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Age, Genetic Risk Tied to Blood Lipid Changes in New Study

Changes in blood lipid levels are tied to age and genetic risk, according to the findings of a new study in JAMA Network Open, which further suggests that prevention strategies should focus on individuals with high genetic risk and at specific ages. Blood lipids are the primary cause of atherosclerosis and strategies for their control typically focus on individuals who already have high lipid levels. Yet it is difficult to reverse the deleterious effects of high lipid levels once dyslipidemia has emerged, making earlier prevention important. To better understand the relationships between rates of blood lipid changes and age and genetic risk, a team led by scientists from Peking Union Medical College generated polygenic risk scores for four lipid levels using lipid-related genetic loci from large-scale genome-wide association studies. They then determined the rate pattern of blood lipid changes and further estimated the associations of the change rates with the risk score in a cohort of 37,317 Chinese individuals. The researchers found that lipid change rates are associated with age and genetic predisposition in Chinese adults. "Therefore, precision prevention strategies for blood lipids should be optimized by taking account of both genetic risk and critical age window, which might offer an opportunity to reduce unhealthy lipid traits and subsequent cardiovascular burden," they write.