Tag Archives: #men

Women Found to be at Higher Risk for Heart Failure And Heart Attack Death Than Men (Medicine)

Research Highlights:

  • Researchers found women face a 20% increased risk of developing heart failure or dying within five years after their first severe heart attack compared with men.
  • In addition, women were more likely than men to be older and have a more complicated medical history at the time of their heart attacks.

Women face a 20% increased risk of developing heart failure or dying within five years after their first severe heart attack compared with men, according to new research published today in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation.

Heart illustration with magnification of the artery. copyright American Heart Association

Previous research looking at sex differences in heart health has often focused on recurrent heart attack or death. However, the differences in vulnerability to heart failure between men and women after heart attack remains unclear.

To study this gap, researchers analyzed data on more than 45,000 patients (30.8% women) hospitalized for a first heart attack between 2002-2016 in Alberta, Canada. They focused on two types of heart attack: a severe, life-threatening heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), and a less severe type called Non-STEMI or NSTEMI, the latter of which is more common. Patients were followed for an average of 6.2 years.

Women were older and faced a variety of complications and more risk factors that may have put them at a greater risk for heart failure after a heart attack.

In addition to the elevated risk for heart failure among women, researchers found:

  • A total of 24,737 patients had the less severe form of heart attack (NSTEMI); among this group, 34.3% were women and 65.7% were men.
  • A total of 20,327 patients experienced STEMI, the more severe heart attack; among this group, 26.5% were women and 73.5% were men.
  • The development of heart failure either in the hospital or after discharge remained higher for women than men for both types of heart attack, even after adjusting for certain confounders.
  • Women had a higher unadjusted rate of death in the hospital than men in both the STEMI (9.4% vs. 4.5%) and NSTEMI (4.7% vs, 2.9%) groups. However, the gap narrowed considerably for NSTEMI after confounder adjustments.
  • Women were more likely to be an average 10 years older than men at the time of their heart attack, usually an average age of 72 years versus 61 for the men.
  • Women also had more complicated medical histories at the time of their heart attacks, including high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, risk factors that may contribute to heart failure.
  • Women were seen less frequently in the hospital by a cardiovascular specialist: 72.8% versus 84% for men.
  • Regardless of whether their heart attacks were the severe or less severe type, fewer women were prescribed medications such as beta blockers or cholesterol-lowering drugs. Women also had slightly lower rates of revascularization procedures to restore blood flow, such as surgical angioplasty.

“Identifying when and how women may be at higher risk for heart failure after a heart attack can help providers develop more effective approaches for prevention,” said lead study author Justin A. Ezekowitz, M.B.B.Ch., M.Sc., a cardiologist and co-director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “Better adherence to reducing cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure, getting more exercise, eating a healthy diet and stopping smoking, combined with recognition of these problems earlier in life would save thousands of lives of women — and men.”

Based on these findings, study co-author Padma Kaul, Ph.D., co-director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre, said the next step is to further examine if all patients are receiving the best care, particularly women, and where interventions can address oversights.

4 chambers of the heart: right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, left ventricle. copyright American Heart Association

“Close enough is not good enough,” said Kaul, who is also the Sex and Gender Science Chair from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “There are gaps across diagnosis, access, quality of care and follow-up for all patients, so we need to be vigilant, pay attention to our own biases and to those most vulnerable to ensure that we have done everything possible in providing the best treatment.”

Co-authors are Anamaria Savu, Ph.D.; Robert C. Welsh, M.D.; Finlay A. McAlister, M.D., M.Sc.; and Shaun G. Goodman, M.D., M.Sc. Author disclosures are in the manuscript. The Canadian VIGOUR Centre funded the study.

References: http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.048015

Provided by American Heart Association

Liver Cancer Ten Times More Likely in Men With Common Genetic Disorder Haemochromatosis (Medicine/Oncology)

Men who have haemochromatosis, one of the most common genetic disorders in North America, are ten times more likely to develop liver cancer, according to a new study.

Biopsy of an iron loaded liver in a patient with hemochromatosis. The dark blue shows iron pigment within the liver. ©University of Western Ontario

Led by a team  at the University of Exeter in collaboration with Dr. Paul Adams from Western University, the research has led to renewed calls for routine early testing for the condition which causes iron overload, previously thought to be a lower-level health risk. The findings are published today in the journal JAMA.

The new study projects that more than seven per cent of men with two copies of the faulty haemochromatosis genes would develop liver cancer by age 75, compared to just 0.6 per cent in the general population. Hemochromatosis causes the body to absorb too much iron from the diet and affects one in 327 Canadians.

Reliable tests are available to identify those at risk – blood tests for measuring iron levels (serum ferritin, transferrin saturation) and genetic testing (HFE C282Y genetic blood test). Symptoms can include feeling tired all the time as well as muscle weakness and joint pains. The researchers say it can often be misdiagnosed as the signs of aging. Most of those with liver cancer develop liver damage first, often progressing to cirrhosis of the liver. Once diagnosed, the condition is easily treated by a process similar to donating blood several times a year in order to lower iron levels.

The team analyzed data from 2,890 men and women with two copies of the faulty gene (called HFE C282Y homozygous), from the UK Biobank, a large database of more than half a million British men and women recruited between 2006 and 2010 from across England, Scotland and Wales. People were aged 40 to 70 at the start of the study and were followed for a nine-year period. Twenty-one of the 1,294 men with the faulty genes studied have developed liver cancer so far, of whom 14 died due to their liver cancer. Ten of these 21 men were not diagnosed with haemochromatosis by the time they had a liver cancer diagnosis.

“The UK Biobank project is a glimpse into the future of medicine where all known genes are tested and then treatable conditions are offered treatment before serious complications develop,” said Dr. Adams, professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and associate scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute who has been studying haemochromatosis in Canada for more than four decades. “An early diagnosis of hemochromatosis can be treated by regular blood donation in Canada.”

Haemochromatosis is more serious in men, with women partially protected because they lose iron through menstruation and childbirth, although some younger women do develop the disease. The study found no increase in liver cancer risk in women with faulty haemochromatosis genes.

“Tragically, men with the haemochromatosis faulty genes have been dying of liver cancer for many years, but this was thought to be rare. The UK Biobank study allowed us to measure the cancer risk accurately. Finding that over seven per cent of men with the faulty genes are likely to develop liver cancer by age 75 is shocking. Fortunately, most of these cancers could be prevented with early treatment,” said David Melzer, professor at the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research team.

The research is led by the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK, in collaboration with the University of Connecticut, Western University and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the UK Medical Research Council.

Previously, the Exeter team found that having the haemochromatosis double faulty gene quadruples the risk of liver disease and doubles the risk of arthritis and frailty in older age groups. It also causes higher risk of diabetes and chronic pain.

References: Janice L. Atkins, Luke C. Pilling, Jane A. H. Masoli, et al., “Association of Hemochromatosis HFE p.C282Y Homozygosity With Hepatic Malignancy”, JAMA. 2020;324(20):2048-2057. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21566

Provided by University of Western Ontario

What Do Guys Think of Other Guys’ Beards? (Psychology)

A new study suggests men have stronger opinions about beards than women do.

Somewhere in our evolutionary past, hair provided humans with warmth and protection against the elements. Today, it has become more of a fashion statement than a survival feature.

As we have evolved, so too have our views on the attractiveness of body hair — especially male facial hair. For instance, psychologists have found: article continues after advertisementnull

  • Women associate men’s facial hair with aggressiveness and dominance.
  • Facial hair is related to men’s success on the marriage market.
  • Men with facial hair are judged by women to have higher social status and better parental skills.

A new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology takes this research one step further.

A team of scientists led by Lukasz Jach of the University of Silesia in Poland conducted two studies to better understand the preferences for male facial hair among men and women. They found that women’s preferences for male facial hair were ambiguous; in some cases they liked it, in other cases they didn’t. Men, on the other hand, preferred facial hair for themselves but not for other males.

The finding that men prefer facial hair for themselves but not for others has a clear Darwinian explanation.

“These results are in accordance with a signaling role of beardedness in intrasexual competition,” say the researchers. “Men may prefer having facial hair to deter their enemies and display greater masculinity or a higher social position.”

This is consistent with other research that has found angry faces to be recognized more quickly when they are accompanied by a beard.

Moreover, the lack of consistent results among women underscores just how context-dependent ratings of attractiveness can be. In Poland, for instance, researchers found women to prefer clean-shaven faces over faces with stubble or full beards. Research in the United Kingdom has found British women to prefer light stubble over full beards and clean-shaven faces.

In this study, the researchers recruited 287 men and 285 women to take part in a short survey. The researchers asked women to indicate whether, in general, they liked men to have clean-shaven faces or faces with facial hair. They asked male participants the same question in relation to their own faces.

They found that 57% of women indicated a preference for facial hair while 43% preferred clean-shaven male faces. Among men, 77% preferred facial hair for themselves while 23% preferred a clean-shaven look.

The scientists conducted a second study in which male and female participants were asked to view five visual examples of male facial hair (clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, light beard, and full beard) and were asked to indicate which look they preferred.

Preferences differed by gender. The authors write, “The majority of women preferred clean-shaven male faces (43.84%), followed by heavy stubble (26.03%) and light stubble (16.44%). Faces with light beard (10.96%) and full beard (2.74%) were the least preferred.”

For men, approximately 60% preferred some type of facial hair for themselves while 40% preferred a clean-shaven look. When judging other men, the results narrowed: approximately 50% of men preferred other males to have a clean-shaven look while 50% preferred some type of facial hair.

Perhaps the most convincing finding in this research is that women care a lot less about men’s facial hair than men might think they do. “The hypothesis that men’s preference to have facial hair is greater than the female preferences associated with male facial hair was supported,” write the authors.

References: Jach, Ł., & Moroń, M. (2020). I Can Wear a Beard, but you Should Shave… Preferences for Men’s Facial Hair From the Perspective of Both Sexes. Evolutionary Psychology, 18(4), 1474704920961728.

This article is originally written by Mark Travers, who is a psychologist and writes about human potential and the science of reaching it and is republished here from psychology today.

Why Women Can Have Multiple Orgasms and Men Cannot? (Biology / Psychology)

Gleen Geher, a psychology professor at University Of New York once invited by Gordon Gallup’s presentation at the 2007 meeting of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society. Geher had never heard him speak prior to this particular talk, but he’d heard that his presentations are in a class of their own.

His talk, titled Competition for Paternity: The impact of evolution on human genital morphology and behavior, was based on a now-famous paper (Gallup et al., 2003) arguing that the human erection is shaped as it is primarily for the purposes of displacing any seminal fluid in a woman’s reproductive tract that may have been deposited by a competing male. In short, he argued (and provided strong evidence for) the idea that the coronal ridge at the end of the erection serves the purpose of pulling out any seminal fluid that is already in the female’s tract. The research by his storied team of behavioral scientists found, using artificial male and female genitalia (along with artificial seminal fluid), found that anatomically correct and textured phalluses removed substantially and significantly more artificial seminal fluid (from artificial female parts) compared with phalluses that did not replicate the standard texture of a human erection.

This research essentially answers the question as to why the human erection is shaped with the unique characteristics that it has. From an evolutionary perspective, any adaptation that increases the likelihood of an individual being able to achieve reproductive success at a cost of the reproductive success of competitors will be naturally selected. And this explanation accounts for the unique nature of the human erection in a way that matches the data, along with the accompanying evolutionary framework, quite well.

But What About Men Displacing Their Own Semen in the Process?

Dr. Gallup’s talk at this conference in 2007 was more than a little provocative. When he finished, it was almost like people didn’t know what to say. This research sheds light on just so much about human sexuality and, in some ways, the human experience more generally.

Gleen Geher said, he was fortunate to have sat behind a woman with big hair during this talk because some of the slides were quite graphic, and at times he felt a need to look away.

During the question and answer session, a young male student asked an interesting question. He essentially asked about the possibility of a male pulling out his own seminal fluid. And, in addition, he asked if this clear possibility posed something of a problem for Dr. Gallup’s framework.

Dr. Gallup, a seasoned academic, did not hesitate in his response. He first acknowledged that it was a good question. He then paused, looking for the right words, and said essentially this: You may have noticed that after an ejaculation, an erection dissipates quickly. And it becomes uncomfortable for the penis to be touched at that state. Gleen Geher hypothesize that this is an adaptation to reduce the likelihood of the male pulling out any seminal fluid that he, himself, has just released into a female’s reproductive tract.

At that moment, every single male in the room, automatically let out something of an ohh response. As if something about their sexual experiences across their entire sexual histories was just, in one fell swoop, explained with crystal clarity. It was quite a moment, much more interesting than the experience of a typical academic conference.

Why Women Can Have Multiple Orgasms and Men Cannot?

For women, having continued orgasms after a male’s ejaculation during sex does not have any adaptive costs, as it would for men. In fact, quality and frequency of orgasms may be used as cues by women in efforts to determine various features of a mate’s quality (see Gallup et al., 2014). Thus, having multiple orgasms may provide women with a higher amount of useful data regarding a mate.
On the other hand, due to human erections seemingly shaped as they are for the purpose of displacing seminal fluid that is already in a woman’s reproductive tract, anything that would motivate continued thrusting post-ejaculation would be counter-productive from an adaptationist perspective. For this reason, male erections and concomitant sex drive dissipate quickly after ejaculation. And these facts, in combination, make it so that multiple orgasms generally aren’t possible in men.

Bottom Line

The evolutionary perspective has been wildly successful in helping us to better understand human sexuality (see my books, Evolutionary Psychology 101 or Mating Intelligence Unleashed (with Scott Barry Kaufman) for detailed treatments of this area). The work of storied behavioral scientist, Dr. Gordon Gallup, has shed light on an extraordinary number of phenomena related to human sexuality. Conceptualizing the human erection as a semen-displacement device helps us to understand a number of features of human sexuality. Including the long-standing question as to why women can have multiple orgasms and men cannot.

References: (1) Gallup, G. G., Jr., Ampel, B. C., Wedberg, N., & Pogosjan, A. (2014). Do orgasms give women feedback about mate choice? Evolutionary Psychology, 12(5), 958–978. https://doi.org/10.1177/147470491401200507 (2) Gallup, G. G., Jr., Burch, R. L., Zappieri, M. L., Parvez, R. A., Stockwell, M. L., & Davis, J. A. (2003). The human penis as a semen displacement device. Evolution and Human Behavior, 24, 277-289. (3) Gallup, G. (2007). Competition for paternity: The impact of evolution on human genital morphology and behavior. Invited address at the meeting of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society. New Paltz, NY. (4) Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer. (5) Geher, G., & Kaufman, S. B. (2013). Mating Intelligence Unleashed. New York: Oxford University Press.

This article is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses

Women’s Hearts Age Differently (Medicine / Cardiology)

Cardiologist Catherine Gebhard’s research focuses on why certain diseases affect women and men differently. For the gender medicine pioneer, the corona pandemic is both a textbook example and a call for action at the same time.

To compensate for its smaller volume, the female heart pumps at a higher rate – which brings women no benefit, according to recent data. (Image: Christoph Fischer)

A coronavirus infection affects different people in different ways. The disparity is particularly evident between men and women. “When I saw the initial infection and death numbers, it was clear to me that we had to take action,” says cardiologist Catherine Gebhard, a specialist in gender medicine.

In Switzerland, as across the world, the number of men who die from Covid-19 is around 60 percent higher than women. In some nations, the number rises to three quarters. Men are more likely to be hospitalized, occupy more beds in the intensive care unit, and need more intensive and longer treatment. “The gender differences in the progression of the disease are significant,” says Gebhard. It is therefore important for doctors to discover the reasons for these disparities, since the best way of preventing and treating the disease depends on knowing where the differences come from.

Influence of sex hormones
To come to an understanding of the causes as quickly as possible, the cardiologist and her colleagues developed a study on the influence of sex and gender on the progression of Covid-19. The study was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation as part of a special call for projects focused on coronavirus. “We assume that it is the impact of gender hormones on particular cell molecules and the differing immune responses between women and men that are chiefly responsible,” says Gebhard. These assumptions are based on well-founded hypotheses. For example, it is known that the female hormone estrogen affects molecules on the surface of the cells that the coronavirus needs to penetrate. The subject here is the membrane protein, ACE2, which can be found on the outer cell layers of the lung tissue and blood vessels that Sars-Cov-2 attacks.

Earlier studies have shown that the heart and kidney tissue in men is more densely covered with ACE2 than that of women. And initial evidence indicates that female and male sex hormones may have opposite effects on this protein. In her research, Gebhard examines the influence of estrogen on these receptor densities.

In the case of another membrane molecule, named Tmprss2, the male sexual hormone, testosterone, appears to play a role in influencing the receptors. This is indicated by preliminary successes from anti-testosterone treatments for Covid-19 conducted in Italy. Together, the two proteins form part of a larger and extremely complicated network of hormones and enzymes that regulate the volume of blood and water in the body. Investigations are twofold; some are carried out in labs using animal studies, others in clinics on patients. The University Hospital Zurich (USZ) as well as university clinics in Basel, Bern and Berlin are involved in the work. It is hoped, the researcher says, that initial results will be ready by the end of the year. The same goes for outcomes on the immune system from studies looking at gender-specific responses to inflammatory reactions.

Shrinking hearts

For Catherine Gebhard, the pandemic is a textbook example of the still little-known discipline of gender medicine. No specialist title exists here in Switzerland – in contrast to Austria, for example. Originating from Bad Säckingen am Rhein, the 42-year old doctor is a pioneer in the field, and in 2016 was appointed to the first professorship for gender medicine in Switzerland at UZH.

The turning point for her scientific career was a discovery by her former boss, head of echocardiography at the University Hospital Zurich. Here, where ultrasound equipment is used to visualize and measure the ventricles and valves of the heart, her mentor noticed that the hearts of older women beat more strongly than those of men of the same age. Gebhard then went on to prove in her own study that the female heart contracts more strongly and pumps more blood into the body’s system. “I haven’t been able to let the subject go ever since,” she says.

It has now been proven that women’s hearts age differently to those of men. “The female heart’s pumping function changes with age because women’s hearts grow smaller after the menopause, which is not the case with men,” says the cardiologist. To compensate for its smaller volume, the female heart pumps at a higher rate – which brings women no benefit, according to recent data. In fact, it raises female mortality levels – even though women contract diseases from constricted and occluded coronary arteries on average 10 years later than men. Before menopause, women are protected by estrogen, but after menopause, this protection wears away causing the volume of deposits in the blood vessels to grow, and with it the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The fact that women experience heart attacks differently to men is still far too little known. “Heart attacks are often not recognized quickly enough because symptoms differ,” says Gebhard. Instead of chest pain radiating into the left arm and lower jaw, women often have more inconspicuous complaints, such as abdominal and back pain or nausea. As a result, they go to the doctor later, which can be fatal. As far as prevention is concerned, women are less likely to be examined for a narrowing of the coronary arteries. And women are generally underrepresented in clinical cardiological studies. All this contributes to the fact that more women die of cardiovascular diseases in Europe than men.

Dominant men

Medicine, especially cardiology, is dominated by men. This goes some way to explaining the tunnel vision tendency. But gender medicine is more than simply the biological differences between the sexes. “Gender medicine looks not only at biological factors but also at cultural and social aspects,” says Gebhard. In the case of heart disease, for example, studies have shown that women suffer greater mental stress after a heart attack than men. They have more concerns and face tougher challenges with their double and multiple responsibilities at work and in the family. This has been demonstrated by studies on women with heart disease that examine the activity of the brain’s fear center, the area known as the amygdala, Gebhard explains.

These social reactions overshadow the biological factors that are supposed to protect women. “The socio-cultural gender can have an opposite effect from the biological gender,” says Gebhard. This can also be observed with Covid-19: After lockdown, more women were infected than men. The assumption is that they were more exposed to coronavirus at their workplace and in caring for family and relatives. In order to investigate these socio-cultural influences, certain doctors are already working with a “gender score” that builds these aspects into the treatment. Canada and Germany are leading the way in this respect.

Bias with consequences

Although gender medicine is enjoying greater understanding in Switzerland, research findings – especially in clinical medicine – are still too rarely applied, Gebhard regrets. And she continues to hear the accusation that gender medicine is biased towards women even though, with men affected more acutely, Covid-19 proves the exact opposite. This has led one colleague or another to comment: “At last you’re doing something for men.”

In reaction, the cardiologist can only smile. It has now been found that anorexia, for example, is not a typical women’s disease, as so often labelled. Men suffer from anorexia too, but the treatments are designed for female patients. Another example is osteoporosis – said to mainly afflict women after menopause. As a result, it is seriously underdiagnosed in men and is one of the most neglected disease patterns in Europe. Which all goes to prove that gender medicine is of benefit to men and women alike.

Provided by University Of Zurich

How Genetic Differences In Fat Tissue Shape Men And Women’s Health Risks? (Genetics / Biology)

Sex differences in adipose tissue distribution and function are associated with sex differences in cardiometabolic disease. While many studies have revealed sex differences in adipocyte cell signaling and physiology, there is a relative dearth of information regarding sex differences in transcript abundance and regulation. Now, Warren Anderson and colleagues investigated sex differences in subcutaneous adipose tissue transcriptional regulation using omic-scale data from ∼3000 geographically and ethnically diverse human samples.

©gettyimages

They identified 162 genes in fat tissue, which are strongly affected by differences in fat storage and formation in men and women. Further, 13 of the genes come in variants that have different effects in men and women.

They further determined that sex differences in gene expression levels could be related to sex differences in the genetics of gene expression regulation. Their analyses revealed sex-specific genetic associations, and the finding was replicated in a study of 98 inbred mouse strains. The genes under genetic regulation in human and mouse were enriched for oxidative phosphorylation and adipogenesis.

Enrichment analysis showed that the associated genetic loci resided within binding motifs for adipogenic transcription factors (e.g., PPARG and EGR1). They demonstrated that sex differences in gene expression could be influenced by sex differences in genetic regulation for six genes (e.g., FADS1 and MAP1B). These genes exhibited dynamic expression patterns during adipogenesis and robust expression in mature human adipocytes.

Their results support a role for adipogenesis-related genes in subcutaneous adipose tissue sex differences in the genetic and environmental regulation of gene expression. While, their findings help explain the differing health risks men and women face, and they set the stage for better, more targeted treatments.

References: Warren D. Anderson et al. Sex differences in human adipose tissue gene expression and genetic regulation involve adipogenesis, Genome Research (2020). DOI: 10.1101/gr.264614.120 link: http://m.genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2020/09/23/gr.264614.120

Study Revealed: How Important Is Sex To Women As They Age? (Gynaecology / Medicine)

Despite a common belief that women lose interest in sex as they age, a new study demonstrates that a significant percentage of women continue to rate sex as important throughout midlife. The study also identified those factors affecting which women continue to value sex most. Study results will be presented during the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), which opens on September 28.

A number of studies have previously shown that the importance of sex is highly correlated with sexual function among midlife women. Longitudinal studies have allowed researchers to examine how the importance of sex changes as women age, giving way to the premise that women lose interest in sex as they age.

This new study included more than 3,200 women who participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Its researchers sought to evaluate how various factors affected a woman’s interest in sex throughout the menopause transition. Factors included race, education, partner status, body mass index, blood pressure, menopause status, hormones, depression symptoms, perceived stress, antidepressant use, sexual orientation, sexual satisfaction, pelvic pain, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes.

Based on this analysis, researchers identified three distinct trajectories in importance of sex with aging. For almost half of the women (45%), sex was important early in midlife and became less so over time. For roughly a quarter of the women (27%), sex remained highly important to them throughout midlife, and for another quarter (28%), sex was of low importance during midlife.

From an ethnic perspective, black women were more likely to rate sex as important for the duration of midlife, whereas Chinese and Japanese women were more likely to rate sex as not important or to see drops in importance. Other variables included women with depression symptoms, who were more likely to have low importance or see drops in importance of sex. Better sexual satisfaction was associated with maintained high levels of importance of sex over time, as was higher education.

“In contrast to prior literature reporting that the importance of sex decreases as women move through midlife, we found that, for a quarter of women, sex remains highly important to them throughout midlife,” says Dr. Holly Thomas from the University of Pittsburgh, lead author of the study abstract, “How important is sex to women during midlife?”

“Studies like these provide valuable insights to healthcare providers who may otherwise dismiss a woman’s waning sexual desire as a natural part of aging,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director. “Often there are other treatable reasons, such as vaginal dryness or depression, as to why a woman’s interest in sex may have decreased.”

This article is republished here from The North American Menopause Society underr common creative licenses..

Why Are Pockets So Rare In Women’s Clothes? (Culture / History)

There’s a serious lack of pockets in the fashion industry. Somehow, as useful and ubiquitous as they’ve been in men’s jackets, pants, and even shirts, they never seemed to catch on in women’s fashion. Which is strange, since women’s obsession with functional pockets is well-documented — and has been for years. How can it be so hard just to put pockets in women’s clothing? Well, because there’s a couple of centuries of history to resist that simple little convenience.

In the middle ages, men and women alike carried their essentials in pouches separate from their clothes, which might be tied to a belt or slung from a rope. For security, you’d make sure to fasten the tiny bag beneath your outer layers of clothing, which might have slits for easy access. Around the late 17th century, someone got the brilliant idea to sew tiny pouches right into clothing — men’s clothing, that is. After all, the big hoop skirts of women’s fashion at the time were the perfect place to conceal an exterior bag. They might not have been surprise jumpsuits, but they worked for carrying keys, combs, and other essentials. As fashions changed, however, women’s dresses slimmed down to the point that there wasn’t even room for those.

Fashion in the middle ages

As it happened, that sea-change in fashion sensibilities took place right around the time of the French Revolution. In the late-18th and early-19th centuries, an empire-dress trend (said to emulate the sartorial choices of Classical Greeks and Romans) did away with voluminous petticoats and their multiple storage options. Instead, women began wearing chatelaines: fashionable pieces of jewelry that kept everything close at hand — but also disturbingly available to prying eyes. So much for keeping secrets in your pockets. In fact, some even suggest that increased awareness of revolutionary ideals might have been behind this development: If women were less able to conceal what they were carrying, they’d be less capable of organizing for liberation.

In fact, it wasn’t long before the cause of pockets was explicitly being tied up in political movements of the time. One group, the Rational Dress Society, campaigned in the 1800s to transform women’s fashion for better mobility and functionality. The society predated most of the Suffragette Movement, but it’s easy to imagine that there was a lot of crossover in the interests and goals of both groups. In fact, in 1910, a New York Times writer covering a fashion show marveled at the “Suffragette suit,” which featured no fewer than six pockets “all in sight and all easy to find, even by the wearer.” Gosh — we can’t even imagine the scandal.

Pockets on women’s clothing are more commonplace these days, but their relative scarcity compared to men’s pockets still points toward a fashion industry uninterested in scratching a largely un-scratched itch. How many pieces of women’s clothing have only a pocket barely large enough to hold a driver’s license? Clearly, part of the issue is that the same people determining who gets pockets are usually also selling fashionable handbags — but the people have spoken (and have been speaking for centuries): The dressmaker that puts big pockets in every gown will always find a fanbase.

Men And Women Remember Pain Differently (Psychology)

There may be variations, based on sex, in the way that both mice and humans remember pain, according to new research.

Scientists increasingly believe that one of the driving forces in chronic pain — the number one health problem in both prevalence and burden — appears to be the memory of earlier pain.

The researchers found that men (and male mice) remembered earlier painful experiences clearly. As a result, they felt stress and were hypersensitive to later pain when they returned to the location where they’d experienced it. Earlier experiences of pain didn’t seem to stress women (and female mice).

The researchers believe that the robust translational nature of the results, from mice to humans, will potentially aid scientists to move forward in their search for future treatments of chronic pain. It was a discovery that came as a total surprise.

“We set out to do an experiment looking at pain hypersensitivity in mice and found these surprising differences in stress levels between male and female mice,” explains senior author Jeffrey Mogil, professor of pain studies at McGill University’s psychology department and the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.

“So we decided to extend the experiment to humans to see whether the results would be similar. We were blown away when we saw that there seemed to be the same differences between men and women as we had seen in mice.”

“What was even more surprising was that the men reacted because it is well known that women are both more sensitive to pain than and that they are also generally more stressed out,” says first author Loren Martin, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

In experiments with both humans and mice, researchers took the subjects (41 men and 38 women between the ages of 18–40) to a specific room (or put them in a testing container of a certain shape — in the case of the mice) where they experienced low levels of pain from heat on their hind paw or forearm. Humans rated the level of pain on a 100-point scale and mice “rated” the pain by how quickly they moved away from the heat source.

Immediately following this initial experience of low-level pain, subjects experienced more intense pain designed to act as Pavlovian conditioning stimuli. Researchers asked the human subjects to wear a tightly inflated blood pressure cuff and exercise their arms for 20 minutes. This is excruciating and only seven of the 80 subjects rated it at less than 50 on a 100-point scale. Each mouse received a diluted injection of vinegar designed to cause a stomach ache for about 30 minutes.

In order to look at the role that memory plays in the experience of pain, the following day human subjects returned to either the same or a different room, and researchers put mice in the same or a different testing container. Researchers again applied heat to their arms or hind paws.

When (and only when) they went into the same room as in the previous test, men rated the heat pain higher than they did the day before, and higher than the women did. Similarly, male, but not female mice returning to the same environment exhibited a heightened heat pain response, while mice placed in a new and neutral environment did not.

“We believe that the mice and the men were anticipating the cuff, or the vinegar, and, for the males, the stress of that anticipation caused greater pain sensitivity,” says Mogil. “There was some reason to expect that we would see increased sensitivity to pain on the second day, but there was no reason to expect it would be specific to males. That came as a complete surprise.”

In order to confirm that pain increased due to memories of previous pain, the researchers interfered with memory by injecting the brains of male mice with a drug called ZIP that blocks memory. When the researchers then ran the pain memory experiment, these mice showed no signs of remembered pain.

“This is an important finding because increasing evidence suggests that chronic pain is a problem to the extent that you remember it, and this study is the first time such remembered pain has been shown using a translational — both rodent and human subject — approach,” says Martin.

“If remembered pain is a driving force for chronic pain and we understand how pain is remembered, we may be able help some sufferers by treating the mechanisms behind the memories directly.”

Mogil echoes this optimism, “This research supports the idea that the memory of pain can affect later pain.”

“I think it is appropriate to say that further study of this extremely robust phenomenon might give us insights that may be useful for future treatment of chronic pain, and I don’t often say that! One thing is for sure, after running this study, I’m not very proud of my gender,” he adds.

The Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Pain Society/Pfizer Early Career Investigator Pain Research Grant, the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation, Brain Canada, and the Canada Research Chairs Program funded the research.

This article is republished from Futurity under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.