Public Release: 

Chocolate lovers could be lowering their risk of stroke: Study

Preliminary data show possible health benefits of eating chocolate

St. Michael's Hospital

TORONTO, On - February 12, 2010 - Giving chocolates to your Valentine on February 14th may help lower their risk of stroke based on a preliminary study from researchers at St. Michael's Hospital. The study, which is being presented at the American Academy of Neurology in April, also found that eating chocolate may lower the risk of death after suffering a stroke.

"Though more research is needed to determine whether chocolate is the contributing factor to lowering stroke risk, it is rich in anti-oxidants and that may have a protective effect against stroke," explains Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, a neurologist at St. Michael's Hospital.

Chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids which may help lower the risk of strokes.

Authored by Sarah Sahib, the research analyzed three studies involving chocolate consumption and stroke risk. One showed there was no association between flavonoid intake and risk of stroke or death. In contrast, a second study found an association with stroke for chocolate consumption once a week as opposed to none per week. The third study suggested flavonoid intake from eating chocolate weekly lowered death caused by a stroke.

"We are continuing to investigate the correlation between chocolate and the risk of stroke," says Dr. Saposnik. "The preliminary data is interesting but we need to determine whether consumption truly lowers the risk of a stroke or whether the benefit is biased based on those who are on average healthier than the general population when enrolling in a clinical trial."

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About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who walk through its doors. The Hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research at St. Michael's Hospital is recognized and put into practice around the world. Founded in 1892, the Hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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