From the LA Times today:
By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer March 3, 2008
CAT owners are often fiercely loyal to their furry companions -- and such devotion may be rewarded in a surprising way: Owning a cat may lower one's risk of dying from a heart attack.
Non-cat owners appear to have a 40% higher risk of dying from myocardial infarction than those who don't have a cat, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Assn.'s International Stroke Conference last month in New Orleans.
Researchers examined the data of 4,435 people from the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. (Dogs didn't factor into the findings because fewer participants owned them.)
"The big question is," says lead author Dr. Adnan Qureshi, executive director of the Minnesota Stroke Institute, "is this the direct effect of having a cat or a variable of people who own cats?"Adds Qureshi: "There isn't enough evidence to recommend [getting a cat] as a standard practice. But the flip side is that unlike other medical interventions, which have a risk and a cost associated with it, this has minimal risk and isn't as costly. There's not much harm to it."firstname.lastname@example.org