Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Optimism May Lower Risk of Stroke

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Optimism May Lower Risk of Stroke

Article excerpt

A positive outlook on life might reduce the risk of having a stroke, according to new observational study. A group of 6,044 adults, age 50 and older, rated their optimism levels on a 16-point scale. Each point increase in optimism corresponded to a 9 percent decrease in acute stroke risk over a two-year follow-up period.

"Our work suggest that people who expect the best things in life actively take steps to promote health," said Eric Kim, a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Michigan.

Optimism is the expectation that more good things, rather than bad, will happen. Previous research has shown that an optimistic attitude is associated with better heart health outcomes and enhance immune-system functioning, among other positive effects. The study is the first to reveal a correlation between optimism and stroke. A low level of pessimism and temporary positive emotions have been found to be linked to a lower stroke risk.

Researchers analyzed self-reported stroke and psychological data from the Health and Retirement Study, collected between 2006 and 2008. Participants were stroke-free at the beginning of the study. …

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