Physiological Stressors Can Trigger Heart Disease Risk: Study

Doctor with stethoscope and red heart shape with icon heartbeat in hands on hospital backgroundPhysiological stressors can affect the heart in various ways. A new study from the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI) found that it’s not uncommon for people to live without any knowledge of an underlying genetic heart condition until a stressor brings it to the surface. Just one external impact such as a heart attack is all it takes to induce the expression of heart diseases later in life.

For the study, Dr. Jonathan Cordeiro and his team used fibroblasts (skin cells) from a patient who had been electrocuted to generate human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC). This type of cell can be directed to any type of cell such as heart cells to study disease.


Stem cells are helpful in research as they are patient specific. Not everyone responds to a drug, but with access to a patient’s cells, it can be determined how cardiomyocytes respond to drug treatment. This can allow for more personalized and patient-specific treatment programs.

Through the use of hiPSC and a combination of other techniques such as calcium imaging and electrophysiology, genetic mutations that cause cardiac arrhythmias can be traced. By utilizing these testing techniques, physicians may be able to find patients who carry mutations and more effectively treat the conditions which could otherwise lead to sudden cardiac death.

“This study is an excellent example of investigators from different areas of expertise working together to resolve a common problem. It was enjoyable to work with the other co-authors,” said Jacqueline Treat.

Case Study

This study was based on one patient who was severely electrocuted in a work accident. After the accident, he began exhibiting signs of multiple cardiac arrhythmias.

In this situation, electrocution was the physiological stressor that resulted in long-term cardiac alterations. The patient was shown to carry several genetic mutations linked to Early Repolarization Syndrome and Short QT Syndrome, two severe cardiac arrhythmia conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

While avoiding a physiological stressor may be out of your control, maintaining a healthy heart lifestyle can go a long way to keeping any underlying conditions away.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.