The European Society of Cardiology issued the following news release
about a study published today in the *European Heart Journal*:

Don’t worry, be happy! ┬áPositive emotions protect against heart disease

People who are usually happy, enthusiastic and content are less likely
to develop heart disease than those who tend not to be happy, according
to a major new study published today (Thursday 18 February).

The authors believe that the study, published in the Europe’s leading
cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal [1], is the first to show
such an independent relationship between positive emotions and coronary
heart disease.
(more…)

The Medical College of Wisconsin issued the following news release:

Heart Disease Patients Who Practice Transcendental Meditation Have
Nearly 50% Lower Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Death

Results of first-ever study presented at annual meeting of the American
Heart Association in Orlando, Nov. 16

Patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing
Transcendental Meditation(R) technique had nearly 50 percent lower rates
of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to nonmeditating controls,
according to the results of a first-ever study presented during the
annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., on
Nov.16, 2009.
(more…)

King’s College London issued the following news release:

Depression as deadly as smoking, but anxiety may be good for you

A study by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway, and the
Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London has found that
depression is as much of a risk factor for mortality as smoking.

Utilising a unique link between a survey of over 60,000 people and a
comprehensive mortality database, the researchers found that over the
four years following the survey, the mortality risk was increased to a
similar extent in people who were depressed as in people who were smokers.

(more…)

The Medical College of Wisconsin issued the following news release:

Heart Disease Patients Who Practice Transcendental Meditation Have
Nearly 50% Lower Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Death

Results of first-ever study presented at annual meeting of the American
Heart Association in Orlando, Nov. 16

Patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing
Transcendental Meditation(R) technique had nearly 50 percent lower rates
of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to nonmeditating controls,
according to the results of a first-ever study presented during the
annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., on
Nov.16, 2009.
(more…)

The *British Medical Journal* issued the following news release about an
article appearing in one of its associated journals (*Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health*):

Half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by five years

Long-term wine consumption is related to cardiovascular mortality and
life expectancy independently of moderate alcohol intake

Drinking up to half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by
five years–at least in men–suggests research published ahead of print in
the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The Dutch authors base their findings on a total of 1,373 randomly
selected men whose cardiovascular health and life expectancy at age 50
were repeatedly monitored between 1960 and 2000.

(more…)

Rush University Medical Center issued the following news release:

Depression linked with accumulation of visceral fat

Study explains association between depression and cardiovascular disease

Numerous studies have shown that depression is associated with an
increased risk of heart disease, but exactly how has never been clear.

Now, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have shown that
depression is linked with the accumulation of visceral fat, the kind of
fat packed between internal organs at the waistline, which has long been
known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

(more…)

Diet and Coronary Heart Disease

High quality evidence exists that the following help to protect people from coronary heart disease:
* “Mediterranean” and other high quality dietary patterns (see below)
* Nuts
* Vegetables
* Mono-saturated fats

Strong evidence exists that the following increase the risk:
* trans-fats
* foods with a high glycemic index (see below**)

Moderately good quality evidence exists that the following are also helpful in preventing CHD:
* Fish
* Folate
* Whole grains
* Vitamins C and E in the diet
* Beta carotene
* Alcohol
* Fruit
* Fibre

There is as yet insufficient evidence about:
* Vitamin C and E supplements
* Saturated and unsaturated fat and total fat
* Linolenic acid
* Meat
* Eggs
* Milk

(more…)

Don’t be mad

More research links hostility to coronary risk.

By Nadja Geipert

In 1959, cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman observed in top medical journals that competitive, deadline-driven, hypervigilant men-so-called Type A personalities-faced a significantly increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Yet ensuing large epidemiological studies failed to confirm the connection, and most health psychologists abandoned the concept in the late 1980s in favor of a component often found in Type A people: hostility.

A meta-analysis presented by German researcher Michael Myrtek, PhD, in his chapter on heart disease, Type A and hostility in the recently published APA book “Contributions Toward Evidence-based Psychocardiology: A Systematic Review of the Literature” (see “One heart-many threats”) confirms that there is no significant association between Type A personalities and heart disease, but that there is a connection between hostility and coronary heart disease.

“The consensus is really that it is not all aspects of Type A behavior, but just the hostility component,” says Redford Williams, MD, director of the behavioral medicine research center at Duke University School of Medicine.

(more…)

Do optimists live longer?
By Coco Ballantyne in 60-Second Science Blog Scientific American

A perennial grump? Always see the glass as half empty instead of half full? Might want to brighten up a bit – if, that is, you’d like to live longer. A new study says that the optimists among us may have a lower risk of heart disease and early death.

Researchers led by Hilary Tindle, an internist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, analyzed eight years of data on 97,253 women, age 50 and over, participating in the Women’s Health Initiative, a 15-year study launched in 1991 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their findings, released this week at a conference of the American Psychosomatic Society in Chicago: the women who were most cheery were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 14 percent less likely than their pessimistic peers to die from all causes during the study period. The results were even more striking among black women; the optimists among them were 38 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 33 percent less likely to die from all causes.

The researchers caution that their findings only show a link, not a cause-and-effect relationship, between optimism and health outcomes. So what is it about Pollyannas that may make them live longer? It could be that optimistic people tend to be healthier in general; they are more likely to be slim and physically active and less likely to smoke, Tindle says.

“Optimistic people seem to seek medical advice and follow it,” she says, citing research showing that optimists are inclined to stick with diet programs prescribed by their docs. “They [also] have good social networks and strong social relationships,” which could help them cope with chronic stress, a risk factor for heart disease.

So are pessimists doomed to die early? Not necessarily, Tindle says. This is just one study, and more research is needed to get to the bottom of that question.

Strained marriages ‘harm women’ — BBC news.

Women are more likely than men to suffer damage to their health from being in a strained marriage, research suggests.

US psychologists found wives in tense marriages were prone to risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

In comparison, husbands seemed relatively immune from such problems.

Details of the study, based on 276 couples who had been married for an average of 20 years were presented to the American Psychosomatic Society.

Each couple filled out questionnaires designed to assess the good and bad aspects of married life.

They were also rated for how depressed they appeared to be, based on their self-reported symptoms.

Doctors then carried out a battery of tests to assess whether or not the volunteers were showing signs of metabolic syndrome – a collection of symptoms pointing to a raised risk of serious disease, such as heart problems.

Women in strained marriages were more likely to be depressed and to have a greater number of symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

But although husbands in unhappy marriages were also depressed, they did not show signs of physiological damage to their health.

Researcher Nancy Henry, from the University of Utah, said the team had expected to find that negative aspects of a bad marriage, such as arguing and being angry, would translate into both mental and physical problems for both sexes.

She said: “We found this was true for wives in this study, but not for husbands.

“The gender difference is important because heart disease is the number-one killer of women as well as men, and we are still learning a lot about how relationship factors and emotional distress are related to heart disease.”

Professor Tim Smith, who co-led the research, said there was good evidence that a healthy diet and regular exercise could reduce a woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome.

However, he said: “It’s a little premature to say they would lower their risk of heart disease if they improved the tone and quality of their marriages – or dumped their husbands.

“The immediate implication is that if you are interested in your cardiovascular risk – and we all should be because it is the leading killer for both genders – we should be concerned about not just traditional risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol but the quality of our emotional and family lives.”

Christine Northam, a counsellor for the charity Relate, said there was plenty of evidence that people in a stable, happy relationship enjoyed both good health and a longer life expectancy.

She said: “The gender difference could be partly due to the fact that women’s hormonal profile is more complex than men’s.

“Women also tend to worry more about their health than men.”
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/7925360.stm&gt;