New Study Demonstrates How Stress May Cause Heart Attacks and Strokes

  As a stressful life event, moving ranks second only to ‘death of a spouse’–that’s pretty serious business.  And now a new study has demonstrated just how it is that stress may lead to heart attacks and strokes…

Here’s How Stress Might Cause Heart Attacks, Strokes

NBC News

A new study using brain scans shows how stress might cause heart attacks: people whose fear centers are more active also have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke…

The team also found a potential pathway for how that happens – inflammation and more activity in the bone marrow.

“This is one of very few studies that you can see metabolic activity in response to stress. This is very interesting because it shows a biological connection between the stress and arterial inflammation and cardiac events.”  -Dr. Nieca Goldberg, cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center

The findings point to the amygdala – often called the fear center in the brain. But the nut-sized structure is linked with various forms of stress, not just fear.

People whose amygdalas seemed more active during brain scans were more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or other serious heart event over the next three to four years, the team of researchers found.

Not only that, but those with more active amygdalas had more inflammation in their arteries – something that’s clearly linked with heart disease -and bone marrow activity that may be linked with blood clots…


Journal reference:  Tawakol, A., et al. (2017). Relation between resting amygdalar activity and cardiovascular events: a longitudinal and cohort study.  The Lancet Journal, DOI: