Is homocysteine a relevant cardiovascular risk factor?
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- Das, J. & Kaul, S. Curr Cardio Risk Rep (2008) 2: 141. doi:10.1007/s12170-008-0026-z
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Scientific research is searching constantly for new markers to help stage the progress and prognosis of cardiovascular disease. Over the past few decades, homocysteine has been suggested as a risk factor involved in the promotion of atherosclerosis and thrombotic vascular events. Several large observational studies have indicated a relationship between homocysteine and cardiovascular illness. However, more robust prospective trials reveal a weaker association between the two than do case-control and cross-sectional data. Recently, many randomized controlled trials have evaluated the impact of homocysteine-lowering therapy on vascular risk. The overall evidence suggests a null effect, thereby failing to validate the hypothesis that a reduction in homocysteine levels would result in clinical benefit. This review outlines the latest relevant data and illustrates why the use of homocysteine as a screening tool or a target of cardiovascular treatment cannot be recommended.