Someone told me recently that chocolate is good for your heart – is this true?
The best evidence comes from a German survey of nearly 20,000 adults over 10 years. Those who ate the most chocolate had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those who ate the least or none. The problem with the survey is that the people in the "highest" consumption group were eating on average only one square of chocolate a day, not half a bar. So, presumably, the lesser chocolate eaters were eating a square once every few days. We don't yet know if the benefit in heart protection extends to a higher daily chocolate consumption. It should be easy to find volunteers for a trial on it.
For a few months now, I have had a small lump on the inside of my upper right arm. My doctor said it was probably a cyst and booked me for a scan, but it disappeared before the appointment day. It returned shortly after, and is pea-sized (it had been larger). It isn't painful, but can sometimes feel uncomfortable and itch. Should I get it checked out again?
Definitely, if only for your peace of mind. A small lump that comes and goes like this is usually an inflamed lymph gland or a subcutaneous cyst, and it is probably benign. But you need to have it examined, and perhaps even removed for microscopy. The first step is to go back to your doctor – remember that as far as he/she is concerned, the lump has gone – and tell them it has returned. Your doctor will then assess whether it is hard or soft, freely mobile in the tissues around it or fixed to them, whether or not it is tender, and also whether there are other similar lumps elsewhere that you haven't noticed. So be prepared to have a thorough physical examination, which could involve your neck, armpits, groin, abdomen and breasts, as well as the lump. The examination is meant to reassure you – and also your doctor – so don't be at all alarmed.
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