It's been quite a roller coaster ride around here lately. Perhaps that's why a recent research letter in JAMA caught my eye.
It's no surprise that riding a coaster can lead to a rapid rise in heart rate. What was intriguing was that, according to the study of study of 56 people (37 were men), the biggest change in heart rate happened while the cars were climbing. As the authors put it:
In a group of presumably healthy individuals, this modern roller coaster ride led to a pronounced rise in heart rate. The largest rate increase occurred during the ascent, where speed was low and there were no significant acceleration forces, suggesting a contributing role of emotional stress.
Emotional stress, eh? Gotta watch out for that. Scott Hensley over at the WSJ Health Blog went on to do a nice follow up to their initial post, interviewing a physician from Sandusky, Ohio, near to an amusement park I visited every summer as a kid -- Cedar Point. For those of you thinking of visiting thrill parks this summer, Scott's post includes some decent health tips.