Tight communities curb heart attacks

A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychology suggests that older people who feel a strong connection to their community are less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who do not.

Researchers interviewed more than 5,000 people 50 or older with no previous history of heart disease about how connected they felt to their neighborhoods and communities and monitored participants for four years.

They found people who had a strong connection to their community were 22 percent less likely to have a heart attack than those who did not. The researchers suggested this could be because people who have better ties to their community feel more social support — something that has been linked to better cardiovascular health. But recognizing its study was probably the first to examine a link between heart attack and community connectedness, the University of Michigan’s team said more research was needed before any link could be considered definite.