Medicine: Grief Is No Killer

The notion that one can die of a broken heart is embedded in folklore. A number of medical studies have supported that view, indicating that widows and widowers are at increased risk of untimely death. But the idea that grief kills has recently come under fire. The increase in premature mortality, say some experts, now seems to be smaller than commonly believed and more apt to involve people already vulnerable. For example: couples who share the same hazards, such as smoking and poor diet.

Further doubt comes from a study reported last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. It...

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