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Heart and Personality

September 26, 2006

New research suggests personality and heart disease aren’t as intertwined as we thought.


Does your personality affect your heart? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
A new study casts doubt on the notion that certain personality traits, like aggressiveness, jack up your risk of heart disease. It’s from a team including Goncalo Abecasis, a statistical geneticist from the University of Michigan. They looked at over six thousand people on the genetically close-knit island of Sardinia and found no genes that influenced both personality and heart disease. Nor did they find that people with Type-A traits, or, in fact, any specific personality traits, had a higher cardiovascular risk.

GONCALO ABECASIS (University of Michigan):
So they weren’t likely to have different heart rates, or blood pressure… down to the smaller physical changes that we measured: thickness of arteries, things like that.

He says factors other than genetics could explain the link between personality and heart disease found in other studies. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.