A Chocolate a Day…

iStock-538904110Keeps the cardiologist away. That's what Rick quips on PodMed this week as we discuss a study in the BMJ on the benefits of consuming chocolate with regard to prevention of atrial fibrillation. How intriguing! This study relied on information from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study, using data from over 55,000 Danish men and women, ages 50-64 years at baseline. These folks have been followed for a median of 13 and a half years, and have had a bunch of data gathered about them at the inception of the study and at follow up.  Food questionnaires were administered and validated against two 7-day weighed diet records, a fact I find most impressive since many criticisms of these types of studies center on recall bias as a primary fault.

During the follow up period, over 3300 cases of atrial fibrillation were identified. This is possible of course because of the Danish registry of citizens, which provides each of them with a unique number by which their interactions with the healthcare system can be tracked. When considered in relation to each other, the study found that those who consumed more chocolate had a reduced incidence of atrial fibrillation. And since atrial fibrillation is common, and associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, cognitive decline and dementia, and mortality, perhaps this in one way to help avoid the condition. Rick says that while the prospective study of the impact of cocoa on cardiovascular outcomes is completed (currently underway) he's just going to keep eating chocolate and recommends that others do the same.  Dark chocolate of course, as is eaten by most Danes.

Other topics this week include Dietary intake of fibre and risk of knee osteoarthritis in two US prospective cohorts and Pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: the ChONdroitin versus CElecoxib versus Placebo Trial (CONCEPT), both in the BMJ's Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, and in NEJM: Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome. Until next week, y'all live well.

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