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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stroke Risk and Regional Differences

After reading this article in yesterday's New York Times, you may begin to rethink the title of Thomas Wolfe's famous novel "You Can't Go Home Again."

Researchers have long known that stroke risk is greater for those living in the Southeast. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee are all part of what is known as the "stroke belt." But now, new research out of the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that even if you were born in the stroke belt and move to other areas of the country, some of that elevated risk may follow you. The study appears in the December issue of the journal Neurology.

Although researchers can't fully explain these findings, I believe it demonstrates the powerful influence of culture. When you grow up in a family that emphasizes health and wellness, those good habits tend to stay with you as an adult.

So what do you think? Do you feel that your own upbringing impacts your choices today, or have you struck out on your own? Let me know in the comments section.

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