Tom Jacobs writes: Why does one community have higher levels of heart disease than another? Some of the reasons are obvious, such as income and education levels or local eating and exercise norms.
But as epidemiologists have long argued, other likely factors are more ephemeral. Among them: how angry or content the residents tend to feel, and whether the environment fosters a sense of social connectedness.
Measuring such things is tough, but newly published research reports telling indicators can be found in bursts of 140 characters or less. Examining data on a county-by-county basis, it finds a strong connection between two seemingly disparate factors: deaths caused by the narrowing and hardening of coronary arteries and the language residents use on their Twitter accounts. [Continue reading…]