Study clouds heart disease risks

August 28, 1998

A Dundee University cardiovascular expert this week announced that preliminary findings from the world's largest heart study do not show a direct relationship between changing rates of coronary heart disease and smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity. Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, director of Dundee's cardiovascular epidemiology unit, and rapporteur for the World Health Organisation's Monica (MONItoring CArdiovascular disease) project, told the European Congress of Cardiology that the ten-year results were "a bit of a surprise". One possibility was that the contribution of classical risk factors was swamped within populations by other dietary, behavioural or environmental factors that were not included in the originally agreed criteria. Professor Tunstall-Pedoe stressed that it was still crucial for individuals to pay attention to the classical risk factors. "If you get eaten by a crocodile when you are expecting lions and tigers, it does not mean that big cats have rubber teeth," he said.

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