The Handoff: Your Week in Cardiology News - 5/26/17

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The Handoff is a weekly roundup of cardiology news covering various developments in subspecialties, as well as pharmaceutical industry, association, and society news.

  • Dark chocolate has been linked with many health benefits, and now, there's another to add to the growing list: a study published in Heart indicates that dark chocolate may lower the risk for atrial fibrillation.   
  • And in other tasty food news, consuming cheese — even the full-fat kind — does not appear to raise the risk for heart attack or stroke. The European Journal of Epidemiology reported that total diary (both high- and low-fat) was not linked to all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, or cardiovascular disease.
  • Researchers have concluded more evidence is needed to determine the best course of treatment for anxiety after stroke, according to an analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  • Young adults with systolic blood pressure >140 mm Hg are at greater risk for artery stiffening, despite being otherwise healthy. Artery stiffening is associated with an increased risk for stroke.
  • Bariatric surgery may reduce the long-term risk of heart failure in patients with obesity who do not have a history of heart disease or stroke. On average, patients who received bariatric surgery saw a drop in their BMIs from 46.5 to 32.5 kg/m2 after 5 years, according to the research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
  • Could the risk of stroke be related to gut bacteria? Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia think it may be possible. They used a well-established mouse model and found that when the gut bacteria were eliminated, the cerebral cavernous malformations were reduced to almost zero.
  • Two rare genetic mutations that reduce triglycerides to unusually low levels appear to protect against heart disease, even if other risk factors are present. Scientists are attempting to replicate this magic in drug form to treat patients not so fortunate.
  • Fitness trackers may not have the most accurate data when it comes to calorie counting, according to a new study published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine. While most devices studied were off on heart rate by only 5%, the inaccuracy on calories burned ranged from 20% to 93%. 
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