Owning a dog can make you live longer. Science says so.

There is no fountain of youth. There is no magic pill that cures you of any illness. There is no painting that makes you youthful and immortal. There are, however, dogs, which might just be the next best thing. A new review of almost 70 years of research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association found that owning a dog can extend your life by 24%. That's one trick you don't have to teach your dog.

Over the years, there have been an abundance of studies looking at dog ownership and longevity, but the results have been inconsistent. "I started to wonder what the evidence was across the board and if the results were reliable. It seemed like a great opportunity for further study," said Dr. Caroline Kramer, lead author of the review and dog owner.


The meta-analysis took a look at studies published between 1950 and May 2019 to evaluate the connection between dog ownership and mortality. Researchers reviewed 10 studies with a total of 3.8 million participants. It turns out, dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to non-dog owners. "Our analysis found having a dog is actually protective against dying of any cause," Kramer said.

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The review also found that there were benefits of dog ownership for people who already had heart attacks for strokes. "For those people, having a dog was even more beneficial. They had a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease," Kramer said. Dog owners also had a 65% reduced risk of mortality after experiencing a heart attack. The World Health Organization says that heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death, which makes owning a dog a literal life saver.

Almost 70 years of research has found that there are a lot of health benefits of dog ownership. "There are studies suggesting that individuals who have dogs have a better cholesterol profile and lower blood pressure," said Kramer. "One study, my favorite, found just the effect of petting a dog can reduce your blood pressure as much as a medication."

The study doesn't prove that dog ownership is the direct cause of lower mortality, but there are speculations as to why dog owners tend to live longer. "The overall understanding of cardiovascular health is that the earlier that we implement healthier behaviors, the better," Kramer said. "So like walking, not smoking. And I think that maybe dog ownership is part of that."

RELATED: Dog owners are more likely to kiss their dogs than their significant others

Going on walks with your dog is a big part of dog ownership, which means that dog owners tend to get more physical exercise. Other studies have found that dog owners who walk their dogs get 30 minutes more of exercise each day than owners who don't walk their dogs. Dog walking services might be convenient, but they're not doing anything when it comes to extending your life.

Dogs also provide their owners with companionship. "We know that loneliness and social isolation are strong risk factors for premature death and our hypothesis was that the company of a pet can alleviate that," Tove Fall, author of another study also published in Circulation, said. Fall's study of over 336,000 Swedish men and women also found that people who owned dogs did better after experiencing heart attacks and strokes. "Single owners have to do all the dog walks and we know that physical activity is important in rehabilitation after a myocardial infarction or stroke," Fall said.

Dogs really are working hard to earn their title of "man's best friend" after all!

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via David Lavaux / Facebook and Google

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The two countries share a 390-mile border that was established under a treaty signed in 1820.

The stone, marked 1819, was put in place four years after the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Nearly 50,000 soldiers died in the battle that would determine the border.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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