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Heart disease protection from flu shot, suggests new study

Researchers at Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto found that those who took the flu shot were half as likely to suffer from cardiac death or stroke.

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A new study from the University of Toronto suggests that the flu vaccine may offer heart disease protection. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

The flu vaccine may offer the extra benefit of heart disease protection a new study showed.

Researchers at Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto found that those who took the flu shot were half as likely to suffer from cardiac death or stroke.

CBS News reported that the study looked at 3,227 patients, half of which suffered from heart disease.

After one year, the results showed that those who received the vaccine were half as likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than those who took the placebo.

It is not completely clear that complications of the flu were the likely cause of the deaths.

Others believe that the vaccine may actually break-up plaque in the arteries, said Glamour.

"For those who had the flu shot, there was a pretty strong risk reduction," said Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto, in a statement.

Researchers said the finding adds to the importance of getting the flu shot for people with a high risk of health problems.

"The use of the vaccine is still much too low, less than 50 percent of the general population; it's even poorly used among health care workers," said Udell, according to Time.

"Imagine if this vaccine could also be a proven way to prevent heart disease."

The study was presented at the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/121030/heart-disease-protection-flu-shot-suggests-new-study