Tuesday, November 02, 2010
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers found that people who chew khat and present with acute coronary syndrome had significantly higher rates of death, cardiogenic stroke, and stroke complications, despite having lower cardiovascular risk profiles.
"The leaves of khat, a leafy green shrub, are chewed habitually for euphoric and stimulating effects. The main ingredients, cathinone and cathine, are structurally related to amphetamine and ecstasy," says lead author Waleed Ali, M.D., from Hamad General Hospital in Doha, Qatar. An estimated 5 million to 10 million people worldwide chew khat, predominantly those living in the horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, according to an editorial written by Farrah Mateen, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Gregory Cascino, M.D., from the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic. They further state that Khat is illegal in the United States, and is not currently an accepted form of medical treatment.
Dr. Ali says, "Patients of Eastern African and Yemeni origins should be evaluated and counseled about khat chewing, even when living in Western countries."
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