Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why folic acid may prevent a first heart attack, but not a second

Date:
February 3, 2011
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
A perplexing medical paradox now has an explanation according to new research. The paradox is that taking folic acid, a B vitamin, lowers homocysteine in the blood which, epidemiological evidence indicates, should lower the risk of heart attack, but clinical trials of folic acid have not shown the expected benefit.

A perplexing medical paradox now has an explanation according to research undertaken at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and published in the current issue of the Public Library of Science. The paradox is that taking folic acid, a B vitamin, lowers homocysteine in the blood which, epidemiological evidence indicates, should lower the risk of heart attack, but clinical trials of folic acid have not shown the expected benefit.

The explanation is surprisingly simple; lowering homocysteine prevents platelets sticking, which stops blood clots…something aspirin also does, so if people in the trials were already taking aspirin there would be no extra benefit in lowering homocysteine with folic acid. Aspirin was in fact widely used by participants in the trials because they were mainly conducted in patients who had already had a heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases.

Research led by Dr David Wald at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry showed that there was a difference in the reduction in heart disease events between the five trials with the lowest aspirin use (60 per cent of the participants took aspirin) and the five trials with the highest use (91 per cent took aspirin). The observed risk reduction was six per cent but it would have been 15 per cent if no one had been taking aspirin. Research was based on 75 epidemiological studies involving about 50,000 participants and clinical trials involving about 40,000 participants.

"The explanation has important implications," said Dr David Wald, the lead author of the paper. "The negative clinical trial evidence should not close the door on folic acid -- folic acid may still be of benefit in people who have not had a heart attack because they will generally not be taking aspirin."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David S. Wald, Joan K. Morris, Nicholas J. Wald. Reconciling the Evidence on Serum Homocysteine and Ischaemic Heart Disease: A Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (2): e16473 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016473

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Why folic acid may prevent a first heart attack, but not a second." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202172302.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2011, February 3). Why folic acid may prevent a first heart attack, but not a second. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202172302.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Why folic acid may prevent a first heart attack, but not a second." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202172302.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins