The Checkup: Insomnia Increases Heart Attack Risk

The latest study linking sleeplessness and cardiovascular problems.

• I was just saying the other day how I can’t remember the last time I got a good night of sleep, and then this came out: news of a large-scale study which found that people who suffer from insomnia are at a greater risk for heart attacks. By how much you ask? Depends on what your sleeping troubles entail. Researchers found that people who have difficulty falling asleep have a 45 percent greater chance of heart attack than those who fall asleep more easily. For people who can’t seem to stay asleep at night, the heart attack risk is 30 percent greater. And among people who wake up feeling unrested, the risk is 27 percent greater. Previous studies have linked sleeplessness with other kinds of cardiovascular troubles, like blood pressure and body inflammation, which contributes to heart disease. So this latest study sort of rounds out the body of research. Scary stuff, right?

• Interesting question from the Los Angeles Times: “Should alcoholics be eligible for lifesaving liver transplants?” There’s usually a time-window of sobriety after which an alcoholic can qualify for an organ transplant. But waiting to meet that requirement accounts for 70 to 80 percent of deaths among these patients. So researchers in Europe did a study to see what would happen if patients were given transplants sooner. The LA Times has all the details.

• And because it’s Friday, I give you this: “Wash ‘Em,” Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s music video for hand-washing. It gets good at 1:02.