"Why do we get a heart attack from being angry?"
A team led by Prof. Kim Jin-won uncovers the mechanism by using 3D volumetric-rendered PET/CT scanning for the first time in the world
Published in the latest issue of the European Heart Journal
▲ Professors Kim Jin-won and Kang Dong-oh from the Cardiovascular Center
and Professor Eo Jae-seon from the Department of Nuclear Medicine
A research team led by Professor Kim Jin-won from the Cardiovascular Center at Korea University Guro Hospital demonstrated an important relationship between emotional stress and myocardial infarction through 3D molecular imaging for the first time in the world. The research team consisted of Professors Kim Jin-won and Kang Dong-oh from the Cardiovascular Center and Professor Eo Jae-seon from the Department of Nuclear Medicine of KU Guro Hospital.
Emotional stress is known to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but no detailed linkage between the stress response and the actual onset of cardiovascular disease has been elucidated.
Revealing the linkage of emotional stress with heart attacks through 3D molecular imaging of cerebral emotional activity and arteriosclerotic inflammation
The research team uncovered a close linkage between the activity of the amygdala, the cerebral region that governs the emotional response in patients with acute myocardial infarction, and arterial inflammation, which can cause heart attacks, through 3D molecular imaging. This study discovered that the cerebral emotional activity increased significantly as the severity of the myocardial infarction increased, and it decreased with recovery from the myocardial infarction (Figure).
[Figure] 3D molecular Image of Cerebral Emotional Region Activity-Atherosclerotic Inflammation
In this study, it was observed that the activity of the cerebral emotional region and the arterial inflammation of the blood vessel and bone marrow increased simultaneously in patients with acute myocardial infarction compared to the control group.
Professor Kang Dong-oh, the first author, said, “This study is the world’s first to prove the relationship between emotions and heart disease through 3D volumetric-rendered PET/CT imaging. The link between the two has long been assumed without concrete evidence.” He added, “The finding suggests that effective clinical control of emotional stress factors can be an important strategy to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.”
Professor Kim Jin-won, the lead author, stressed, "This study is of great academic significance as it offers a key clue to our understanding of the pathophysiological linkage between emotional stress and cardiovascular disease." He added, “By fusing 3D stereoscopic image processing technology with existing molecular imaging techniques, we were able to visually understand the interaction between brain emotional neural activity signal and arterial inflammation. Now that we have proven that emotional stress is involved in the overall outbreak of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease by applying imaging technology, we plan to conduct follow-up research and develop technology to control the stress, thereby presenting a new academic paradigm for cerebral-cardiovascular disease.”
The paper, "Stress-associated Neurobiological Activity Is Linked with Acute Plaque Instability via Enhanced Macrophage Activity: A Prospective Serial 18F-FDG PET/CT Imaging Assessment”, was published in the latest issue of the European Heart Journal (2019 JCR Impact Factor - 22.678), one of the most prestigious international academic journals in the field of cardiology, thus drawing attention from academia.