Heart attack screening for siblings could save lives

Glasgow: Premature heart attacks could be prevented if close relatives of victims were screened and treated, say experts at Glasgow University.

Siblings of those with premature heart disease – which occurs in men under 55 and women under 65 – have at least double the risk of developing problems. The siblings’ children also have an increased risk.

Specialists believe routine screening for those at higher risk should be looked at.

the UK’s Glasgow University, said: ‘Family history of coronary heart disease significantly increases risk of the disease in all firstdegree relatives.’

Common genetic factors are behind the extra risk. But doctors also blame a ‘shared lifestyle’ within families, such as eating similar unhealthy foods and smoking.

Using a series of calculations, doctors worked out that 88 per cent of premature heart attacks in those with a family history that were treated in England Wales and Scotland in 2004, could have been prevented through family screening.

UK women with family history of breast cancer to be offered free MRI scans

London: UK women with a family history of breast cancer are to be offered free MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans from the state health service, the NHS.

Currently, women who have lost close family members to the disease can undergo a genetic test to see if they carry genes that greatly increase their likelihood of developing the cancer.

If they test positive for the faulty versions of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes they are able at the age of 40 onwards, to have an annual mammograms, an X-ray scan to detect the disease.

Now carriers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes – will be given scans from the age of 30. The tests, which use magnetic waves rather than X-rays, are twice as effective at detecting breast tumours in younger women.

Studies have yet to show if MRI scans are also better at picking up tumours in older women.

GPs will assess eligibility for MRI scanning, which will start within three months.