World Bulletin / News Desk
While the current study, which appeared in the journal Stroke, cannot prove that regular walking caused the fewer strokes, it contributes to a small body of evidence for potential relationships between specific kinds of exercise and risk for specific diseases.
Past studies have also linked physical activity to fewer strokes, which can be caused by built-up plaque in arteries or ruptured blood vessels in the brain.
"The message for the general population remains similar: regularly engaging in moderate recreational activity is good for your health," lead author Jose Maria Huerta of the Murcia Regional Health Authority inSpain told Reuters Health.
women who walked briskly for 210 minutes or more per week had a lower stroke risk than inactive women but also lower than those who cycled and did other higher-intensity workouts for a shorter amount of time.
In all, nearly 33,000 men and women answered a physical activity questionnaire given once in the mid-1990s as part of a larger European cancer project. For their study, Huerta and his team divided participants by gender, exercise type and total time spent exercising each week.
The authors checked in with participants periodically to record any strokes. During the 12-year follow-up period, a total of 442 strokes occurred among the men and women.
The results for women who were regular walkers translated to a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk compared to the inactive group, Huerta said. There was no reduction seen for men based on exercise type or frequency.
"We have no clear explanation for this," Huerta wrote in an email. He hypothesized that the men may have entered the study in better physical condition than the women, but there was no evidence to support that guess.
Huerta also declined to compare the study participants' risk levels to those of the general population, citing the subjects' unusual characteristics. A majority of men and women in the study were blood donors, for example, and blood donors tend to be in good health.
"I wouldn't make much of the results because they are for a very specific population," said Wilson Cuerva of the University of Chicago, who was not involved with the research.
Cuerva pointed out that the study relied too heavily on subjective measurements, such as the participants' memory of exercise routines, and there was no objective way to measure how much exercise they actually did.
While he noted that it is difficult to draw any conclusions from the Spanish study, he said people should try to follow recommendations for two and a half hours of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, every week.
"We know that exercise is related to reduced risk of stroke and other diseases," he said.
Security forces in Liberia were ordered to enforce the action plan, which includes placing all non-essential government workers on 30-day compulsory leave.
Scientists analysed blood samples from 1,241 malaria patients in 10 countries across Asia and Africa and found resistance to the world's most effective antimalarial drug.
The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia
The hospital will be shut for a week and all staff monitored to ensure the virus has not spread
The new measures announced by the government came as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggle to contain the worst outbreak yet of the virus.
Angry crowds gathered outside the country's main Ebola hospital in Kenema where dozens are receiving treatment for the virus, and threatened to burn it down and remove the patients.
Asia’s largest copper mine in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is causing serious damage to the environment.
The victim has been identified as Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian who arrived in Lagos on Sunday.
An MSF report found that malaria cases in Bossangoa had more than tripled to 6,507 in May with almost two-thirds of those children under the age of five.
If confirmed, the case would be the first on record of one of the world's deadliest diseases in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and, with 170 million people, its most populous country.
Researchers said the findings challenge the universal endorsement of paracetamol as the first choice painkiller for lower back pain.
The 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country
Shanghai food watchdog said it sealed more than 1,000 tonnes of suspected meat products from OSI in China, and a further 100 tonnes of products from a range of its customers.
Children in Syria are at greatest risk as routine immunisation has been disrupted and many health centres are severely damaged after more than three years of conflict
151 people who came into direct contact with the victim were also placed in quarantine.
Viruses that spread through air - such as flu viruses for example - are far more likely to spread swiftly and widely in human populations