TEMPER TRACKING: ANGRY OUTBURSTS MAY TAKE A TOLL ON THE LUNGS
By Nicholas Bakalar, September 19, 2006
Men who are chronically hostile and angry may face a future of sharply diminishing lung function, new research suggests. In 1986, scientists administered a questionnaire to 670 men ages 21 to 80 to assess their hostility. Each then received a pulmonary exam within one year of completing the questionnaire. The men were tracked for an average of 8.2 years, with comprehensive physical examinations every 3 to 5 years, including an average of three pulmonary function tests.
After controlling for age, weight, height, smoking status and other variables, the scientists found a consistent association between high hostility and lower levels of lung function. Among more hostile men, pulmonary function was worse at every exam over a 10-year period when compared with less hostile subjects. The study appears online in Thorax.
Since levels of lung function were in the normal range at the start of the study, the researchers say, the possibility that poor lung function led to hostility rather than the other way around is unlikely. They acknowledge, however, that an unknown factor could cause both hostility and poor lung function.
Still, Dr. Rosalind J. Wright, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard and the senior author of the study, said there was no doubt that emotions could cause physical changes, some of which could be detrimental. "When you experience physical symptoms around negative emotions, your heart rate goes up, you start sweating, and so on", Dr. Wright said. "Changes in bodily functions - nervous system, immune function - need to occur for you to feel these things. It is possible that similar processes are going on more locally, say in the lungs, which over many years may cause inflammation that affects lung function."
No trecho do terceiro parágrafo "...the possibility that poor lung function led to hostility rather than the other way around is unlikely." a expressão RATHER THAN significa, em português,
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