PARIS

AFP

Ever felt like your neighbour’s antics could drive you to an early grave?

Well, there may be reason for concern, said researchers who reported a link Tuesday between having good neighbours and a healthier heart.

“Having good neighbours and feeling connected to others in the local community may help to curb an individual’s heart attack risk,” said a statement that accompanied a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Heart and blood vessel diseases are the number one cause of death globally, claiming some 15 million lives in 2010, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study. Research into neighbourhoods and health had in the past focused on negative impacts through factors like fast-food restaurant density, violence, noise, traffic, poor air quality, vandalism and drug use, said the study authors. For the latest research, the University of Michigan team used data from 5,276 people over 50 with no history of heart problems, who were participants in an ongoing Health and Retirement Study in the United States.