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Person’s reaction to stress determines his overall health

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New York: The way a person reacts to stressful events in life holds greater importance in terms of health as compared to the frequency with which one encounters it.

According to the researchers, the more negatively an individual perceives and reacts to a situation the more he/she may be at risk of developing heart disease.

The team wanted to find out whether daily stress and heart rate variability, a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart, are linked.

A potential pathway that links stress to future heart disease is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system- a case of a person’s normally self-regulated nervous system getting off track.

“Higher heart rate variability is better for health as it reflects the capacity to respond to challenges,” said Nancy L Sin from Pennsylvania State University.

“People with lower heart rate variability have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death,” Sin added in the paper published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Depression and major stressful events are known to be harmful to health, but less attention has been paid to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life.

The team analysed the data collected from 909 participants between the ages of 35 and 85, including daily telephone interviews over eight consecutive days and the results from an electrocardiogram.

During daily phone interviews, participants were asked to report the stressful events as well as negative emotions they had experienced that day.

The researchers found that participants who reported a lot of stressful events in their lives were not necessarily those who had lower heart rate variability.

No matter how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it was those who perceived the events as more stressful or who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions had lower heart rate variability- meaning these people may be at a higher risk for heart disease, the authors noted. (IANS)

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Europe Suffers From a Severe Measles Outbreak

The U.N. agency on Monday called for better surveillance of the disease and increased immunization rates to prevent measles from becoming endemic.

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Measles
Doctor Roberto Ieraci vaccinates a woman in Rome as Italy battles one of its worst epidemics of measles in recent years. VOA

The World Health Organization says the number of measles cases in Europe jumped sharply during the first six months of 2018 and at least 37 people have died.

The U.N. agency’s European office said Monday more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year — more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade.

The previous highest annual total was 23,927 cases in 2017. A year earlier, only 5,273 cases were reported.

The agency said half — some 23,000 cases — this year occurred in Ukraine, where an insurgency backed by Russia has been fighting the government for four years in the east in a conflict that has killed over 10,000 people.

France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia also had more than 1,000 measles infections each so far this year.

measles
An undated electron microscope image of a measles virus particle. VOA

Measles, among the world’s most contagious diseases, is a virus that’s spread in the air through coughing or sneezing. It can be prevented with a vaccine that’s been in use since the 1960s, but health officials say vaccination rates of at least 95 percent are needed to prevent epidemics.

Vaccine skepticism remains high in many parts of Europe after past immunization problems.

Measles typically begins with a high fever and also causes a rash on the face and neck. While most people who get it recover, measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children, according to the WHO.

Also Read: Meteor Shower Lights Up Bosnia, Southeastern Europe

Italy has introduced a new law requiring parents to vaccinate their children against measles and nine other childhood diseases. Romania also passed a similar bill, including hefty fines for parents who didn’t vaccinate their children.

The U.N. agency on Monday called for better surveillance of the disease and increased immunization rates to prevent measles from becoming endemic.(VOA)

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