Friday December 6, 2019

Dogs can Perform Many Tricks for their Owners, but Best One might be Extending their Life

Kramer's team studied data on 3.8 million patients taken from 10 other studies conducted worldwide over more than 70 years

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Dogs, Tricks, Owners
FILE - A woman transports a Yorkshire Terrier dog in Erfurt, Germany, June 2, 2019. VOA

Dogs can perform many tricks for their owners, but the best one might be extending their life.

“Our analysis found having a dog is actually protective against dying of any cause,” said Dr. Caroline Kramer, lead author of a study published Tuesday in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Kramer’s team studied data on 3.8 million patients taken from 10 other studies conducted worldwide over more than 70 years. They found a 24% reduction in the risk of death from all causes, and a 31% reduction of death due to cardiovascular problems.

“Having a dog was associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels and better a cholesterol profile in previous reports,”she said.

Dogs, Tricks, Owners
“Our analysis found having a dog is actually protective against dying of any cause,” said Dr. Caroline Kramer, lead author of a study published Tuesday in Circulation. Pixabay

Another study also published Tuesday in the same journal found that dog owners living alone had a 33% better chance of surviving a heart attack than patients living alone without a dog. In stroke patients living alone, the chance of survival increased 27%.

That study was conducted in Sweden between 2001 and 2012 using the country’s National Patient Register.

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“We know that loneliness and social isolation are strong risk factors for premature death, and our hypothesis was that the company of a pet can alleviate that,” said the study’s author Tove Fall, an associate professor of epidemiology at Uppsala University in Sweden. (VOA)

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Petting Dogs, Cats Can Improve Students’ Mood: Study

These results were found even while considering that some students may have had very high or low levels to begin with

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The results showed that the pups' attractiveness was lowest at birth and increased to a maximum before 10 weeks of age before declining and then levelling off.
Representational Image. pixabay

College is stressful. Students have classes, exams and so many other pressures common in modern life and now researchers have found that petting dogs and cats can improve students’ mood with stress-relieving physiological benefits, a study shows.

According to the study published in the journal AERA Open, many universities have instituted “Pet Your Stress Away” programmes, where students can come in and interact with cats and dogs.

“Just 10 minutes can have a significant impact,” students in our study that interacted with cats and dogs had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone,” said Patricia Pendry, Associate Professor at Washington State University.

The study involved 249 college students randomly divided into four groups. The first group received hands-on interaction in small groups with cats and dogs for 10 minutes. They could pet, play with and generally hang out with the animals as they wanted.

To compare effects of different exposures to animals, the second group observed other people petting animals while they waited in line for their turn. The third group watched a slideshow of the same animals available during the intervention, while the fourth group was “waitlisted”.

“Relations with pets tend to be less complicated than those with humans, and pets are often a source of great enjoyment. They also provide older people with a sense of being needed and loved,” said Mary Janevic, researcher at the University of Michigan in the US.  Pixabay

According to the researchers, those students waited for their turn quietly for 10 minutes without their phones, reading materials or other stimuli, but were told they would experience animal interaction soon.

For the findings, several salivary cortisol samples were collected from each participant, starting in the morning when they woke up.

Once all the data was crunched from the various samples, the students who interacted directly with the pets showed significantly less cortisol in their saliva after the interaction.

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These results were found even while considering that some students may have had very high or low levels to begin with.

“What we wanted to learn was whether this exposure would help students reduce their stress in a less subjective way. And it did, which is exciting because the reduction of stress hormones may, over time, have significant benefits for physical and mental health,” Pendry said. (IANS)