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‘The most amazing machine that nature has devised’: Wash U alumnus’ book explores human heart

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar is the author of the new book 'Heart: A History.'
Dr. Sandeep Jauhar is the author of the new book 'Heart: A History.'
Dr. Sandeep Jauhar is the author of the new book 'Heart: A History.'
Dr. Sandeep Jauhar is the author of the new book 'Heart: A History.'

This segment aired Oct. 15, but an online version of this story was first posted Sept. 27.

The heart has symbolized human emotion and affection since ancient times. Philosophers of the past considered the heart the “seat of the soul,” believing it to be, not only a life-sustaining organ, but also a representation of our internal lives.

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar’s latest book 'Heart: A History' lends credence to the persistent cultural comparison between the physical and metaphorical heart, even suggesting that the future of heart research depends on scientists’ willingness to recognize this relationship.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, the Washington University School of Medicine alumnus told host Don Marsh that we, “need to pay more attention to our emotional lives to preserve our hearts.”

He asserts that stress management plays a key—though often under-studied—role in maintaining heart health.

Jauhar urges scientists to consider a more holistic approach to treating heart diseases, one that considers the emotional as well as the mechanical.

“How you cope with stress, how you transcend distress, the quality of your relationships—these things are also a matter of life and death,” he said.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillCaitlin LallyLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Xandra Ellin is so psyched to join the St. Louis on the Air team as this fall’s production intern! Xandra graduated from Wesleyan University this spring with a degree in Psychology and American Studies. She found ways to incorporate a passion for radio into her academic pursuits, with an honors thesis that dealt with the psychological and sociocultural phenomena that have historically made localized radio a viable mechanism for social change in American communities. Xandra’s career in public radio began at her college radio station, WESU, where she was the Public Affairs Director by day and a music DJ by night. She has also had two production internships prior to this one: one at WYPR in her home city of Baltimore, MD in 2017 and another at WNPR in Hartford, CT in 2018. When she's not at KWMU, Xandra spends her time going for runs, watching bad reality television, and serving up some quality local artisan brews through her side hustle at the Craft Beer Cellar in Clayton.