June 15, 2011
Olive Oil Cuts Stroke Risk?

A French study of 7,625 people ages 65 and older found that higher olive oil consumption is associated with 41% lower risk of stroke over 6 years.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A new study suggests that consuming olive oil may help prevent a stroke in older people. The research is published in the June 15, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older," said study author Cécilia Samieri, PhD, with the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Bordeaux, France. "Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it."

The researchers say the olive oil consumers might eat healthier foods. But they tried to control for diet and other factors.

After considering diet, physical activity, body mass index and other risk factors for stroke, the study found that those who regularly used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who never used olive oil in their diet (1.5 percent in six years compared to 2.6 percent).

Does the olive oil deliver benefits? Or does it just substitute for oils that cause inflammation?Given other research I'm strongly inclined toward the view that at least part of the benefit comes from what is in olive oil. See these posts: High Phenolic Olive Oil Changes Gene Expression, Genetic Variation Makes Olive Oil A Weight Loss Food, Olive Oil Lowers Oxidative Stress Marker, Some Mediterranean Diet Components More Important and Mediterranean Diet Plus Nuts Cuts Metabolic Syndrome.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 June 15 09:53 PM  Aging Diet Heart Studies

Lou Pagnucco said at June 16, 2011 7:18 AM:

Intriguing result.

It would be interesting to know if mainly ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes were prevented, also whether low blood pressure had additive effect, and whether inflammatory markers were reduced more in those without strokes.

They should check the result in other countries consuming large amounts of olive oil.

Randall Parker said at June 16, 2011 6:40 PM:


Good questions. Which risk reducers eliminate the need which other risk reducers? I'd love to know whether omega 3 fatty acids and olive oil reduce risk via similar routes.

mark l. said at June 17, 2011 11:25 AM:

ignoring the fact that the polls i read have a margin of error of 3-4%, and that we are comparing 2.6% to 1.5%...
i imagine we are also ignoring the fact that the effects of olive oil on blood chemistry/blood pressure can be measured, 6 months on/6 months off...

but hard to ignore "The researchers say the olive oil consumers might eat healthier foods. But they tried to control for diet and other factors."

scientists study and dream...
but they should leave the compilation of data to others.

bbartlog said at June 17, 2011 1:59 PM:

@mark: 'ignoring the fact that the polls i read have a margin of error of 3-4%, and that we are comparing 2.6% to 1.5%...'

Ah, so now the study authors can't do statistics. Actually, the confidence interval on this is probably quite good: even without reading the details of the study, you can back-calculate and see that the expected number of strokes in a given cohort (if they are split equally, which it appears they are close to being). If we take the total number of strokes (148) and assume that the null hypothesis would leave them split evenly between the high and low olive oil consumers (74 per 3800 pop, roughly) then the standard deviation on observation should be approximately the square root of the expectation, i.e. somewhere between eight and nine. So the high olive oil eaters would have to have one-in-a-thousand good luck (-3 SD) at the same time that the low olive oil eaters had one in fifty bad luck (+2SD)... very unlikely.
The real calculation of CI involves more sophisticated statistics I'm sure, but I bet it's in the paper. Stop being a wanker.

hbd chick said at June 18, 2011 3:52 PM:

were the people studied all french? (as in ethnic french.)

iow, will this apply to me, too, even tho i ain't french?

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