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Walking linked to lower stroke risk

Women can lower their stroke risk by walking, a new study suggests.
In the study, researchers found that women who walked two or more hours a week or who usually walked at a brisk pace had a significantly lower risk of stroke than women who didn’t walk.The risks were lower for total stroke, clot-related (ischemic) stroke and bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke, researchers said.
“Physical activity, including regular walking, is an important modifiable behaviour for stroke prevention,” said Jacob R Sattelmair, lead author and doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
“Physical activity is essential to promoting cardiovascular health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and walking is one way of achieving physical activity,” he added.Researchers followed 39,315 US female health professionals (average age 54, predominantly white) participating in the Women’s Health Study.
Every two to three years, participants reported their leisure-time physical activity during the past year — specifically time spent walking or hiking, jogging, running, biking, doing aerobic exercise/aerobic dance, using exercise machines, playing tennis/squash/racquetball, swimming, doing yoga and stretching/toning.
No household, occupational activity or sedentary behaviours were assessed.

Air pollution at school exposes kids to asthma
A new study led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) suggests that traffic-related pollution near schools is linked to the development of asthma in kids.
Study’s lead author Rob McConnell, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and colleagues found that the risk of developing asthma due to exposure at school was comparable to that of children whose exposure occurred primarily at home, even though time spent at school only accounted for about one third of waking hours.Children in schools located in high-traffic environments had a 45 per cent increased risk of developing asthma.The study drew upon data from the Children’s Health Study (CHS), a longitudinal study of children in Southern California communities that was designed to investigate the chronic effects of air pollution on respiratory health.
Using a cohort of 2,497 kindergarten and first grade children who were asthma-free when they entered the CHS, researchers examined the relationship of local traffic around schools and homes to diagnosis of new onset asthma that occurred during three years of follow-up.

Look at sick people to stay healthy
Want to keep colds and flus at bay? Well, then start looking at sick people, according to a study. Mark Schaller, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia and his colleagues hypothesised that seeing disease-connoting cues promotes a more aggressive immune response in people.For testing the hypothesis, the scientist asked a group people to watch a 10-minute slide show of images of ill people, some suffering from chicken pox or sneezing or coughing.
A different group of people watched a slide show of images of people brandishing guns.The participants rated the pictures of gun-touting thugs as more distressing than the pictures of sickly folks. But blood samples taken from the participants before and after viewing the slide shows revealed that the bodily reactions were much different.

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