SUPERBOWL MADNESS – AGAIN


Apparently, the Superbowl can make you have a heart attack.  At least that’s what a misleading headline on Health.com suggests.  The first paragraph makes it worse:

This Sunday’s Super Bowl could prove to be a real heartbreaker for some fans of the losing team. A new study suggests that the emotional stress fans feel after a loss may trigger fatal heart attacks, especially in people who already have heart disease.

The point seems to be that stress and grief over your team’s loss can trigger cardiac difficulties.

But this is old news.  We’re known about stress (ACTH and all that) for quite some time.  Excessive stress, any excessive stress, can lead to medical emergencies, even death, especially in vulnerable populations.

Also, there is only one study; and in the medical, drug and mental health fields, you never base any conclusions, however tentative, on a single study, especially when it involves an uncontrolled sample and only two data sets (in this case, the 1980 and 1984 Super Bowls).

Before this finding takes on any semblance of credibility, it needs to be replicated many times, in different settings, using different stressors; and I dare to speculate that at the end of the day, we will still know what we already know – stress can lead to complications, especially in vulnerable populations.

As far as I am concerned, this is irresponsible reporting, especially since it buries comments that question the study’s results further down in the article.  That should have been done in the very second paragraph, to provide balance for the sensationalism of the headline and the initial paragraph.

Finally, I ask myself why any researcher would be so silly as to use the Superbowl to make any sensational claim.  To me, that unhappy event was forever tainted when feminist “scientists” had targeted it in 1993, by maliciously claiming a (nonexistent) sharp spike in domestic violence against women on that presumably testosterone-soaked day.  Me, I would’ve given the Superbowl a rest by choosing another sports event, like maybe the curling championships in Canada or Scotland.  Or maybe I would have researched something else altogether, like why so many scientists don’t spend sufficient time thinking through their experimental designs.

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About Michael J. Kubat

I'm a grumpy Czech-born clinical social worker who is vitally interested in the survival in the United States as a viable democracy and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
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