Researchers have developed a blood test that may help detect heart disease in asymptomatic individuals by measuring the immune system’s response to inflammation, a symptom tied to various age-related diseases like dementia and arthritis.
In a nine-year-long study of 90 people without heart disease, the test, which spits out a number indicating risk, was better at predicting the condition than a CRP test or cholesterol testing, which is accurate only about half the time. The study results were published online in the journal Cell Systems.
Researchers gathered the cytokine response scores of 40 older subjects and cross-referenced results from their cardiovascular health assessments, which they took up to two years later. They drew correlations between the cytokine response scores and the participants’ clinical signs of atherosclerosis, a disease wherein plaque accumulates in the arteries. The scores were better at predicting signs of inflammation-based cardiovascular risk than the standard CRP test.