Is High HDL "Good"?
If you have a genetic predisposition for high HDL cholesterol levels, you may not have a lower risk of having a heart attack than other people. This finding has researchers wondering whether HDL, often referred to as the "good" cholesterol, actually has any causal relationship to cardiovascular risk.
Sekar Kathiresan, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and colleagues published their findings online in The Lancet.
According to MedPage Today, the authors wrote, "These data challenge the concept that raising of plasma HDL cholesterol will uniformly translate into reductions in risk of myocardial infarction." They also noted that "these findings emphasize the potential limitation of plasma HDL cholesterol as a surrogate measure for risk of myocardial infarction in intervention trials."
The researchers used "Mendelian randomization," a method of obtaining unbiased estimates of the effects of a presumed casual variable. In an editorial about the article, Steve Humphries, PhD of University College London and colleagues wrote, "As the research area matures, a consensus for methodology and reporting will be important, particularly when the potentially powerful, but also complex, genetic risk score approach is used. Taken together with adequately powered studies, mendelian randomization is likely to yield insights that can both guide public health policy and prioritize potential therapeutic targets."