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Close-Knit Neighborhoods Raise Chances of Stroke Survival
Date:4/14/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors living in neighborhoods where they have a lot of interaction with their neighbors stand a much better chance of surviving a stroke, a new study suggests.

In fact, for each increase in what researchers call neighborhood "cohesion," such as seeing and talking with neighbors or being able to call on a neighbor for help, the odds of survival after a stroke increased 53 percent.

"This finding highlights the importance of positive neighborhood environments to health, particularly among the elderly," said lead researcher Cari Jo Clark, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

"Cohesive neighborhoods are potentially good for your health, particularly your risk of dying from stroke," she added. The effect is limited to helping to prevent mortality from stroke, not its occurrence in the first place, Clark said.

"But the protective effect of neighborhood cohesion was found only for whites, and not for blacks," she added.

The report is published in the April 14 online edition of Stroke.

For the study, Clark's team collected data on 5,789 senior men and women living in neighborhoods in Chicago. The researchers asked people about their relationships with their neighbors.

Specifically, they asked about talking with neighbors in the street, neighbors doing yard work together or taking care of children and whether neighbors watch out for each other. They also asked about how many neighbors are known by name, how many are friends and who could be called on for help. From this data, the researchers created a "cohesion" scoring system.

For each increase in the neighborhood cohesion score, survival after stroke increased 53 percent, Clark's group found.

The finding remained significant even after taking into account factors such as socioeconomic status and cardiovas
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