NEW YORK — The United States has been studying the effects of paper towels for more than 20 years, and now, a new study shows that the new material actually increases heart attacks.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley analyzed data from nearly 1.2 million patients who had heart attacks between 2007 and 2014 and found that people who used paper towels with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) had higher levels of the clotting protein C-reactive protein, or C-RAP, than people who didn’t use paper towels.
The new study also found that higher levels in the HAP-1 gene, which is associated with C-REAP, are linked to heart attacks, particularly in those who had a family history of heart disease.HAP-2, a gene that is associated mainly with type 2 diabetes, is associated only with strokes, the study found.
“This is a very important finding,” said co-author Robert Schulze, a professor of epidemiology at the University at Buffalo and lead author of the study.
“It suggests that the paper towels used for school paper towels are a major factor in heart attack risk.”
The study is published in the journal the American Journal of Cardiology.
The HAP genes that increase the risk of heart attack are found in a family of genes that are responsible for blood clotting, said lead author Dr. Robert Schulte, a UC Berkeley professor of medicine.
They are a subset of the genes known as HLA-B, or the family of alleles.
“These alleles are linked with the development of risk of the heart disease,” Schultee said.
Hazardous variants of the Hap-2 gene are known to increase the chance of a heart attack.
The new study found that HAP1A and HAP2A are associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease and stroke, but not stroke.
“It’s a new discovery,” Schulz said.
“We know that Hap 1A is linked to elevated risk of stroke and high blood pressure.
The Hap 2A gene is related to the risk for heart attacks and heart failure.
These findings suggest that there are other HAP variants that could increase the probability of having a heart event.”
So we need to look more closely at the H1-2A variants and try to understand what’s causing these variants,” Schulz said.
Another possible reason for the increased risk is that HAPP-1A is a transcription factor that is activated by the presence of the chemical bromocriptine, which has been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease.
Bromocryptine, a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, is known to be a receptor for HAPP.
The researchers found that a HAPP gene variant was associated with elevated risk for both Alzheimer’s and stroke.
The paper on the HAPP study is titled: ‘C-RAPP and heart attacks: association of the first HAP gene variant and stroke and stroke risk among older women’ and is available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15776077.