Quick Study: New Research on Stroke, Genital Herpes and Prostate Cancer
Physically active people seem to recover better.
THE QUESTION Does the amount of exercise people get affect how they weather a stroke?
THIS STUDY analyzed data on 673 people who had an ischemic stroke (one caused by a clot) for the first time. About 21 percent reported doing aerobic exercise four or more times a week before their stroke, 29 percent exercised aerobically one to three times a week, and 50 percent did an aerobic workout less than once a week. In the three months after their stroke, people who had exercised at least once a week were twice as likely to have recovered quickly as those who had exercised the least, and they showed fewer effects from the stroke. They scored better, on average, on standardized scales that rated physical and neurological impairment, which affect such things as the ability to dress and bathe themselves and do other routine tasks that allow independent living.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? People who have an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. More than 780,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, most of them older than 65. The chances of having a stroke more than double each decade after age 55.
CAVEATS Data on physical activity were provided by the people in the study. The findings may not apply to people who have recurrent strokes or those who have hemorrhagic strokes, which are caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain.
FIND THIS STUDY July 14 online issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.