There is a greater chance of people who undergo a lot of mental strain contracting heart diseases, according to a new research which correlated simultaneous changes in blood pressure and brain activity during stress.
Most of what is known about the brain and its links to stress and heart disease has been taken from research on animals. But the new study on humans used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), a non-invasive technique for imaging brain activity.
While they were inside an MRI scanner, 20 healthy men and women performed a computer task to create mental stress that consequently increased their blood pressure, says the study that appeared in the current issue of Psychophysiology.
Large rises in blood pressure during mental stress are associated with higher levels of activity in the regions of the brain associated with experiencing negative emotions and generating physiological responses in the rest of the body, the researchers said.