For those who love chocolate and can’t get enough, here comes yet another reason to love it. Chocolate has been associated with numerous health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce heart disease and now it’s been linked to lowering the risk of atrial fibrillation—a possible precursor to a stroke or heart attack. Normally when the heart contracts, it relaxes into a regular beat. During atrial fibrillation, the upper heart chambers beat irregularly—some describe it as a flutter or quiver—instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles. A stroke results when a clot breaks off entering the bloodstream and lodging in an artery to the brain. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that 15–20% of people who have strokes have this heart arrhythmia. (Patients with this condition are often put on blood thinners.)
Researchers from Denmark discovered that men and women who ate a one ounce serving of dark chocolate (roughly the size of three or four Dove bar squares) weekly showed a 23% and 21% lowered risk of atrial fibrillation, respectively.
The extensive study covered over 55,000 adults between the ages of 50-64 as part of a broader study on diet, cancer and health in Denmark. Authors also found that participants in the study were also generally healthier, better educated and had lower rates of high blood pressure and diabetes than those who didn't eat chocolate, and all of these factors could lessen their odds for atrial fibrillation. According to the AHA, between 2.7 million Americans have this disease and don’t realize how serious it can be.
So, if you feel one too many heart flutters, grab some chocolates and consult with your doctor.
Doctor Legato Interview to Appear in Glamour Magazine
Look for an article featuring Dr. Legato in the September issue of Glamour. The focus of the article is how gender-specific issues can play a role in medical care. Current research suggests that physicians are more likely to attribute women’s symptoms to emotional factors and women are historically taught to be more passive and dismissive of their own feelings and symptoms—which could cause them to be less proactive in getting the medical care they need. Doctor Legato addresses why she thinks women are more likely to be misdiagnosed and what they can and should do about it and why gender-specific medicine is growing in importance.
The Wonderful World of Science
The World Science Festival 2017 was in town May 30th-June 4th! If you are interested in artificial intelligence, neuroscience, quantum reality, human regeneration and more—events are still available on replay webcast. Scientists and researchers from all over the world took part in panels designed to educate and inform the public about the sciences and the latest advances on the horizon. If you missed the live events around town, now is your chance to catch up. Don’t miss it!
By Rose-Marie Brandwein
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