Could a New Blood Test Help Prevent Heart Attacks?

Daily Mail (London), August 29, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Could a New Blood Test Help Prevent Heart Attacks?


DOCTORS will soon be able to measure the stickiness of blood for the first time. The results of such tests may then help them to develop new drugs and even predict if patients are at risk from a range of conditions, from heart disease to stroke.

New equipment developed by scientists in the U.S. will measure the thickness and sluggishness of blood, too - both of which are also factors implicated in these problems.

By taking blood samples from patients and scanning them, doctors will be able to use the device to give an early warning of disease risks so that preventive actions can be taken.

The technology, which is expected to be commercially available in around three months, will also help drug-makers to design new treatments for various conditions where blood thickness plays a part.

Blood analysis has, until now, focused almost exclusively on the chemical composition of blood, such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

While blood chemistry like this is important, studies have shown that physical properties - such as the viscosity or thickness of blood - also play a critical role.

'These have been largely overlooked, but by measuring the physical parameters of blood flow and not just the chemical composition, we're opening the door to a radically different perspective on human disease, particularly atherosclerosis [a disease where arteries become blocked],' says university cardiologist, Dr Kenneth Kensey, who's based in Pennsylvania and is one of the developers of the technology.

He says that physical properties of blood directly affect blood flow, which is essential for the health of all organs.

Blood supplies the oxygen and nutrients needed for living cells and also removes the cells' waste products, so when blood flow is impeded in any way, medical problems arise, ranging from heart attacks and strokes to kidney disease and blindness.

The increased stickiness of blood is considered to be a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, and it is also suspected that the ageing process may be affected, too, by sluggish blood.

The importance of blood thickness has also been highlighted in the Edinburgh Artery Study which, since 1988, has been following the health of nearly 1,500 adults over the age of 54.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Could a New Blood Test Help Prevent Heart Attacks?


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?