5 New Things to Know About Your Heart

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Tickling your ear may lead to better heart health

By stimulating the tragus -- the small raised flap at the front of the ear canal -- with a TENS unit, researchers found a reduction in nervous signals to the heart, which are responsible for driving failing hearts too hard. The technique works by stimulating a major nerve called the vagus, which has an important role in regulating vital organs such as the heart. Scientists are looking into this as a possible treatment for heart failure patients.

Moderate exercise may cut risk of atrial fibrillation

New research published in the J_ournal of the American Heart Association_ says that by increasing the amount or intensity of exercise you do can decrease your risk of developing an arrhythmia. After 11 years, researchers found that the most physically active women had a 10 percent lower risk of developing A-fib, compared with those who did not walk outside for at least 10 minutes once each week.

Some types of inflammatory disorders may be linked to heart attack

A new study reveals that people who have polymyalgia rheumatica - a common inflammatory disorder among seniors that causes pain and stiffness - are more at risk of heart attacks and strokes. The risk was similar for men and women, and was highest in the 6-12 months after being diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica.

Where you live may affect your heart health

Research from the University of Michigan suggests that living in an inclusive neighborhood with helpful and friendly neighbors could reduce the risk of heart attack. However, the team notes that the study was purely observational and unable to analyze the impact of risk factors, such as family histories of cardiovascular disease and genetics.

Probiotics may help lower blood pressure

New research published in the journal Hypertension suggests that eating probiotics could help lower blood pressure. Researchers found that on average, participants who had consumed probiotics daily for 8 weeks or more had a 3.5 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure and a 2.38 mm Hg lower diastolic blood pressure compared with those who did not consume probiotics.