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Cardiac Roundup

July 17, 2009

Consuming sugar can damage the heart by causing arteries to expand too fast.


Sugar and heart attacks. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Doctors have long known that sugary foods can hurt your heart. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University have shown how it happens. The scientists used imaging technology to watch volunteers’ arteries as they drank water or ate foods. The walls of the arteries expanded when the foods hit the blood stream. And the most sugary foods caused the arteries to expand the fastest. The scientists say that over time, this damages the arteries and makes them less flexible, leading to heart attacks.

In other heart news, a new study in Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association, suggests that music may be useful as a therapy for cardiac patients. The research shows that blood flow and respiratory rates synch up with music quickly—even before the listener can respond to the music emotionally. They conclude that carefully selected music could be a new tool in heart patient care. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.