Older women whose diets include a substantial amount of trans fats are more likely than their counterparts to suffer an ischemic stroke, a new study shows.
However, the risk of stroke associated with trans fat intake was lower among women taking aspirin, according to the findings from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers.
The study, "Trans Fat Intake, Aspirin and Ischemic Stroke Among Postmenopausal Women," was published Thursday (March 1, 2012) online in the journal Annals of Neurology.
The study of 87,025 generally healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 found that those whose diets contained the largest amounts of trans fats were 39 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke (clots in vessels supplying blood to the brain) than women who ate the least amount of trans fat. The risk was even more pronounced among non-users of aspirin: those who ate the most trans fat were 66 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than females who ate the least trans fat.
However, among women who took aspirin over an extended period of time, researchers found no association between trans fat consumption and stroke risk suggesting that regular aspirin use may counteract trans fat intake's adverse effect on stroke risk among women.
Trans fat is generally created in the food production process and is found in commercially prepared foods, including many shortenings, cake mixes, fried fast foods, commercially baked products (such as doughnuts, cakes and pies), chips, cookies and cereals.
Researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health studied women who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. From 1994 to 2005, 1,049 new cases of ischemic stroke were documented.
Women who consumed the highest amount of trans fat also were more likely to be smokers, have diabetes, be physically inactive and have lower socioeconomic status than those w
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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill