Despair triggers stroke risk in healthy women

Washington, Aug 28 ( Healthy middle-aged women, overcome by negative thinking and sense of worthlessness, seem to experience thickening of the neck arteries, a precursor to stroke, says new research.

“These findings suggest that women who experience feelings of hopelessness may have greater risk for future heart disease and stroke,” said Susan A. Everson-Rose, principal study investigator and University of Minnesota Medical School (UMMS) faculty member.

The study by the UMMS found that negative thinking and sense of worthlessness thickens arteries, independent of clinical depression or before women develop clinically relevant cardiovascular disease.

Researchers looked at 559 women (average age of 50 years, 62 percent Caucasian, 38 percent African-American) who were generally healthy and did not show signs of clinical cardiovascular disease, said a UMMS release.

They measured hopelessness with a two-item questionnaire regarding their future and personal goals.

The study found a consistent, progressive, and linear association between increasing neck artery thickness and rising levels of hopelessness.

These findings were published online in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.