Bloomberg Businessweek, September 8, 2010

A higher level of education is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke for people who live in rich countries, but not for those in low- and middle-income nations, finds a new study.

Highly educated men in high-income countries had the lowest level of cardiovascular disease, according to the researchers. The findings show that the results of research conducted in richer nations can't be applied to poorer nations.

"We can't simply take studies that are conducted in high-income countries, particularly as they relate to socioeconomic status and health outcomes, and extrapolate them to low- and middle-income countries. We need dedicated studies in those settings," Dr. Abhinav Goyal, an assistant professor of epidemiology and medicine (cardiology) at Emory Rollins School of Public Health and Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, said in an American Heart Association news release.

Goyal is lead author of a two-year study that included more than 61,000 people from 44 countries who were diagnosed with heart disease, stroke or cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, clogged blood vessels and smoking.

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