Findings may explain link between lifestyle and heart disease
A less active brain serotonin system is associated with early hardening of the arteries, according to a study presented today by University of Pittsburgh researchers at the 64th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Psychosomatic Society in Denver. These findings, which are the first to establish a link between serotonin messages in the brain and atherosclerosis, could lead to an entirely new strategy for preventing heart disease and stroke, say the researchers.
"Many of the known risk factors for heart disease and stroke – high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking and lack of exercise – can, to some extent, be controlled by our lifestyle choices," said Matthew F. Muldoon, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Until now, no one had studied the possibility that brain abnormalities could explain why some people make these poor lifestyle choices and have multiple risk factors for heart disease."
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