Taken from AReversing Heart Disease@ by Dean Ornish, M.D., Balantine Publishers, pp. 82-86)
Submitted by Jud Miller, M.D.
A group of genetically similar rabbits, in an experiment at the University of Houston, were given a high cholesterol diet designed to cause atherosclerosis in order to study arterial blockages. All of the rabbits, whose cages were stacked to the ceiling, were expected to develop coronary damages, but instead it was found that those rabbits in the lower cages had up to 60% less heart disease than those in the upper cages. This made no sense until they discovered that the lab technician, short in stature, whose job it was to feed the animals at night, was petting and playing with those rabbits that she could reach in the lower cages.
A study by Dr. Sherwitz of UC San Francisco found that people who used frequent self-references later developed heart disease more often than those who did not, and those same people had a much higher death rate from heart attacks. Why should the wordsAI,@ Ame,@ Amy,@ and Amine@ do damage to the heart? Of course they don=t, but they do reveal a person who is likely self-centered; which suggests a sense of isolation from others.
Another study from Sweden, focusing on middle-aged men, showed that social isolation was one of the best predictors of mortality from coronary heart disease.
These findings have been confirmed in many other studies, showing that a strong social network, where a person is cared for by others (usually family), results in a significant reduction in heart disease.
Faculty/Staff Bulletin--June 19, 1997