Narrator: This is Science Today. A new study at the University of California, San Francisco, is changing the way doctors think about inflammation and heart disease. Mary Whooley, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, says that by understanding heart attack precursors, such as cardiac ischemia, which causes reduced blood flow to the heart, we can treat heart disease as being more systemic, rather than just a plumbing problem.
Whooley: Inflammation is associated with blockages in the heart. And for me, it seems plausible that the ischemia caused by blockages in the heart, may be causing the inflammation, rather than vice versa, the inflammation causing the ischemia.
Narrator: Whooley says that linking markers of inflammation to future heart attacks could help explain the progression of heart disease.
Whooley: Depending on future results, treating inflammation may take on a more prominent role in treating and preventing heart disease. Or inflammation may be used as a method to track the degree of ischemia in patients with coronary disease.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.