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Written by: Alyssa Sevilla

Clinically reviewed by: Robert Philibert


Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Smoking has long been identified as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). However, until recently, the possibility of reversing the adverse effects of smoking on heart health at the epigenetic level has been largely unexplored. In a groundbreaking study conducted by Cardio Diagnostics Inc, titled “The Reversion of the Epigenetic Signature of Coronary Heart Disease in Response to Smoking Cessation“, published in Gene, the potential for reversing epigenetic changes associated with CHD through smoking cessation has been brought to light. This research not only sheds new light on the impact of smoking on heart health but also presents a breakthrough in understanding the potential for reversing these effects through lifestyle changes and early detection.


The Study: Reversing Epigenetic Changes Through Smoking Cessation


The study conducted by researchers from the University of Iowa and Cardio Diagnostics focused on examining the impact of smoking cessation on the DNA methylation sites associated with CHD by examining a group of research participants who quit smoking. The PrecisionCHD test, an artificial intelligence-driven integrated epigenetic-genetic clinically approved test developed by Cardio Diagnostics, utilizes a machine learning model to interpret the signals of six methylation-sensitive digital PCR (MSdPCR) assays and ten single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to determine CHD status. This innovative approach not only provides powerful personalized insights into potentially modifiable lifestyle or physiological factors but also serves as a mechanism to evaluate the success and efficacy of CHD therapy in real-time.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Philibert, explained the methodology used: “We meticulously examined a cohort of individuals who quit smoking. Using proprietary methylation sensitive digital PCR techniques, we observed an interesting phenomenon–the epigenetic signatures associated with CHD began to revert after only three months of smoking cessation.” This finding suggests that the adverse epigenetic and other biological changes caused by smoking can be reversed through lifestyle changes, offering hope for individuals at risk of heart disease.


The Impact of Smoking Cessation on DNA Methylation


The study found that participants who quit smoking experienced increased methylation at five of the six PrecisionCHD methylation sites compared to those who continued to smoke over a 90-day period. This increased methylation at these sites is associated with normal regulation of disease-related genes. The changes in methylation was observed in genes involved with immune response, lipid metabolism, and regulating blood sugar, indicating that reversing smoking-related DNA methylation has a beneficial effect on several CHD-related processes. These findings suggest that methylation-identifying biomarkers, such as the PrecisionCHD test, could become a scalable method for evaluating the clinical effectiveness of CHD interventions.

Cardio Diagnostics’ PrecisionCHD Test: A Game-Changer in Heart Disease Management


Cardio Diagnostics’ PrecisionCHD test represents a revolutionary advancement in the field of coronary heart disease management. By establishing a link between alterations in the epigenetic biomarkers of CHD and smoking cessation, our innovative test paves the way for a more personalized, effective, adaptable, and equitable method of treating heart disease. Moreover, the test’s ability to assess the efficacy of a wide range of CHD treatments without the risk of side effects associated with current evaluation methods, such as ionizing radiation or kidney damage, further enhances its potential.


Scalable Methods for Assessing CHD Therapy Outcomes


The need for scalable methods to assess the success of CHD therapy is crucial in improving patient outcomes. The introduction of the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) metric revolutionized the treatment of diabetes by providing a direct and precise assessment of disease status and treatment effectiveness. Similarly, there is a need for a more robust and scalable test to assess CHD status and treatment effectiveness. The PrecisionCHD test shows promise in addressing this need, as it provides clinicians with patient-specific insights into potentially targetable lifestyle or physiological factors. Additionally, the dynamic nature of DNA methylation allows it to serve as a proxy for the success of CHD therapy, enabling real-time monitoring of therapeutic interventions.


Current Limitations in CHD Diagnostic Approaches


Contemporary diagnostic approaches for monitoring the effectiveness of CHD interventions have significant limitations. Common methods for diagnosing CHD, such as exercise stress tests with electrocardiograms (ECG), exercise or pharmacological stress tests with echocardiography, myocardial perfusion imaging, coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA), and coronary angiography, have their drawbacks. Exercise ECG, the least invasive method, has limited sensitivity and specificity. Perfusion imaging offers better sensitivity and specificity but requires expensive infrastructure and involves radiation exposure. Coronary angiography, which is now considered the “gold standard” by many cardiologists, is invasive and exposes patients to ionizing radiation and contrast dyes. These limitations highlight the need for a more precise and less invasive method for assessing CHD status and treatment effectiveness.


The Promise of AI-Driven Diagnostics in Precision Cardiovascular Medicine


Cardio Diagnostics’ PrecisionCHD test represents the potential of integrating AI-driven diagnostics in precision cardiovascular medicine. By leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, this test provides clinicians with a comprehensive and personalized assessment of CHD status. The ability to interpret the genetically contextual signals of DNA methylation and single nucleotide polymorphisms allows for a more accurate diagnosis and evaluation of CHD. This breakthrough in AI-driven diagnostics opens up new possibilities for improving the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.




The groundbreaking research conducted by Cardio Diagnostics on the impact of smoking cessation on the epigenetic signatures of CHD brings new hope in the fight against heart disease. The findings of this study highlight the potential for reversing adverse epigenetic changes through lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking. The PrecisionCHD test developed by Cardio Diagnostics offers a game-changing approach to assessing CHD status and treatment effectiveness. By leveraging artificial intelligence and DNA methylation analysis, this test provides clinicians with personalized insights and real-time monitoring capabilities. The integration of AI-driven diagnostics in precision cardiovascular medicine holds great promise for improving patient outcomes and revolutionizing the field of heart disease management.