People do die of heartbreak

Scientists reveal the secret of how people die from broken hearts after tests show that stressful life events raise levels of two key molecules in heart cells.

Stressful life events raise levels of molecules called “broken heart syndrome.”

Scientists have figured out why people sometimes die of heartbreak after grief or the breakup of a relationship. They found that stressful life events increase levels of these two molecules in heart cells, which play a crucial role in the development of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or “broken heart syndrome.”

This breakthrough, made by Imperial College London, opens the way to new treatment options that could prevent future deaths. The syndrome occurs when the heart muscle suddenly weakens and the left heart chamber changes shape. Scientists have been baffled by the biological triggers of Takotsubo syndrome. But now they have linked it to microRNAs 16 and 26a, which regulate how genes are decoded and activated during stressful periods.

These molecules have been linked to depression, anxiety, and stress, suggesting that prolonged stress accompanied by severe shock could trigger the syndrome.