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Body & Brain

The health benefits of wheat and olive oil, plus Down syndrome dementia, a heartbreaking gene and more in this week’s news

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6:20pm, June 16, 2011
Unusual gene increases vessel tear risk
People with an uncommon duplication of a gene have a 12-fold increase in the risk of having a torn aorta, a lethal leak in the crucial artery that carries blood out of the heart. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas in Houston found the duplication on chromosome 16 in 8 of 765 patients who had an aortic aneurysm or tear but in only 4 of more than 4,500 people with intact aortas. Although the gene duplication is unusual, it confers a clear risk to those carrying it, the scientists report in the June PLoS Genetics. —Nathan Seppa


Olive oil versus stroke
People who consume olive oil copiously appear less vulnerable to stroke than those who avoid it, medical records from 7,600 people in France show. Scientists used questionnaire responses to classify people as those who never use olive oil, those who use it either to cook or as a dre
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