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25-02-2010 | Stroke | Article

High trans fat consumption increases risk for ischemic stroke


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MedWire News: Postmenopausal women who consume high amounts of fat, in particular trans fat, have an increased risk for ischemic stroke, report US researchers.

“We found positive associations between total fat intake and ischemic stroke incidence and between trans fat intake and ischemic stroke incidence,” said study author Sirin Yaemsiri from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who presented the results at the 2010 International Stroke Conference in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

They assessed links between dietary fat consumption, measured using a food-frequency questionnaire administered at baseline, and incidence of ischemic stroke over a 7.6-year follow-up period, in 87,230 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative observational study aged 50–79 years.

Over the follow-up period, 1049 cases of ischemic stroke were recorded; these included 101 atherosclerotic, 269 lacunar, 234 cardioembolic, and 445 unclassified ischemic strokes.

Following adjustment for confounders such as age, ethnicity, smoking status, and physical activity, the researchers found that women in the highest quartile of total fat intake (average intake 86 g/day) had a significant 40% increased risk for ischemic stroke compared with women in the lowest quartile (average intake 26 g/day).

In addition, women in the highest quartile for trans fat consumption (average intake 7 g/day) had a significant 30% increase in risk for ischemic stroke compared with those in the lowest quartile (average intake 1 g/day). No significant associations between ischemic stroke and intake of other fat subtypes were seen, however.

“I think our findings support the American Heart Association recommendations for keeping trans fat intake at less than 1 percent of energy,” said co-investigator Ka He from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

They also lend support to schemes such as the New York City trans fat restriction and attempts to replace trans fat with healthier alternatives, as reported by MedWire News.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert


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