Heart and Lung

Just One Meal High in Saturated Fats Clogs Arteries – Polyunsaturated Fats Help

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Researchers in Australia say that just one meal high in saturated fat may affect the body’s ability to protect itself against artery-clogging plaques. On the other hand, by eating a meal high in polyunsaturated fats can increase the anti-inflammatory properties of HDL, helping to protect the inner lining of the arteries (endothelium).

Dr. Stephen J. Nicholls says “The take-home, public-health message is this: It's further evidence to support the need to aggressively reduce the amount of saturated fat consumed in the diet. This study helps to explain the mechanisms by which saturated fat supports the formation of plaques in the arterial wall, and we know these plaques are the major cause of heart attack and stroke." Nicholls is one of the researchers and now a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

One Treatment for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Could Help Patients with Metabolic Syndrome

Recent research has shown that babies born today are fatter than babies born twenty years ago, but scientists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have identified a molecular switch that regulates fat and cholesterol production. They hope this will lead to a treatment for metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition where patients have high cholesterol, obesity, type-2 or pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. This usually affects adults. The study’s lead investigator, Dr. Ander Näär said “We have identified a key protein that acts together with a family of molecular switches to turn on cholesterol and fat (or lipid) production. The identification of this protein interaction and the nature of the molecular interface may one day allow us to pursue a more comprehensive approach to the treatment of metabolic syndrome.” Näär is assistant professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

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