Medicine: The Battle of the Lipoproteins

One type of cholesterol may lower the risk of heart disease

Cholesterol, the fatty substance that can clog arteries and induce heart attacks, plays a role in 85% of America's 550,000 annual deaths resulting from coronary heart disease. Ridding the bloodstream of the stuff through exercise and proper diet has become a standard health regimen. Last week, however, in a landmark paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of Finnish scientists provided dramatic endorsement for a drug that drastically lowers the incidence of such disease, chiefly by raising the blood levels of a type of cholesterol.

The drug, called gemfibrozil, was originally approved for treatment of a pancreatic disorder....