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Calcium and Stroke

April 27, 2006

Everyone knows that calcium helps build and maintain strong and healthy bones. But it also has positive effects on the brain.


Protecting your brain with calcium. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists know—and you should, too—that having a diet rich in calcium reduces your risk of having a stroke. But what if you have a stroke anyway: Can calcium help you then? To study this question, neurologist Bruce Ovbiagele of UCLA measured the level of calcium in the blood of 240 stoke patients as they were admitted to the hospital. What he found was striking.

…that those patients who had the highest levels of calcium were fifty percent less likely to have a severe stroke and seventy-five percent less likely to have a poor outcome when they were discharged from the hospital.

He says this could be because people with high levels of calcium have generally healthier lifestyles. But studies also suggest that calcium may help keep brain cells alive during a stroke.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.