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Cocoa is the New Red Wine

August 10, 2005

Throughout history, cocoa has been described as a medicine for many ailments. New research suggests that cocoa may also have a beneficial effect on heart disease and stroke.

A research team in Southampton in England, led by Dr Denise O’Shaugnessy, has shown that drinking a cup of cocoa can prevent potentially fatal blood clots. Dr O’Shaughnessy will present this data at the XXth Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis & Haemostasis in Sydney tomorrow.

When blood clots lodge in our brain or heart there are potentially fatal consequences such as stroke or heart attack. Cells in our blood called platelets are necessary for clotting to occur and O’Shaughnessy’s research team showed that cocoa inhibits platelet function.

O’Shaughnessy said, “Cocoa contains a substance called flavinoids, which are also present in red wine. Flavinoids can be preventive for coronary heart disease; however our research has uncovered another ingredient in cocoa which may be responsible for the platelet inhibition. This finding may well lead to important new therapies to prevent heart disease and stroke. But it may also mean that a nice hot cup of cocoa may also take on new importance for people in high risk categories.”

BLOOD TYPES and DVT ““ DO THEY MATTER? Research out of the Netherlands has shown that your blood type can increase the risk of suffering deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood types in humans include A, B, AB or O. The study showed that people with blood type A, B or AB had an increased risk of DVT.

Researcher, Dr Vania Morelli, from the Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, said “A non-O blood type strongly increases the risk in people who carry a variant of a protein (called Factor V Leiden) involved in blood clotting. This variant protein is found in around 3% of people of European descent”.

“Our research suggests that information on blood type may have a role in the management of DVT, especially in carriers of this variant protein. It is obviously important to know what your blood group is!” said Morelli.

Dr Morelli will present this research at the XXth Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis & Haemostasis in Sydney tomorrow.

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