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Dr. Lindsey Rosman, UNC CardiologyA CNN news report says there’s little doubt the 2016 election was stressful, recognizing researchers have evidence that the tumultuous campaign may have affected people’s hearts. The study of 2,500 people living in the swing state of North Carolina shows an uptick in cases of irregular heart rates in October and November of 2016, as voters were inundated with attack ads.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the group found a 77% increase in cardiac arrhythmias–during a six week “hazard period” from October 25 to December 6, 2016–compared to the control period, which occurred from June 1 to July 12.

“American politics are stressful. I think for many Americans, the 2016 US presidential election in particular was very stressful, due to the unprecedented levels of anxiety, animosity, and partisan rhetoric throughout the campaign and the polarized reactions to the election results,” said Lindsey Rosman, assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology, who helped lead the research.