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New research finds link between frequency of exercise and stroke risk Here’s yet another reason to get off the couch: new research findings suggest that regularly breaking a sweat may lower the risk of having a stroke. A stroke can occur when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked. As a result, nearby brain cells will die after not getting enough oxygen and other nutrients. A number of risk factors for stroke have been identified, including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and being inactive. For this study, published in the journal Stroke, Michelle N. McDonnell, Ph.D., from the University of South Australia, Adelaide and her colleagues obtained data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. REGARDS is a large, long-term study funded by the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to look at the reasons behind the higher rates of stroke mortality among African-Americans and other residents living in the Southeastern United States. “Epidemiological studies such as REGARDS provide an important opportunity to explore race, genetics, environmental, and lifestyle choices as stroke risk factors,” said Claudia Moy, Ph.D., program director at NINDS. Over 30,000 participants supplied their medical history over the phone. The researchers also visited them to obtain health measures such as body mass index and blood pressure. At the beginning of the study, the researchers asked participants how many times per week they exercised vigorously enough to work up a sweat. The researchers contacted participants every six months to see if they had experienced a stroke or a mini-stroke known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). To confirm their responses, the researchers reviewed participants’ medical records. The researchers reported data for over 27,000 participants who were stroke-free at the start of the study and followed for an average of 5.7 years. One-third of participants reported exercising less than once a week. Study subjects who were inactive were 20 percent more likely to experience a stroke or TIA than participants who exercised four or more times a week. The findings revealed that regular, moderately vigorous exercise, enough to break a sweat, was linked to reduced risk of stroke. Part of the protective effect was due to lower rates of known stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking. “Our results confirm other research findings but our study has the distinct advantage of including larger numbers, especially larger numbers of women as well as blacks, in a national population sample so these provide somewhat more generalizable results than other studies,” said Virginia Howard, Ph.D., senior author of the study from the School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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新しい研究によると運動の頻度と脳卒中のリスクには関連があるそうです。 ここにはソファーでゴロゴロしているのを止めるべき理由がまだもう一つあります:新しい研究結果は、定期的に汗を流すことが脳卒中になるリスクを低下させることを示しています。 脳卒中は脳内の血管が詰まる時に起こります。結果として、十分な酸素や栄養が得られなくなって、周辺の脳細胞が死滅します。脳卒中のリスク要因には、喫煙、高血圧、糖尿病、運動不足を含めて、特定されているものもあります。 専門誌「脳卒中」に掲載されたこの研究のために、アデレードの南オーストラリア大学のミシェル・N・マクドネル博士と彼女の同僚は、「脳卒中における地理的人種的差異の理由」(REGARDS)と言う研究からデータを取得しました。REGARDSは、アフリカ系アメリカ人や米国南東部に住んでいる他の住民の脳卒中死亡率が高い背景にある理由を調べるために「神経疾患及び脳卒中」のNIH国立研究所(NKNDS)が資金を提供する大規模で長期的な研究です。 「REGARDSの様な疫学的研究は、人種、遺伝学、環境や生活様式の選択を脳卒中のリスク要因として細かく調べる重要な機会を提供してくれます」と、NINDSのプログラムディレクターのクラウディア・モイ博士は述べました。 30,000人以上の参加者が電話で自分の病歴を提供しました。研究者も体格指数や血圧等の健康指標を得るために参加者を訪問しました。研究の開始時に、研究者は参加者に汗をかくほど積極的な運動を一週間に何回するかを尋ねました。研究者は、脳卒中または一過性脳虚血発作(TIA)として知られる軽度の脳卒中を経験したかどうかを確認するために半年ごとに参加者に連絡を取りました。彼らの回答を確認するために、研究者は、参加者の医療記録を再調査しました。 研究者は研究開始時点で脳卒中を起こしたことのない参加者27000人以上のデータを報告し、平均で5.7年間追跡調査しました。参加者の3分の1が、運動をするのは1週間に1回未満であると報告しました。活動的でない被験者は、1週間に4回以上運動をする参加者よりも脳卒中やTIAを経験する可能性が20パーセント高かったです。 調査結果は、規則的で適度で、汗をかくほど積極的な運動が、脳卒中のリスクの低減と関連していることを明らかにしました。予防効果の一部は、高血圧、糖尿病、肥満、喫煙の様な既知の脳卒中リスク要因の割合の低下によるものでした。 「私たちの結果は他の研究結果を追認するものですが、私たちの研究には、国の人口サンプルにおいてはより多くの人数、特に黒人や女性の人数を含んでいると言う明確な長所があります、それ故、これらは、他の研究よりも幾分一般論を導き出しやすい結果を提供します」と、アラバマ大学バーミンガム校の公衆衛生大学院の研究筆頭著者であるバージニア・ハワード博士は言いました。

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    The researchers also looked at the data according to gender. After the researchers accounted for age, race, socioeconomic factors (education and income) and stroke risk factors, the results revealed that men who exercised at least four times a week still had a lower risk of stroke than men who exercised one to three times per week. In contrast, there was no association between frequency of exercise and stroke risk among women in the study. However, there was a trend towards a similar reduction in stroke risk for those who exercised one to three times a week and four or more times a week compared to those who were inactive. “This could be related to differences in the type, duration, and intensity of physical activity between men and women,” said Dr. Howard. “This could also be due to differences in the perception of what is intense physical activity enough to work up a sweat.” The results should encourage doctors to stress the importance of exercise when speaking with their patients, Dr. Howard said. “Physical inactivity is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke. This should be emphasized in routine physician check-ups along with general education about the benefits of exercise on stroke risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight or obese,” she said. The study suggests that men should consider exercising at least four times a week. REGARDS will continue to assess stroke risk factors to look for long-term patterns in the study population. “Findings from this study, including the current physical activity results, will ultimately help us to identify potential targets for immediate intervention as well as for future clinical trials aimed at preventing stroke and its consequences,” said Dr. Moy.

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