Can your tweets predict your heart health?
By DR. KAREN LATIMER
Most people understand the risk factors for heart disease - high cholesterol, hypertension, family history and obesity all contribute. But, can your tweets also predict risk of developing heart disease? A new study out of the University of Pennsylvania says they can.
Your tweets reflect your current state of mind, and certain emotions, like anger, stress, exhaustion and frustration increase your likelihood of cardiovascular disease. How do you measure a population's mental state? By looking at Twitter of course. Billions of people use Twitter to vent, exclaim, complain, rejoice and share. That's a lot of data showing what people are feeling.
Researchers looked at tweets by geographic area, focusing on both positive and negative key words like "hate" and "wonderful" and mapped them. They then compared their findings with heart disease rates in the same areas. They claim Twitter was better able predict mortality from cardiac disease than a traditional model which looks at demographic, socioeconomic and health risk factors combined.
If nothing else, the study underscores the importance of stress reduction and maintaining a positive attitude ... even in the midst of this dreary winter. #BeHappy
Image from University of Pennsylvania
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