Stressed brain associated with “broken heart” syndrome
Formally known as Takotsubo Syndrome (TTS), it is a temporary heart condition caused by stressful situations and emotions – but it is potentially fatal.
In this study published on March 25th European Heart Journal, the researchers wanted to know if increasing metabolic activity associated with brain stress could increase the risk of the syndrome, so they then looked at brain imaging studies of 41 people who developed the syndrome and 63 who did not.
The scans were performed on patients for other medical reasons.
“Areas of the brain with higher metabolic activity have a higher utilization. Therefore, higher activity in centers associated with brain stress suggests that the individual has a more active response. stress“, said the lead author of the study, Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, director of nuclear cardiology and co-director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The researchers found that higher activity in the amygdala of the brain predicted subsequent TTS, as well as the timing of the syndrome. For example, people with the highest activity in the amygdala developed the syndrome a year after brain scans, and people with intermediate activity in the amygdala developed the syndrome a few years later.
“We show that TTS occurs because it encounters strange and terrifying events, such as the death of a spouse or child, according to classic examples. Rather, it seems that people with stress-related brain activity appear first. with more common stressors, regular colonoscopy or bone fractures, ”Tawakol said in a hospital note.
The study also found a link between brain activity and bone marrow activity associated with individual stress.
The bone marrow produces different types of oxygen-carrying blood cells, mounts immune responses, and coagulates the blood. Thus, stress-related brain activity may affect cell activity. heart health, according to researchers.
Measures to reduce stress-related brain activity may reduce the risk of the syndrome.
“Studies should show whether such an approach to reducing stress-related brain activity reduces the chance of recurrence among patients with pre-TTS episodes,” Tawakol said.
He also noted that more studies are needed to examine whether the treatment of drugs that reduce stress or reduce brain activity associated with stress can benefit heart health.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has more broken heart syndrome.
SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, March 25, 2021