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B. How Genetic Risk Score May Help Patients Receive Better Treatment

Narrator: This is Science Today. A pair of genes has been discovered that could help doctors predict early heart attack risk. A study by the University of California , San Francisco , along with The Cleveland Clinic and Celera Genomics looked at over 2,000 heart attack victims to identify these genes. Dr. John Kane, director of the UC San Francisco Cardiovascular Research Institute, explains.

Kane: Each of the two genes that we are reporting here have a variant form of the gene, structurally different, which is more commonly found in people with heart disease, suggesting very strongly that that gene has an effect on the risk of heart disease.

Narrator: One of the genes is linked to clotting, which can lead to a heart attack. And Kane says the heart attack risk from both the genes they've identified is comparable to the risk from being a heavy smoker.

Kane: Smokers who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day will experience an approximate doubling of the risk of heart attack, but each of these genes contributes about that much increased risk of heart attack as well.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.