Wednesday, 25 Feb, 2009 Health & Fitness
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Anger Can Cause Sudden Death, Scientists Say

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Researchers from Yale School of Medicine carried out a study that found a link between changes caused by anger or other powerful emotions and potential arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrests that each year lead to 400,000 deaths.

The lead researcher was Rachel Lampert, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. The study and its results were published in the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology".

Lampert's research deepens our perception of the way mental stress, particularly anger, leads to potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.

The team of scientists analyzed 62 patients that had implantable cardioverter-defibrillators and enlarged hearts. These patients were monitored for 3 months after cardioverter-defibrillators were implanted. Afterwards researchers gave them a mental stress test in which patients had to bring to mind a stressful situation that made them angry.

Together with her colleagues, Lampert looked forward to find whether T-wave alternans could foretell future ventricular arrhythmias. It is worth mentioning that T-wave alternans were used to screen electrical instability in a patient's anger-induced heart.

Researchers discovered that patients with higher anger-induced electrical instability had more chances of experiencing arrhythmias a year after the research than study participants in the control group.

"Further studies are needed to determine whether there is a role for therapies which may reduce anger and the body's response to stress, thereby preventing arrhythmias in those at risk," mentioned Lampert.

The research carried out by Lampert and her team is based on earlier studies that linked strong emotion to sudden cardiac death. In previous studies it was found that devastating catastrophes are linked to sudden death.

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