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How the heart actually break through sorrow

Already among the ancient Egyptians the heart was considered the seat of the feelings, and even today, this idea is still reflected in some names and phrases: heart pain, or are heavy and a broken heart you can even die. These expressions emerge from the observation that there may be a link between emotions and real effects on this Organ. In this context, in 1990 the term was first Broken-heart-syndrome (GHS), or Stress cardiomyopathy characterized.

The phenomenon is characterized by a sudden weakening of the heart muscles, which leads to the left ventricle of the heart inflates at the bottom, while the neck remains narrow. This is a Form, the case of a Japanese ink fish is created similar to (Tako-Tsubo) – therefore, the third common name of the state: Tako-Tsubo syndrome. This change of heart is life-threatening: patient’s chest pain and shortness of breath and a heart attack to develop is threatening. Women are disproportionately affected – for example, only about ten percent of the cases are men.

Heart problems cause in your head?

As the name Broken heart syndrome illustrates the phenomenon in connection with severe emotional States – such as grief, Anger or fear. So that there is a link between the changes in the heart and the real seat of the emotions – the brain. This context, are now investigated by the researchers in order to Christian Templin from the University hospital Zurich. In their study, they examined the brains of 15 GHS patients using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The results, the researchers then compared the brain scans of healthy volunteers.

“We have found in the GHS patients, a noticeable reduced communication between brain regions for emotional processing, and those that play a role in the autonomic nervous system controls the unconscious body functions such as heartbeat,” says Templin. “It is clear, therefore, that the brain is involved in the underlying mechanism of the phenomenon,” says the scientist. It has been suggested in this context that can lead to Hyperstimulation of the autonomic nervous system GHS events. This Declaration, the researchers were able to approach, now by their results.

Psychological Stress that hits the heart

"It is also interesting that it says in the regions of the brain that we have found in the GHS patients, as relatively little communicative, and the same is, of which it is assumed that you can control our response to Stress“, Templin. According to him, this could be the tendency to the development of a Broken-heart-syndrome associated.

As the researchers emphasize that further studies are now needed to confirm the results and extend. A limitation is, according to them, that they had no Before-and-After comparison material: There are no fMRI Scans of the subjects were, before you have developed a Broken-heart-syndrome. Thus, the scientists can not say with certainty whether the decreased communication between brain regions has caused the GHS, or Vice versa. "Additional studies are now needed to determine whether this is a causal relationship,“ says Jelena Ghadri. “Ultimately, we hope that our research can lead to the development of preventive, therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for the improvement of patient care at GHS,” says the scientist.

Source: European Society of Cardiology, European Heart Journal, doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz068