Chocoholics Rejoice!

Today’s WAPO Health Section has a “quick study” entitled “Chocoholics may have edge in heart health.” The review is HERE and here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/chocoholics-may-have-an-edge-in-heart-health/2011/08/31/gIQAyO1C4J_story.html

The review is based on a systematic review and meta-analysis performed by scientists at Cambridge (England) and in Colombia. The study is reported at www.bmj.com, and you can download a .pdf copy there.

The review and study conclude that chocolate consumption is good for the cardiovascular system and keeps down stroke. Chocolate seems to have no effect on the occurrence of heart failure, however.

THIS IS GOOD NEWS (for those of us with a chocolate problem). A few of those little dark chocolate Dove squares out of the freezer every day may be just the thing…

I was also struck by the study, since it would seem that chocolate is good for the circulatory system (cardiovascular system and stroke) but not for the heart itself. Hmmm…

My father’s medical research dealt with microcirculatory physiology and pathology, and he identified a pathological condition he called “blood sludge,” or agglutination, not to be confused with clotting. He and blood sludge were the subjects of a 10 page article in Life Magazine in 1948, which you can read HERE and here: http://books.google.com/books?id=WkYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=melvin+knisely&source =bl&ots=DgyXygOIzr&sig=oM7S6lkCbaZdWjsGQsHNed0kZ2w&hl= en#v=onepage&q=melvin%20knisely &f=false.

He reported that blood sludge contributed to many pathologies, and was caused by many factors. He spent his later years wondering if he could find (and patent!) a drug or drugs that prevented or broke up sludge.

He never did, in part because he knew that common aspirin has that effect. And now we all know that taking two baby aspirin daily helps prevent circulatory problems. There are many references for this; for starters, HERE and here: http://www.medicinenet.com /script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52304

In the mid-1950’s he and I made it a habit to go around Charleston, South Carolina “trying out” chocolate malts at different establishments. He’d be very surprised to find out that we were (perhaps in part) protecting our circulatory systems!

Bob Knisely

06Sep11

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