As any classic Hollywood film will tell you, it is the woman, not the man, whose heart is left broken on the plains of Tara. Before, women could be comforted with the thought that, in the world of heart-mending, science, if not realism, was on their side. Estrogen, a female hormone, has been shown to help blood vessels regenerate in the uterus and yes, the heart. However, a study by Australian researchers published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine implies that men may be catching up.
The study found that male mice fetuses can also begin new blood vessel regeneration as a result of treatment with androgens. Androgen is a hormone like testosterone that aids males in becoming males. This includes having a direct effect on masculine sex organs (though a link to football and refusing to ask for directions has yet to be found). New blood vessel growth is key in helping post-heart attack and stroke victims.
In the study, researchers induced mice to have a heart attack which damaged their blood vessels. Mice that were castrated and therefore not treated with androgens could not begin to regenerate vessels as well as those who received normal androgen levels. Thus, researchers have concluded that one day androgens may be able to help treat or alleviate problems in male patients with heart disease. And frankly, my dear, I bet he gives a damn about that.