Broken hearts and how to heal them

Broken hearts and how to heal them


September 29, 2023, 11 p.m. ET

Just a generation ago, “grief” was an overused literary metaphor but not a true medical event. The first person to recognize this pathology was a Japanese cardiologist named Hikaru Sato. In 1990, Dr. Sato identified the curious case of a patient who showed symptoms of a heart attack even though her test was negative. He named it “Takotsubo syndrome” after noticing that the left ventricle of his heart had changed shape during the episode to resemble a takotsubo, a traditional octopus trap. A 2001 Japanese study not only confirmed Sato’s identification of a sudden cardiovascular event mimicking a heart attack, but also highlighted the common factor of emotional distress in these patients. It took 4,000 years for the medical profession to recognize what the poets had been saying all along: broken heart syndrome is real.

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With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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