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Mending Broken Hearts at Queen Mary this Valentine’s Day

Queen Mary, University of London will be offering something a little different this Valentine’s Day- an exclusive event that asks the question poets, lovers and singletons have been musing for centuries: can you die from a broken heart?

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Queen Mary’s Pathology Museum at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield will open its doors on Tuesday 14 February to those with a medical interest in the human heart, and anyone keen to avoid a clichéd Valentines night out.

After complimentary wine and chocolate, guests will be treated to a double-bill of Valentines themed lectures from two medical experts specialising in the heart.

Dr Alexander Lyon of Imperial College will speak on ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’, or stress cardiomyopathy. He will expose the facts and myths about the condition- a severe weakening of the heart muscles that can occur after an emotional or physical trauma, such as a stroke, seizure or the sudden loss of a loved one. The health benefits of chocolate will then be revealed by the University of Cambridge’s Dr Samantha Warnakula.

This National Pathology Year 2012 event will be introduced by Dr Catherine Molyneux, Director of Anatomical Studies at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary.

The Pathology Museum, which is not usually accessible to the public, is located in the Robin Brook Centre at Bart's Hospital on Queen Mary’s West Smithfield campus and its collection focuses on cardiovascular, reproduction and gynaecology, cancer and forensic medicine. It houses some 5,000 plus specimens, many dating back to the 1800s.

Dr Molyneux comments: “The Museum is hosting this unique Valentines event as part of National Pathology Year – a series of events taking place across the UK to celebrate the medical achievements made through the study of disease.

“This is a unique opportunity for the public to come inside the museum, which is such a valuable resource for research and teaching. Compared with what a lot of other people may be doing on Valentine’s Day, it’s sure to be a fascinating and extremely different experience.”

In keeping with the theme, a range of anatomical heart specimens will be on display at the event. Guests will also have the opportunity to raise money for the British Heart Foundation through a raffle for cakes donated by the recently opened tea shop and vintage store ‘Crimson Heart’ in Shoreditch.

Dr Alexander Lyon is a Senior Lecturer in Cardiology at Imperial College London and a Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital, where he is also theme leader for heart failure research in the Biomedical Research Unit.

Samantha Warnakula, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, will speak on How Chocolate Can Benefit Heart Health. With colleagues at Cambridge, she recently conducted a review of seven earlier studies into the health benefits of chocolate, five of which showed evidence that chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease.

Unfortunately, the Cambridge researchers confirmed that while most studies suggest that chocolate’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help heart health, a majority of chocolate products available to buy for consumption are also high in fat and calories, essentially cancelling out any benefits it may have for the heart.

Tickets for this unique event are free and can be booked online.

“Mending Broken Hearts” Seminar
Tuesday 14 February
6pm – 8pm
The Pathology Museum
3rd Floor Robin Brook Centre
Bart’s Hospital site
West Smithfield,
London EC1M 6BQ
t: 020 7882 8766 or 2216

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