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Running a mile to detect heart risk?

Running a mile to detect heart risk?
19th May 2011

A simple fitness test could be used to predict heart attack or stroke risk in middle aged people, according to scientists, which could indicate whether they may need respite care in old age.

Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that the heart disease risk of middle aged men could be measured based on their fitness level, as well as traditional risk factors such as age, systolic blood pressure, diabetes, total cholesterol and smoking habits.

This indicates that a test assessing how fast a middle-aged person can run a mile could help to predict the risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke decades later, according to two studies conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr Jarett Berry, corresponding author, said: "Heart disease tends to cluster at older ages, but if you want to prevent it, our research suggests that the prescription for prevention needs to occur earlier - when a person is in his 40s and 50s."

In other news, a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has revealed a gene associated with the heart's development and the ageing process, possibly paving the way to new treatments for cardiovascular conditions in older people.

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