That movie may be more blood­cur­dling than you think

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Movies about tor­mented souls of the dead, san­ity-jeop­ar­diz­ing vi­sions of ter­ror, and tod­dler-sized dolls that seem­ingly come to life will have movie­go­ers throw­ing up their hands in hor­ror in 2016. But beware the lurk­ing health ef­fects of those fright-filled flicks.

The term “blood­cur­dling” may have come about with good rea­son, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study.

Af­ter watch­ing “In­sid­i­ous,” the story of a co­matose child lured by spir­its, dis­tressed view­ers had in­creased lev­els of a blood­clot­ting pro­tein linked to deep vein throm­bo­sis and pul­monary em­bolism. Se­verely low lev­els are linked to he­mophilia. It’s not as ghastly as it sounds though, the study au­thors sug­gested. There is at least one po­ten­tial evo­lu­tion­ary ben­e­fit—“pre­par­ing the body for blood loss dur­ing lifethreat­en­ing sit­u­a­tions.” The find­ings were pub­lished in the Christ­mas edi­tion of the BMJ.

Re­searchers from Lei­den Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter in the Nether­lands re­cruited 24 vol­un­teers age 30 and younger for the ex­per­i­ment. Four­teen watched the hor­ror film first, fol­lowed by a “non­threat­en­ing” ed­u­ca­tional movie a week later. The other 10 watched the same films in re­verse or­der. Blood sam­ples were taken be­fore and af­ter each movie.

While blood-clot­ting pro­tein lev­els rose in 57% of the par­tic­i­pants dur­ing the scary movie, it only did so in 14% dur­ing the ed­u­ca­tional one. Pro­tein lev­els also dropped in most peo­ple dur­ing the ed­u­ca­tional film, but they dropped in fewer than half of par­tic­i­pants screen­ing the hor­ror movie. Ul­ti­mately, none of th­ese blood­cur­dling ex­pe­ri­ences re­sulted in blood­clot­ting con­di­tions for view­ers. “The ef­fect of acute fear on the coag­u­la­tion sys­tem is still to be un­rav­eled,” the au­thors noted.

In the mean­time, thrillseek­ers can en­joy get­ting them­selves safely ter­ri­fied in the twisted plots of the more than 60 hor­ror films ex­pected to be re­leased this year.

Just sit back … and scream.

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