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December 15, 1978

Stress' route through brain to heart

JAMA. 1978;240(25):2712-2714. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290250016003

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Neuroanatomic pathways that may mediate the effects of stress on the cardiovascular system are finally beginning to be defined.

"People have talked about the contribution of stress to heart attacks for a long time," says David Cohen, PhD, professor of physiology and director of neuroscience at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. "The mapping of these pathways gives greater credibility to claims that stress is associated with cardiovascular dynamics."

Mapping also provides a target for experiments into the mechanism of stress-related heart attacks and ventricular fibrillation (VF) and offers the potential of therapeutic intervention. One important future application of such studies: the problem of sudden death.

Separate but related investigations were reported at the recent meeting of the Society for Neuroscience by Cohen and colleagues and by James Skinner, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Neurology and the Neuroscience Program at Baylor College of Medicine, and co-workers.