Gene that causes deadly heart condition identified

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Friday, February 29, 2008

A team of research doctors and scientists in Newfoundland have discovered the gene that cause the rare heart condition Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, or ARVC.

ARVC is believed to be higher in Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador than anywhere else in the world. Dr. Terry-Lynn Young and her team of researchers at the Memorial University of Newfoundland made the discovery after 12 years of research of the occurrence of the condition in up to nine generations of families.

ARVC is an often hereditary condition where heart muscle is slowly replaced by scar tissue and fat.

"It's almost like an electrical storm that happens periodically," Young said. "It's extremely difficult to diagnose because most people will have no symptoms."

Newfoundland has been called a "geneticist's paradise" because several families can be traced to very specific communities in England and Ireland.