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'Ultrabad' cholesterol identified

Researchers have discovered a new type of 'ultrabad' cholesterol that has the potential to raise the risk of heart disease.

According to scientists at the University of Warwick, the fatty material has higher chances of attaching to artery walls because it is stickier when compared with normal 'bad' cholesterol.

They said the cholesterol, called MGmin-LDL, is especially common in people suffering from the most common form of type 2 diabetes as well as in older people. The findings were documented in the journal Diabetes.

The fatty plaque - which sticks to arteries - is often created with the help of harmful cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triggering strokes and heart attacks.

It contains sugary molecules that are smaller and denser, in comparison with those of normal LDL.

The altered shape readily sticks to artery walls, offering a starting point for the build-up of dangerous fatty plaques.

The discovery may explain why the widely prescribed diabetes drug metformin appears to reduce heart attack risk.

Metformin is known to lower blood sugar levels, and may block the transformation of 'normal' LDL into stickier MGmin-LDL.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Ah, but will the primary care trusts be prepared to fund blood testing for this? Then what ... a new set of QOF targets and more disgruntled public who face possible postcode lotteries again. What a fun world we live in. Let's crank up the misery!" - Wendy, Lincolnshire

"And the drug company set to benefit from this 'discovery'
is?? Who sponsored the research?" - Livi, Liverpool