ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
FITNESS
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Football Can Shrink Players
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
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Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk

Just in time for Valentine's Day comes word that eating dark chocolate appears to lower your risk of stroke or lessen the likelihood of death after a stroke.

But the findings, based on a review of existing research, aren't conclusive, and they don't prove that chocolate is good for your heart. And dietitians say too much chocolate can be harmful.

Still, two of the three studies analyzed in the review provide yet another suggestion that health benefits lurk in chocolate, dark chocolate in particular, said review co-author Dr. Gustavo Saposnik.

If choosing among white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate, "I'd definitely go with the dark chocolate," said Saposnik, director of the Stroke Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

The review authors, who found three studies on chocolate consumption and stroke between 2001 and 2009, are scheduled to report their findings at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Toronto in April.

One study found no significant association between chocolate consumption and risk of stroke or death from stroke. But another found that the stroke rate was 22 percent lower in people who ate chocolate once a week, and a third reported that death from stroke was 46 percent lower in those who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week.

The health benefit may come from antioxidants called flavonoids that are present in chocolate, Saposnik said. Antioxidants are thought to prevent cell damage.

In years past, "the message was that chocolate consumption might be associated with higher LDL [bad] cholesterol or perhaps higher incidence of cardiovascular disease," he said. "Today, we know that all chocolates are not the same."

So, should you and your sweetheart add dark chocolate to your diet? "I'm not sure we can provide any recommendation at this time," Saposnik said.

For one thing, it's possible that some factor other than chocolate could be helping lower the risk of stroke. Those who eat more chocolate could be wealthier and have better access to health care, for instance, or go to the gym more often.

Saposnik said more studies will help clarify the association between chocolate and stroke risk.

For now, said registered dietitian Katie Clark, "caution should be taken not to promote chocolate as a health food," even though it's fine in moderation.

Chocolate is a major source of saturated fat, which raises bad cholesterol and boosts heart disease risk, said Clark, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California at San Francisco.

But Keith-Thomas Ayoob, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City who studies nutrition, said chocolate does have its benefits. "Several studies indicate that even a little chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow through the arteries. Both are good for heart health," he said. "It's nice to know that chocolate isn't bad for you, assuming you eat modest amounts and don't become overweight by overeating it."

SOURCES: Gustavo Saposnik, M.D., M.Sc., director, Stroke Research Unit, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto; Katie Clark, M.P.H., R.D., assistant clinical professor, University of California at San Francisco; Keith-Thomas Ayoob, Ed.D., R.D., F.A.D.A., associate clinical professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Feb. 11, 2010, American Academy of Neurology, news release Published on: February 11, 2010