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Friday, November 1, 2013

Strokes killing younger people as unhealthy habits expansion

Strokes are increasingly killing younger people, particularly in the developing countries where unhealthy lifestyle habits have taken hold, accordingly a study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

While strokes are generally thought to afflict older people, the number of people ages 20 to 64 who experience them has risen by 25 percent in the past two decades, according to the researchers from countries including the Britain, United States and Japan.

This younger group now makes up 31 percent of total strokes, likened with 25 percent before 1990, the study found.

Strokes are claiming more lives and leading to more illness in low-to-middle-income countries, the researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal. As income levels in these countries increase, fewer people die of infectious diseases related to poverty, they said. However, the chance of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease rises, they said.

"While people tend to live longer as the risk of infectious diseases decreases, they are abruptly exposed to these unhealthy lifestyles in which they consume too much salt, don't exercise, and repeatedly smoke," said Myles Connor, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the study.

In high-income nations, simplifications in the incidence of stroke and premature death rates over the last 20 years "possibly reflect improved education, prevention and care, and diagnosis," the researchers said. That suggests that education can successfully lower stroke rates.

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If you are thinking of quitting smoking, it's probably on Monday

Researchers monitored Goggle search queries from 2008 to 2012 in English, Chinese, French Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Almost every week, queries about smoking cessation sharp-pointed on Mondays.

The study, exposed Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that during the study period, the number of queries in English on Mondays was 1 percent larger than on Tuesdays, 11 percent larger than Wednesdays, 22 percent larger than Thursdays, 67 percent larger than Fridays, 145 percent larger than Saturdays and 59 percent larger than Sundays. Only in Russian did Monday queries come in second to Sunday.

"Monday is also the day you are more likely to get a headache, the flu and a stroke," said the lead author, John W. Ayers, a research professor at the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health. "Is there a sociological explanation, a biological one? It could be the interaction of both."

Although the causes remain unknown, Dr. Ayers said, it may be that anti-smoking advertising should concentrate on the times when people are most likely to be thinking of quitting. This kind of conception, he said, "has instant import for how we manage public health interventions."

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