Earthquake Stress Increases, Fiber Intake Decreases Heart Risks
LOS ANGELES & BOSTON- Independent published studies each identified important aspects of serious heart risks.
A study, which followed the January, 17, 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles, suggests that emotional stress can precipitate sudden death associated with atherosclerotic heart disease. A study published simultaneously demonstrated that men with a high intake of fiber in their diets have a definite decreased risk of heart attack.
In the United States, approximately one million people suffer heart attacks annually. Over 300,000 people die each year as result of sudden death due to heart disease. The definition of triggering mechanisms of heart disease and prevention methods can lead to treatments and lifestyle modifications that can save lives.
Jonathan Leor, M.D. and associates at the University of Southern California reviewed records of the Department of Coroner of Los Angeles County from the before and after the January 17, 1994 LA County earthquake. Their results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that sudden deaths that occur in persons with atherosclerotic heart disease are caused by "triggering" mechanisms, one of which is activated by emotional stress.
In a second study, published in the Journal
of the American Medical Association, Eric B. Rimm, ScD
and associates at the Harvard School of Public Health described
their data which evaluated 43,757 males over 6 years. Their results
suggest that increasing fiber intake in the diet decreases the
risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction). Those men whose
diets were highest in fiber (average of 28.9 grams daily) benefited
most. Among the three main dietary fiber options (vegetable, fruit,
and cereal), cereal fiber had the strongest effect in reducing
risk of heart attack. In an accompanying editorial, Ernst L. Wynder,
M.D. and associates of the American Health Foundation emphasized
that dietary fiber can be recommended as a part of heart disease
prevention "provided that dietary fat is also considered."
They further recommend no more than 25% of dietary calories be
derived from fat.