Hardening of the arteries: Platelets, inflammation and a rogue protein conspire against the heart

The Lipid Hypothesis of coronary artery disease has long held that a high level of cholesterol is the causative factor of atherosclerosis, but a group of New York scientists is making a powerful case for platelets as the trigger of an artery-damaging inflammatory response.

Heart disease, a term that refers to a vast number of complex conditions, is most frequently used to define coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis. The condition is a leading cause of cardiovascular deaths in Western countries and is marked by arterial deposits of plaque, which is composed of cholesterol, fatty material, calcium deposits and a motley collection of biological debris.

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