Homocysteine Levels Predict Coronary Events?
The body produces homocysteine naturally from metabolic activities involving the essential amino acid methionine. Homocysteine has been linked to atherosclerosis, suggesting that other cardiovascular-related conditions, including stroke, may be influenced by levels of this component in the bloodstream.
All 59 hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C.
area participated in a population-based study that examined the influence of homocysteine on stroke risk. Researchers compared 167 cases of first ischemic stroke among women aged 15-44 with 328 control cases, and assessed plasma homocysteine levels by way of high-performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection.
After adjustment for various confounding variables such as cigarettes per day, poverty status, regular vitamin use, and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, elevated plasma homocysteine levels (7.3 umol/l) were associated with an odds ratio for stroke of 1.6 compared with lower homocysteine levels.
The authors note that these results may have significant implications for young women, since the degree of homocysteine elevation necessary to increase stroke risk was lower than previously reported levels in populations of middle-aged men and the elderly. They recommend that future research target the effectiveness of B-vitamins and other potential regulators of blood homocysteine levels.
Kittner SJ, Giles WH, Macko RF, et al. Homocyst(e)ine and risk of cerebral infarction in a biracial population. The Stroke Prevention in Young Women Study. Stroke
, 1999:30, pp1554-1560.