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Super Bowl may affect women more than men

A revealing new study says that a Super Bowl loss could mean the difference between life and death, especially for women.

January 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
As everyone gets ready for the Super Bowl, local researchers offer a warning for fans: Don't get that emotional. New findings report that a Super Bowl loss can have a killer effect, especially for women.

Forget the Super Bowl. The real match-up is between Green Bay Packer fan Patricia Tarin and her Pittsburgh Steeler nemesis Rebecca Washington.

"You feel very stressed and your emotions are running high because it's serious," Washington said.

It's all in fun, but according to Dr. Robert Kloner of Good Samaritan Hospital's Heart Institute, the emotions associated with winning and losing can mean the difference between life and death, especially for women.

In a new study, he and his colleagues took a fresh look at the mortality rates surrounding the heated 1980 Super Bowl showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After seven lead changes, the Rams lost.

"There was a 15 percent increase in cardiac deaths in men, but a 27 percent increase in cardiac deaths in women, which actually surprised us," Kloner said.

"Women embrace the teams moreso," Tarin said. "We are women. We are emotionally attached to our teams."

That may be one reason why they have more heart attacks. But doctors suspect there may be another reason.

"If the man becomes angry or upset due to the Super Bowl loss, this may translate to a negative emotional reaction in the female partner," Kloner said.

In the same study, Kloner said when the Los Angeles Raiders won against the Washington Redskins in 1984, cardiac-related deaths dropped primarily in women.

"It's just a game. People should remember that," Kloner said.