[Cure for Athletes Heart - response from researcher]

Author: Amy Williams (---.proxy.aol.com)

Date: 11-20-02 08:58

Hi,

I know that many of you got excited after reading the "New Hope For Cure for Athlete Heart." I was skeptical, but curious, as I know facts can be distorted in the media and stories made to sound more exciting. I wrote to Prof Chris Proud and asked him to clarify what the research really means for people like us. This is his response:

Dear Amy

Thanks for your message and apologies for not responding to it

earlier. It is always very interesting to hear from people who

have direct knowledge of this condition but at the same time also

distressing to learn at first hand of its impact on individual

families. I really hope that our findings will offer the chance

for pharmaceutical companies to develop new approaches to

tackling HCM. I was especially interested to hear of thr role

your mother played in setting up the British Cardiomyopathy

Association.

I fear that the press may have exaggerated things a little (as

they are prone to doing!) - our findings do not offer a CURE as

such, but DO offer the real possibility of a treatment. Since

this is, as you know, often an inherited condition, the only

actual cure would be to remedy the gene defect, which is not

possible using current technology. However, one may now be able

to tackle the consequences of that defect, by tackling the

cellular component called MAP kinase.

In answer to your question, the likely course of events is that

the gene mutations which underlie many cases of HCM cause the

heart to be less efficient than it should be - because they

interfere with the ability of the heart muscle to pump blood. The

heart attempts to compensate by getting bigger - by making more

muscle, i.e., more protein. This leads to the thickening of the

heart muscle, which ultimately makes the heart work less well and

finally fail. So the gene defect is the cause, and the thickening

is the effect.

I hope this helps clarify things - but please do ask if you have

any further questions.

With best wishes to you and your family

Chris Proud

Professor Chris Proud

Head of Division of Molecular Physiology

Faculty of Life Sciences

MSI/WTB Complex

University of Dundee

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[Re: Cure for Athletes Heart - response from researcher]

Author: Reenie Smith (---.snbrca.adelphia.net)

Date: 11-20-02 09:13

Any,

Thanks for the post.

Reenie

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[Re: Cure for Athletes Heart - response from researcher]

Author: Lisa Salberg (167.165.39.---)

Date: 11-20-02 18:03

AMY!

Your mom would be proud... you took the bull by the horns and got a great responce! Thanks also to Dr. Proud for his reply and clearifcation of the facts.

This is well balanced and a step in the right direction...cure is a great word but not a real one in our wold today...the best words we can really hope for are 'better treatment options'

Someday I do hope to use the word cure...but not for many years to come.

lets keep keep working docs we behind you all the way!

Lisa