Article by Chris Dodd
Exercise could be as beneficial as pills for people who have suffered from a stroke or experience heart conditions, a study by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found.
Scientists studied hundreds of trials involving nearly 340,000 patients to explore the benefits of both exercise and drugs in preventing death, with the work being conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School and the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Of the material analyzed, the scientists were able to identify 305 medical trials that were of use, with each trial exploring the management of conditions such as existing heart disease, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and pre-diabetes.
Findings showed that physical exertion and activity rivaled some heart-related drugs, while also outperforming medication for strokes. They found that exercise was the best form of help for strokes in terms of life expectancy, whereas medication known as diuretics worked best for heart failure patients.
Scientists have used their results to suggest that exercise should be added to prescriptions provided by doctors, with patients then using both exercise and medication together for the best results.
Though the research does not prove to be enough evidence to merit exercise above the performance of medication, the scientists do believe their findings warrant further exploration.
?Despite its limitations, this meta-epidemiological review is the first to compare the mortality benefits of exercise and drug interventions,? the study says in its conclusions.
?This comprehensive look at the existing body of evidence highlights the need to perform randomized trials on the comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions.
The scientists stated that given the lack of funding available for future trials, it could be of benefit to use evidence from pharmaceutical companies that are under increasing pressure to perform active-comparator trials for market entry.
To read the entire article, http://www.healthclubmanagement.co.uk/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=307084
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