Saturday April 20, 2019

Severity Of A Stroke Reduces With Light Exercise: Study

Regular exercise helps the brain to maintain healthy arteries that have more complex networks.

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A stroke patient holds a flower in the therapeutic garden of the Acute Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland. VOA

People who regularly engage in light to moderate physical activity — like walking four hours a week or swimming two hours weekly — might have less severe strokes than individuals who aren’t as active, a Swedish study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 925 patients who were treated for strokes at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, between 2014 and 2016. Overall, four in five of these patients had mild strokes.

Slightly more than half of the patients were inactive before their strokes. Compared with this inactive group, people who got at least some exercise before their strokes were twice as likely to have mild strokes, researchers reported in Neurology.

“We knew from earlier research that physical activity could reduce stroke incidence,” lead study author Malin Reinholdsson of the University of Gothenburg said by email. “However, whether or not pre-stroke physical activity could also influence stroke severity was not clear.”

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Being physically active can also help prevent risk factors for stroke, like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure Pixabay

Patients in the study were 73 years old on average and most of them had what’s known as an ischemic stroke, the most common kind, which occurs when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain. About 6 percent of patients had hemorrhagic strokes, a less common type that is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

Surveyed about exercise

To assess pre-stroke activity levels, researchers surveyed participants about the duration and intensity of any exercise they got before they were hospitalized.

Researchers defined “light” activity as walking at a leisurely pace for at least four hours a week, and classified exercise as “moderate” intensity when people did things like swimming, running or walking briskly for two to three hours weekly.

Among 481 people who were inactive, 354, or 74 percent, had mild strokes.
For those who managed light physical activity, 330, or 86 percent, had mild strokes. And among the 59 participants who got moderate intensity exercise, 53, or 90 percent, had mild strokes.

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Yoga is also a good physical exercise. Wikimedia

Age also mattered, with higher odds of a mild stroke for younger people in the study.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how the amount or intensity of exercise might influence stroke severity.

Another limitation is that researchers relied on stroke survivors to accurately recall their previous exercise habits, and memory is often compromised after a stroke.

Even so, the results add to evidence suggesting that an active lifestyle can both lower the risk of stroke and reduce the chances that a stroke will be severe, said Nicole Spartano, co-author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher at Boston University School of Medicine.

“Regular exercise helps the brain to maintain healthy arteries that have more complex networks,” Spartano said by email. “So when a blockage [stroke] happens in one area, there may be another route to provide oxygen to the affected area.”

Also Read: A Majority of Children Die Due to Lack of Basic Healthcare Facilities: UN

Being physically active can also help prevent risk factors for stroke, like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, Spartano noted.

“This study is exciting because it suggests that you might not have to do a lot of intense exercise to see an effect,” Spartano said. (VOA)

Next Story

New York City’s Mandatory Measles Vaccination Order Stands Still

The health department's lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces. VOA

Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City’s recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order, rejecting their arguments that the city’s public health authority exceeded its authority.

In a six-page decision rendered hours after a hearing on the matter, Judge Lawrence Knipel denied the parents’ petition seeking to lift the vaccination order, imposed last week to stem the worst measles outbreak to hit the city since 1991.

The judge sided with municipal health officials who defended the order as a rare but necessary step to contain a surge in the highly contagious disease that has infected at least 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in the borough of Brooklyn.

Another 222 cases have been diagnosed elsewhere in New York state, mostly in a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County, northwest of Manhattan.

The New York outbreaks are part of a larger resurgence of measles across the country, with at least 555 cases confirmed in 20 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health experts say the virus, which can cause severe complications and even death, has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated. Most profess philosophical or religious reasons, or cite concerns — debunked by medical science — that the three-way measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may cause autism.

The judge rejected the parents’ contention that the vaccination order was excessive or coercive, noting it does not call for forcibly administering the vaccine to those who refuse it.

He also dismissed assertions in the petition disputing the “clear and present danger” of the outbreak. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion,” the judge said.

FILE PHOTO: A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019.
A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019. VOA

Secret identities

The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine.

The court challenge was brought in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court by five people identified only as parents living in the affected neighborhoods. Their identities were kept confidential to protect their children’s’ privacy, their lawyers said.

In court on Thursday, they told Knipel the city had overstepped its authority and that quarantining the infected would be a preferable approach.

Robert Krakow, an attorney for the parents, estimated that just 0.0006 percent of the population of Brooklyn and Queens had measles. “That’s not an epidemic,” he said. “It’s not Ebola. It’s not smallpox.”

The health department’s lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine. Pixabay

The judge cited 39 cases diagnosed in Michigan that have been traced to an individual traveling from the Williamsburg community at the epicenter of Brooklyn’s outbreak.

Also Read: Short-Circuit Likely The Cause of Notre Dame Fire, Claims Police Investigators

The surge in measles there originated with an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, where the highly contagious virus is also running rampant.

The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year, the World Health Organization said this week. (VOA)