A Swedish study suggests that owning a dog is linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and death. Researchers used demographic data on 3.4 million Swedes ages 40 to 80. In Sweden, all dogs are registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture and identified by number with an ear tattoo or a subcutaneous chip. Anyone with a record of cardiovascular disease before the 12-year study began was excluded, and the researchers controlled for age, sex, marital status, income and other factors. Owning a dog was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of all-cause death and a 23 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The study is in Scientific Reports. The effect was stronger with certain breeds, particularly pointers and retrievers.

Study to look at risks of playing soccer

A major study into whether soccer players are at risk of degenerative brain disease has been commissioned amid concerns that the sport’s authorities in England haven’t done enough to tackle the issue. The Football Association and Professional Footballers’ Association appointed an independent research team, based in Scotland, to undertake a study entitled “Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk” starting in January. “This new research will be one of the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned into the long-term health of former footballers,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said. The study should produce initial results within the next two to three years.

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