If you’re 50 and you plan to give your heart to your honey this Valentine’s Day, maybe you should first check to see whether it’s gotten any smaller in the last year. Researchers at St. Francis Heart Center in Roslyn, New York have determined that the human heart undergoes a particularly significant shrinkage around the age of 50. Their study examined 218 normal individuals aged 20 to 80, who were free of illness, including any cardiac problems. They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the size of the heart. Dr. Nathaniel Reichek, director of the study, noted: “It has been recognized for some time that the heart chambers get smaller with age, but what pops out in this work is that there is an inflection point,” he said of the 50-year mark, “where rapidly occurring change occurs.” The study leaves many questions, including whether or not it is possible to ameliorate this shrinkage through diet, exercise, or other interventions. Still, for Valentine’s Day, you might throw in a box of chocolates to make up for that extra cardiac shrinkage!—
For more on developmental issues related to midlife and mature adulthood, see my book The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life (Ixia Press, 2019)
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