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Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Stroke Risk Decreased By Regular Vitamin C Intake

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Remember what your mother used to say about Vitamin C being a health booster? Results of a newly released study seem to support your mom.

vitamin c from orangesResearchers from France’s Pontchaillou University Hospital released a study that showed a link between Vitamin C intake and a decreased likelihood of stroke. Lead study author Dr. Stephane Vannier said in a news article, “Our results show that Vitamin C deficiency should be considered a risk factor for this severe type of stroke, as were high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and being overweight in our study.”

While not yet published in a public journal, the study is set to be discussed in full detail at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia by April of this year.

The research involved a comparison of Vitamin C levels in two groups — stroke patients and healthy individuals. Results showed that while more than half of the total respondent population registered low Vitamin C levels, most of these individuals came from the group of stroke patients.

The study, however, does not confirm a direct causality between Vitamin C deficiency and a higher risk of stroke. The research team recommends more studies to delve into further details, especially on how the vitamin could lower the risk of developing stroke. Dr. Vannier infers that Vitamin C could have played a key role in regulating a person’s blood pressure, thereby reducing the likelihood of having a stroke.

Stroke remains one of the leading causes of fatality in the U.S., according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health & Wellness

Eating Oily Fish Reduces Risk of Stroke; But Fish Oil Supplements Don’t Have the Same Effect

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A new study published on the British Medical Journal website says eating at least two servings of oily fish a week could significantly cut risk of stroke, but fish oil supplements may not have the same effect.

Led by Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury at Cambridge University and Professor Oscar H. Franco at Erasmus MC Rotterdam, an international team of researchers looked into the results of 38 studies, involving 180,000 participants in 15 countries, to shed light on the association between fish consumption and risk of stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischaemic attack or TIA).

According to the Science Daily report, the researchers assessed fish and long chain omega 3 fatty acid consumption in participants using dietary questionnaires. They also identified markers of omega 3 fats in the blood and recorded use of fish oil supplements.

Those who consumed two to four servings of oily fish a week had a moderate but significant 6% lower risk of cerebrovascular disease, while participants who eat five or more servings a week had a 12% lower risk. However, levels of omega 3 fats in the blood and fish oil supplements did not seem to have the same effects.

The authors explained some possible reasons surrounding the beneficial impact of eating fish on vascular health, one of them may be due to the interactions between a wide range of nutrients, like vitamins and essential amino acids, commonly found in fish. They said their findings are in line with current dietary guidelines that encourage fish consumption for all, but they also support the view that future nutritional guidelines should be principally “food based.”

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Younger Stroke Patients in the U.S. Increasing

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Stroke patients in the country are getting younger, according to a new study that looked into the data of first-time stroke patients from the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.

The researchers took stroke snapshots in 1993 and 1994, and again in 1999 and 2005, and they found that stroke patients among 20 to 54-year-old increased to 19 percent in 2005 — up from the 13 percent in 1993 and 1994.

“This is pretty important, and a pretty big jump,” said study lead author Dr. Brett Kissela, professor and vice chairman of neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, in a HealthDay.com report. “And what it means is that even though young people typically feel like they’re healthy and that a stroke can’t happen to them, the fact is that our study is evidence that that is not true.”

The researchers also observed how the average age at which stroke occur had significantly dropped from 71 years old in the mid-1990s to about 69 years old ten years later. Additionally, they found the trend to occur in young people across the board, regardless of race.

Although the team did not assess the factors that influenced the observed trend,  Kissela said the rise of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol among younger people may have a role.

“Young people should regularly go to their doctor and make sure their lab values are being checked,” Kissela added. “Because the consequences can be serious, even at a young age.”

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health and appeared in the Oct. 10 online issue of the journal Neurology.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Stroke Risk in Adult Men Tied to Parental Divorce

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A new study carried out by researchers from the University of Toronto found that men who have divorced parents are at higher risk of stroke.

The study, featured on Medical News Today and was published this month in the International Journal of Stroke, reveals that adult men are thrice as likely to have stroke if their parents divorced before they turned eighteen.

“It is particularly perplexing in light of the fact we excluded from our study individuals who had been exposed to any form of family violence or parental addictions. We had anticipated that the association between the childhood experience of parental divorce and stroke may have been due to other factors such as riskier health behaviors or lower socioeconomic status among men whose parents had divorced,” said Angela Dalton, co-author of the study and a recent graduate from the University of Toronto.

Dalton noted that they adjusted the factors that could potentially affect the result, including income and education, race, age, social support, mental health status, health care coverage, and adult health behaviors (obesity, alcohol use, exercise, and smoking). Still, parental divorce offered an alarming trigger to stroke, a medical emergency that takes place when blood flow to brain stops.

The researchers cannot fully identify the reasons that link male from divorced parents to higher risk of stroke. But, they are not ruling out the possibility of exposure to increased level of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.

Head author Esme Fuller-Thomson said, “It is possible that exposure to the stress of parental divorce may have biological implications that change the way these boys react to stress for the rest of their lives.”

The researchers, however, suggest that additional studies are required to replicate and reinforce their findings before any inferences can be made about causality.

Early Disease Detection

Pre-diabetes Linked to Increased Stroke Risk

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A study conducted by researchers from the University of California at San Diego linked pre-diabetes with increased stroke risk. This means that people with pre-diabetes may be more likely to suffer a stroke.

The results of the study, which consisted of an analysis of 15 studies of nearly 761,000 participants, indicated higher stroke risk for people with diabetes.

Studies of people with blood sugar levels of 110 to 125 mg/dl were found to have 21 percent higher stroke risk. For studies that had a less-restrictive blood sugar level range, the stroke risk was higher. The same results held true even after the researchers took other factors known to increase stroke risk into consideration.

The results of the study, which appear in the British Medical Journal, indicate that future stroke risk begins to increase at or above a fasting glucose level of 110 mg/dL.

Researcher Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, a neuroscientist at University of California at San Diego, shared that it is in the best interest of people who fall under this category to make lifestyle changes. “Maintain a normal weight and try to exercise at least three times a week,” he suggested.

While pre-diabetes has no medications at this time, Ovbiagele shared that “lifestyle modifications can prevent more than 50% of people from going pre-diabetes to frank diabetes, which is major risk factor for stroke.”

This suggestion was supported by Minisha Sood, MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who shared: “Many people don’t take complications of their disease to heart, and they don’t put a lot of weight on lifestyle changes… The onus is on the patient, but physicians can’t be lackadaisical about prediabetes either. … Know your numbers so you can get a head start on reducing your cardiovascular risk factors.”