Monday, April 01, 2013

How a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce and salad could cut your risk of having a stroke

Hard to evaluate a meta-analysis without completely re-doing the study but it seems to be just the usual naive epidemiology.  Journal article here

Eating a bowl of wholegrain pasta with a mixed salad could cut your risk of a stroke, say researchers.  They found people who regularly eat more dietary fibre were less likely to suffer a stroke, with the risk falling by about seven per cent for each high-fibre meal.

Good sources of fibre include whole grains, fruit and vegetables, and nuts, which contain parts of the plant the body doesn’t absorb during digestion.

Previous research suggests dietary fibre can reduce risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

In the new study, researchers found that each seven gram increase in total daily fibre intake was linked to a seven per cent drop in first-time stroke risk.

One serving of whole wheat pasta, plus two servings of fruits or vegetables, provides about 7 grams of fibre, said UK researchers in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Lead author, Diane Threapleton, from the University of Leeds’ School of Food Science and Nutrition, said: ‘Greater intake of fibre-rich foods - such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts - are important for everyone, and especially for those with stroke risk factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure.

‘Most people do not get the recommended level of fibre, and increasing fibre may contribute to lower risk for strokes.

‘We must educate consumers on the continued importance of increasing fibre intake and help them learn how to increase fibre in their diet.’

Researchers analysed eight studies published between 1990 and 2012.

The studies reported on all types of stroke with four specifically examining the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.

Three assessed haemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain or on its surface.

Other stroke risk factors like age and smoking were taken into account.

The results showed total dietary fibre consumed was linked with stroke risk, with the risk falling in line with increasing amounts eaten.

Researchers did not find an association with soluble fibre and stroke risk, and lacked enough data on insoluble fibre to make any conclusions about the best kind of dietary fibre.

Soluble fibres, which dissolve in water, include oats and oat bran, peas, beans, barley.

Insoluble fibres, which promote the movement of material through the digestive system, include whole wheat, whole grain, vegetable and fruit skins, and wheat bran.

Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of insoluble fibre have lower blood pressure and lower body weight, whereas high blood pressure and obesity raise stroke risk.

A recent study from Oxford University found that eating more fruit and vegetables would dramatically cut the annual toll of premature deaths in the UK.

It showed 15,000 lives would be saved by sticking to five-a-day advice, including 7,000 from coronary heart disease, almost 5,000 from cancer and more than 3,000 from stroke.


Taking aspirin just once a month 'can cut risk of cancer by a quarter'

Journal abstract here.  Just epidemiological rubbish

Popping an aspirin just once a month could cut people's chances of developing cancer by almost a quarter, new research suggests.

According to scientists at Queen's University in Belfast, a weekly or even monthly dose of the over-the-counter painkiller could help people avoid developing tumours.

Their investigation indicated that a regular dose of aspirin could reduce people's risk of getting head and neck cancer by 22 per cent.

A regular dose of aspirin in middle age is already recognised as helping to reduce people's risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Academics at the Belfast university carried out an investigation into the impact of aspirin and ibuprofen on head and neck cancer risk, a report in the Daily Express said.  It was most effective in throat cancer prevention, their study showed.

The results of their research were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

They concluded that aspirin 'may have potential as a chemopreventive agent', noting that 'further investigation is warranted'.

Head and neck cancers affect more than 16,000 people in the UK annually.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said the research was 'encouraging'

'Regular aspirin use has been linked to preventing a number of cancers, and if it is a particularly successful practice for warding off mouth cancer, it should act as a springboard for more research,' he said.

But Dr Carter warned that aspirin use would be 'irrelevant' should people ignore the dangers of mouth cancer by smoking, drinking alcohol to excess and existing on a poor diet.


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