Brain clue to Takotsubo cardiomyopathy

5th March 2019

Scientists have shown for the first time that the brain is involved in the development of a heart condition called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy - often referred to as ‘broken heart’ or ‘stress-induced’ cardiomyopathy.

Researchers studied the brains of 15 people with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTS) and found that there were visible differences compared with scans from 39 healthy, control patients.

Professor Christian Templin, principle investigator at the Registry and professor of cardiology at University Hospital Zurich, said: “For the first time, we have identified a correlation between alterations to the functional activity of specific brain regions and TTS, which strongly supports the idea that the brain is involved in the underlying mechanism of TTS.”

There was less communication between brain regions involved with controlling emotions and unconscious or automatic body responses, such as heartbeat. These brain areas are the ones that are thought to control our response to stress.

Joel Rose, chief executive of Cardiomyopathy UK, said: "This is an important piece of research that will help to shape our understanding of a form of cardiomyopathy that is often overlooked and remains something of an enigma.

"The people with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy that we support will certainly welcome this new effort to understand the role that the brain plays in this condition and why some people are more susceptible than others. We hope that this research will lead to further focus in this area and greater collaboration between neuroscientists and cardiologists."

For more information about Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, click here.