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Super Bowl loss might affect your heart, study says

January 31, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health

Those who plan to watch the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, you'd better hope your team wins. Really. A new study suggests that being a fan of a losing Super Bowl team just might increase the risk of a fatal heart attack.

The study published Monday in Clinical Cardiology looked at two Super Bowl games: one in which the L.A. Rams lost (1980) and one in which the Los Angeles Raiders won (1984). Researchers then looked at death rates in the Los Angeles area during the Super Bowl period. The study found:

"A [Super Bowl loss] triggered increased deaths in both men and women and especially in older patients, whereas a [Super Bowl win] reduced death more in those aged older than 65 years and in women." The study also noted that the 1980 game was much more intense and played at the Rose Bowl in Southern California, which may have meant more emotionally charged fans. Check out the full study here.

Of course, this parsing of statistics seems to assume that a significant percentage of L.A. residents were fans of the L.A. team or at least emotionally invested in the game in some way. In L.A., that might be assuming a lot.

In any case, there's one sure-fire way to avoid any possible Super Bowl risk: Don't watch.

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