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Journals Watch: Stroke, smoking and asthma

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In-depth analysis of the latest research, compiled by Mark Greener

Chocolate counters strokes

Neurology (2012) 79:1223-1229

Eating 'moderate' amounts of chocolate may lower stroke risk, according to a study that followed 37,103 Swedish men for an average of 10.2 years. Men in the highest of four groups (quartiles) of chocolate consumption (median 62.9g a week) were 17 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke than those in the lowest quartile (median 0g weekly), equivalent to 12 fewer strokes per 100,000 person-years. Chocolate's benefits were consistent across stroke subtypes. A meta-analysis that included these findings and four previous trials compared stroke frequency in the groups with the highest and lowest chocolate consumption in each study.

High chocolate consumption reduced stroke risk by 19 per cent. Every increase in chocolate consumption of 50 grams per week reduced risk by around 14 per cent. However, as chocolate is high in sugar, saturated fat and calories, the authors comment that it 'should be consumed in moderation'.

Smoking and skin cancer

Arch Dermatol (2012) 148(8):939-946


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