Sudden cardiac death from emotional stress may be triggered by uneven signals from the brain to the heart, according to a study by University College London (UCL) scientists published in the January issue of Brain.
UCL researchers have discovered that a system which normally coordinates signalling from the brain to different parts of the heart may be disrupted in some people, making them vulnerable to potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms during mentally taxing tasks or emotional events such as family gatherings.
This is particularly true of people who already have heart disease, but it is the brain that may be most responsible. The new study suggests that uneven brain activity, in a region where nerves link directly to the heart, seems to result in an uneven distribution of signals across the heart, which stops the heart from contracting normally.
Jenny Gimpel | alfa
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