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B. A Protein Marker that's Predictive of Cardiac Events

Narrator: This is Science Today. A protein marker for a cardiac hormone called B-type Natiuretic Peptide, or BNP, which goes up when the heart is stressed, has been found to be a good predictor for the risk of cardiac events and death in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

Whooley: There are always new protein markers. You never know whether they have any independent predictive value beyond what we already know, which is that patients who smoke and who don't exercise and who are obese who have high cholesterol are going to do worse.

Narrator: Study leader Mary Whooley of San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center , says even after adjusting for all other risk factors, this protein marker called NT-proBNP, was clearly very predictive of cardiac events.

Whooley: It seems to pick up an element of risk that we're otherwise not detecting with our currently available measurements, like echocardiography, blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol. Maybe we can figure out some new therapy to target the patients at higher risk to help that would in fact improve their outcomes.

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