folic acid, C-reactive protein and interleukin 6. The researchers then looked at how well these factors predicted deaths from cardiovascular causes.

Compared with the Framingham risk score, using homocysteine levels led to a 23% increase in people correctly classified as high-risk. The researchers suggest that if their finding is confirmed in a larger study, care guidelines may need to be revised.

They stress however that, although homocysteine predicts cardiovascular mortality in old age, they are not suggesting that lowering homocysteine levels would be beneficial.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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