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Moderate exercise reduces silent stroke risk

  • 8 Comments

Swimming, jogging or playing squash can help older people protect themselves against the risk of strokes, according to researchers.

Studies have shown that 64-year-olds who take part in moderate to intense exercise are much less likely to suffer “silent strokes”. These often-unnoticed events are caused by minor injuries to the brain which cause no major symptoms - but can herald a more lethal or disabling stroke.

The risk of such silent strokes was reduced by 40% in people who were reasonably active, compared with those who did not take exercise regularly, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

A total of 1,238 men and woman who had never had a stroke previously provided details about their activities at the start of the study. When they were 70, they all undertook MRI scans to look for silent stroke signs.

A total of 43% said they took no regular exercise, with 36% taking part in light activity like golf or bowling, while 21% said they enjoyed more intense pursuits such as hiking or tennis. Scans showed that 16% had suffered silent strokes - but among the moderate to intense group, there was a 40% drop in the likelihood of suffering this problem.

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  • 8 Comments

Readers' comments (8)

  • Sigh.

    There was another thread here where a researcher defended the role of research and wondered why so many professionals seemed hostile to researchers.

    How about I take a big pay cheque from the government, 50 grand a year will do. I'll take a year to do some 'research', and then announce with a big fanfare that standing in the rain makes you wet, or the sky on a sunny day with no cloud is usually blue.

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  • Sigh.

    well expressed Mike. may I join your research team, but on permanent basis with incremental salary, and generous bonuses if I manage to come up with obvious answers?

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  • Of course Anonymous | 11-Jun-2011 11:31 am, but be warned, if you come up with anything ground breaking or useful or hasn't actually been done before, say a cure for cancer or finding that a particular thing no one has ever thought of doing decreases the risk of say dementia, then I will take all of your pay off you because that is not what these research teams seem to be about!

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  • mike | 11-Jun-2011 2:21 pm

    oh, yes of course it would be on that understanding! it would be most inappropriate to come up with anything original. that does not seem to be what the game is about.

    What I would like to know is why, when there is a good piece of original research, the recommendations seem to be disregarded totally (obviously archived and forgotten about) and the same findings and recommendations are being repeated over and over again for decades without any action being taken even though it is vital to patient care and safety and the health and well being of the staff looking after them! The same goes for all the DH and other government reports.

    You would have to pay me in advance for stating the obvious in this last paragraph!

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  • Research is like statistics, you can manipulate it to make your point. Most research is backed by drug companies. Sadly, or maybe not, who knows, but the bottom line is that is what governs our future heathcare....and it changes vey rapidly

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  • My big annoyance with research like this is that they are repeated ad nauseum, but NOONE ever listens! The research is never really put into practice, but still more research gets done.

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  • in medicine and nursing it seems that everything that is observed or stated nowadays has to be supported by research. further research is then needed to support the findings and recommendations testing larger samples and different samples and using different researchers, and so it goes on ad infinitum!

    i would like to know where all the recommendations go and what is needed for the viable ones to be acted upon?

    it seems a waste of money if they are ignored
    and archived only to be dug up by the archaeologists several milennia later!

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  • Even when there is good research, if it is a drug or new treatment, it has got to get past NICE (pity it doesn't live up to it's acronym). We all know what that means, if is too expensive, you don't get it. Research into cardiac units saving lives took 30 years to put into practice. Stroke units (SU) save more lives than cardiac units, and we are still not quite there yet. There are SUs, but not that many fulfil the total criteria, and certainly don't run on the research-based number of staff.

    This research was conducted on a pensionable-aged population, and presumably these activities were paid for during the research period, and most likely transport was laid on too. I wonder how many of these people can afford to keep it up, when they have to pay for their own gym subscriptions and travel costs. That goes for the rest of the population in that age group too. Having said that, without reading the whole article, perhaps I can't make that assumption. If it was just to deduce what activities these people did under their own volition, it may well be that the same proportion of them have been more active all their lives. I doubt these people suddenly increased their activity during the study period (that's what the snippet above suggests). If they did, great, there is hope for our ageing population yet.

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