Heart Health

Music = Heart Health

News Note

Listening to music may enhance heart health, according to a recent study conducted at Italy’s University of Pavia. Researchers followed the heart rates, breathing, and blood pressures of 24 participants as they listened to random selections of music for 20 minutes while lying at rest. Selections varied from Indian music and classical to techno and rap. Interestingly enough, personal taste didn’t seem to affect the results. Rather, tempo became the prime determinant in affecting measurements.

Heart Health Through Tai Chi

News Note

A study sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the Chinese practice of tai chi helped patients recover quicker from chronic heart failure than those who received standard drug therapy, exercise, and diet counseling. Patients who performed the ancient meditative/movement practice twice a week for 12 weeks were able to walk farther than the control group and even outdistanced themselves, compared to their abilities before treatment began. Researchers point to how beneficial low-impact exercise can be for chronic heart failure patients.

Heart of a Woman

News Note

Women suffering even mild depression are at greater risk of heart attack, according to researchers at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The four-year study reviewed almost 100,000 women aged 50 to 79. Women with no history of heart disease who experienced sub-clinical depression (based on inquiries about things such as crying spells and feelings of being disliked) had a 50 percent greater risk of dying of a heart attack during the four-year period than women who were not depressed.

Chocolate Does a Heart Good

News Note

A box of chocolates for that special valentine may touch your loved one’s heart — literally. Chocolate is full of antioxidants called proanthocyanidins, the same compounds believed to be responsible for red wine’s heart-health properties. Proanthocyanidins have been shown to help reduce excess blood platelet aggregation, which can damage blood vessel walls and lead to stroke or heart attack.

Hook, Line and Sinker

News Note

It’s a complicated issue: Fish is rich in nutrients essential to cardiovascular health, prompting the American Heart Association to recommend at least two servings of fish a week. Yet, one-fifth of the world’s stock is over-fished or depleted, with half nearing that mark.

Taking Tennis to Heart

News Note

Andre Agassi or Serena Williams you may not be, but according to the American Journal of Medicine, the value of playing tennis through middle age is invaluable to a healthy heart. A study of 1,000 men who played tennis during their 20s and who continued on through their 40s, 50s and 60s found that only 12 percent had developed cardiovascular disease during the follow-up period of 40 years compared to 28 percent of non-tennis players.