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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You Can Die of a Broken Heart or Boredom

In two unrelated stories, you can die of a broken heart and die from boredom. The boredom connection to death was discovered statistically by University College London. Subjects (civil servants) claiming to be bored were 37 percent more likely to die by the end of the study period.

The boredom mode of death seems less tragic than the broken heart syndrome, described below. Boredom can be cured at work by letting civil servants visit Flash Fiction Online at least twice daily. Flash Fiction can save your life! (The less literary civil servants could watch snippets of English football (flash soccer for Americans.)

The broken heart syndrome is most likely associated with the loss of a loved one or physical trauma. It's not connected with coronary artery disease. Heavily grieving people sometimes suffer a burst of adrenaline that "overwhelms" the heart. The symptoms somewhat mimic a heart attack, but the syndrome differs in an interesting way. As a Japanese researcher discovered, the adrenaline shock deforms the left ventricle, disrupting its ability to function. It takes the shape of a vase-like device, the researcher noted, used by Japanese to trap octopi.

I'm sure some enterprising mystery writer can use these modes of death in a sinister way. Could a fatally boring lecturer be charged with...never mind.

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