Acute effects of a deep-fried Mars bar on brain vasculature

Scotland’s purported tolerance for fried candy bars inspired this new medical study:

A randomised crossover trial of the acute effects of a deep-fried Mars bar or porridge on the cerebral vasculature,” William G. Dunn, and Matthew R. Walters, Scottish Medical Journal, epub 2014.

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The authors, at the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre and the University of Glasow, report:

Introduction The deep-fried Mars bar has been cited as ‘all that is wrong with the high-fat, high-sugar Scottish diet’. We investigated the effect of ingestion of a deep-fried Mars bar or porridge on cerebrovascular reactivity. We hypothesised that deep-fried Mars bar ingestion would impair cerebrovascular reactivity, which is associated with increased risk of ischaemic stroke.

Methods Twenty-four fasted volunteers were randomised to receive a deep-fried Mars bar and then porridge (control), or vice-versa. We used transcranial Doppler ultrasound to calculate Breath Holding Index as a surrogate measure of cerebrovascular reactivity. Change in Breath Holding Index post-ingestion was the primary outcome measure.

Here’s detail from the study:

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The results led them to devise this conclusion:

Conclusion Ingestion of a bolus of sugar and fat caused no overall difference in cerebrovascular reactivity, but there was a modest decrease in males. Impaired cerebrovascular reactivity is associated with increased stroke risk, and therefore deep-fried Mars bar ingestion may acutely contribute to cerebral hypoperfusion in men.

(Thanks to investigator Erwin Kompanje for bringing this to our attention.)

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