Lack of benefit for heart disease, most common stroke is puzzling, expert says,,,,
WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- In news that's sure to delight chocolate lovers, a Harvard study finds that a couple of squares of dark chocolate a day might reduce the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, by 52 percent.
Unfortunately for chocolate fans, though, the same research also found that chocolate does not appear to have a protective benefit for the most common type of stroke.
People who have a stroke have either an ischemic or a hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked, either partially or completely. This type of stroke accounts for about 80 percent of all strokes, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain, make up about 20 percent of all strokes.
"There are several possible mechanisms, but the effect of rich cocoa on cardiovascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels," said study author Dr. Martin Lajous, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
"In the context of an appropriate intake, eating small amounts of cocoa could be beneficial," Lajous said. "There are several possible mechanisms, but the effect of rich cocoa on cardiovascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels."
But Lajous added that "it's difficult to understand why it appears to just benefit hemorrhagic stroke."
The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's conference on cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention in San Francisco.
The benefit attributed to cocoa stems from su
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