Cardio Round-up: Aerobic Exercise for Stroke Recovery; Tea for Life, and More

This week’s edition covers a new review that suggests the addition of aerobic exercise to stroke rehabilitation programs may provide benefit, a study for tea-lovers that has some good news, and a paper showing aggressive blood pressure control is linked with a decrease in the progression of a key measure of brain damage.

Stroke Survivors Benefit from Aerobic Exercise

A dose of aerobic exercise was comparable to assigned cardiac rehabilitation, according to a new meta-analysis. The authors looked at 19 studies and determined that in stroke recovery programs that included structured aerobic exercise as part of the therapy, patients derived a benefit comparable to that seen with required cardiac rehabilitation programs.  “Almost every hospital has a cardiac rehab program, so it’s an existing platform that could be used for stroke survivors. Funneling patients with stroke into these existing programs may be an easy, cost-effective solution with long-term benefits,” one of the authors said.

Intensive Blood Pressure Regulation Slows Brain Damage

The intensive management of blood pressure was linked with a smaller increase in white matter lesion volume, a new study suggested. This substudy of the SPRINT MIND trial included 449 patients with no history of diabetes or stroke. The results suggested that  intensive blood pressure control led to a smaller decrease in mean white matter lesion volume compared with those who underwent standard blood pressure control. “The great news from this research is that high blood pressure is a treatable condition, and if you treat high blood pressure aggressively, you could have a positive benefit on cognition and brain structure,” a study coauthor wrote.

Tea, Flavonoid-rich Foods Linked with Reduced Mortality

Flavonoid-rich foods, such as apples and tea, may help combat heart disease and cancer, according to results from a recent study from Edith Cowan University (ECU). The researchers analyzed data from the Danish Diet Cancer and Health cohort (which assessed the diets of over 53,000 individuals over 23 years). Their findings, published in Nature Communications, suggested that the risk for death was lower in individuals who consumed flavonoid-rich foods and drinks, and the effect was most pronounced in those at high risk for chronic disease. “These findings are important as they highlight the potential to prevent cancer and heart disease by encouraging the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, particularly in people at high risk of these chronic disease,” wrote a coauthor.