Healthy Living: Doctor continues battle against heart disease
Dr. Antonio Gotto Jr., well-known for his work with cholesterol-lowering drugs, recently updated a manual based on changes in the field of cardiology. YNN's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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You know someone is a big deal when they are seated in two portraits in the lobby of the Weill Greenberg Center at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Antonio Gotto Jr. is the Dean Emeritus and Provost Emeritus of the school. He conducted much of the research that led to the creation of the cholesterol-lowering drugs we know as statins.
Now he’s published “The Living Heart in the 21st Century,” an updated manual he first co-authored in 1977 with the now-deceased Dr. Michael DeBakey, who helped steer the development of open-heart surgery.
Since the first edition of the book came out 35 years ago, Gotto said the field of cardiology has changed in two major ways.
"One is in preventing heart attacks and the second is in the way we treat them," he said. "There have been advances in the medical treatment, intervention, invention of stents, angioplasty has taken place and in prevention, particularly the introduction of satins to reduce cholesterol."
Gotto says he has increasing concerns about smoking rates and the nation's obesity epidemic putting those advances at risk.
What Gotto does find promising is work on an even newer class of drugs which increase the activity of receptors that remove bad cholesterol out of the blood stream.
Gotto said his work began with informing past generations about what heart disease is. Now he’s hoping he’s hoping generations to come will also take lessons to heart on how to avoid it.
"We’ve seen some of the benefits of prevention over the last 35 years," he said. "I’m convinced that if we were able to successfully implement a program of intervention with entire families, starting very early in life, that we could see cardiovascular disease become a minor cause of death and disability instead of the number one cause of death and disability, which has been the case for the last 50 years."