In DepthBiomedicine

To help save the heart, is it time to retire cholesterol tests?

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, pp. 1237-1238
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6368.1237

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Doctors typically gauge our risk of developing heart disease from our levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or non–high density lipoprotein cholesterol. But some researchers argue that the blood protein apolipoprotein B (apoB) is a more accurate indicator because it captures the number of cholesterol-carrying particles that cause atherosclerosis. ApoB backers point to recent analyses that found high apoB levels better predicted patients' likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke and a genetic study that showed that reducing apoB had a bigger effect on cardiovascular risk than did reducing LDL cholesterol. However, many researchers remain convinced that switching to measuring apoB would not provide enough benefit to outweigh the disruption to clinical procedures that would result.