Why do men prefer nice women? Responsiveness and desire

People’s emotional reactions and desires in initial romantic encounters determine the fate of a potential relationship. Responsiveness may be one of those initial “sparks” necessary to fuel sexual desire and land a second date. However, it may not be a desirable trait for both men and women on a first date. Does responsiveness increase sexual desire in the other person? Do men perceive responsive women as more attractive, and does the same hold true for women’s perceptions of men? A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin seeks to answer those questions.Femininity and AttractivenessResearchers from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, the University of Rochester, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, collaborated on three studies to observe people’s perceptions of responsiveness. People often say that they seek a partner that is “responsive to their needs,” and that such a partner would arouse their sexual interest. A responsive person is one that is supportive of another’s needs and goals. “Sexual desire thrives on rising intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time,” lead researcher Gurit Birnbaum explains. “Our findings show that this does not necessarily hold true in an initial encounter, because a responsive potential partner may convey opposite meanings to different people.”In the first study, the researchers examined whether responsiveness is perceived as feminine or masculine, and whether men or women perceived a responsive person of the opposite sex as sexually desirable. …

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Breakthrough drug-eluting patch stops scar growth, reduces scar tissues

Scars — in particular keloid scars that result from overgrowth of skin tissue after injuries or surgeries — are unsightly and can even lead to disfigurement and psychological problems of affected patients. Individuals with darker pigmentation — in particular people with African, Hispanic or South-Asian genetic background — are more likely to develop this skin tissue disorder. Current therapy options, including surgery and injections of corticosteroids into scar tissues, are often ineffective, require clinical supervision and can be costly.A new invention by researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (reported in the current issue of TECHNOLOGY) provides a simple, affordable and — most importantly — highly effective way for patients to self-treat keloid scars. The team of scientists and engineers from NTU’s School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with clinicians from Singapore’s National Skin Centre, have developed a special patch made from polymers fabricated into microneedles, which are loaded with the US food and drug administration (FDA)-approved scar-reducing drug, 5-fluorouracil. Self-administered by patients, the microneedles attach the patch to scar tissue and allow sustained drug-release (one patch per night). The drug as well as the physical contact of the microneedles with the scar tissue contributes to the efficacy of the device, leading to the cessation of scar tissue growth and a considerable reduction of keloids as demonstrated in laboratory cultures and experiments with animals. “Most patients seek treatment due to disfigurement and/or pain or itch of scars,” says Assistant Professor Xu Chenjie from NTU who leads the study. “We wanted to develop a simple, convenient, and cost-effective device able to inhibit keloid growth in skin tissue and reduce the size of disfiguring scars,” adds Yuejun Kang, another key investigator in the study from NTU.”Self-administered treatment for keloid scars can reduce the economic burden on the healthcare system and provide a treatment option for patients who have limited access to medical care,” comments Professor Jeffrey Karp from Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, US, an expert on medical device design who was not involved in this study.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by World Scientific. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Growth of breast lifts outpacing implants 2-to-1, stats show

New statistics released today by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) show that breast lift procedures are growing at twice the rate of breast implant surgeries. Since 2000, breast lifts have grown by 70 percent, outpacing implants two-to-one. Breast implants are still by far the most performed cosmetic surgery in women, but lifts are steadily gaining. In 2013, more than 90,000 breast lift procedures were performed by ASPS member surgeons.”Many women are looking for a youthful breast by using the tissue they already have,” said ASPS President Robert X. Murphy, Jr., MD.According to the new statistics, women between the ages of 30-54 made up nearly 70 percent of the breast lift procedures performed in 2013. “The breast lift procedure is way up in my practice,” said Anne Taylor, MD, an ASPS-member plastic surgeon in Columbus, Ohio. “More women are coming to us who’ve had children, whose breast volume has decreased and who are experiencing considerable sagging,” she said. “For many of them, we are able to get rid of excess skin and lift the breasts back up where they’re supposed to be.”Kim Beckman of Casstown, Ohio is one of the women who went to Dr. Taylor. “Childbirth, breastfeeding and aging takes a toll on the body,” she said. …

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Public smoking bans linked with rapid fall in preterm births, child hospital visits for asthma

The introduction of laws banning smoking in public places and workplaces in North America and Europe has been quickly followed by large drops in rates of preterm births and children attending hospital for asthma, according to the first systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of smoke-free legislation on child health, published in The Lancet.The analysis of 11 studies done in North America and Europe, involving more than 2.5 million births, and nearly 250 000 asthma exacerbations, showed that rates of both preterm births and hospital attendance for asthma were reduced by 10% within a year of smoke-free laws coming into effect.Currently only 16% of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 40% of children worldwide are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke. To date, most studies have looked at the impact of smoking bans on adult outcomes, but children account for more than a quarter of all deaths and over half of all healthy years of life lost due to exposure to second-hand smoke.After searching systematically for both published and unpublished studies over 38 years (1975-2013) reporting on the impact of public smoking restrictions on health outcomes in children aged 12 years or younger, Dr Jasper Been from the Maastricht University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands, and colleagues identified 11 suitable studies — five North American studies describing local bans and six European studies looking at national bans.”Our research found significant reductions in preterm birth and severe asthma attacks in childhood, as well as a 5% decline in children being born very small for gestational age after the introduction of smoke-free laws,” says Dr Been.”Together with the known health benefits in adults, our study provides clear evidence that smoking bans have considerable public health benefits for perinatal and child health, and provides strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level.”*”This research has demonstrated the very considerable potential that smoke-free legislation offers to reduce preterm births and childhood asthma attacks,” says study co-author Professor Aziz Sheikh, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA, and the University of Edinburgh, UK. “The many countries that are yet to enforce smoke-free legislation should in the light of these findings reconsider their positions on this important health policy question.”*Writing in a linked Comment, Sara Kalkhoran and Stanton Glantz from the University of California San Francisco in the USA point out that, “Medical expenses for asthma exceeded US$50 billion in the USA in 2007, and US$20 billion in Europe in 2006. If asthma emergency department visits and admissions to hospital decreased by even 10%, the savings in the USA and Europe together would be US$7 billion annually.”They conclude, “The cigarette companies, their allies, and the groups they sponsor have long used claims of economic harm, particularly to restaurants, bars, and casinos, to oppose smoke-free laws despite consistent evidence to the contrary. By contrast, the rapid economic benefits that smoke-free laws and other tobacco control policies bring in terms of reduced medical costs are real. Rarely can such a simple intervention improve health and reduce medical costs so swiftly and substantially.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by The Lancet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Antidepressants during pregnancy linked to preterm birth

Antidepressant medications taken by pregnant women are associated with increased rates of preterm birth. This finding reinforces the notion that antidepressants should not be used by pregnant women in the absence of a clear need that cannot be met through alternative approaches, say researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Vanderbilt University, MetroWest Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center.”Preterm birth is a major clinical problem throughout the world and rates have been increasing over the past two decades. At the same time, rates of antidepressant use during pregnancy have increased approximately four-fold,” says lead author Krista Huybrechts, MS PhD, from the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Therefore it is essential to determine what effects these medications have on pregnancy.”Huybrechts and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies that evaluated women who took antidepressants during pregnancy and had information on gestational age at birth. The results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.”We studied 41 papers on this topic and found that the available scientific evidence is becoming clearer that antidepressant use in pregnancy is associated with preterm birth,” says senior author Adam Urato, MD, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center and MetroWest Medical Center. “The complication of preterm birth did not appear to be due to the maternal depression but rather it appears likely to be a medication effect.””Several of the studies in this review controlled for maternal depression and these studies continued to show increased rates of preterm birth in the antidepressant exposed pregnancies,” adds Reesha Shah Sanghani MD, MPH, from Vanderbilt University.”It is important to keep in mind, however, that the issue of treatment of depression during pregnancy is complex and that there are many factors to consider. Pregnant women and their providers need to weigh many issues,” says Urato. “It is crucial, though, that the public gets accurate information on this topic.”Rates of preterm birth have been increasing over the past two decades and it is a major public health concern. Children born preterm have higher infant mortality rates than full-term babies and surviving infants are at increased risk of health problems ranging from neurodevelopmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy and intellectual delays to other chronic health problems like asthma. Costs to society have been estimated to be as high as $26.2 billion per year in the US.Of the 41 studies which the authors reviewed, the majority showed increased rates of preterm birth in patients taking antidepressants. …

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Exercise training improves health outcomes of women with heart disease more than of men

In the largest study to ever investigate the effects of exercise training in patients with heart failure, exercise training reduced the risk for subsequent all-cause mortality or all-cause hospitalization in women by 26 percent, compared with 10 percent in men. While a causal relationship has previously been observed in clinical practice between improved health outcomes and exercise, this trial is the first to link the effects of exercise training to health outcomes in women with cardiovascular disease. This study, an exploratory analysis, recently was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.”This trial was uniquely positioned to review results of exercise training in women compared with men since we included a pre-specified analysis of women, we used the largest testing database ever acquired of women and the population was optimized with medical therapy,” said Ileana Pia, M.D., M.P.H., associate chief, Academic Affairs, Division of Cardiology, Montefiore Medical Center, professor of Medicine and Epidemiology & Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, the NHLBI-sponsored clinical trial investigator and chair of the Steering Committee. “Heart disease has a major impact on women. Our goal is for these findings to greatly impact the management of this challenging syndrome.”Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, responsible for one-in-four female deaths. Although women are twice as likely as men to develop heart failure following heart attack or cardiac ischemia, they are less often directed to complete an exercise program.Women with cardiovascular disease are largely underrepresented in past exercise research, and no large trial has previously studied the impact of exercise training on health outcomes for women with heart failure. The randomized, multicenter, international HF-ACTION (The Heart Failure — A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training) trial included the largest cohort of women with heart failure to undergo exercise training, and examined potential gender differences that could affect physical exercise prescription.”These findings are significant because they represent important implications for clinical practice and patient behaviors,” said Dr. Pia. “Findings suggest physicians should consider exercise as a component of treatment for female patients with heart failure, as they do for male patients.”The clinical trial randomized 2,331 patients with heart failure and a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than or equal to 35 percent to either a formal exercise program plus optimal medical therapy, or to optimal medical therapy alone. Prior to randomization, patients underwent symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise tests to assess exercise capacity, as measured by peak oxygen uptake (VO2). …

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When mothers are active so are their children — but many mothers are not

Parents are strong influences in the lives of young children, with patterns of behaviour established in the early years laying the foundation for future choices. A new study suggests that, when it comes to levels of physical activity, it is mothers who set (or don’t set) the pace.An analysis of the physical activity levels of more than 500 mothers and pre-schoolers, assessed using activity monitors to produce accurate data, found that the amount of activity that a mother and her child did each day was closely related. Overall, maternal activity levels were strikingly low: only 53% of mothers engaged in 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least once a week. The UK Government recommends achieving 150 minutes of at least ‘moderate intensity physical activity’ (such as brisk walking) over the week as one of the ways of achieving its physical activity guidelines.The results of the study are published in the journal Pediatrics on 24 March 2014. The paper ‘Activity Levels in Mothers and Their Preschool Children’ suggests that, given the link between mothers and young children, policies to improve children’s health should be directed to whole families and seek to engage mothers in particular.The research was overseen by Dr Esther van Sluijs at the MRC Epidemiology Unit and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, and led by Kathryn Hesketh (formerly of Cambridge and now UCL), in collaboration with researchers at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton.The study is the first to show a direct association in a large sample of mothers and children, both fitted with activity monitors at the same time. It shows that young children are not ‘just naturally active’ and that parents have an important role to play in the development of healthy activity habits early on in life. The research also provides important evidence for policy makers to inform programmes that promote physical activity in families with young children. Its findings suggest that all family members can benefit from such efforts.It is well established that physical activity is closely linked to health and disease prevention. Research shows that active mothers appear to have active school-aged children, who are in turn more likely than their less active peers to have good health outcomes. However, there has been little large-scale research into the association between the activity of mothers and that of preschool-aged children or about the demographic and temporal factors that influence activity levels in mothers of young children.The research published in the Pediatrics paper drew on data obtained from 554 women and their four-year-old children who are participants in the Southampton Women’s Survey, devised and run by the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit. …

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New theory on cause of endometriosis

Changes to two previously unstudied genes are the centerpiece of a new theory regarding the cause and development of endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease affecting 1 in 10 women.The discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists suggests epigenetic modification, a process that enhances or disrupts how DNA is read, is an integral component of the disease and its progression. Matthew Dyson, research assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and and Serdar Bulun, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, also identified a novel role for a family of key gene regulators in the uterus.”Until now, the scientific community was looking for a genetic mutation to explain endometriosis,” said Bulun, a member of the Center for Genetic Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “This is the first conclusive demonstration that the disease develops as a result of alterations in the epigenetic landscape and not from classical genetic mutations.”The findings were recently published in PLoS Genetics.Women develop endometriosis when cells from the lining of the uterus, usually shed during menstruation, grow in other areas of the body. The persistent survival of these cells results in chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Although the cause of the disease has remained unknown on a cellular level, there have been several different models established to explain its development.Endometriosis only occurs in menstruating primates, suggesting that the unique evolution behind uterine development and menstruation are linked to the disease. Scientists consider retrograde menstruation — cells moving up the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis — as one probable cause. Previous models, however, have been unable to explain why only 10 percent of women develop the disease when most experience retrograde menstruation at some point. Nor do they explain instances of endometriosis that arise independent of menstruation.Bulun and Dyson propose that an epigenetic switch permits the expression of the genetic receptor GATA6 rather than GATA2, resulting in progesterone resistance and disease development.”We believe an overwhelming number of these altered cells reach the lining of the abdominal cavity, survive and grow,” Bulun said. “These findings could someday lead to the first noninvasive test for endometriosis.”Clinicians could then prevent the disease by placing teenagers predisposed to this epigenetic change on a birth control pill regimen, preventing the possibility of retrograde menstruation in the first place, Bulun said.Dyson will also look to use the epigenetic fingerprint resulting from the presence of GATA6 rather than GATA2 as a potential diagnostic tool, since these epigenetic differences are readily detectable.”These findings have the potential to shift how we view and treat the disease moving forward,” Bulun said.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. …

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Yoga regulates stress hormones, improves quality of life for women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy

For women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy, yoga offers unique benefits beyond fighting fatigue, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.The preliminary findings were first reported in 2011 by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at MD Anderson, and are now published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This research is part of an ongoing effort to scientifically validate mind-body interventions in cancer patients and was conducted in collaboration with India’s largest yoga research institution, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India.Researchers found that while simple stretching exercises counteracted fatigue, patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health and better regulation of cortisol (stress hormone). Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience, which declined over time for the women in the other two groups.The study also assessed, for the first time, yoga benefits in cancer patients by comparing their experience with patients in an active control group who integrated simple, generic stretching exercises into their lives.”Combining mind and body practices that are part of yoga clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching,” said Cohen.To conduct the study, 191 women with breast cancer (stage 0-3) were randomized to one of three groups: 1) yoga; 2) simple stretching; or 3) no instruction in yoga or stretching. Participants in the yoga and stretching groups attended sessions specifically tailored to breast cancer patients for one-hour, three days a week throughout their six weeks of radiation treatment.Participants were asked to report on their quality of life, including levels of fatigue and depression, their daily functioning and a measure assessing ability to find meaning in the illness experience. Saliva samples were collected and electrocardiogram tests were administered at baseline, end of treatment, and at one, three and six months post-treatment.Women who practiced yoga had the steepest decline in their cortisol levels across the day, indicating that yoga had the ability to help regulate this stress hormone. This is particularly important because higher stress hormone levels throughout the day, known as a blunted circadian cortisol rhythm, have been linked to worse outcomes in breast cancer.Additionally, after completing radiation treatment, only the women in the yoga and stretching groups reported a reduction in fatigue. At one, three and six months after radiation therapy, women who practiced yoga during the treatment period reported greater benefits to physical functioning and general health. They were more likely to find life meaning from their cancer experience than the other groups.According to Cohen, research shows that developing a yoga practice also helps patients after completing cancer treatment.”The transition from active therapy back to everyday life can be very stressful as patients no longer receive the same level of medical care and attention. Teaching patients a mind-body technique like yoga as a coping skill can make the transition less difficult.”Through a grant from the National Cancer Institute, Cohen and his team are now conducting a Phase III clinical trial in women with breast cancer to further determine the mechanisms of yoga that lead to improvement in physical functioning, quality of life and biological outcomes during and after radiation treatment. A secondary aim of the trial, but one of great importance, stressed Cohen, is assessing cost efficiency analysis for the hospital, health care usage costs in general and examining work productivity of patients.

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The way a room is lit can affect the way you make decisions

The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first.A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough shows that human emotion, whether positive or negative, is felt more intensely under bright light. Alison Jing Xu, assistant professor of management at UTSC and the Rotman School of Management, along with Aparna Labroo of Northwestern University, conducted a series of studies to examine the unusual paradox of lighting and human emotion.”Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher wellbeing and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days can result in seasonal affective disorder,” says Xu. “Contrary to these results, we found that on sunny days depression-prone people actually become more depressed,” she says, pointing to peaks in suicide rates during late spring and summer when sunshine is abundant. Xu and Labroo asked participants to rate a wide range of things — the spiciness of chicken-wing sauce, the aggressiveness of a fictional character, how attractive someone was, their feelings about specific words, and the taste of two juices — under different lighting conditions.The results: under bright lights emotions are felt more intensely. In the brighter room participants wanted spicier chicken wing sauce, thought the fictional character was more aggressive, found the women more attractive, felt better about positive words and worse about negative words, and drank more of the “favourable” juice and less of the “unfavourable” juice.Xu says the effect bright light has on our emotional system may be the result of it being perceived as heat, and the perception of heat can trigger our emotions. “Bright light intensifies the initial emotional reaction we have to different kinds of stimulus including products and people,” she says.The majority of everyday decisions are also made under bright light. So turning down the light may help you make more rational decisions or even settle negotiations more easily. “Marketers may also adjust the lightening levels in the retail environment, according to the nature of the products on sale,” says Xu. “If you are selling emotional expressive products such as flowers or engagement rings it would make sense to make the store as bright as possible.”Xu notes the effect is likely to be stronger on brighter days around noon when sunlight is the most abundant and in geographic regions that experience sunnier rather than cloudier days.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Brain’s ‘sweet spot’ for love found in neurological patient

A region deep inside the brain controls how quickly people make decisions about love, according to new research at the University of Chicago.The finding, made in an examination of a 48-year-old man who suffered a stroke, provides the first causal clinical evidence that an area of the brain called the anterior insula “plays an instrumental role in love,” said UChicago neuroscientist Stephanie Cacioppo, lead author of the study.In an earlier paper that analyzed research on the topic, Cacioppo and colleagues defined love as “an intentional state for intense [and long-term] longing for union with another” while lust, or sexual desire, is characterized by an intentional state for a short-term, pleasurable goal.In this study, the patient made decisions normally about lust but showed slower reaction times when making decisions about love, in contrast to neurologically typical participants matched on age, gender and ethnicity. The findings are presented in a paper, “Selective Decision-Making Deficit in Love Following Damage to the Anterior Insula,” published in the journal Current Trends in Neurology.”This distinction has been interpreted to mean that desire is a relatively concrete representation of sensory experiences, while love is a more abstract representation of those experiences,” said Cacioppo, a research associate and assistant professor in psychology. The new data suggest that the posterior insula, which affects sensation and motor control, is implicated in feelings of lust or desire, while the anterior insula has a role in the more abstract representations involved in love.In the earlier paper, “The Common Neural Bases Between Sexual Desire and Love: A Multilevel Kernel Density fMRI Analysis,” Cacioppo and colleagues examined a number of studies of brain scans that looked at differences between love and lust.The studies showed consistently that the anterior insula was associated with love, and the posterior insula was associated with lust. However, as in all fMRI studies, the findings were correlational.”We reasoned that if the anterior insula was the origin of the love response, we would find evidence for that in brain scans of someone whose anterior insula was damaged,” she said.In the study, researchers examined a 48-year-old heterosexual male in Argentina, who had suffered a stroke that damaged the function of his anterior insula. He was matched with a control group of seven Argentinian heterosexual men of the same age who had healthy anterior insula.The patient and the control group were shown 40 photographs at random of attractive, young women dressed in appealing, short and long dresses and asked whether these women were objects of sexual desire or love. The patient with the damaged anterior insula showed a much slower response when asked if the women in the photos could be objects of love.”The current work makes it possible to disentangle love from other biological drives,” the authors wrote. Such studies also could help researchers examine feelings of love by studying neurological activity rather than subjective questionnaires.The full article can be found online at: https://hpenlaboratory.uchicago.edu/sites/caciopponeurolab.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Cacioppo%20et%20al_Current%20Trends%20in%20Neurology%202013.pdfStory Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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‘Sexy’ underwear is not the only way to feel feminine on Valentine’s Day

TV makeover shows and glossy magazines can leave women feeling guilty for not wearing “sexy” lingerie – especially on Valentine’s Day.But in fact, many different types of underwear could make them feel feminine, according to an expert on underwear consumption.Dr Christiana Tsaousi, a lecturer in marketing and consumption at the University of Leicester’s School of Management, believes underwear choices are hugely affected by personal taste influenced by social background, professional status and upbringing, and why every woman’s underwear needs are individual.Her research on the subject is published today by SAGE in the Journal of Consumer Culture.The ‘shaping’ underwear, for example, prescribed by reality TV shows, such as How To Look Good Naked and 10 Years Younger, is an unhelpful way of thinking about how women should choose what they wear, Dr Tsaousi has concluded.”On Valentine’s Day, some women may feel the only way to feel feminine is to wear the “sexy” underwear promoted by the media in general. But this is really not the case.”“Reality makeover shows and media in general have one purpose – to make women look feminine in line with western ideals,” she said.“They present femininity as this thing where you feel nice about yourself because you have a body that needs to be expressed. Having that as an aim, participants on the shows are given underwear that’s going to mould the body in a certain way.”But Dr Tsaousi, who has conducted extensive research into the consumption of underwear, says that women think very carefully about choosing the right underwear for the right situation – and that comfort is often as important as “sexiness”.“Women learn to choose underwear for the right situation. In an ideal world, it would be good if reality shows acknowledge that women can feel feminine by wearing different underwear.“Some women don’t like these shows because they always show a specific type of femininity, which is not the reality in most cases. They can make you feel guilty about the way you look and the way you feel about your body if you aren’t wearing underwear considered sexy.“When partners are looking to buy underwear as Valentine’s gifts for their wives or girlfriends, they should choose underwear which will fit their partners well and will make them feel comfortable – rather than the stereotypical tiny, uncomfortable types. This will ultimately lead to them feeling nice about themselves.”In her new paper for the Journal of Consumer Culture, Dr Tsaousi interviewed women from a wide range of groups and backgrounds, including university lecturers, young mums, and female rugby players. She looked at the influence of women’s upbringing, profession, age, and social status on their underwear choices.She found that some groups such as the young rugby girls favoured “cute” underwear while for others such as academics something that supports their professional dress was the main priority.“The paper indicates that women’s choices in underwear are determined by factors such as our ways of thinking, up-bringing, taste and status in society,” Dr Tsaousi said. “The paper also suggests that women make similar judgements about their underwear as they would their outerwear.”For many women another big influence on their taste in underwear is their mother.“We can’t forget that the mother normally buys the first bra for her daughter. It is the first act of being feminine, and introduces girls to the idea that they are becoming a woman,” Dr Tsaousi said.Dr Tsaousi added that the study of the consumption of underwear is an area which has not been explored in detail by academics – but is very important to the market.“Obviously women’s outer dress is visible so it is under scrutiny by others. Underwear on the other hand is hidden but people make similar judgements.“Other forms of dress have been widely discussed in consumption studies, but underwear is an area that hasn’t been fully researched. …

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Genetics impact risk of early menopause among some female smokers

New research is lighting up yet another reason for women to quit smoking. In a study published online in the journal Menopause, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania report the first evidence showing that smoking causes earlier signs of menopause — in the case of heavy smokers, up to nine years earlier than average — in white women with certain genetic variations.Though previous studies have shown that smoking hastens menopause by approximately one to two years regardless of race or genetic background, this study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that genetic background is significantly associated with a further increased risk of menopause in some white women who smoke. No statistically significant relationships between smoking, the gene variants under investigation and earlier menopause were observed in African American women.While symptoms of menopause — such as hot flashes, anxiety and insomnia — can result in discomfort, embarrassment, and irritability, the onset of menopause is also associated with risks of coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, and death from all causes. On average, women enter menopause at around 50 years of age. However, the research team now reports that menopause may begin at an earlier age in white female smokers who are carriers of two different gene variants. While the genes themselves do not result in early onset menopause, variations of the genes — CYP3A4*1B and CYP1B1*3 — were found to increase the risk of entering menopause at an earlier age in white smokers. The genetic variants were present in seven and 62 percent of white women in the study population, respectively.”This study could shed new light on how we think about the reproductive risks of smoking in women. We already know that smoking causes early menopause in women of all races, but these new results show that if you are a white smoker with these specific genetic variants, your risk of entering menopause at any given time increases dramatically,” said the study’s lead author Samantha F. Butts, MD, MSCE, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn Medicine.Results of the study, which enrolled over 400 women aged 35 to 47 from the Penn Ovarian Aging Study, found that in carriers of the CYP3A4*1B variation, the average time-to-menopause after entering the study in heavy smokers, light smokers, and nonsmokers was 5.09 years, 11.36 years, and 13.91 years, respectively. This means that for heavily smoking white females with this genetic background, the average time-to-menopause was approximately nine years earlier than in nonsmoking carriers.In white carriers of the CYP1B1*3 variation, the average time-to-menopause in heavy smokers, light smokers, and nonsmokers was 10.41 years, 10.42 years, and 11.08 years, respectively — a statistically significant difference although not as stark as the findings for the CYP3A4*1B variant.The Penn study did not examine why no statistically significant relationships between smoking, the gene variants under investigation, and earlier menopause were observed in African Americans.”It is possible that uniform relationships among white and African American women were not found due to other factors associated with race that modify the interaction between smoking and genes,” said Butts. …

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New advance in 3-D printing and tissue engineering technology

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Carnegie Mellon University have introduced a unique micro-robotic technique to assemble the components of complex materials, the foundation of tissue engineering and 3D printing.Described in the Jan. 28, 2014, issue of Nature Communications, the research was conducted by Savas Tasoglu, PhD, MS, research fellow in the BWH Division of Renal Medicine, and Utkan Demirci, PhD, MS, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Biomedical Engineering, part of the BWH Department of Medicine, in collaboration with Eric Diller, PhD, MS, and Metin Sitti, PhD, MS, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University.Tissue engineering and 3D printing have become vitally important to the future of medicine for many reasons. The shortage of available organs for transplantation, for example, leaves many patients on lengthy waiting lists for life-saving treatment. Being able to engineer organs using a patient’s own cells can not only alleviate this shortage, but also address issues related to rejection of donated organs. Developing therapies and testing drugs using current preclinical models have limitations in reliability and predictability. Tissue engineering provides a more practical means for researchers to study cell behavior, such as cancer cell resistance to therapy, and test new drugs or combinations of drugs to treat many diseases.The presented approach uses untethered magnetic micro-robotic coding for precise construction of individual cell-encapsulating hydrogels (such as cell blocks). The micro-robot, which is remotely controlled by magnetic fields, can move one hydrogel at a time to build structures. This is critical in tissue engineering, as human tissue architecture is complex, with different types of cells at various levels and locations. When building these structures, the location of the cells is significant in that it will impact how the structure will ultimately function. “Compared with earlier techniques, this technology enables true control over bottom-up tissue engineering,” explains Tasoglu.Tasoglu and Demirci also demonstrated that micro-robotic construction of cell-encapsulating hydrogels can be performed without affecting cell vitality and proliferation. …

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Variability of contact precaution policies in U.S. emergency departments

Date:February 7, 2014Source:Brigham and Women’s HospitalSummary:In a study, researchers surveyed a random sample of U.S. emergency departments and found substantial variation in the adoption of policies relating to contact precautions.In a study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology on February 7, 2014, Daniel J. Pallin, MD, MPH and Jeremiah D. Schuur, MD, MS, surveyed a random sample of US emergency departments (EDs) and found substantial variation in the adoption of policies relating to contact precautions.While most EDs have policies relating to contact precautions when specific organisms are suspected, a minority have such policies for the symptoms often caused by those organisms. This indicated that institutional policies do not mirror consensus recommendations by the CDC, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and other national bodies.The authors write, “The variation in policy that we observed leads us to recommend that emergency medicine organizations, such as the American College of Emergency Physicians, should enact policies addressing contact precautions in the ED. “Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.Journal Reference:Daniel J. Pallin, Carlos A. Camargo, Deborah S. Yokoe, Janice A. …

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Young women continue using tanning beds, despite awareness of health risks

A survey of young women who use tanning beds found that despite being aware of the health risks associated with indoor tanning, they continue to take part in the activity, according to research conducted by University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.The study, co-authored by UNC Lineberger members Seth M. Noar, PhD, of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Nancy Thomas, MD, of the UNC School of Medicine, aimed to understand what motivates young people to seek out tanning beds and how to develop messages to discourage their use among young people.In executing their survey, the researchers surveyed a population they believed were likely to be tanning bed users — members of college sororities.”We reached out to this population not only because we thought they might be tanning bed users, but also because young people are at the greatest risk of developing skin cancer as a result of tanning indoors,” said Noar. More than 28 million people use tanning beds each year, and the population most at risk from developing skin cancer as a result are users younger than 35.Results from the survey, published in JAMA Dermatology, found that 45 percent of the young women surveyed had used tanning beds, with 30 percent using one in the last year. The study also revealed that the majority of users started tanning indoors in their teens, indicating that health campaigns addressing the practice should target high school audiences.While the majority cited an improvement in appearance as a major reason for visiting a tanning parlor, the biggest factors cited by those taking the survey were the convenience of it and the way the practice makes them feel.”We found that appearance is important, but we found that other factors to be equally or even more important. For instance, many of these young women reported really enjoying the experience of tanning indoors. They reported that it reduces stress and is relaxing to them. In the study, we called this factor ‘mood enhancement'” said Noar.One of the more striking findings from the study — most who use tanning beds were aware of the health risks but did so anyway. Dr. Noar said this suggests that message designers will have to be very strategic in creating messages to impact this behavior. For example, messages could suggest alternatives — such as self-tanning products that do not rely on UV rays — instead of solely emphasizing the health risks. …

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Thinking skills take biggest hit from anxiety in midlife women with HIV

Hot flashes, depression, and most of all, anxiety, affect the thinking skills of midlife women with HIV, so screening for and treating their anxiety may be especially important in helping them function, according to a study just published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). The reproductive stage, whether it was premenopause, perimenopause or postmenopause, did not seem to be related to these women’s thinking skills.The conclusions come from a new analysis of data on 708 HIV-infected and 278 HIV-uninfected midlife women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WHIS), a national study of women with HIV at six sites across the country (Chicago, Bronx, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC). Today, nearly 52% of persons with HIV/AIDS are 40 to 54 years old. Because more women with HIV are now living to midlife and beyond, it is important to understand what challenges menopause pose for them. We learned just recently, from a study published online in Menopause in July, that women with HIV do face a bigger menopause challenge than uninfected women because they have worse menopause symptoms.Whether, how, and when the process of transitioning through menopause affects cognition have been debated. Large-scale studies of healthy women indicate that the menopause-related thinking deficiencies are modest, limited to the time leading up to menopause (“perimenopause”), and rebound after menopause. But in these women who underwent mental skills testing, menopause symptoms and mood symptoms did affect thinking skills.Mental processing speed and verbal memory were more related to depression, anxiety, and hot flashes in both HIV-infected and healthy women than the stage of menopause. Hot flashes in particular correlated with slightly lower mental processing speed, a skill that is also affected by the HIV virus. Depression correlated with decreased verbal memory, processing speed, and executive function (such as planning and organizing).Of all the symptoms measured, anxiety stood out as having the greatest impact on thinking skills, and the impact was much greater on women with HIV. Anxiety particularly affected their verbal learning skills. …

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Long-Term Disability Claims – the Leading Causes

Long-Term Disability Claims – the Leading CausesPosted onJuly 11, 2013byRichard ReichIn the 2013 Long Term Disability Claims Review, the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), examines and reports the leading causes of long-term disability claims.  The report includes causes of new claims approved during the current year, as well as existing or ongoing disability claims that were approved in previous years.From the report:The four most  common causes of existing long-term disability claims in 2012 were diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (30.7 percent of all existing claims), diseases of the nervous system and sense organs (14.2 percent), diseases of the circulatory system (12.1 percent) and cancer (9.0 percent).  These were also the top four causes in the previous two years. Cancer increased as a …

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Women, The Priesthood, & The Mormon Church

Photo courtesy of LDS.org. I was talking once with a male friend (who was of another faith than I) about a woman we both knew mutually. This woman was one I went to church with. She had a large family with many children. She had stayed home to raise them. I was talking about how talented she was. My male friend said to me, “Too bad she hasn’t used her talents to do something outside of her home. I wouldn’t want my wife to waste herself like that.”This woman had raised a large family, had a home business in which her children participated (and learned how to work), did an incredible job serving those in her community and church and was happy; she brought joy…

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