Friday, December 11, 2009

Thank goodness - heart attacks on Monday mornings is not a urban myth

I think critics are very important. They show up were your thinking or beliefs are not 100% correct as they will find the chink in your amour. Often males who are older than 40 when finding out what I do, ask if I have formal qualifications of a doctor or a nutritionist. Up to today I have always answers no. This "no" answer has resulted in myself being written off as a quack of no importance, just another mad hatter who has no credibility. It has only taken me about a dozen or so interactions like this for me to figure it out! Thus I will side step the question an say I have training in the biochemistry of cellular and enzymatic processes. This is true and clearly gives me creditability that I know what I am talking about. (As an aside a significant number of major innovations come from outside a field or on the periphery because these people haven't been indoctrinated with the assumptions that under-gird that industry)

Last night I had an interaction with a critic. Once he had asked the question and figured out that I had no formal training in nutrition that all I said was up to be challenged. So when I trotted out that heart attacks are more common on a Monday morning he counted with that he had been a doctor for 20 years and if there was any variation between days of time he would have noticed it. He had not noticed any variation in heart attacks, thus I was wrong.

I was mortified.  I have included this as an example in a appendix of my book talking about how emotions effect our health. I realized that I had no references to back up my comments. It was a statement that I had heard so many times and repeated so many times I assumed that it was true. Thus I have been looking online today to see if this was an urban myth. Well the good news is that I can still use the example in my book! Like anything in health/wellness it is not as clear cut as one would like, but we can conclude that:
  • That in the mornings Saturday to Monday and the months October to January (Study done in Italy in the Northern hemisphere) are high risk times for heart attacks that kill you within 1 hour. The times of 5:00, Monday and November are also have significantly higher probabilities within this group
  • Another Italian study showed mornings had higher risk than evenings, and that heart attacks increased significantly for non smokers on Monday. 
  • An Auckland study showed the mornings were higher risk, and that Saturday was higher risk for deadly attacks and Monday higher risk of survived heart attacks.  
  • A Fresh study showed hat mornings were higher risk of heart attack. 
  • That monkeys are at more risk of heart attacks when under stress. And that life threatening evens such as earthquakes increase heart attack risk 6 fold and that anger and sex also increase risk of heart attacks.
  • A Tawinise study showed that mornings were high risk and Sundays were low risk for heart attacks
There are other papers but I think I have made my point. Emotions effect your health and there is an increased risk of heart attacks in the morning with some studies pointed out Monday morning as a high risk time. Got to love critics if I had not had the conversation wouldn't know if it was just a urban myth or based on science. Much better to have this issue raised in a friendly one on one situation than in another setting. 

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