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Will HDL injections cure blocked arteries?

Thirty years ago, researchers showed that a family living in a northern Italian town lived to be very old and were extraordinarily resistant to heart attacks. These people were unusual because they had extremely low blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks. The researchers found that their HDL cholesterol was much denser and had much larger particles than the normal HDL cholesterol, and did a better job of clearing cholesterol from the bloodstream. They concluded that the special HDL, which they called HDL-Milano, is so much more effective that these people don't need very much to prevent arteriosclerosis.

Before the discovery of HDL-Milano, researchers would not waste their time trying to give HDL infusions to prevent heart attacks because they could not patent a biological product and therefore could not make any money from their experiments. However, HDL-Milano is a specific, patentable product. The next step was to copy HDL-Milano and infuse it into people with plaques in their arteries, and show that their plaques became smaller. That has been done (Journal of the American Medical Association, November 4, 2003).

However, it will be at least six years before HDL-Milano treatments are available to the public. For now, eat lots of plants, avoid smoking and being overweight, restrict saturated fats and partially hydrogenated fats, and exercise regularly. Then you won't ever need the HDL-Milano by intravenous infusion.

April 2, 2006

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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