ultrafacts:A mutant protein found in one family appears to…


A mutant protein found in one family appears to ward off heart disease despite a high-fat diet.

Cristoforo Pomaroli and Rosa Giovanelli had a son in 1780 in their small town in Italy, never knowing they bequeathed a genetic legacy that offers hope for reversing heart disease two centuries later.

The boy’s descendants in the northern Italian town of Limone inherited a genetic defect that protects them from the scourge of Western living–fatty deposits that clog the arteries.

The 38 lucky carriers have a simple mutation in a protein of so-called good cholesterol that lets them eat red meat, sausage and butter without artery-clogging deposits.

They range in age from the teens to nearly 90. And they have never worried about strokes or heart attacks since longevity runs in the family.

“They are almost all smokers. They eat like hell, the worst diet,” said the University of Milan’s Dr. Cesare Sirtori, who screened residents of Limone for the miracle mutation. 

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