Trans Fats Increase Risk of Stroke in Older Women

Postmenopausal women with diets high in trans fat intake may be at a greater risk for stroke, although aspirin appears to lower the risk, a new study found. 

Women with the greatest trans fat intake were 39% more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those with the lowest intake. Aspirin was also shown to alter the association, as non-aspirin users with the highest intake showed a 66% elevated ischemic stroke risk.

"Increased platelet response to an agonist and inhibition after aspirin intake may at least in part explain the attenuated association between trans fat intake and ischemic stroke among aspirin users in this cohort," researchers proposed.

The group used food frequency questionnaires filled out by 87,025 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, focusing on 1,049 cases of ischemic stroke. 

"Our results highlight the importance of limiting the amount of dietary trans fat intake and using aspirin for primary ischemic stroke prevention among women, specifically postmenopausal women who have elevated risk of ischemic stroke," researchers concluded.

-Michael Potts


Yaemsiri S, Sen S, Tinker L, et al.  Trans fat, aspirin, and ischemic stroke in postmenopausal women [published online before print, March 1, 2012].  Ann Neur. DOI: 10.1002/ana.23555