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Stressful Jobs Hard on the Heart
Date:10/9/2007

uitive," Rosch added.

For that and other reasons, the new study provides "many more questions than answers," Rosch said. People who feel that job stress might be affecting their health could try changing jobs, he said, but "you never know whether you're going from the frying pan into the fire."

"Further studies are needed to establish optimal interventions," the researchers wrote. But, they said, "information about the results of this study should be disseminated in cardiac practice and in occupational health services with the aim of reducing job strain for workers returning to work" after a heart attack.

A review of the scientific literature on the relationship between stress and disease, published in the same issue of the journal, finds that stress contributes to illness from depression, cardiovascular disease and HIV/AIDS.

The review is based on a paper commissioned by the U.S. Institute of Medicine to consider the behavioral and biological mechanisms by which stress contributes to disease. Sheldon Cohen, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, is the principal author.

His team found the strongest evidence for a link between stress and depression, although studies such as the one just done in Canada also show stress boosts heart risks, too. Recent studies have shown links between stress and progression of HIV/AIDS, the review found.

One possible mechanism for the effect is behavioral, with people under stress sleeping poorly, eating badly, not exercising and not complying with medical orders, the review authors said. Stress might also have adverse effects on the body's immune and inflammatory systems.

Stress' role in cancer remains unclear, since there are many forms of cancer, some of which take a long time to develop. For that reason, progression is often difficult to measure, the authors said.

More information

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