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Lindsey Rosman, PhD
Lindsey Rosman, PhD

A first of its kind study led by Lindsey Rosman, PhD, assistant professor in the division of cardiology, showed a 77% increase in the risk of cardiac arrhythmias leading up to and during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, demonstrating that stressful political events can take a toll on heart health.

“This retrospective case-crossover study was conducted in North Carolina, which was a swing state in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” said Rosman. “People living in North Carolina were exposed to a particularly high volume of negative political commercials, advertisements and campaign events that were very intense in rhetoric. So, their stress levels may have been especially high leading up to the 2016 election.”

The study looked at data from implanted cardiac devices of 2,500 patients at three points in time: a six-week span leading up to and following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and two control periods that consisted of a six-week span from June to July of 2016, and a six-week span from October to November of 2015.

Read more from the UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine Newsroom.