Feeds

Is heart rate correlated with birth order?

Beating to a different tune

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Also in this week's column:

Is heart rate correlated with birth order?

Asked by Lotti Otunnu of Lagos, Nigeria

Those who continue to believe that heart rate is correlated with birth order may not realise that such a notion is based upon only one study. The study dates back to the 1940s and involved 778 children from the town of Hagerstown, Maryland.

During routine public health screening, the heart rates of the 400 boys and 378 girls who attended one school were measured. It was found that the first-born and second-born children had statistically significantly shorter cardiac cycles, diastole, and systole compared with children who were third-born, fourth-born, or born even later in families (it's well to remember that families were often larger in those days). Strangely too, this heart rate difference was found to be greater in boys than in girls.

The heart is continually filling and emptying with blood. The "cardiac cycle" is the term for this process and consists of the complete cardiac diastole, systole, and all time intervals in-between. "Diastole" is the time at which the filling of the heart's ventricles with blood occurs. "Systole" is the contraction time at which the emptying of the heart’s ventricles occurs.

In the Hagerstown study there was no explanation for the curious finding of heart rate being associated with birth order. However, speculation included a possible previously unknown mysterious maternal factor appearing in the second, third, or subsequent pregnancy having a bearing upon the development of the child's heart.

A US Public Health Service study found no corroboration for the Hagerstown finding. A single article, authored by Antonio Ciocco, was published in Human Biology in 1943. Since then, research has failed to again find the association found in Hagerstown or anything similar.

For example, birth order was found to have no relationship to blood pressure in a 1980 study in the The American Journal of Epidemiology. That study was undertaken by Dr M Higgins and five colleagues from the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, about 61 miles from Hagerstown.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?