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Why Stress Increases Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at Harvard University believe they have discovered the reason why stress increases an individual's risk of heart attacks or stroke.

A study, published in the journal Nature Medicine showed that stress actives stem cells, leading to increased inflammatory cells and plaque buildup. Researchers conducted the study using both human and mice as subjects. The human phase of the study looked at 29 medical residents who had completed seven days of work in the intensive care unit, a stressful experience, and found that those subjects had increase inflammatory cells -- monocytes and neutrophils.

Researchers then worked with the mice to determine what caused the increase in inflammatory cells. In the course of the study, researchers determined that the mice, when stressed, had accelerated stem cell production and increased plaque formation in vital arteries.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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