Friday, August 30, 2013

Workaholic Dads Linked to Sons' Bad Behavior

A man sleeps at his desk in an office.
Boys whose dads work long hours may have behavior problems.
Credit: Tired man working photo via Shutterstock

Fathers who spend long hours at work may find that their young sons have more behavioral problems, a new study suggests.

In the study, boys ages 5 to 10 whose fathers put in 55 or more hours weekly at their jobs exhibited a higher level of aggressive behavior, compared with boys whose dads worked fewer hours, the researchers said.

"This finding is important because there is limited prior research that has specifically examined fathers' work hours," said study researcher Jianghong Li, a senior researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center in Berlin, Germany.


"The majority of previous research has studied mothers' work hours," Li said, adding that workplace policies have traditionally focused on allowing mothers' flexibility to balance their work and family responsibilities.

The study did not find that girls the same age were similarly affected by their fathers' work lives. [History's Top 12 Doting Dads]

In addition, no link was found between mothers' work hours and behavioral problems in either sons or daughters. But in Australia, women who work outside the home tend to work part time, so there were not enough working mothers in the study who clocked long hours to draw firm conclusions, the researchers said.

Between 16 and 20 percent of the Australian fathers in the study worked 55 or more hours a week.

The researchers announced their findings last week; the study appeared in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Boys more sensitive

To find out whether parents' work hours affect boys and girls differently during their middle childhood years, Li and four Australian researchers looked at children in Western Australia enrolled in a long-running trial, following them from birth to adulthood.

The researchers collected data from nearly 1,440 kids at age 5, about 1,400 of those youngsters at 8, and close to 1,360 of the kids at 10. At each point, one parent -- most often the mother -- completed a questionnaire about the child's behavior.

Although the researchers didn't find an effect on girls, Li noted the study looked at behavioral problems only in children ages 5 to 10. "We can't rule out the possibility that fathers' long work hours might also have a negative impact on other aspects of girls' development, at a later age," she said.

As for why sons may be more sensitive to a fathers' long work hours than daughters, Li explained that children may have more behavioral issues when they have inadequate time or interaction with the same gender parent.

Another reason might be that when dads spend more time at their jobs, their sons have less chance to play sports with them, or be involved in games and leisure activities that may help release a boy's high energy levels or aggressive behaviors.

It could also be that when fathers put in long work hours, mothers do not get the support and assistance they need from their husbands at home, Li said. As a result, mothers may feel overburdened and stressed, and the quality of their parenting might be reduced, which can negatively affect children, particularly sons.

Balancing work and family

Li said she suspects that American fathers' work hours may have an even stronger negative influence on their children. The family and social support network is generally weaker in the U.S. than in Australia, and a higher proportion of American mothers work outside the home, compared with Australian women, she said.

The culture of working long hours has crept into many jobs in the new economy, and the next policy frontier should be to enable equal opportunities for mothers and fathers to share parenting and work responsibilities, Li said.

"Fathers should be given incentives not to work long hours, but to have a greater share of parenting responsibilities," she said.

Why Stress Makes It Harder to Control Emotions

A woman looks stressed at work, while colleagues sit in the background.
Credit: Stressed woman via Shutterstock

Experiencing mild stress in everyday life may interfere with people's ability to use strategies to control their emotions, a new study suggests.

The findings suggest that certain therapies that teach people how to better regulate their emotions — such as those used to treat social anxiety and other psychiatric conditions — may not work well during stressful situations, the researchers say.

"We have long suspected that stress can impair our ability to control our emotions, but this is the first study to document how even mild stress can undercut therapies designed to keep our emotions in check," said study researcher Elizabeth Phelps, a neuroscience professor at New York University. "In other words, what you learn in the clinic may not be as relevant in the real world when you're stressed." [7 Ways to Reduce Job Stress]


Stress and emotional control

People commonly use their thoughts to change their emotions — for instance, when they think about a glass being half full instead of half empty, Phelps said.

Such techniques, called cognitive emotion regulation, can be taught to people in therapy. For instance, a person who develops anxiety in social situations might be asked to change the way they think about parties so that they see them in a different light and have a different emotional response to them, Phelps said.

In the new study, 78 participants viewed pictures of snakes and spiders. Some pictures were paired with an electric shock, and participants eventually developed a fear of these pictures. (They reported more intense feelings of fear when viewing the pictures, and a skin conductance tested showed they were more physiological aroused, compared with when they viewed images not paired with a shock.)

Next, the participants were taught therapeutic strategies, like those used in clinics, to reduce the fear induced by these pictures.

The next day, participants were randomly assigned to either place their hands in icy water for three minutes — a technique used in experiments to induce mild stress — or to place their hands in warm water.

Those who placed their hands in warm water showed a reduced fear response when they viewed the pictures of snakes and spiders, indicating that the participants were able to use the techniques they'd learned the previous day to control their emotions.

However, those who placed their hands in icy water showed no reduction in fear compared to the previous day.

Effect on the brain

Researchers know that it takes effort to think about situations differently, and that learning to regulate emotions relies on a brain area called the prefrontal cortex, Phelps said. However, the prefrontal cortex is highly sensitive to stress, Phelps said. This may explain why such cognitive-regulation strategies may not work when the person is under stress.

However, there may be a way to overcome this problem. When cognitive-regulation strategies are practiced so much that they become second nature, they require less usage of the prefrontal cortex, Phelps said.

In other words, the more these strategies are practiced, the easier it will be used them when you're stressed, Phelps said.

The study is published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Ovarian Cancer Screening Test Seems Promising

A woman grabs her abdomen in pain.
Credit: Abdominal pain photo via Shutterstock

A new test to screen for ovarian cancer appears to detect the disease in early stages, and if confirmed in clinical trials, the test could become a routine screening for women.

In the study, researchers tested the strategy on more than 4,000 women over an 11-year period. The women underwent yearly blood tests, and the researchers recorded the levels of a protein called CA-125, which is produced by the majority of ovarian tumors. Women who had sudden increases in CA-125 levels were referred to a gynecologist and were given an ultrasound.

On the basis of their ultrasound results, 10 women underwent surgery during the study period. It turned out that four women had ovarian cancers still in an early stage, and five others had ovarian tumors that were either benign, or of low malignant potential (tumors that may become cancerous, but usually do not). One woman had endometrial cancer, according to the study published today (Aug. 26) in the journal Cancer. [5 Things Women Should Know About Ovarian Cancer]


The study suggested that the testing strategy had a specificity of 99.9 percent, the researchers said, meaning that only 0.1 percent of patients without cancer would be falsely identified as having the disease.

Two women in the study turned out to have ovarian tumors that were not detected by the screening, but both were of low malignant potential, the researchers said.

"The results from our study are not practice-changing at this time; however, our findings suggest that using a longitudinal (or change over time) screening strategy may be beneficial in postmenopausal women with an average risk of developing ovarian cancer," study researcher Dr. Karen Lu, professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas, said in a statement.

Despite advances in treatment, ovarian cancer remains a highly lethal disease, mainly because most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the disease is at a late stage. When caught at an early stage, 75 to 90 percent of patients survive at least five years, the researchers said.

There currently are no established screening tests for ovarian cancer. For a cancer screening test to be useful, it has to be sensitive enough to detect markers of the disease before symptoms manifest, while also being specific enough so that it doesn't falsely suggest cancer in people who don't have it.

Previous investigations have looked at whether measuring women's CA-125 levels might be an effective way to screen for ovarian cancer, but too often, the test has not been found to be sensitive enough to detect all cases of the disease, and at the same time has found too many false positives (women who turned out not to have cancer).

The new strategy is different because it tracks changes in each woman's levels of CA-125, instead of only looking for a CA-125 level that might be considered high based on the average of the entire population. "It's more personalized, and it also incorporates age," Lu told LiveScience.

One of the challenges to developing an effective ovarian cancer screening strategy for women in the general population is that the screening has to be highly specific, so that follow-up testing and surgery that turn out to be unnecessary are kept to a minimum.

"In breast cancer screening, when a mammogram is abnormal, a biopsy is made," before anything further is done, Lu said. "But in ovarian cancer, in order to confirm cancer, an actual surgery is needed to take out the ovaries and examine them."

"In order for this method to become a screening test, it has to pass the gold standard," she said. "It has to show that in a large group of women who did the screening, there were fewer deaths from ovarian cancer compared to another group who didn't get screened."

The researchers are waiting for the results of a larger, randomized study currently being conducted in the United Kingdom that uses the same screening strategy. The results are scheduled to be released by 2015.

"If the results of this study are also positive, then this will result in a change in practice," Lu said.

Does wine drinking protect against depression?

Enjoying several glasses of wine each week may not only protect your heart, it may also help protect your mental health, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Spain have found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol especially wine was linked with a lower risk of depression.

Older men and women who consumed two to seven small glasses of wine weekly were 32 percent less likely to suffer from depression compared with people who never drank alcohol, the study revealed.

These results appear to contradict previous studies, which have often linked drinking alcohol with an increased risk of depression. Two reasons researchers have suggested for this increased risk are that people might drink more to mask depressive symptoms and people might also turn to alcohol to cope with a personal problem, such as job loss, family issues or financial troubles all factors that mayalso trigger a depressive episode. [7 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health]

As for why these findings seem to conflict with other studies on alcohol, lead author Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, a cardiologist and professor of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, said it could be because the new study did not include people who previously had depression, or people known to have drinking problems.

"In our study population, the average intake of alcohol was low, and the pattern of consumption was typically Mediterranean, with alcohol coming preferentially from wine, consumed during meals and without episodes of binge drinking," he said.

Three friends drink wine together at dinnerThe study is published online August 29 in the journal BMC Medicine. Some study researchers receive funding from the alcohol industry.

Moderate amounts protective

The study looked at more than 5,500 men and women ages 55 to 80 in Spain, who were involved in a research trial evaluating the effects of the Mediterranean diet on heart disease risk. None of them had depression at the study's start.

During a follow-up period of up to seven years, 443 people reported that they were diagnosed with depression.

Researchers found that light to moderate drinkers, who drank 5 to 15 grams of alcohol daily on average, had a lower risk of depression compared with people who abstained from imbibing. (A small glass of wine contains about 9 grams of pure alcohol).

The lowest rates of depression were observed in people who consumed moderate amounts of wine. The study found that men and women who drank two to seven small glasses of wine each week were 30 percent less likely to develop depression, compared with those who drank none.

These results held true even after researchers took into account other lifestyle factors that could influence rates of the mood disorder, such as gender, age, smoking habits, marital status, education and physical activity levels.

Although the exact reasons why drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may have beneficial effects on the brain are unclear, Martinez-Gonzalez said a compound found in grapes may help protect parts of the brain from inflammatory processes involved in depression.

Contrary findings

The finding that alcohol is linked with a lower risk of depression is contrary to most previous work, said Susan Ramsey, an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence.

Ramsey, who has conducted research on the effects of alcohol on depressed patients, said the differences in the findings may be due to the highly selective sample involved in the study, or the way depression was measured.

She explained that because researchers did not include people who currently had depression or took medication for it, as well as people with a history of the mood disorder or alcohol-related problems, they were left with a sample that might have been at low risk of developing depression, especially when considering their older age.

"The ability to generalize from the findings of this study to other populations is very limited," Ramsey said.

In other words, it's too soon to toast drinking as a good hedge against this common mood disorder.

"At this point, it would be premature to make any recommendations regarding alcohol or wine consumption as a means of preventing the onset of depression," Ramsey said.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This New Natural Testosterone Booster Has Men Everywhere Raving

This New Natural Testosterone Booster Has Men Everywhere RavingWow... I'm getting old.
It's a disturbing thought, one that usually hits after an unexpected physical challenge. Maybe you've been unable to maintain your usual workout levels, or recovery is taking a lot longer than it used to. Perhaps fixes to the house are just a bit more difficult, or you can't perform in the bedroom the way you used to.
What's most startling about this realization is that you don't normally "feel old" but, nevertheless, you know you don't look or feel like the man you used to be.
And the issue? You might not have enough free testosterone
A person's bloodstream contains two types of testosterone: bonded testosterone and free testosterone. Bonded testosterone attaches to molecules in the body and is mostly ineffective. However, free testosterone can enter your cells easily and plays a vital role in libido, strength, stamina, and vitality—all of which are important to men.
Over the last few years the market has been flooded with questionable options for increasing a man's free testosterone levels: useless pills, questionable supplements, and dangerous or illegal medical treatments. But now a group of researchers in Boston, Massachusetts have developed a dietary supplement that triggers the body to increase its levels of free testosterone naturally and safely.
Called Nugenix, the supplement primarily relies on an ingredient called Testofen®, which comes from the rare Fenugreek plant. Testofen® has been shown in clinical trials to boost free testosterone levels, increase sex drive, and improve libido. Adding to Nugenix's potency are additional key ingredients like zinc and vitamins B12 and B6, which have been shown to improve physical performance and strength, increase drive, and aid in recovery.
Nugenix has no harmful side effects, is manufactured in the United States under FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and has been shown to deliver improvements in strength and endurance in as little as a week.
This isn't product hype delivered by a know-it-all enthusiast from the gym. According to studies held in both Irvine, California and Queensland, Australia, the results from Nugenix are nothing short of spectacular. From greater muscle definition and quicker recovery times, to increased sex drive and feelings of alertness, these users are reporting virtual transformations as a result of safely boosting their free testosterone with Nugenix.
Nugenix is the top selling men’s vitality product in GNC, outselling every other brand —many of which don’t contain the clinically substantiated amounts of Testofen® needed to see actual results.
Best of all, right now the company that manufacturers Nugenix is giving away samples of the products to qualifying customers who request them online.
Click here to learn more and find out how to get your sample.

Couple married for 66 years discover they have identical heart defect and both undergo the same life-saving surgery

  • Marie Nigro, 90, and her husband Joseph, 92, both underwent a new heart procedure within weeks of each other after suffering breathing problems
  • The duo are now on the mend and looking forward to their 67th anniversary

  • An elderly couple who have been married for 66 years have both undergone the same life-saving surgery after learning they suffered from exactly the same heart defect.
    Marie Nigro, 90, and her husband Joseph, 92, from Long Island, New York, both learned they were suffering from critical aortic stenosis after they struggled to catch their breath.
    But after undergoing the same straight-forward operation, they are on the mend and are looking forward to celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary in November.
    At a press conference on Wednesday, doctors explained their condition meant their aortic valves failed to open and close properly, which increased pressure on their hearts and caused chest pains.
    Sharing everything: Marie Nigro, 90, and husband Joseph, 92, discovered they had the same heart defect
    Sharing everything: Marie Nigro, 90, and husband Joseph, 92, discovered they had the same heart defect

    Due to their ages, the couple were not deemed suitable candidates for open heart surgery and underwent a much less invasive procedure, a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, ABC7 reported.
    The procedure involves using a catheter to guides a replacement valve through the bloodstream to the heart, where it is expanded to enlarge the size of the opening of the old valve.

    Joseph underwent the operation at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in June, and a month later, his wife checked in for the same procedure. They both remained at the hospital for a couple of weeks.
    'I feel great,' Joseph Nigro said. '(It) gave me new life.' Before the operation, 'when I bent over, couldn't come up, have a sigh and I just breathe heavy', he explained.
    His wife added: 'We're doing OK. So far, so good.'
    Going strong: The couple, who live in Long Island, New York, married nearly 67 years ago
    Going strong: The couple, who live in Long Island, New York, married nearly 67 years ago (pictured)

    Together: The couple underwent the procedures a month apart and say they both feel much better
    Together: The couple underwent the procedures a month apart and say they both feel much better

    Loved up: Marie and Joseph Nigro share a kiss as they talk about their experiences at the hospital
    Loved up: Marie and Joseph Nigro share a kiss as they talk about their experiences at the hospital
    The couple are now looking forward to celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary in November. An old photograph shows them grinning on their wedding day - the same happy smiles they shared during a press conference at the hospital. 
    Dr. Jacob Scheinerman explained that the condition usually affects people over 70 and symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.

    While more than 50 per cent of people in this age group do not live a year after developing the symptoms, he said the less invasive procedure was helping many, ABC 7 reported.
    'Many of these elderly patients would have been too sick to have open heart surgery,' he said. 'The transcatheter approach gives them the ability to have valve replace without having a major operation.'
    Procedure: They underwent the operations at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and are on the mend
    Procedure: They underwent the operations at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and are on the mend

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    Nearly 9 MILLION Americans need prescription pills to sleep and older women are most likely to suffer insomnia, says study

  • 4% of all Americans take sleeping pills, according to new study
  • Women, older people and the well-educated are more likely to take drugs
  • Pill use seems to be rising due to surge in obesity and electronic gadgets

  • Nearly 9million Americans rely on sleeping to get a good night's rest, according to groundbreaking new research.
    The findings, which are the first in-depth examination of how many people require drugs to fall asleep, show that white, female, older and educated Americans are more likely to use the pills.
    In addition to the 8.6million people using prescription pharmaceuticals for sleep, millions are more are believed to rely on other options such as over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies.
    Pills: Four per cent of Americans now use prescription medication to help them sleep
    Pills: Four per cent of Americans now use prescription medication to help them sleep

    The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who interviewed 17,000 adults in the U.S. from 2005 to 2010.
    Overall, four per cent of them said they had taken a prescription sleeping pill or sedative in the previous month.
    Insomnia seems to be increasing - use rose from 3.3 per cent in 2003-2006 to 4.3 per cent in 2007-2010, according to a CDC researcher.

    This could be due to a number of factors, including obesity, the increasing prevalence of late-night electronic distractions such as social media, and financial worries linked to the recession.
    Adults are supposed to get seven to nine hours sleep each night, but at least a third of adults get less that that.
    Doctors recommend fixing a bedtime routine, exercising daily and avoiding caffeine at night in order to boost sleep levels.
    Inadequate sleep is believed to cause or worsen diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.
    Common: Older women are most likely to rely on sleeping pills, according to a study (picture posed by model)
    Common: Older women are most likely to rely on sleeping pills, according to a study (picture posed by model)

    The CDC study into sleeping pill use found that five per cent of women take the drugs, compared to three per cent of men.
    Use tends to increase among older people - seven per cent of over-80s take sleeping pills, but just two per cent of under-40s do so.
    The prevalence of sleeping medication seems to spike past the age of 50, which experts suggest is because of the combined stresses of family and work which tend to peak around then.
    Then as they reach old age, they are subject to aches and pains which make it harder to get a good night's sleep.
    Sleeping pill use is more concentrated among white, with nearly five per cent being prescribed the medication, compared to 2.5 per cent of blacks and two per cent of Hispanics.
    Wealthier and more-educated people are more likely to take sleeping pills, partly because they have better access to health insurance and medical treatment in general.
    Sleep aids are controversial in some circles because they can make patients drowsy for hours after they wake up.
    The Food and Drug Administration has ordered Ambien to be delivered in smaller doses to avoid the risk to users driving the next day.

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    Nurses could perform abortions in the first 12-weeks of pregnancy under new Californian bill

  • Supporters say increasing access to abortions would be safer for women
  • But groups opposed to it say it would lead to 'lower standard of care' 
  • Bill has passed the Californian legislature and will go to state governor

  • Controversial: Nurses could soon be allowed to perform abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
    Controversial: Nurses could soon be allowed to perform abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy

    Nurses in California could soon be allowed to perform abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
    Nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives would be allowed to perform abortions instead of doctors.
    Supporters of the bill - which has passed the Californian legislature -  say increasing access to abortions in the early stages of pregnancy would be safer for women.
    They say it will decrease abortions in the latter stages of pregnancy which are more expensive and dangerous. 
    The bill would allow non-physicians to perform 'manual vacuum aspiration abortions' which  involve inserting a small tube attached to a pump into the uterus which removes fetal tissue. 
    Before they would be allowed to carry out the procedure themselves, nurses would have to conduct at least 40 abortions under direct supervision before receiving an assessment .
    Speaking to The Huffington Post, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, who wrote the measure, said there is a huge lack of  abortion providers in California.
    She said: 'All women should have timely access to reproductive health care, regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas and without excessive expense or travel.'
    A number of groups are opposed to the bill including the California Right to Life Committee, the California Catholic Conference. They say it could lead to health risks. 

    Speaking to the Huffington Post, the California Catholic Conference said: 'It is surprising that the legislature would consider approving this lowered standard of care for women, when possible complications from an abortion include incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, infection, cervical injury and uterine perforation -- and in rare cases, death.'  
    The bill has easily passed the Assembly and the Senate and now awaits approval of amendments before it goes to Governor Jerry Brown.
    Change: Nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants would be allowed to perform abortions instead of doctors. This is a file picture of a nurse
    Change: Nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants would be allowed to perform abortions instead of doctors. This is a file picture of a nurse

    A University of California study earlier this year found that trained non-physicians can provide early abortion care that is clinically as safe as physicians.
    Opponents say more providers are not needed becasue California already has the highest rate of abortion in the U.S.

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