Mitochondrial DNA Could Predict Risk for Sudden Cardiac Death, Heart Disease

Johns Hopkins researchers report that the level, or “copy number,” of mitochondrial DNA—genetic information stored not in a cell’s nucleus but in the body’s energy-creating mitochondria—is a novel and distinct biomarker that is able to predict the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths a decade or more before they happen. In the future, testing blood for this genetic information could not only help physicians more accurately predict a risk for life-threatening cardiac events, but also inform decisions to begin—or avoid—treatment with statins and other drugs.


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