Virus As Much A Cause Of Heart Attack As Cholestrol
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20 September 2010
By Ashis Ray
Brushing Teeth Twice A Day Helps Reduce Stroke Risk By 70%
If you brush your teeth twice a day, as opposed to once, there’s a 70% likelihood of a reduction in heart attacks or strokes. This is the amazing finding of the Thrombosis Research Institute (TRI) here, which is working on introducing a vaccine – to be tested on humans in 3–5 years – and which could help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Medical centres in Sweden, Holland and the United States are also working on similar lines.
Speaking to TOI, Dr Vijay Kakkar, an eminent heart specialist, who founded TRI in 1989, revealed that its research had established that infections and viruses were as much the cause of heart attacks and strokes as cholestrol and lipids. "And infection starts with the teeth," he emphasised. Kakkar added that TRI has published in leading medical journals that lesions that cause heart attacks and strokes result as much from infections and viruses as cholesterol and lipid formation; and that this had generally been accepted by the international medical community. "Therefore, our focus has been to create bi–functional antigenic molecules (to check thrombosis)."
He added, trials on animal models had produced "highly significant reduction in the lesion formation" as compared to just counteracting cholesterol and lipids. There was, according to him, a 60–70% decrease in heart attack and strokes by adopting the twin strategy. One of TRI’s objectives now is to fine tune the vaccine so that this doesn’t cause any toxic side effects.
A team of 20 scientists at TRI is working on the project, which has two objectives. One is to complete basic research and invent a vaccine. The second is to select a population on whom clinical studies can be carried out. Around 10,000 subjects at high risk have, in fact, been identified for this purpose in India and are already being monitored. He described this aspect of the endeavour as "critical".
Kakkar said: "TRI’s efforts are particularly significant for India, which has at least 30 million people suffering from serious heart disease." Indeed, he feared the "epidemic of heart disease", as he defined it, would grow because the "frequency of diabetes is increasing". Not surprisingly, TRI’s only other branch, founded in 2006, is in Bangalore.
TRI’s aim is to arrive at an "affordable vaccine". Therefore, it intends to control its production and price. Internationally renowned for pioneering, multi–disciplinary research, TRI was established in 1989 to discover more about cardiovascular disease and in general locate the threat of thrombosis as early as possible. It has, in fact, contributed to major advances in venous thromboembolism that have changed clinical practice. TRI maintains: "Thrombosis is the number one killer in both the developed and developing world; and is responsible for 95% of fatal heart attacks."
Kakkar, however, stressed it was too early to speculate how much the vaccine would cost but said the "synthetic molecules (which will constitute the vaccine) should be really cheap". The antigen will not be an injection. There would be some other method of administering it.