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Study: Having good neighbors could reduce heart attack risk

A new study at the University of Michigan found that having good neighbors can drastically reduce the risk of heart attack in seniors.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on Tuesday, looked at the cardiovascular health of 5,276 participants "with no history of heart problems," reports AFP. The study lasted four years and started in 2006. Over the course of the study, 148 participants suffered from heart attacks.

The participants were asked to rate their neighbors' friendliness and trustworthiness and to reveal whether or not they were "connected to others in the local community." Participants who rated their communities with the highest satisfaction, on a seven-point scale, had a 67 percent decrease in heart attack risk, the study found.

Previous data has found links between elevated cardiovascular risks of neighborhood violence, but not many studies have considered the heart-saving benefits of "neighborhood social cohesion," according to the study authors.