The Checkup: Eating Berries May Cut Heart Attack Risk for Women

Time to stock up on blueberries and strawberries, ladies.

As if you needed another reason to chow down on strawberries and blueberries … well, here’s one. In a new look at the Nurses’ Health Study II, which followed 94,000 young and middle-aged women for 18 (!) years, researchers found that women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 32 percent less likely to have a heart attack compared to those who ate berries once a month or less. “This held true even among women who had diets rich in other fruits and vegetables,” reports HealthDay, and the benefit “was independent of other heart risk factors such as advancing age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass index, exercise, smoking, and caffeine and alcohol intake.” The study can’t answer why berries seem useful in lowering heart-attack risk—nor can it prove a cause-and-effect relationship—but researchers theorize that it may have to do with berries’ unique compounds that help widen arteries. A note for guys: The researchers also say that men may benefit from boosting their berry intake, too, even though the study only included women.

• Here’s some local news you can use: the Daily Pennsylvanian reported over the weekend that Chester County Hospital will likely join the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The deal’s not set in stone yet—the parties have so far just signed a letter of intent—but a HUP spokesperson told the student paper that the health system is”pleased to have taken this first step in developing a deeper relationship with The Chester County Hospital and Health System.”

• Uh-oh. A new analysis is poking holes in a study from last year, which reported that marijuana use during teen years lowers IQ. A researcher in Oslo says the lowered IQ seen in study subjects may have more to do with their socioeconomic status and less to do with their marijuana use. Read more here.