A Broken Heart Literally Breaks Your Heart

According to an article published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, heart attack risk after bereavement is much higher for several weeks after the loss. The day the loved one dies, the risk of a heart attack is a stunning twenty one times higher. The article also warns friends and family to look for signs of heart failure in the bereaved person, ensuring they relax and maintain any medication regime they may be on. The study was conducted with nearly 2000 adult heart attack survivors and while the risk of a heart problem declined over the first month, it still remained at six times the normal risk during the first week after a loved one died. Murray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., a preventive cardiologist and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and School of Public Health's epidemiology department in Boston, Mass. said: "Caretakers, healthcare providers, and the bereaved themselves need to recognize they are in a period of heightened risk in the days and weeks after hearing of someone close dying." This is the first study of its kind to focus on the effects of emotional events in our lives, on the heart. Broken heart syndrome is a well documented effect, but it is not thought to produce any lasting health problems, and while it may be true that those suffering from symptoms of a broken heart generally recover with no ill effect, it certainly appears that others, while not suffering from the "pseudo" heart attack of broken heart syndrome, jump straight into full blown symptoms and physical heart issues. Researchers say that figures show that 1 in 320...

What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?

Most of us have moments or short periods of sadness when we feel lonely or depressed. These sensations are usually normal ones that sometimes occur in life. They can be the result of a recent loss, having a particularly challenging day or week, or a reaction to a hurtful comment. However, when feelings of sadness and being unable to cope overwhelm the person, so much so that they undermine their ability to live a normal and active life, it is possible that they have what is known as a major depressive disorder (MDD), also called clinical depression,unipolar depression or major depression. Informally, the condition is simply referred to asdepression. Depression can have a major negative impact on a sufferer's life - experts say the effect is comparable to that of diabetes, and some other chronic conditions. Depressive symptoms vary significantly between people. Most commonly, the person with depression feels hopeless, sad, and has lost interest in doing the things that were once pleasurable. What is the difference between a sign and a symptom? - A symptom is something felt by the patient, such as a headache, while a sign is detected by other people too, such as a rash. Below are some signs and symptoms associated with depression: Psychological signs and symptoms: Sir Winston Churchill suffered from bouts of severe depression - he used to call them "Black Dog" Persistent sadness or low mood Thoughts and feelings of worthlessness Feelings of self hatred A feeling of hopelessness A feeling of helplessness Feeling like crying A feeling of guilt Irritability - even trivial things become annoying Angry outbursts Intolerance towards others Persistent doubting - finding it very hard...

Testosterone Does Not Necessarily Wane With Age

For many men, testosterone levels drop as they get older, but new research presented at a conference this week suggests this is not necessarily a consequence of age itself, but more to do with behavior, such as smoking, and changes in health, such asobesity and depression. In men, the hormone testosterone is made in the testicles and controls the development of their sexual characteristics. It influences wellbeing, sexual function and fertility and also helps maintain a healthy body composition, develop muscle bulk, sufficient levels of red blood cells, and protect bone density. Study co-author Dr Gary Wittert, professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide, told the press: "It is critical that doctors understand that declining testosterone levels are not a natural part of aging and that they are most likely due to health-related behaviors or health status itself," he added. Past research has shown that many men have low levels of testosterone, and some have linked depression and low testosterone, but few population studies have followed the same group of men over time, said Wittert. For the latest study, the researchers analyzed testosterone measurements in more than 1,500 men who had their hormone levels tested twice, with a five year gap between clinic visits. All the samples were tested at the same point in time before, and then after, the five-year gap, said Wittert. Wittert and colleagues only included 1,382 men in their analysis because they took out the ones who were on medication or had health conditions that affect hormone levels. The men they included had an average age of 54 (range was 35 to 80 years). They found...

Guilt In Depression Has Different Brain Response, Suggesting Freud Was Right

The brains of people with depression, even in remission, respond differently to feelings of guilt, suggesting Freud was right, said researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK who compared magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of people with a history ofdepression to those of people who had never had it. If further tests prove successful, they suggest the finding could lead to the first brain scan marker for future risk of depression. The new study, part-funded by the Medical Research Council was published on 4 June in an online-first issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. It is the first piece of research to show there is a brain mechanism behind Freud's classical idea that depression differs from normal sadness by proneness to exaggerated feelings of guilt or self-blame. Dr Roland Zahn, from the University's School of Psychological Sciences, told the press: "For the first time, we chart the regions of the brain that interact to link detailed knowledge about socially appropriate behavior - the anterior temporal lobe - with feelings of guilt - the subgenual region of the brain - in people who are prone to depression." For their study, Zahn and colleagues took fMRI scans of people while they imagined themselves or their best friend acting badly (eg in a mean, tactless or bossy way) towards others, and said what they felt, for instance, guilt, shame, contempt, or disgust, and whether this was toward self or another. The participants were 25 people who had been in remission from depression for over a year (16 of whom were not currently taking anti-depressants), and 22 healthy volunteers with no history...
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