Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

Tags: giving | good | for | heart | tithing | helper's | high

Get the 'Helper's High'

Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 09:05 AM

Many religions encourage their brethren to give part of their income to the poor. Tithing — giving one-tenth of your income to charity — is considered a traditional part of the Christian religion. Jews also consider philanthropy to be a mitzvah, or blessing, and an integral part of Jewish life.

Whether you give from your pocket or you give of your time, research attests to the fact that charity is good for the heart. While this has always been understood on some level, scientists are now gaining a better understanding of what it is about charity that bolsters our health as well.

Studies have found that giving to others produces changes in the brain, known as a “helper’s high.” Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke tested this theory by giving 19 people money, along with a list of causes they might contribute to. The subjects then underwent MRIs. Neurologists found that the act of making a donation activated the mesolimbic pathway, which is the brain’s “reward” center, in much the same way as if the person was eating or having sex.

But it’s not just giving money that bolsters your health. Volunteering can also produce that “helper’s high.”

A study reported in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing looked at former heart patients who volunteered to visit those currently hospitalized at the Duke University Heart Center Patient Support Program.

The researchers found that the volunteers experienced a heightened sense of purpose and a lessening of depression. Those factors also translated into a lower mortality rate.

© HealthDay

 
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Whether you give from your pocket or you give of your time, research attests to the fact that charity is good for the heart and can produce what is known as the "helper's high."
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Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 09:05 AM
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