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2014年BEC中级阅读材料:养猫能预防心脏病?

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Owning a cat can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than a third, researchers have found.

Scientists said that having a cat helped to relieve stress and anxiety, which is known to help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing the heart rate.

The 10-year study looked at 4,435 adults aged between 30 and 75, about half of whom owned a cat.

The findings, presented at a stroke conference in America, showed that 3.4 per cent of the cat owners died from a heart attack over 10 years. Among the group who had never owned a cat the rate was 5.8 per cent.

Cat owners still had a much reduced chance of developing strokes or heart attacks when researchers took account of other factors known to trigger heart disease, including high cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes.

Prof Adnan Qureshi, from the Minnesota University, who carried out the study, said he was surprised by the strength of the effect that owning a cat appeared to have.

"The logical explanation may be that cat ownership relieves stress and anxiety and subsequently reduces the risk of heart disease."

He believes one reason could be that stroking the pet could cut the level of stress-related hormones in the blood. Reducing stress is known to help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing the heart rate.

But Prof Qureshi added that the type of person who owned a cat was usually already fairly stress-free and at low risk of heart disease.

研究人员发现,养猫能使患心脏病和中风的风险降低三分之一以上。

科研人员称,养猫有助于缓解压力、减轻焦虑,而减轻压力可以降低血压和心律,因此有助于预防心脏病。

研究人员对4435名年龄在30岁至75岁之间的成年人进行了为期十年的调查,其中有一半的人养猫。

研究结果显示,在这十年中,仅有3.4%的养猫人士死于心脏病,而从未养过猫的人死于心脏病的比例为5.8%。该结果在美国召开的一个中风研讨会上公布。

研究人员还综合考虑了高胆固醇、吸烟和糖尿病等可能引发心脏病的其它一些因素,结果发现,养猫人士患中风或心脏病的几率还是要小很多。

开展该研究的明尼苏达大学教授阿德南•库勒什说,他很惊讶养猫有这么大的好处。

“合理的解释应该是,养猫能够缓解压力和焦虑,从而降低患心脏病的风险。”

他认为其中一个原因是,爱抚小猫能够降低血液中的应激激素水平。而减轻压力则能够降低血压和心率,从而有助于预防心脏病。

但库勒什教授说,喜欢养猫的人往往自身就没什么压力,患心脏病的几率也较小。


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