Harvard Heart Letter

Observing JUPITER

Trial results are likely to expand statin use and testing for CRP.

A trial dubbed JUPITER made a big splash at the American Heart Association meeting in November 2008. On the surface, its results support wider use of statin drugs among people with normal cholesterol levels and more widespread testing for C-reactive protein (CRP). There's more to the story than this.

Exploring the details

JUPITER included nearly 18,000 volunteers at prime heart attack ages — men ages 50 and older, women 60 and older. None had high cholesterol. In fact, the average LDL was just over 100 mg/dL, a level most doctors would congratulate their healthy patients for achieving. None had ever been diagnosed with heart disease, either, though a fair number were smokers, or overweight, or had high blood pressure. The one "metabolic fault" shared by all of the volunteers was a high CRP. This protein reflects the amount of inflammation in the body, some of it generated by atherosclerosis.

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