Scientists are teasing out gene mutations that can make heart muscle turn flabby, part of a push to better screen people at risk of heart failure.
A British-led research team tested 5,000 people for mutations in a protein that makes muscle tissue elastic. Many people harbor those mutations, but only some develop dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that can lead to heart failure. It can run in families, but often there's no obvious cause.
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Wednesday's study found where the mutations are located on that muscle gene is key to whether they're harmful or not. The finding could help in screening high-risk families, but also has broader implications for how to improve gene-based testing to identify only the riskiest mutations.