Previous studies have suggested that highly stressful events, such as earthquakes and World Cup football tournament, may trigger myocardial infarction (MI). Now, scientists have found that the incidence of MI is higher during periods of perceived psychosocial stress and lower during times consistent with low stress, such as holidays.
For the study , scientists from Uppsala University and Umeå University in Sweden examined data on over 156,000 MIs registered in Swedish hospitals over an eight-year period (2006-2013) in the national quality registry SWEDEHEART.
Compared to control days, MI rates were higher on Mondays and over Christmas and New Year holidays, and lower during weekends and the month of July.
“Our study seems to suggest that psychosocial demands on behaviour influences basal biological systems, even to such an extent that they may be potential triggers for MI. How we in society have agreed on periods of work and rest is actually quite well aligned with our predisposed, internal biological clock, the circadian rhythm. However, the alignment is not perfect,” explained author, John Wallert.
He said scrapping the working-week routine would “probably be way too drastic,” but suggested that the findings of the study might have a bearing on future public health and clinical policy.