Stroke risk linked to red meat consumption

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Could this be one of those times where it is a case of three strikes and you're out?

In the July 2012 issue of the journal Stroke is an article showing how the intake of fresh, processed and total red meat consumption increases the risk for ischemic stroke.

An ischemic stroke is one in which the blood supply has been greatly diminished or cut off to an area of the brain by hardening of the arteries. In other words, arteriosclerosis. The study found no link to hemorrhagic stroke.

In this study it was found that each daily increase in a single serving of the fresh, processed and total red meat increased the risk of ischemic stroke by 12 to 15 percent. Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb and veal

This report, unfortunately, adds to the one in the April 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine where researchers from Harvard University, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and the German Institute of Human Nutrition reported other problems from the same food.

That study looked at folks from the 37,968 men in the Health Professionals study, a 22-year study, and the 83,644 women in the Nurses Health Study, a 28-year study.

One of the comforting findings in that study was when other sources of protein -- such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy and whole grains -- were used, there was a significantly lowered risk of mortality.

One of the authors of the Stroke article mentioned how there has also been an association between red and processed meat consumption and type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer and possibly other cancers, as well as heart attacks.

Medscape Medical News, an Internet source of up-to-date medical news for health professionals, contacted Dr. Adam Bernstein of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and one of the authors of the Archives of Internal Medicine article to get his take on the study in Stroke.

His response was that it was another log in the fire showing the importance of cutting or even eliminating red meat from the diet.

Now for a disclaimer in regards to my short article in the Sept. 21 issue of the Union-Bulletin.

The headline stated, "Canola may put a dent in cancer risk." The most important fact, which I feel should have been reflected in the headline, was that diets rich in animal fats raised the risk of prostate cancer by greater than 60 percent.

Saturated fat is not only on the meat but in the meat. Cheese in general is very high in animal fat. Another concern is that some folks may have gotten the idea that they should use more canola oil to help prevent prostate cancer. That would be a mistake because there should be more studies, not only on animals but in humans, to be certain that even though canola oil does not cause cancer it may not actually help to prevent it.

Dr. Don Casebolt of College Place is a retired physician who is passionate about preventive medicine. He spent four years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, the last 21/2 years as a flight surgeon. He also worked on the Navajo Reservation for 22 years.

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