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The notion that personality impacts health is hardly new. But as psychologist Sara Weston of Washington University in St. Louis and her colleagues point out, most previous studies that address this issue have suffered from the familiar chicken-and-egg problem: Due to their design, they were unable to “distinguish between personality traits as rick factors, or as byproducts of the disease.”

To get around that issue, and to see if they could link specific personality traits with specific health issues, these researchers conducted a longitudinal study in which the personalities of participants were assessed in 2006, and their health issues were noted four years later.

They used data on 6,904 older Americans (median age 68) who participated in the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study. In order to rule out people with undiagnosed illnesses, they restricted their sample to people who had visited a doctor or clinic within the previous two years.

Participants were presented with a list of adjectives, ranging from “outgoing” and “friendly” to “sophisticated” and “dominant.” They indicated on a scale of one to four (“a lot” to “not at all”) how well each word described them. Based on their answers, they were given scores on the “Big Five” personality types: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

Four years later, they were contacted again, given a list of serious illnesses, and asked whether they had been diagnosed by a doctor with one or more of them. “Nearly every test of personality differences between individuals with a disease and those without proved statistically significant,” the researchers report.

Overall, high conscientiousness, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and low neuroticism were associated with better health or absence of disease.

For more on these findings, and how your personality could be affecting your health click here.

3D printing has reached increasingly new heights in the medical world of late after a Brooklyn based heart surgeon used the three-dimensional technique to repair a congenital heart defect in a 2-week-old baby.

Using MRI data the 3D-print technique was implemented to create a true to life replica of the babies heart.

The baby’s heart had holes, which are not uncommon with CHD, but the heart chambers were also in an unusual formation, rather like a maze,

said Dr. Emile Bacha, head of cardiac surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, who performed the surgery July 21 at Morgan Stanley, the children’s hospital affiliate.

In the past we had to stop the heart and look inside to decide what to do,” Bacha said. “With this technique, it was like we had a road map to guide us. We were able to repair the baby’s heart with one operation.

All funding to support this procedure and the future use of the 3D-print heart is funded by Matthew Hearts of Hope, a Sherman based foundation.

To read more on 3D printing in the medical field click here. 

The best treatment when faced with a cardiac emergency is to be armed with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) also known as a Public Access Defibrillator.

Chances of surviving SCA are less than 5%, however when a Public Access Defibrillator is used within the first 3 minutes of an attack, survival rates increase to 70%!

Over the years we at SCHILLER Australia have met many SCA survivors. All of whom had immediate access to a defibrillator when their attack occurred.

That is why we have made it our goal to educate the Australian community about the importance of Public Access Defibrillators and increase their accessibility in public locations across the country.

If we had it our way we would never hear of another life being lost to SCA ever again, and that is why we back Shoctober 110%!

What is Shoctober?

October is nationally recognised as Defibrillator Awareness Month.

This Shoctober, your workplace can show it cares about cardiac arrest survival by hosting their own Shoctober Event as a Defibrillator Awareness Program.

Shoctober makes helping easy, by providing the tools and resources that a workplace would need.

Would you like to get involved? You can register here.

But you better hurry, the count down is on... Only 5 more days until ShOctober 1st. 

Ronald Murphy was born with a rare birth defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means his left ventricle was not fully developed. Doctors knew of his condition from prenatal ultrasounds, and he was placed on a waiting list for a heart transplant soon after his birth.

When Ronald was born in 1996, a transplant was his only chance for survival. At age 11 weeks, an infant heart became available. 

It was never expected that Ronald would make it to his 18th Birthday, even with the life saving heart transplant. So his family celebrated Saturday with a big surprise bash! But Ronald wasn’t the only guest of honor. The family of the infant girl whose heart keeps Murphy alive was there, too.

In 1996 Kaylee Kunkel had died in Illinois two weeks after being born with multiple health problems, and her heart was sent to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. This heart was then given to Ronald and saved his life.

Kevin and Michelle Kunkel along with daughters Kenzie, 14, and Maddy, 11, drove from Pecatonica, Ill., near Rockford, because “18 is a big deal,” said Michelle Kunkel.

The Kunkels, who donated their baby girls organs 18 years ago said it was not a difficult decision. The young boy who received Kaylee’s liver died within five years of the transplant. But her heart has reached adulthood inside Ronald Murphy.

Nearly one in 100 babies across the gloabe are born with a congenital heart defect, and 10 percent of those are considered candidates for transplants because the defect can’t be corrected with surgery or other treatments. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is no longer considered an automatic cause for transplant, in part because of new surgical techniques but also because of a shortage of donor hearts.

This is the second time that the families have met. They first met when Ronald was a toddler, which he doesn’t remember. On Saturday, they met once again to celebrate Ronald’s birthday, a reminder that their daughter would have been the same age.

Picture above: Transplant recipient Ronald Murphy Jr. and his mother, Catherine Murphy (left), greet Michelle Kunkel, mother of the infant that was an organ donor in the infant heart transplant that saved Ronald Murphy's life. Photo by Sid Hastings

Looking for a cheap and enjoyable way to reduce your risk of heart disease?

New research suggests that by simply increasing your fruit consumption everyday you can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 40%!

The study that looked at more than 451,680 participants over seven years, asked the group to report their fruit consumption whether it be never, monthly, 1-3 days per week, 4-6 days per week, or daily.

The researchers found that compared to people who never ate fruit, those who ate fruit every day cut their heart disease risk by 25% to 40%. Those who ate the most amount of fruit also had much lower blood pressure compared to the participants who never ate fruit.

This is not the first time researchers have found a direct link to consuming raw fruit and having better heart health. Another study monitored 110,000 men and women over 14 years and found that people who ate fruit and vegetables every day had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and some other studies have delved even further into the topic and found that citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits have especially protective benefits.

An apple a day really does keep the Doctor way.

Had a big weekend? Don't sweat it! A recent study published by the European Society of Cardiology claims pairing wine with regular exercise is actually good for your heart. 

Scientists tracked the results of people who drank wine five days out of the week over the course of one year. Men were allowed up to two-and-a-half glasses (0.3 L), while women drank one to two (0.2 L).

One split-gender group exercised while the other’s participants simply drank and went about their lives.

The trial, called “In Vino, Veritas,” revealed that those who worked out twice a week and drank wine showed “significant improvement” in cholesterol levels. The wine even increased levels of HDL cholesterol.

Professor Milos Taborsky, the study’s lead researcher, said in a press release that his results are conclusive.

Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease.

According to The Atlantic, participants who failed to exercise didn’t receive any noticeable health benefits, but they also didn’t suffer a significant amount of liver damage.
Taborsky said that wine by itself is not the answer.

A rise in HDL cholesterol is the main indication of a protective effect against [cardiovascular disease], therefore we can conclude that neither red or white wine had any impact on study participants as a whole.

I'll cheers to that!