In the News: Music Shown to Enhance Effects of Hypertension Medication, Morning People Appear to Live Longer, Depressed Mothers May Have Children with Lower IQs

A new study shows that certain music enhances the effects of hypertensive medication. New research has proven that music lowers heart rate and blood pressure on its own without any medication. However, a study conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil has recently demonstrated that the effects of music go even further to augment the effects of medications for this condition. Thirty-seven participants who had been taking hypertension medication for six months to a year listened to music for 60 minutes after taking their normal daily dose, and researchers took their vitals at the 20, 40, and 60-minute marks. The heart rates of the participants dropped significantly after an hour when listening to music, and not at all on the days that they sat without music. Researchers believe this could be due to music activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that slows heart rate, or the gastrointestinal system, causing the drug to be digested and absorbed faster. The study must be replicated with more participants with varying degrees of severity in their hypertension, but these results suggest that some musical intervention is worth a shot for anyone wishing to see more improvement without changing their prescription. If you have high blood pressure, here are five surprising reasons why. (MNT)

Night people are shown to have a 10% higher risk of death from any cause than morning people. This conclusion was formed after researchers controlled for age, sex, smoking, body mass index, sleep duration, and other variables presumed to affect life expectancy, in a sample of 433,268 people aged 38 to 73. Participants classified themselves as “definite morning”, “moderate morning”, “moderate evening”, and “definite evening” people and the researchers followed each of them for about six years. Not only did “definite evening” show a 10 percent increased risk of death than the “definite morning” group, each of these intervals between the two types in classification saw a significantly increased risk of disease. Night owls were 30 percent more likely to have diabetes and twice as likely to have a psychological disorder than morning people. The size, length, and statistically significant results of this study make it credible; night people can decrease risk by gradually making their bedtime earlier and not bringing smartphones to bed with them to make it more likely that they fall asleep right away. Want to become a morning person? Try these six tips. (NYT)

A new study suggests a mother’s depression has long-term effects on her children’s learning and development. The study spanned from birth to adolescence, tracking the mother’s depressive symptoms, the child’s cognitive development, and aspects of the home life to indicate the level of engagement between the two. The results showed that if the mother had depression when the child was one, it led to decreased developmental levels in the child through the age of 16, coupled with the fact that depressed mothers were less likely to engage and provide learning materials. Researchers also found the opposite to hold true: Early signs of low IQ in a child made mothers become less likely to engage, and actually increased the mother’s depressive symptoms after the child entered adolescence. The study was done in Chile, and researchers worry that the results may not be applicable across nationalities and cultures, but they do stress the importance of early enrichment programs for kids to reach their full potential regardless of home life. (ABC)