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Combination treatment with a statin and niacin (vitamin B3), reduces the risk of a heart attack by up to 70% in people who have cardiovascular disease. Statins are lipid lowering agents that are used for people with high cholesterol, and niacin increases blood levels of "good" cholesterol. "Bad" cholesterol is involved with the formation of atherosclerosis, the process by which arteries are hardened with fatty plaques. Scientists also discovered that several vitamins known for their antioxidant properties conveyed no protective effect for heart disease. The study involved looking at peoples blood vessels with angiograms, where dye is injected straight into an artery that leads to the heart, which is imaged using x-rays. Atherosclerotic blood vessels can be detected by narrowings in the arteries. In people taking the combined therapy, atherosclerosis was reduced, and even reversed. Statins have previously been shown to be beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease in studies by 25%-35%.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by University of Washington
About: Combination therapy causes significant reduction in risk of heart attack
Date: 28 November 2005
Source: University of Washington
Author: Walter Neary
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