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Posted: 6:51 AM- LDS Hospital researchers say genealogy could provide some of the answers to the causes of heart disease.
KUTV reports today that researchers have been poring over family history databases and now hope to take their efforts a step further.
Doctors say there is no doubt that heart disease is genetic. Now they're hoping pedigree charts from families with history of heart disease will help answer some questions.
For example, there's Al Schnegelberger, the recent recipient of a cardiac stent.
Turns out he's not the only one in his family to undergo heart surgery. Most of the men in his family have died from heart disease. He doesn't want to be part of that group, and he doesn't want it for his kids or grandkids either.
So, a week and a half ago when doctors approached him about tracking his blood on a genealogical database he was all for it.
"When they did the surgery and asked me to be in the study I said, 'you bet. Let's take my blood because that plaque, I'm sure, was put there by genealogy,'" he told KUTV.
Doctors think that's probably the case.
"We know there's a strong family history associated with heart disease but its' been very difficult to try to solve it," says Dr. Brent Muhlestein the director for cardiovascular research at LDS Hospital.
He's excited about the possibility of solving medical problems. And he says this new database could be just what the doctor ordered.
"What this new intermountain genealogy registry will do is find that final last piece of the puzzle for heart disease," Muhlestein says.
Al supports it whole heartedly.
"What they're doing has very great value and I'm happy to do it," he says.
Right now the database has about 10 million names, and researchers have collected blood samples from 15,000 patients with family histories of heart disease.