*Scientists, led by a team from Johns Hopkins University, have discovered that roughly one-fourth of American Blacks have a single alteration in their genetic code which protects them from developing coronary artery disease – the leading cause of death for Americans of all races.

The researchers found that having at least one so-called “guanine nucleotide” gave otherwise healthy African American men and women a fivefold reduction in the likelihood that their arteries would narrow or clog. Meanwhile, for Blacks who inherited two copies of the guanine gene variant, one from each parent, the risk reduction was even more dramatic. They were 10 times less likely to have coronary heart disease.

Senior study investigator, epidemiologist Diane Becker, issued a statement saying, in part, “What we think we have here is the first confirmed hereditary link to cardiovascular disease among African Americans and it is a protective one.” The findings appear in the Journal of Human Genetics online.

The researchers emphasized that only 25 percent of Blacks have the protective CDKN2B code with 6 percent having two copies. Thus, most Blacks and virtually no whites have the protection. Currently, nearly 17 million Americans have an arterial problem plaguing the heart, causing a half-million deaths, annually.

Complete details about the dramatic new discovery can be found online at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gim/faculty/Becker.html