Broken heart is not just a poetic metaphor. It’s no “prose” either, but a drama — a disturbing condition, known in medical science as the ‘broken heart syndrome’ and medically known as Takotsubo stress cardiomyopathy (TSM).
ТSМ, which was first described in Japan in 1990, is usually sparked by stress, following life events such as losses of family members or friends, involvement in an accident or rueful feelings caused by relationship break-ups – mostly affecting women.
A team of researchers at Scotland’s Aberdeen University has spent four years studying the syndrome. The result of the study might as well break your heart: “There is no known treatment for the condition.”
Patients suffering from TSM might experience severe chest pains associated with a heart attack, medics say, but when their coronary arteries are checked, no blockage is found. Heart muscle, however, functions poorly and “patients can go downhill very quickly.”
Sadly, Time is no cure for broken hearts. Sometimes, folk wisdom doesn’t measure up against science.
Researchers studied brokenhearted patients as a group rather than individual cases. More sophisticated diagnostic tools, including Cardiac Magnetic Resonance and Spectroscopy, were used to determine that abnormalities in the hearts of suffering people don’t go away with passage of time.
“The usual test for heart function is an echocardiogram (Echo) test and when we conduct this it shows that the heart is back to normal… However, when talking to the patients they report that they are still not feeling themselves, cannot take part in strenuous activity and many have been unable to return to work.”
[…]We also observed that the ability of the heart to generate the energy it needs to produce a pumping action was very much reduced,” said Dana Dawson, lead scientist of the Aberdeen research team.
Researchers say they need to get a better understanding of the complaint’s exact causes first, before further studies can be carried out into possible treatments.
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ― Rose Kennedy.
I knew it all along…