HEALTH NOTES: Gene tests identify risks associated with ‘silent’ strokes
Gene tests could one day be used to spot patients at risk of ‘silent’ strokes that cause dementia, scientists believe.
Researchers studied genetic samples of thousands of people who’d suffered a lacunar stroke – caused by weakening of the blood vessels deep within the brain – and compared them to those who hadn’t. Twelve similarities were found in the stroke victims’ DNA.
As the blood vessels affected by a lacunar stroke are small, it can strike without the person knowing. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and a history of smoking are causally associated with an increased risk of lacunar stroke.
Gene tests could one day be used to spot patients at risk of ‘silent’ strokes that cause dementia, scientists believe
British Heart Foundation medical director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani said: ‘This research provides real hope that we can prevent and treat this devastating type of stroke much better in the future.’
Calm secret in a mug of coca
Few things are as comforting as a mug of hot chocolate and scientists now have an intriguing theory why – the effect of compounds called flavanols found in cocoa.
University of Birmingham researchers gave a group of healthy men a high-flavanol cocoa drink who then completed a ‘mental stress’ task. Another group were given a non-flavanol drink before doing the same task. Sensors measured their heart rate and blood pressure.
The stress response was smaller in those who had consumed the cocoa drink. A flavanols-rich diet has been linked to lower risk of stroke and heart disease but this study shows they may help cells lining blood vessel walls respond better when the body is under stress.
University of Birmingham researchers gave a group of healthy men a high-flavanol cocoa drink who then completed a ‘mental stress’ task
People who eat quickly are more likely to be overweight, research suggests.
Scientists asked more than 800 adults and children to rate their eating speed from very slow to very fast, and recorded the participants’ height, weight, waist circumference and BMI. A faster eating rate was significantly associated with a higher BMI and larger waist circumference in both children and adults.
Previous studies looking into the association between consuming foods at a fast pace and increased energy intake focused solely on children. The University of Roehampton and Bristol University research adds to growing evidence of a clear relationship between body mass and eating rate in adults too.
Almost half of British adults are unable to name a single symptom of bowel cancer – the UK’s second biggest killer – a charity has warned.
Just a third of respondents to a survey from Bowel Cancer UK knew to watch out for blood in the stools, while only one in ten knew that abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits and unexplained weight loss were symptoms.
In April alone, more than 1,300 people will die of bowel cancer. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer, but this drops significantly as the disease develops.