Data Points

By Zachary Block '99 / March / April 2003
June 22nd, 2007

Honking for Heart

Trouble Want to know your risk for developing heart disease? Instead of checking your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, you may want to ask yourself: Do I suffer from road rage? Am I overly cynical? According to a study published in the November Health Psychology, older men who tested high for hostility were much more likely to suffer from heart disease than their mellower peers. In fact, the personality trait was a better indicator of future heart troubles than a host of physiological measures, says psychiatry professor Raymond Niaura, who was the lead author. “We can’t say what the mechanism was, but it may have to do with elevated levels of stress hormones,” Niaura says. “A hostile person may be making their own world a stressful environment.”



Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

Proper nutrition can make a big difference in elementary-school students when it comes to academics, attendance, and attitude, according to a report in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism’s 2002 supplement. After following ninety-seven inner-city fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders, researchers concluded that participating in a free school-breakfast program improved nutrition, which in turn correlated with significant progress in academic performance and behavior. “It’s an important way to help children learn,” says Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Maria Pagano, who worked on the study.

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March / April 2003