Anger appears to boost heart attack risk

Location: Sydney, Australia 

Results: Can an eruption of intense anger trigger a heart attack? New research out of the University of Sydney in Australia suggests just that. In fact, a new study found that the risk of suffering a heart attack is over eight times higher during the two hours following an outburst of extreme anger. Dr. Thomas Buckley, the study’s lead author, says in a statement that the triggers for these angry feelings were related to everything from arguments with family and/or friends, to work, to road rage.

Significance: “Acute anger has been shown to increase your heart rate, your blood pressure, and the stiffness in your blood vessels,” says Elizabeth Mostofsky, an instructor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. While Mostofsky did not work on this last study, Dr. Buckley is one of her colleagues. She says that minimizing the intensity of the anger and the frequency of outbursts may help. 

Treadmill test predicts 10-year mortality risk

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 58,000 people who’d undergone heart stress tests

Results:  Curious about your risk of dying over the next decade? A simple treadmill performance test appears to be a good indicator of your odds. By examining factors like sex, gender, age and the amount of energy that was expended during the test, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine created a formula to predict risk over a 10-year period.

Significance: Researchers say the formula is more accurate than any other when it comes to predicting mortality. “We’ve always known that fitness is connected to overall health and well-being; what we didn’t know was exactly which exercise parameters are most predictive of long-term survival,” says lead investigator Haitham Ahmed, M.D. M.P.H.

Quitting smoking may impede early detection of lung cancer

Location of study: U.S.

Results:  Can quitting smoking inadvertently impact early detection of lung cancer? It turns out CT screening is highly effective in identifying the disease. Current guidelines recommend them for asymptomatic adults aged 55 to 80 who have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for thirty years and are still smoking today. But a recent retrospective study suggests that many former smokers may fall through the screening cracks.

Significance: People who quit smoking or cut back to the point that they’re ineligible for CT screening may miss the opportunity to catch early-stage lung cancer. Even so, researchers say that relaxing this criterion too much also raises some concerns related to radiation exposure, medical costs and false positive results. Whether the criterion for CT screening is changed or not remains to be seen.  

 

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