With some people, there can be changes in the brain after a heart attack. A study was conducted surrounding these brain changes recently and the results were surprising. 45 people took part in the study with the average age being around 60 years old. Half of the participants had suffered a heart attack in the past 45 days. The control group was comprised of people of a similar age who had never suffered from a heart attack.
All participants of the study took PET and CT scans to gather images of their brains, bone marrow, and major arteries. In the area of the brain known as the amygdala, the recent heart attack survivors had much higher activity. The amygdala region of the brain deals with emotional response and stress perception. The survivors also had more inflammation in the neck artery than the control group as well as increased active production of inflammatory cells.
The participants with higher stress levels and indicators of depression also showed higher activity in the amygdala but that was true of both the main group and the control group. Six months after the heart attack patients returned to the study, it was found that their amygdala and inflammation had returned to normal levels. The changes in the brain post-heart attack are of interest to medical professionals around the world. The AHA, (American Heart Association), is going to be shown an in-depth presentation in regards to the study on a virtual meeting.
The amygdala becomes stable over time after seeing that significant change in heart attack victims. Researchers believe that with the right stress-reduction techniques, those changes can be minimized. By minimalizing stress, they also theorize that the inflammation in the arteries can be reduced in those who have suffered from a heart attack.
Researchers believe that this is significant as it can impact the course of heart disease. With this new information and the changes in the brain post-heart attack, researchers believe that using this critical new information that a second heart attack may be preventable.