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Editor's Correspondence |

Psychological Heart Disease?

Sarosh R. Irani, BA
Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(3):485-486. doi:.
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The observation by Ferketich et al1 that patients with depression are more likely than members of the general population to develop coronary heart disease has now been proven in both men and women. Previously, the link had been demonstrated in men only. This universal manifestation has never been associated with a neurophysiological basis, yet I believe some studies may suggest one.

Using positron emission tomographic imaging, one study demonstrated neuropathologic characteristics in the prefrontal cortex of patients with depression.2 This study showed depressed patients to have a 48% decrease in cortical volume and a 17% decrease in blood flow to this area, compared with normal subjects. The prefrontal cortex is inextricably linked with feelings, and lesions in this area cause alterations in an individual's emotional and rational states. Also, anatomically the prefrontal cortex is an area that functions in close association with the amygdala, another stucture thought to be altered in depression.

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February 12, 2001
Roberto De Giorgio, MD, PhD; Giovanni Barbara, MD; Alessandro Cecconi, MD; Roberto Corinaldesi, MD; Antonio M. Mancini, MD
Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(3):485. doi:.
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