A recent study published by the British medical journal The Lancet has linked constant stress that reaches the amygdalae with a greater risk of having a heart attack.
Conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School, this study reviewed two studies that included more than 300 people. Researchers found that those with greater activity in the amygdala also showed greater chances of developing heart disease.
Researchers propose that the amygdala sends signals to bone marrow to produce more white blood cells, which then affect the arteries by causing them to become inflamed and leads to heart attacks or strokes.
The first study was based on an analysis of the brains, bone marrow, spleens and arteries of 293 patients. Over a four-year period, follow up was conducted on these patients to discover whether they would develop heart disease. Over this period, 22 patients developed heart disease, all of which had the greatest amounts of activity in the amygdala.
The second study assessed 13 patients and examined the connection between stress and inflammation in the body. Researchers observed that those with the highest stress levels also showed more activity in the amygdala and greater markers of inflammation in the blood and arteries.
Researchers note, however, that further studies are needed on this connection to confirm it.