People who suffer a stroke have very high levels of the amino acid salt glutamate in their blood, researchers have found.
This raises the questions about the ability of monosodium glutamate the additive found in many foods, including Chinese meals to cause strokes.
Glutamate levels are increased naturally by the body when blood flow is reduced for a long time, although doctors from Girona in Spain were unable to establish if it was also increased by the food additive.
They studied 128 heart patients who were admitted to their hospital's emergency unit; of these, 43 had progressing stroke, and a significant link was found between their condition and high concentrations of glutamate. Deterioration can be rapid, and usually occurs within 48 hours.