Aspirin may counteract potential trans fat-related stroke risk in older women

March 1, 2012

Older women whose diets include a substantial amount of trans fats are more likely than their counterparts to suffer an ischemic stroke, a new study shows.

However, the risk of stroke associated with trans fat intake was lower among women taking aspirin, according to the findings from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers.

The study, "Trans Fat Intake, Aspirin and Among ," was published Thursday (March 1, 2012) online in the journal .

The study of 87,025 generally healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 found that those whose diets contained the largest amounts of trans fats were 39 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke (clots in vessels supplying blood to the brain) than women who ate the least amount of trans fat. The risk was even more pronounced among non-users of aspirin: those who ate the most trans fat were 66 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than who ate the least trans fat.

However, among women who took aspirin over an extended period of time, researchers found no association between trans fat consumption and – suggesting that regular aspirin use may counteract trans fat intake's adverse effect on stroke risk among women.

Trans fat is generally created in the food production process and is found in commercially prepared foods, including many shortenings, cake mixes, fried fast foods, commercially baked products (such as doughnuts, cakes and pies), chips, cookies and cereals.

Researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health studied women who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. From 1994 to 2005, 1,049 new cases of ischemic stroke were documented.

Women who consumed the highest amount of trans fat also were more likely to be smokers, have diabetes, be physically inactive and have lower socioeconomic status than those who consumed the least trans fat, the study showed.

"Our findings were contrary to at least two other large studies of ischemic stroke," said Ka He, Sc.D., M.D., associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the UNC public health school. "However, ours was a larger study and included twice as many cases of ischemic stroke. Our unique study base of may have increased our ability to detect the association between trans fat intake and ischemic stroke among non-users of aspirin."

He said aspirin may lower the risk of ischemic stroke because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet clumping properties.

The UNC researchers did not find any association between eating other kinds of fat (including saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat) and ischemic strokes.

"Our findings highlight the importance of limiting the amount of dietary intake and using for primary ischemic stroke prevention among women, especially among postmenopausal women who have elevated risk of ischemic stroke," said lead author Sirin Yaemsiri, a doctoral student in the school's epidemiology department.

Explore further: Eating citrus fruit may lower women's stroke risk

More information: Trans Fat Intake, Aspirin, and Ischemic Stroke Among Postmenopausal Women." Sirin Yaemsiri, Souvik Sen, Lesley Tinker, Wayne Rosamond, Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller. Annals of Neurology; Published Online: March 1, 2012 (DOI:10.1002/ana.23555).

Related Stories

Eating citrus fruit may lower women's stroke risk

February 23, 2012
A compound in citrus fruits may reduce your stroke risk, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommended for you

Contact in sports may lead to differences in the brains of young, healthy athletes

August 22, 2017
People who play contact sports show changes to their brain structure and function, with sports that have greater risk of body contact showing greater effects on the brain, a new study has found.

Research reveals 'exquisite selectivity' of neuronal wiring in the cerebral cortex

August 21, 2017
The brain's astonishing anatomical complexity has been appreciated for over 100 years, when pioneers first trained microscopes on the profusion of branching structures that connect individual neurons. Even in the tiniest ...

Afternoon slump in reward response

August 21, 2017
Activation of a reward-processing brain region peaks in the morning and evening and dips at 2 p.m., finds a study of healthy young men published in The Journal of Neuroscience. This finding may parallel the drop in alertness ...

Researchers find monkey brain structure that decides if viewed objects are new or unidentified

August 18, 2017
A team of researchers working at the University of Tokyo School of Medicine has found what they believe is the part of the monkey brain that decides if something that is being viewed is recognizable. In their paper published ...

Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during performed and imagined movements

August 18, 2017
Artificial intelligence has far outpaced human intelligence in certain tasks. Several groups from the Freiburg excellence cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools led by neuroscientist private lecturer Dr. Tonio Ball are showing how ...

Study of nervous system cells can help to understand degenerative diseases

August 18, 2017
The results of a new study show that many of the genes expressed by microglia differ between humans and mice, which are frequently used as animal models in research on Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.