Show Details

Expanding Atherosclerosis

May 6, 2008

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is one of the leading serious problems in the western world. New research suggests that its reach might extend beyond the heart.


New territory for atherosclerosis. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a well-known contributor to heart attacks. But a new report suggests its reach may extend beyond the heart. Rita Upmacis of Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and her colleagues studied mice that were prone to the disease. When these mice were fed a high fat diet, a toxic chemical linked to atherosclerosis turned up not only in their hardened arteries, but also in their lungs, liver, and kidneys.

RITA UPMACIS (Weill Medical College of Cornell University):
We don’t know if it’s in the blood vessels of these organs, in which case it would be an extension of atherosclerosis, just affecting different organs, or it might be that it’s a reaction that accompanies atherosclerosis.

Either way, it suggests that late-stage atherosclerosis may affect the body in ways that doctors hadn’t previously suspected. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.