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Anger Slows Down Healing Process

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The adage that laughter is the best medicine has been backed by an unusual investigation which says that people who seethe with anger take longer to recover from injury.

Previous studies have linked ill tempered behaviour, whether brow-beating or road rage, with higher incidence of coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, especially among men.

But the new study, published on Wednesday in the British journal Brain, Behaviour, Immunity, is the first controlled experiment that directly measures the impact of ire on the healing process.

Researchers at the University of Ohio inflicted minor burns on the forearms of 98 volunteers who were then monitored over eight days to see how quickly the skin repaired itself.

The subjects had each taken a battery of psychological tests beforehand to assess how easily and often they felt and expressed wrath, and were then ranked on an “anger scale”.

Persons who took certain pharmaceutical drugs, smoked cigarettes or drank excessive quantities of caffeine-laden coffee were excluded, along with individuals who were extremely over- or under-weight.

The results were startlingly clear: individuals who had trouble controlling expressions of anger were four times likelier to need more than four days for their wounds to heal, compared with counterparts who could master their anger.

But the researchers were also surprised to find that anger has its nuances, too.

Subjects described as showing “anger out” (regular outbursts of aggression or hostility) or “anger in” (repressed rage) healed almost as quickly as individuals who ranked low on all anger scales.

Only those who tried but failed to hold in their feelings of upset and distemper took longer to heal.

This same group also showed a higher secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which could at least partly explain the difference in healing time, the study noted.

Earlier research has shown a clear link between cortisol and anger. Hostile men who yelled at spouses during marital spats secreted more of the endocrine modulator within minutes, as did teachers experiencing high levels of stress in the classroom.

High levels of cortisol appears to decrease the production at the point of injury of two cytokines crucial to the repair process, suggests the study.

Cytokines are proteins released by immune-system cells. They act as signallers to generate a wider immune response. “The ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing,” concludes lead author Jean-Philippe Gouin, a psychologist at the University of Ohio. “Those who has low anger control secreted more cortisol following exposition to this stressor. This individual difference in the response to the blistering was related to longer healing,” Gouin added.

Anger-control therapy could help patients recovering from surgery or injury heal more quickly, the paper says.

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Laughter, the best medicine

Laugh loudly and get rid of many illness

Sources: The Times Of India

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Improve Lifestyle to Avoid High BP

High blood pressure toll to boom within 20 years.

Unhealthy lifestyle might bring a boom in high blood pressure, with the sufferers exceeding a billion within 20 years, a new study has found. One in four adults suffer from high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and death.

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Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet with high fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use could see the problem spreading from developed to developing economies, like India and China.

According to The Lancet medical journal, the number of BP patients may rise to 1.56 billion by 2025, up from 972 million in 2000. Another editorial has claimed that the rise in BP is due to poor observance of medication by patients.

“Many patients still believe that hypertension is a disease that can be cured, and stop or reduce medication when blood pressure levels fall. Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack,” the editorial was quoted, as saying.

“Perhaps this message will make people think more carefully about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give preventative measures a real chance,” it said.

Currently, a person in the Western world has a greater than 90 per cent lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension.

Dr Isabel Lee, of The Stroke Association insisted that many strokes can be prevented by the control of high BP. “Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke — that’s 150,000 every year. Yet, over 40 per cent of these strokes could be prevented by the control of high blood pressure. Whilst it is important to get your blood pressure measured regularly, it is equally important that people who are prescribed blood pressure medication continue to take it even once their blood pressure is back under control,” Lee said.

“GPs need to ensure that patients are made fully aware of the importance of continuing with their blood pressure medication. People can also take additional steps to help improve their lifestyles and reduce their risk of high blood pressure by stopping smoking, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly,” she said.

Source: The Times Of India