Optimism and Cardiovascular Disease: Meta-analysis Provides New Insights

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An optimistic outlook might keep you alive longer and reduce your risk of heart and vascular problems. That’s the conclusion of a newly published meta-analysis that took a more in-depth look at existing data on the topic as it relates to heart disease and stroke. With the assistance of Sonya Fogg, MLS, a Texas Heart Institute librarian, the team of researchers systematically combed the medical literature for studies reporting on the effects of psychological health on heart health. The systematic literature review service of THI’s Library & Learning Resource Center capitalizes on the librarians’ expertise in database searching and allows researchers to focus instead on the data and analysis.

The review and screening process identified 10 studies with data that could be pooled. Analysis of the pooled data showed that optimism seems to be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. The question that remains is how to leverage this insight into benefits for patients. Future studies into the reasons for the association between optimism and lower cardiovascular risk may help improve the treatment of heart disease and stroke.


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Chayakrit Krittanawong, Neil Sagar Maitra, Hafeez Ul Hassan Virk, Sonya Fogg, Zhen Wang, Scott Kaplin, David Gritsch, Eric A. Storch, Philippe N. Tobler, Dennis S. Charney, Glenn N. Levine. (2022) Association of Optimism with Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Mortality: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.  Am J Med.  DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2021.12.023