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Super Bowl losses linked to heart attacks in new study

This file photo shows a football and TV remote.

January 31, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Football fans are known for their passion. But doctors warn there is a very real relationship between heart attacks in cities whose teams have lost the Super Bowl.

The latest research gives new meaning to the term "diehard fans."

"The heart is affected by emotion and stress," said Dr. Shephal Doshi, the director of cardiac electrophysiology at St. Johns Health Center.

Doshi points to a new study showing a link between specific Super Bowl losses and heart attack hospital admissions. Local researchers looked at various outcomes, including the 2008 New York versus New England match-up. It was a crushing blow for the Patriots.

In the 1980 Super Bowl, the Rams lost to the Steelers in a very close game. Eight days following that game, researchers noted a surge in cardiac deaths in the Los Angeles area.

"What really hurts is when you lose. Whether it's emotional or whether it's physical, you saw the highest rates of cardiac events happening in the cities when they lost the big game," said Doshi.

Researchers also found predictable wins -- like when the Raiders beat the Redskins in 1984 -- were better for fans overall. The take home message: It's not whether you win or lose; it's about keeping your emotions in check.