Today in medicine …

Comparisons of heart attack triggers  
Study subjects: Data was collected from 36 pieces of research
Location of study: Belgium
Results: Spending time in traffic — as a driver, cyclist or commuter — tops a new study list of everyday activities that increase the risk of heart attack. Factors including stress and exposure to pollution put cyclists in greatest danger. Other risk factors included negative emotions (3.9 percent), anger (3.1 percent), eating a heavy meal (2.7 percent), positive emotions (2.4 percent) and sexual activity (2.2 percent). Cocaine accounted for 0.9 percent of heart attacks, but this was because of limited exposure to the drug among the population.
Significance: While identifying risk factors that led to heart attack, the study also brought into focus the added risk of pollution.

Effect of education on blood pressure
Study subjects: 4,000 individuals over 30 years
Location of study: United States
Results: Systolic blood pressure levels of men who had gone on to study in graduate school were 2.26 mmHg lower than those of high school dropouts. For women, the differential was even higher at 3.26 mmHg. Alcohol consumption and other factors were taken into account.
Significance: Possibly due to access to better jobs, educated people might suffer less stress than those who don’t advance past high school. 


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