Study Shows Women who hide their anger may have higer risk for cardiovascular
PITTSBURGH, Sept 15 -
Middle-aged women who hide their anger, have hostile attitudes or
feel self-conscious in public may have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular
disease, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh School
The 10-year Pitt study
is the first to associate psychosocial characteristics of middle-aged women
to intima-media thickness (IMT), an early marker of atherosclerosis or
high blood pressure.
The study appears in
today’s issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
According to study author
Karen A. Matthews, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology
at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, earlier studies suggested
a relationship between hostile feelings and cardiovascular disease, but
didn’t provide a coherent picture of the characteristics of women at risk.
Dr, Matthews evaluated the ability of measures of hostile attitudes, anger,
anxiety and related characteristics to predict the extent of IMT and plaque
in the carotid arties of healthy middle-aged women.
In a randomly selected
group of 200 healthy premenopausal women between the ages of 42 and 50,
those who reported having hostile attitudes, holding in anger and feeling
self-awere in public situations were at risk of higher IMT scores 10 years
later, as seen using ultrasound.
“This study provides
compelling evidence that attitudes and style of expression have an effect
on cardiovascular health in women”, commented Dr, Matthews. “A woman’s
style of dealing with negative feelings may have physical consequences”.
According to Dr. Matthews,
women need to pay more attention to how they deal with anger.
“It may be best to express
negative feelings in a constructive fashion rather than hold them in “.
Other researchers involved
in the study include Jane F. Owens, Dr. PH,; Lewis H. Kuller, M.D. Dr.
PH.; Kim Sutton-Tyrell, Ph.D.; and Linda Jansen-Ms Williams, M.S.
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brain Chemistry in Bulimia Nervosa Patients persists after recovery, according
to UPMC researchers. New findings suggest a biological cause for eating
Pittsburgh, Oct. 14 -
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Western
Psychiatric Institute and Clinic have found evidence supporting the possibility
that an alteration of brain chemistry contributes to the development of
bulimia nervosa and persists even after recovery from the disorder.
The UPMC study, authored
by Walter H. Kaye, M.D., professor of psychiatry, appears in the October
issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
Women with bulimia nervosa,
when bingeing and purging, are known to have alterations of brain serotonin
activity and mood as well as obsessions with perfectionism.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter
that helps regulate mood. This study found that these alterations and symptoms
persisted after recovery from bulimia nervosa, suggesting that they are
not merely a consequence of abnormal eating behaviors.
serotonin activity could cause anxious and obsessive behaviors and affect
the control of appetite and thus contribute to a vulnerability to develop
“The development of an
eating disorder is often attributed to the effects of our cultural environment,
such as the mass media, which places a heavy emphasis on slimness. But
while all women are exposed to these cultural mores, only a small percentage
develop an eating disorder. Our study may have identified a biological
risk factor that plays a part in deciding who develops a disorder,” explained
Dr. Kaye. “This study is important because it will help shift focus to
the underlying causes of bulimia nervosa so that we can develop better
treatments in the future and possibly identify people at risk for
the disorder before it occurs.”
Bulimia nervosa affects
about 1 to 3 percent of women and most commonly occurs in women who are
of normal body weight. Onset is usually during adolescence and is characterized
by bingeing and purging, either by vomiting or using laxatives. Women with
the disease often have a distorted image of their bodies, changes in brain
chemistry and psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive
disorder and alcohol or other substance abuse.
Though researchers know
the symptoms and effects of bulimia, the exact causes of the disorder have
yet to be uncovered.
associated with eating disorders affects brain chemistry, Dr. Kaye and
his colleagues compared 31 healthy volunteer women to 30 women who had
recovered from bulimia nervosa - they were of normal body weight, had regular
menstrual cycles and had not binged or purged for more tan a year. The
researchers assessed the recovered bulimia nervosa participants for persistent
behavior disturbances and measured cerebrospinal fluid levels of the major
metabolites of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
They also gave the participants a non-therapeutic drug, m-chlorophenylpiperazine
(m-CPP), that specifically affects the serotinin system and elicits hormonal
and behavioral responses.
Dr. Kaye’s team found
that, compared to the healthy volunteers, the recovered women had increased
levels of the serotonin metabolite and more negative moods and obsessions
with perfectionism and exactness. The levels of the other brain chemicals,
dopamine and norepinephrine, were normal in comparison. In addition, the
group of recovered bulimia nervosa women had more anxiety and disorganized
behavioral responses to m-CPP.
“While further research
in this area is needed, we are beginning to gain an understanding of some
of the causes of bulimia nervosa. Our hope is that this knowledge will
contribute to more effective treatments and preventive measures for this
disorder,” said Dr. Kaye.
Dr. Kaye is principal
investigator for a multinational study sponsored by the Price Foundation
that may help pinpoint a genetic basis for bulimia nervosa. Research sites
at U.S. universities in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles
as well as Canada, Germany and Italy are recruiting 400 women and men with
the disorder who also have biological relative with similar eating concerns
or problems. These relatives pairs will provide blood samples for genetic
analysis and will be interviewed about their disorder.
These sites are seeking
people with bulimia nervosa who have a relative with an eating disorder
to participate in this study.
Because these procedures
can be performed where a patients lives, no traveling is required.
To learn more about this
research, please call toll-free 1-888-895-3886, or e-mail to email@example.com.
All communication is
confidential, and participants are paid upon completion of the study.
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about UPMC Health System, please access