“Today, the care of the heart has become less the province of philosophers, who dwell upon the heart’s metaphorical meanings, and more the domain of doctors like me, wielding technologies that even a century ago, because of the heart’s exalted status in human culture, were considered taboo. In the process, the heart has been transformed from an almost supernatural object imbued with metaphor and meaning into a machine that can be manipulated and controlled. But this is the key point: these manipulations, we now understand, must be complemented by attention to the emotional life that the heart, for thousands of years, was believed to contain.

And yet, medicine today continues to conceptualize the heart as a machine. This conceptualization has had great benefits. Cardiology, my field, is undoubtedly one of the greatest scientific success stories of the past 100 years. Stents, pacemakers, defibrillators, coronary bypass surgery, heart transplants — all these things were developed or invented after World War II.

However, it’s possible that we are approaching the limits of what scientific medicine can do to combat heart disease. Indeed, the rate of decline of cardiovascular mortality has slowed significantly in the past decade. We will need to shift to a new paradigm to continue to make the kind of progress to which we have become accustomed. In this paradigm, psychosocial factors will need to be front and center in how we think about heart problems.”

More on How Your Emotions Change the Shape of Your Heart by Dr. Sandeep Jauhar via TEDSummit2019.

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