Home / “You scared me to death” is not just a figure of speech

“You scared me to death” is not just a figure of speech

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Life imitates art.

That is how I look at the groundbreaking paper published in the February 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, entitled “Neurohumoral Features of Myocardial Stunning Due to Sudden Emotional Stress.”

Translated into everyday English, that means that when you’re scared or stressed, adrenaline surging through your body can make your heart stop and lead to death.

Robert Graves, in his memorable 1929 short story “The Shout,” described a man whose shout could kill. (The 1978 film starring Alan Bates is mesmerizing, by the way — killer)

Witch doctors and medicine men worldwide for millenia have been killing people using their time- and practice-proven techniques.

It simply required 21st century methodology to offer a scientific, medically-based explanation for these phenomena.

Here’s a link to the journal’s abstract of the paper.

This will take you to an informative story about the study by Denise Grady which appeared in the February 10 New York Times.

Then there’s Rob Stein’s piece from that same day’s Washington Post.

Still haven’t had enough?

OK, then: go here, here and here.

The week prior to the report noted above, Dr. Scott W. Sharkey and colleagues from the Minneapolis Heart Institute reported, in the journal Circulation, a series of 22 similar cases of sudden heart failure due to emotional stress — all women.

One last thing.

Should you ever find yourself at the scene of a cardiac arrest — happens to me from time to time but hey, that’s what I do (no, not cause cardiac arrest, booboo – I go to them as part of the Code Blue team) — do what I do, before anything else: make a fist and hit the victim as hard as you possibly can right in the middle of the chest, on his/her breastbone (sternum).

You’d be surprised how often that will restart a stopped heart.

It takes one second and won’t in any way detract from subsequent CPR efforts.

That’s the bookofjoe medical tip for the day.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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About bookofjoe

  • interesting reading. And thanks for the tip, i hope i never have to use it, but that’s useful to know (especially here in the UK where we’re not quite as big on litigation as the US =+)