Wednesday October 16, 2019

Researchers Identify Genes Linked to the Risk of Heart Failure

"That understanding of the genetic basis of heart structure and function in the general population improves our knowledge of how heart failure evolves," said study researcher Steffen Petersen

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genes, heart failure
The heart attack brings about activation of certain genes which stay as a permanent memory in genes. Pixabay

Researchers have found the way for earlier identification of people at risk of heart failure and development of new treatments.

The research team applied an artificial intelligence (AI) technique to analyse the heart MRI images of 17,000 healthy UK Biobank volunteers and found that genetic factors accounted for 22-39 per cent of variation in the size and function of the heart”s left ventricle, the organ”s main pumping chamber.

Enlargement and reduced pumping function of the left ventricle can lead to heart failure, the study said.

“It is exciting that the state-of-the-art AI techniques now allow rapid and accurate measurement of the tens of thousands of heart MRI images required for genetic studies,” said study lead researcher Nay Aung from Queen Mary University of London.

“The findings open up the possibility of earlier identification of those at risk of heart failure and of new targeted treatments,” Aung said.

“Heart failure is preventable and treatable,” Fonarow said. “There is an urgent need to eliminate the healthcare policy that has been associated with the increase in heart failure deaths. Pixabay

The research, published journal Circulation, suggests that genetic factors significantly influence the variation in heart structure and function.

The team identified 14 regions in the human genome associated with the size and function of the left ventricle – each containing genes that regulate the early development of heart chambers and the contraction of heart muscle.

Previous studies have shown that differences in the size and function of the heart are partly influenced by genes but the researchers have not really understood the extent of that genetic influence.

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This study has shown that several genes known to be important in heart failure also appear to regulate the heart size and function in healthy people.

“That understanding of the genetic basis of heart structure and function in the general population improves our knowledge of how heart failure evolves,” said study researcher Steffen Petersen. (IANS)

Next Story

US: Antibiotic-Resistant Genes (ARGs) Prevail in Groundwater

Because they are biological contaminants -- small fragments of DNA that are released to the environment -- bacteria present

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US, Antibiotic, Genes
The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned. Pixabay

In an alarming find, a team of US researchers has discovered that antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) were prevalent in groundwater, posing a potential hazard to public safety and water security.

The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned.

“ARGs are not regulated in any way and are a challenging emerging contaminant of concern due to our reliance on biological treatment in the engineered water cycle,” said Adam Smith, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California (USC).

“Because they are biological contaminants — small fragments of DNA that are released to the environment — bacteria present in receiving environments can uptake them, becoming resistant themselves, and further perpetuating the spread of resistance.”

US, Antibiotic, Genes
The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned. Pixabay

Smith and a team of researchers including Moustapha Harb from Lebanese American University and PhD students Phillip Wang and Ali Zarei-Baygi from the USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, studied and compared samples from an advanced groundwater treatment facility in southern California and groundwater aquifers to detect differences in ARG concentrations.

While they found that the advanced groundwater treatment facility reduced nearly all targeted ARGs to below detection limits, groundwater samples had a ubiquitous presence of ARGs in both control locations and locations recharged with water from the advanced water treatment facility.

While some ARGs are naturally occurring in microbial communities, antibiotics, ARGs and antibiotic resistant pathogens are on the rise in water sources as a result of the overuse of antibiotics in general.

“Looking at the differences in ARGs between various water sources is incredibly important in considering future health hazards, like development of super bugs,” Smith said in a paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

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Since wastewater treatment plants are not generally designed for removal of micro-pollutants like antibiotics, they tend to persist in treatment systems, leading to high densities of ARG resistant bacteria at different stages of treatment.

When this water is introduced into an aquifer, where ARGs are already naturally occurring, it can become contaminated with ARGs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

To further complicate the issue, ARGs are easily transferred through horizontal gene transfer, increasing the risk for antibiotic resistant pathogens.

“We must act fast before we enter a so called ‘post-antibiotic world’ where bacterial infections become impossible to treat,” Smith warned. (IANS)