Dark chocolate could prevent heart problems in high-risk people

Daily consumption of dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people with metabolic syndrome (a cluster of factors that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes), finds a study.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Dark chocolate (containing at least 60% cocoa solids) is rich in flavonoids -- known to have heart protecting effects -- but this has only been examined in short term studies.

So a team of researchers used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people already at high risk of heart disease.

Calcium score predicts future heart disease among adults with little or no risk factors

With growing evidence that a measurement of the buildup of calcium in coronary arteries can predict heart disease risk, found that the process of "calcium scoring" was also accurate in predicting the chances of dying of heart disease among adults with little or no known risk of heart disease.

Previous studies had found that calcium scores were effective in predicting heart disease among adults with known heart disease risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, current smoking or a family history of heart disease. The study examined 5,593 adults with no known heart disease risk or with minimal risk of heart disease, who had undergone coronary artery calcium screening by non-contrast cardiac computed tomography from 1991-2011.

Synairgen slumps by a third as AstraZeneca ditches asthma drug study

Synairgen Plc said its partner AstraZeneca Plc stopped a mid-stage study for testing Synairgen's drug candidate as a potential treatment for severe asthma, putting the brakes on the lead product in Synairgen's pipeline.

The drug developer's shares slumped more than a third to trade at 22.01 pence at 0722 GMT on the London Stock Exchange, becoming the biggest drag on the FTSE AIM Healthcare Index, according to Reuters.

Teenagers' brain connections 'make them learn differently'

Teenagers are often portrayed as thrill-seekers, but research suggests their brains are wired to learn from their experiences, which makes them better prepared for adulthood.

In a small study, they performed better than adults at a picture-based game and brain scans showed a higher level of brain activity, according to BBC.

Researchers said the role of the hippocampus in the brain was key.

Prescribing holidays 'could help fight infections'

Scientists are investigating whether prescribing holidays, music or a change of scene might boost our immune system and help us to fight off disease.

In tests on mice, they discovered that sprucing up their living space, with a running wheel, toys and a colourful box, did wonders for their T cells, according to BBC.

These cells are essential for immunity and help to protect against disease.