Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre discovered a protein switch that can trigger heart failure. Dr. Billia says that PINK1 is a protein that can affect the heart metabolism, leading into heart failure. The absences of this protein can cause the heart cells to produce less energy. The lack of energy causes some of the heart cells to die, forcing the remainder of the cells to work harder to keep the heart going. This is known as hypertrophy, where the heart muscles thickens. Heart failure is the most common hospitalization in North American adults, and over 50,000 people have heart failure annually. Studies have been shown that if you genetically remove the PINK1 proetin gene the heart will develop normally but will begin to fail within two months. It is not required for organ development but this protein is so important to the body; the body cannot survive without it. Researchers think this protein links to Parkinson’s disease and certain cancers such as esophageal and endometrial disease.
This is great information for cardiac patients. For heart patients that are on the donor waitlist can go on this new drug to help reverse the PINK1 protein from failing and perhaps repair their own heart and might not need to have a transplat after all and save a lot of money in the long run. I’m sure not only with gene therapy and taking certain medications to keep your proteins functioning normally diet and exercise play a factor as well to help the heart healthy. This i s great knowing that people now have alternatives and do not have to sit around waiting hoping to be next on the donor list.
In a study conducted by UT Southwestern Medical Center, a gene’s role in metabolism has been pinpointed, at least in mice. MED13, a component of a major genetic pathway in the heart, has been linked to obesity and diabetes that result from blood sugar changes in the body. Mice supplied with diets high in fat with higher levels of MED13 showed greater metabolism rates and therefore a much lower frequency of obesity and cardiovascular problems. It has also been found that a “heart specific micro RNA” called miRNA-208a, is linked to the presence of MED13. The micro RNA inhibits the activity of MED13. Mice with higher levels of miRNA-208a had slower metabolisms and showed higher rates of obesity.
Statistics of the Number of Overweight Americans in the United States
This study is significant because among humans, obesity, diabetes, and heart problems that result from these conditions are major causes of death and illness. Individuals are perhaps predisposed to obesity, and this study can open doors to new medications that could increase the activity of MED13, and give many Americans a higher quality of life. On the contrary, maybe it would be better for Americans with certain predispositions to just eat diets that aren’t so high in fat. With the amount of processed food and fat in our meat products in this country, we can clearly see what individuals have higher metabolisms that others. A solution could be to feed our cattle grass, instead of corn which they store as fat because they are not designed to digest it. This is an instance where scientific progress may point to individuals taking better care of themselves, instead of just creating another drug or therapy.
For years, the belief that mutated genes passed on from generation to generation could not be corrected. Researchers at McMaster and McGill universities are now questioning this theory. 9p21 is a gene that greatly influences many cardiovascular diseases. Scientists Michael G. DeGroote, Dr. Ron Do and collaborating colleagues found that a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables significantly decreases the effects of a “faulty” 9p21 gene. The study was performed on 27,000 individuals which included European, South Asian, Chinese, Latin American and Arab ethnic groups. Their research suggests that a “five a day” diet is a significant way to improve your overall health and longevity. More importantly, however, their research shows that individuals with a high risk genotype for cardiovascular disease can significantly be lowered with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.