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BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:966

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In a delicious sounding, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover study, participants were required to eat dark chocolate bars containing cocoa flavonol, with or without added plant sterols, every day. The added sterols affected cardiovascular risk factors in a population with normal blood pressure but raised cholesterol. The enhanced chocolate bars reduced serum total cholesterol by 2.0% and low density lipoprotein levels by 5.3% (P<0.05), and consuming cocoa flavonols reduced systolic blood pressure after eight weeks (Journal of Nutrition 2008;138:725-31;

An explanation for the well recognised relationship between low birth weight and raised blood pressure in later life is offered in the current issue of Hypertension (2008;51:928-32; doi: 10.1161/hypertensionaha.107.101881). Chronic hypertension requires a shift in the relation of renal pressure and natriuresis, resulting in increased salt sensitivity of blood pressure. Scientists have discovered that birth weight is negatively associated with the sensitivity of blood pressure to salt, and this may have a role in maintaining raised blood pressure in people with a …

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