September 3, 2010

Hair-Raising Study Proves Link Between Stress And Heart Attack

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ It's been common knowledge that everyday stress causes and increased chance of heart attack.  However, before now there hasn't been any biological proof of this hypothesis.

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario have discovered the first evidence using a biological marker to link stress and heart attacks. Dr. Gideon Koren and Dr. Stan Vam Uum developed a method to measure cortisol levels in hair, which provided an accurate measure of stress leading up to a acute coronary event, like a heart attack.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is seen to secrete more when a person is under stress. "Intuitively we know stress is not good for you, but it's not easy to measure," Dr. Gideon Koren who holds an Ivy League Chair in Molecular Toxicology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, was quoted as saying.  "We know that on average, hair grows about one centimeter a month, and so if we take a hair sample 6 cm long, we can determine stress levels for six months by measuring the cortisol level in the hair."

In the study, 3 cm long hair samples were collected from 56 men who were admitted to the Meir medical Centre in Kfar-Saba, Israel, suffering heart attacks. Another 56 men who weren't in the hospital for cardiovascular reasons were also asked for 3 cm long hair samples, and they used this as the control group. There were higher levels of cortisol in the hair of the men who were hospitalized for heart attacks compared to the men who weren't.

"Stress is a serious part of the modern life, afflicting many ares of health and life," Dr. Koren was quoted as saying. "This study has implication for research and for practice, as stress can be managed with lifestyle changes and psychotherapy."

SOURCE: Stress, September 1, 2010