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Study: Running marathons could permanently damage heart

Dec 7, 2011, 12:06 PM EDT

2011 Standard Chartered Marathon Getty Images

Slow down, you move to fast, you’ve got to make the morning last … I knew there was a reason I never run. In a study by a University of Melbourne researcher it’s claimed that high-endurance activities such as training for a marathon can lead to health complications, including scarring of the heart.

Lead researcher Dr Andre La Gerche, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, said: “Our study identifies the right ventricle as being most susceptible to exercise-induced injury and suggests that the right ventricle should be a focus of attention as we try to determine the clinical significance of these results.

“Affected athletes may be at risk of reduced performance — a cardiac ‘over-training’ syndrome — or it may cause arrhythmia (erratic heart beats).”

Scientists assessed 40 elite athletes with no history of heart problems who were planning to compete in one of four endurance events.

Test results showed that immediately after racing the athletes’ hearts had changed shape, growing in volume, while right ventricle function decreased.

Of course, sitting on the sofa watching sports is probably just as damaging.

  1. lewp - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    I know there’s going to be a million comments on this topic…and ven if you are a cardiologist, the heart can do some strange things that none of us can predict.

    As a heart patient myself, I’ve about come to the conclusion that it’s all a mater of time before that muscle either gives out, or the plaque in our arteries stops the flow of blood…the best we can do is do the best we can….if running marathons makes you happy, go for it… If smoking 2 packs of cigaretts is your thing, go for it…just know that we only have X number of days on this planet. Choose which way you want to spend them.

    • delsj - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:20 PM

      “a million comments” – obviously you are new to this site.

  2. lewp - Dec 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    RIP Col. Potter