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September 2011, Volume 41 Number 9 , p 29 - 31



The benefits of animal-assisted therapy for people facing "significant life stressors" such as a serious illness are well established, but little research has been done on whether pets influence well-being in everyday life. To explore the health benefits of pets on "everyday people," researchers conducted three studies involving pet owners in the community. They found that pet owners fared better on well-being measures such as self-esteem and exercise, and that pets provided support that complemented but didn't compete with human sources of support. In a test that brought pet owners into the lab, they also demonstrated that pets helped mitigate negativity caused by social rejection. "In summary, pets can serve as important sources of social support, providing many positive psychological and physical benefits for their owners," they conclude.Source: McConnell AR, Brown CM, Shoda TM, et al. Friends with benefits: on the positive consequences of pet ownership. J Pers Soc. Psychol. 2011 July 4. [Epub ahead of print]Between 1990 and 2007, overall mortality from cancer decreased by about 22% in men and 14% in women, according to two reports from the American Cancer Society. These findings indicate that about 900,000 deaths from cancer were prevented. The American Cancer Society credits improvements in prevention, detection, and treatment for the decline. However, mortality from cancer is 2.5 times higher for people in the least educated segment of the population compared to those in the most educated segment.In men, cancers of the lung, prostate, and colon/rectum are the most common causes of death. In women, cancers of the lung, breast, and colon/rectum are the most deadly.Find the report, "Cancer Statistics 2011" at . Read "Cancer Facts & Figures 2011" at .In a study involving 441 terminally ill adults receiving palliative care in the United States, Canada, and Australia, researchers tested the value of a unique,

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