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The Y chromosome and the heartache of males

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It is well established that atherosclerotic coronary heart disease (CHD) presents sexual dimorphism in its incidence, age of onset, progression, treatment, morbidity and mortality. Men are more commonly affected and die more often and younger from CHD compared with their age-matched partners. Many algorithms, for example Framingham risk score, have been used to assess the risk of developing this disease with high incidence in the western world. The risk scores include overlapping parameters, such as age, sex, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and smoking, but they also differ in some aspects. Yet, these factors do not provide prediction of risk for CHD similarly well for men or women.

In the March issue of The Lancet, Charchar et al. report a promising study of the role of the Y chromosome in coronary artery disease in men [1]. They studied 11 SNPs from the Y chromosomal phylogenetic tree in 3233 unrelated British men, who were subjects in three cardiological study cohorts. The genotype d