In Brief

IN BRIEF

November 17, 2008

Heavy children have arteries of a 45-year-old

obesity

The arteries of many obese children and teenagers are as thick and stiff as those of 45-year-olds, a sign that such children could have severe cardiovascular disease at a much younger age than their parents unless their condition is reversed, researchers said Tuesday. "It's possible that they will have heart disease in their 20s and 30s," said Dr. Geetha Raghuveer of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, who led the study presented at a New Orleans meeting of the American Heart Association. "There's a saying that 'you're as old as your arteries,' meaning that the state of your arteries is more important than your actual age in the evolution of heart disease and stroke," she said. "We found that the state of the arteries of these children is more typical of a 45-year-old than of someone their own age." Experts did not find the result surprising but did view it as "alarming."

Chicago Tribune

Joyful music may be good for blood vessels

cardiovascular

Listening to your favorite music may be good for your cardiovascular system. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have shown for the first time that the emotions aroused by joyful music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function.

Music, selected by study participants because it made them feel good and brought them a sense of joy, caused tissue in the inner lining of blood vessels to dilate (or expand) in order to increase blood flow. This healthy response matches what the same researchers found in a 2005 study of laughter. On the other hand, when study volunteers listened to music they perceived as stressful, their blood vessels narrowed, producing a potentially unhealthy response that reduces blood flow.

The Baltimore Sun

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