Today’s Headlines: Helpful Advances in Hearts, Birth Order, and Migraines

Men and women’s hearts are different. A new study found as men and women age their hearts react differently to the aging process. “The study focused on one heart chamber, the left ventricle, which pumps oxygenated blood out of the heart into the body. As people age, the left ventricle declines in its capacity to pump blood. But the researchers found that this decline happens differently depending on a person’s sex: In men, the heart muscle around the chamber grows larger and thicker with age, while in women the muscle maintains its size or gets smaller, the researchers found.” This may change the way that doctors approach heart treatments for things such as heart failure. For example, providing medication for heart failure that decreases thickness in the heart is helpful for men but not women: with this new knowledge doctors may now be able to customize treatments based off of gender-specific needs. (Fox)

Stereotypes for oldest, middle, and youngest children may not be backed by scientific fact. For years stereotypes have pervaded birth order—oldest is bossy, middle is rambunctious, youngest is spoiled—but now science is saying those personality traits don’t necessarily hold true. “Surveys included questions about a person’s birth order in addition to their IQ, their self-reported intelligence, and five standard aspects of personality: extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and imagination. The researchers noticed that, in line with plenty of earlier research, oldest kids scored higher on intelligence tests, with slightly declining IQ as one gets further down sibling ranks. The rest of the data, however, showed weak statistical significance when it came to how birth order influenced those five measures of personality.” The study didn’t necessarily shut down the birth-order theory for good, but it did raise more questions and need for additional research. (Time)

Mint may help your migraines. It’s not proven or known how exactly mint helps headaches and migraines but in a recent study it was found as a potential solution. “One rigorously designed study found peppermint oil applied to the forehead and temples was effective for tension headaches. A study published earlier this year found a menthol gel helped ease migraines, but the work is preliminary and some scientists warn that migraine patients may be highly sensitive to smell during an attack, making a minty aroma potentially unpleasant.” The researchers added that one advantage of mint is that it does not usually cause relapses in pain like over-the-counter drugs can when used as headache remedies. (WSJ)