DON’T FALL FOR THE ‘MEMORY’ PILLS TARGETING BABY BOOMERS


A LOT OF people made the same bad joke on Twitter when Senator John McCain seemed confused during former FBI Director James Comey’s senate testimony last week. “Get John McCain some Prevagen!” The joke makes no sense unless you know what Prevagen is—which you probably don’t, unless you frequently watch one of the major news networks. It’s a nootropic dietary supplement, aka a “smart drug,” mostly marketed to baby boomers on TV as a memory enhancer. “Prevagen is a dietary supplement that has been clinically shown to help with mild memory problems associated with aging,” its marketing materials say.

The thing is, though, there’s no evidence the drug works.

In January of this year, the New York State Attorney General sued the makers of Prevagen for false advertising claims, since there’s no evidence its jellyfish-based formula can help improve memory as it claims. “We sent letters to at least five major networks who were airing these ads,” says Bonnie Patton, director of the consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising. “And guess what? Prevagen ads are still airing.”

Prevagen is hardly alone. Though it’s targeting the 59-and-older set who watch cable news, Prevagen is just one of many nootropics on the market, each aimed at a different kind of audience. There’s Brain Dust, made by spiritual hippie foodie guru Amanda Chantal Bacon, which targets the Gwyneth Paltrow-admiring Goop set. There’s Qualia, made by a group called Neurohacker Collective, that appears targeted at professionals and emphasizes its scientific approach, and Nootrobox, which offers a whole cocktail of different brain enhancers and a complete guide to biohacking—to name just three. As baby boomers hit the age that memory normally starts to fade, and as Silicon Valley pours money into the biohacking fad, the market for chemical cognitive enhancers like these is booming.

And while demand for such miracle pills is high, the laws about supplement advertising are incredibly lax. “If I were looking for opportunities to make a lot of money while deceiving people, I think going into the brain supplement business would be real high on my list,” says Pieter Cohen of Harvard Medical School, a leading expert in the efficacy and risks of dietary supplements. “You can make a lot of money, do something entirely legal, and you’re good to go.”

Like sports or dietary supplements, these brain supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Almost no research has been done into their exact formulations. And there’s no real oversight of how much of any given ingredient they contain. The potential for deception plagues the supplement industry as a whole, thanks to a 1994 law that classified supplements as food rather than medication. According to a study from 2015, dietary supplements lead to at least 23,000 emergency room visits a year in the US.

“The regulatory framework is all set up for this. You can advertise pills as if they support or improve brain function even if you don’t have one bit of research in humans to demonstrate that’s true,” Cohen says. “The law is pretty much clear: You can say pretty much anything short of saying this is a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

Neurohacking by Another Name

None of this is to say that users don’t think these drugs help them out. The chemicals in these formulations may not have proven cognitive effects, but their presentation clearly is doing something to customers’ brains.

As demand for cognitive enhancers increases, VC money is flooding the market. The supplement industry as a whole brings in $30 million a year, according to Cohen, and Silicon Valley appears to want to get in on it—VC firm Andreesen Horrowitz, for instance, invested $2 million in Nootrobox. All that money could fund research—but more immediately, it buys a slick website, which can do a lot to sell the promise of a brain boost.

Go to Qualia’s website, and you’ll see a neatly organized list of its ingredients, which range from neuro-vitamins to adaptogenic compounds to amino acids. This medicalese lends the pills an air of credibility, as do the links to scientific studies about each ingredient. Really, though, “it’s an over-the-counter supplement that they’ve thrown everything in the kitchen sink at,” says Kimberly Urban, a scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who has studied brain-enhancing medicines.

Also on the list of ingredients in most of these? Caffeine. Part of the reason caffeine is so often found in dietary supplements—weight loss, cognitive, or otherwise—is because you feel it. And when you feel it, you think it’s working. “The same reason that caffeine in weight loss drugs makes you feel that it’s doing something: It wires you up,” says Urban. Many supplements don’t contain enough of any of their given molecules to actually produce an effect, so they rely entirely on the placebo effect to work.

 The overlap with diet pills is what most worries Cohen about the trend of memory supplements. He and his research team have long studied the illegal inclusion of amphetamines or methamphetamines in diet pills. (You thought caffeine made you feel sped up?) Though he hasn’t tested nootropics, he sees no reason to believe companies won’t try to sneak the same tweaked amphetamines into them, compounds which are both incredibly addictive and very hard to test and find.
But even without illegal drugs snuck into the formulations, supplements can be dangerous on their own. Though they are ostensibly made with only natural ingredients, lots of natural things are deadly—and without oversight, you’ll never know exactly how much of each compound you’re getting. You should be especially careful if you are sensitive to caffeine or take other medications, since many of the natural ingredients found in supplements can interact with prescription medications. (Did you know that St. John’s Wort can render oral contraceptives less effective? Me neither! But if you are taking the pill, that’s something you’d want to bear in mind before taking Qualia.)

Most of these nootropics also contain amino acids and plant extracts. Some of these things may be beneficial to the brain, say Cohen and Urban. Urban points to one nootropic listed in Qualia, phosphatidylserine, as something preliminary research has shown interesting results on. On Qualia’s website, under a section of the FAQ headlined “Is Qualia a scam or snake oil?” the company writes this:

Qualia is not a scam. We have a non-proprietary formulation—we publish exactly what’s in our product, with the exact amounts. We publish links to the research that support their safety and efficacy, which includes Phase II & III university and clinical trials, strong quantified self research data, and over 40+ years international research on nootropic stack formulation.

But most of those studies are basic research into individual compounds done in animals or with animal cells in petri dishes. The leap from there to “this specific formulation is helpful to the human brain” is huge. (WIRED reached out to Neurohacker Collective for comment but didn’t hear back before publication.) Neuroscientists are only beginning to understand how memory even functions in the human brain, let alone how a specific compound might affect it. “This is not about science,” says NYU professor of nutrition Marion Nestle. “It’s about wishful thinking.”

Wishing to be smarter, better, more productive is natural. Unfortunately, even as most things in 2017 are available at the click of a button, maintaining brain health is still complicated. Doctors recommend you get a good night’s sleep, limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, and keep your brain stimulated. None of that’s as easy as popping a pill, but hey, at least it works.

MATHEMATICIANS DECODE THE SURPRISING COMPLEXITY OF COW HERDS


DO ME A favor and picture a pasture dotted with a herd of grazing cows. Some stand and stare at you with that patented cow stare, others bury their heads in the green, green grass, while still others have laid down for a rest. Tranquil, right? About as simple as life gets?

Well, I’m sorry to say that your idea of the herd life may be a lie. Because a new mathematical model posits that while they don’t look it, cow herds may be extremely dynamic, secretly contentious gatherings of warring interests. Yes, with the help of a biologist, mathematicians calculated the fascinating dynamics of cow herds, and yes, they reported it today in a journal called Chaos.

A cow’s life is rife with conflict, thanks to a blend of ecology and biology. Think of a cow as existing in three states: moseying around feeding on grass, standing there staring, and lying down resting. All totally doable at the creature’s own leisure—if it’s alone. But that’s not how cows roll. They congregate in herds as an anti-predator measure.

Now, inevitably in a given herd you’ll find cows of all different sizes. Males tend to be larger than females, for instance, and youngsters of course need to feed less than the olds. So smaller cows will finish eating first and digest more quickly, then want to move along. “There’s sort of a tension between the cows’ own needs and their group needs,” says Erik Bollt, study co-author and director of the Clarkson Center for Complex Systems Science.

  • What Bollt and his colleagues were able to model is how this push and pull plays out. Large herds tend to split into two groups: faster and slower eaters. But they’ll also get some individuals skipping between the groups as they confront the tension between their desire to eat at a certain pace and their need to stay safe within the crowd. “You’ll find those who aren’t terribly happy either way,” says Bollt.

What’s so intriguing here is that the researchers didn’t send some poor grad student out into a field to look at cows for months on end. They did it mathematically, building on their earlier work that modeled how a cow moves between its various states. For instance, when it feels satiated and lies down for a rest. “So what was unique about the model is it modeled them as kind of like capacitors, their need to build until it saturates and then it fires into the next state,” says Bollt. “Think of it like a bouncing ball—it flies and then it hits the ground and boom it switches states and then it does something else.” This new study scales that up to explore how multiple cows with their multiple states interact to create crowd dynamics—the so-called emergent properties of cow biology.

“The nice thing about theory is that it’s less costly than experiments and observations in multiple ways,” says study co-author Mason Porter, a mathematician at UCLA. “Less costly literally in terms of money, but also in terms of what types of experiments are even reasonable to do with animals. There’s no ethical issue with studying cows on a computer.” Obviously models can’t tell you everything about the real world, but the math can inform what real-world experiments you might want to really invest in.

Welcome to the burgeoning field of complex systems science. The definition of which is … well, complex. “My favorite definition, by the way,” says Porter, “is the one that follows the US Supreme Court decision on pornography, where you just substitute the words complex systems instead of pornography.” (That would be the “I know it when I see it” model of defining things.) Basically, for our purposes with the cows, the complex system is a bunch of individuals producing the emergent behavior of the herd. It is what a middle manager might call—dare I say it—synergy.

More and more, researchers are able to tackle the monumental amounts of information stored in an ecosystem—how a starling murmuration workshow bacteria swirlhow fish swarm. That’s the beginning. Complex systems science will help guide scientists into modeling ever more complicated interactions than flocks of birds or herds of hungry cattle. Think not just species, but the interaction of species on grander scales.

For now, though, appreciate the cow. It’s got a lot on its mind.

Having an Extra Organ or Body Part Is More Common Than You Think


Doctors thought they were operating on a malignant tumour when they set about removing an unusual oval lump on the right side of a 40-year-old woman’s body. What they recovered instead was a perfectly normal and fully functioning extra spleen.

Most of us only have one spleen, an organ involved in immune function and blood filtering. But accessory or extra spleens are quite common, appearing in more than one in ten people.

 

It is not unusual for people with extra organs to be completely unaware of their existence. Often they are discovered accidentally during diagnostic scans for unrelated conditions.

While many of these extra organs are rare, others are far more common than many of us believe. Some need to be surgically removed and others can be left alone.

The extra spleen, described above, is an example of what doctors call supernumeracy, when the body has an extra organ, part or structure.

Supernumeracy in history

Supernumeracy has long fascinated us, with many obvious and peculiar examples throughout history.

Witch hunters in the 16th and 17th centuries often identified supposed witches by their third nipple, although these extra nipples were often mistaken for moles or birthmarks.

Then there are the famous cases in the era of the Barnum and Bailey freak shows, which displayed truly extraordinary examples of supernumeracy. These included the sideshow stars Frank Lentini, the three-legged man, and Myrtle Corbin, the four-legged woman.

Their conditions were the result of being attached to partially formed parasitic twins (also known as an asymmetrical or unequal conjoined twins) that had not fully separated during development. Both went on to marry other people and have normal children.

More recently was the internationally celebrated case of the eight-limbed Indian girl Lakshmi Tatma, born in 2005, who had four arms and four legs. Some considered her to be a reincarnation of a Hindu goddess. A 72-hour operation eventually separated her from her parasitic twin.

What causes supernumeracy?

Supernumeracy is caused by errors in how the embryo develops. While some of these conditions can be genetic, most occur spontaneously and have no known cause.

To understand how this happens it helps to think of the development of an embryo into a human as being like a finely tuned orchestra following the directions of a strict conductor.

Every player in the orchestra needs to know when to start playing and when to stop, how fast the pace should be and what instrument needs to dominate in every part of the symphony. If percussion plays too fast or strings come in too soon, it can end in a disaster.

Likewise, when the embryo develops, structures that will eventually make up a human baby need to fold, move, fuse and disappear at exactly the right time.

If one structure persists too long or appears too early, it may block the way for another structure migrating to a new position. If a structure duplicates or fails to fuse with its other half, it can end up forming an extra organ.

What is most remarkable about the process of embryonic development is that in the great majority of cases we produce perfectly formed children.

In many cases of supernumeracy we don’t know what disrupted the development of the embryo, although in some cases a mother’s exposure to certain drugs or chemicals during pregnancy may be the cause.

One of the best known examples is thalidomide, a drug prescribed to pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s to treat morning sickness but caused some 10,000 children worldwide to be born with significant birth defects.

Although absent or short limbs were among the most common birth defects reported, some babies had extra toes.

The drug was commonly taken in the first trimester of pregnancy when morning sickness is more common and when, coincidentally, the embryo develops most rapidly.

Why supernumeracy matters today

The historical cases highlighted earlier are all examples of extreme supernumeracy. But most cases of supernumeracy are so inconspicuous they are found by chance and have little impact on people’s lives.

In fact, most of the supernumerary organs we see in cadavers in the anatomy laboratory belong to body donors who were unaware of them during their lifetime.

Some supernumerary structures are very rare, including additional kidneyspenises or vaginas. Others are relatively common, including extra nipples and teeth.

Understanding these less obvious cases can be very important when diagnosing and treating patients. That’s why medical students learn about them.

One of the supernumerate structures taught in medical school is the cervical rib, an extra rib at the base of the neck above the normal rib cage, which occurs in about one in 200 people.

While not apparent without diagnostic imaging, it can compress nerves and blood vessels that pass between the neck and shoulder, leading to numbness and pain in the arms and fingers. So, every medical student is taught about this anatomical variation.

Being aware of supernumerate structures can help doctors make a correct diagnosis. For example, about one in 2,000 of us have an extra ureter – a muscular tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder, where it is stored until ready to be excreted through the urethra.

While an extra ureter does not necessarily cause problems, in some people the ureter connects the kidney with the wrong structure, for example with the vagina or urethra.

This means the ureter bypasses the normal mechanism that stops urine from leaking out of the bladder. This anomaly is usually noticed in childhood, as patients who have this type of ureter often have continuous dripping of urine which needs to be surgically corrected.

Doctors also need to be aware that for patients with supernumerary organs, these organs need to be included in cancer screening.

For example, if a patient has supernumerary breasts, these breasts need to be included when screening for lumps or in mammograms.

Even the smallest supernumerary structure may alter some body functions, as it did for a 29-year-old optometry student who in a practical class accidentally discovered she had an extra opening in her eyelid known as a punctum.

The punctum helps drain away excessive tears. Usually, we only have one in each eyelid but this student had two in the same eyelid.

This explained why anaesthetic eye drops used for optometry procedures were far less effective in that eye, as the drops drained away twice as fast.

Knowing that she had a supernumerary punctum, doctors told her to press down on it to close off the opening when she needed to use eye drops.

The ConversationSo, while many of us may be aware of supernumerary structures because of the extraordinary examples usually related to parasitic twins, the more subtle supernumerary structures, which are far more common, have an important place in the study of anatomy and medical practice.

What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Fairness


Monkeys were taught in an experiment to hand over pebbles in exchange for cucumber slices. They were happy with this deal.

Then the researcher randomly offered one monkey — in sight of a second — an even better deal: a grape for a pebble. Monkeys love grapes, so this fellow was thrilled.

The researcher then returned to the second monkey, but presented just a cucumber for the pebble. Now, this offer was insulting. In some cases the monkey would throw the cucumber back at the primatologist in disgust.

In other words, the monkeys cared deeply about fairness. What mattered to them was not just what they received but also what others got.

Monkeys aren’t the only primates instinctively offended by inequality. For example, two scholars examined data from millions of flights to identify what factors resulted in “air rage” incidents. One huge factor: a first-class cabin.

An incident in a coach section was four times as likely if the plane also had a first-class cabin; a first-class section increased the risk of a disturbance as much as a nine-hour delay did.

When there is a first-class section, it is at the front of the plane and economy passengers typically walk through it to reach their seats, but in some flights the boarding is in the middle of the plane. The researchers found that an air-rage incident in coach was three times as likely when economy passengers had to walk through first class compared with when they bypassed it.

Keith Payne, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tells of this research in a brilliant new book, “The Broken Ladder,” about how inequality destabilizes societies. It’s an important, fascinating read arguing that inequality creates a public health crisis in America.

The data on inequality is, of course, staggering. The top 1 percent in America owns more than the bottom 90 percent. The annual Wall Street bonus pool alone is more than the annual year-round earnings of all Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. And what’s becoming clearer is the fraying of the social fabric that results.

 Payne challenges a common perception that the real problem isn’t inequality but poverty, and he’s persuasive that societies are shaped not just by disadvantage at the bottom but also by inequality across the spectrum. Addressing inequality must be a priority, for we humans are social creatures, so that society becomes dysfunctional when we see some receiving grapes and others cucumbers.

The dysfunction affects not only those at the bottom, but also the lucky ones at the top. Consider baseball: Some teams pay players much more disparately than others do, and one might think that pay inequality creates incentives for better performance and more wins.

In fact, economists have crunched the data and found the opposite is true. Teams with greater equality did much better, perhaps because they were more cohesive.

What’s more, it turned out that even the stars did better when they were on teams with flatter pay. “Higher inequality seemed to undercut the superstar players it was meant to incentivize, which is what you would expect if you believed that the chief effect of pay inequality was to reduce cooperation and team cohesion,” Payne notes.

Something similar emerges in national statistics. Countries with the widest gaps in income, including the United States, generally have worse health, more homicides and a greater array of social problems.

People seem to understand this truth intuitively, for they want much less inequality than we have. In a study of people in 40 countries, liberals said C.E.O.s should be paid four times as much as the average worker, while conservatives said five times. In fact, the average C.E.O. at the largest American public companies earns about 350 times as much as the average worker.

Presented with unlabeled pie charts depicting income distributions of two countries, 92 percent of Americans said they would prefer to live with the modest inequality that exists in Sweden. Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor alike — all chose Sweden by similar margins.

“When the level of inequality becomes too large to ignore, everyone starts acting strange,” Payne notes. “Inequality affects our actions and our feelings in the same systematic, predictable fashion again and again.”

“It makes us believe weird things, superstitiously clinging to the world as we want it to be rather than as it is,” he says. “Inequality divides us, cleaving us into camps not only of income but also of ideology and race, eroding our trust in one another. It generates stress and makes us all less healthy and less happy.”

Think of those words in the context of politics today: Doesn’t that diagnosis of stress, division and unhappiness strike a familiar chord?

So much of the national conversation now is focused on President Trump, for understandable reasons. But I suspect that he is a symptom as well as a cause, and that to uncover the root of our national dysfunctions we must go deeper than politics, deeper than poverty, deeper than demagoguery, and confront the inequality that is America today.

Mobile Phone Companies Do NOT Want You To know this – Cell Phone Radiation and Cancer Exposed. 


If you think the jury’s still out on whether cell phones can be dangerous to your health, then you might want to take the time to watch to this shocking video exposing how radition emmited by these devices can cause irreversible damage and health implications.


Last year, an Israeli research group reported a sharp increase in the incidence of parotid gland tumors over the last 30 years, with the steepest increase happening after 2001. Your parotid gland is a type of salivary gland, located closest to your cheek—the same area where most people typically hold their cell phones. 

The researchers found a four-fold increase in parotid gland cancers from 1970 to 2006, while rates of other salivary gland cancers remained stableiv.

That same year, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the principal investigator of a 2008 study, testified at a U.S. Senate Hearing that cell phones were identified as a contributor to salivary gland tumors.

The report states that your risk of getting a parotid tumor on the same side of your head that you use for listening to the mobile phone increases by:

  • 34 percent if you are a regular cell phone user and have used a mobile phone for 5 years.
  • 58 percent if you had more than about 5,500 calls in your lifetime.
  • 49 percent if you have spoken on the phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime.

5 Reasons You Should Have Sex Every Day


We know you don’t need a justification to have more sex. But knowledge is power and hence we believe in enriching you fully. Having sex regularly can better your health, improve your performance at work and keep you looking younger for longer, among many other things.

MensXP brings you a list of five such things to begin with:

Seduce Her To Prevent Heartache

Reasons To Have Sex Every Day - Seduce Her To Prevent Heartache

 

Well, no pun intended here! As much as having sex produces enormous amounts of the feel-good hormones, it also makes you heart-healthy. Researchers across the globe have agreed upon the fact that having sex two to three times a week can halve your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

Orgasm More To Say Goodbye To Cancer

Reasons To Have Sex Every Day - Orgasm More To Say Goodbye To Cancer

 

Release to breathe free of the deadly C-word! Carcinogens build up if you do not get to periodically clean up your pipes. A study in the journal of the American Medical Association state that those who enjoy 21 or more ejaculations per month have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who did four to seven times.

Have Sex, Sleep Better!

Reasons To Have Sex Every Day - Have Sex, Sleep Better!

 

Yes, you read it right. Move over sleeping pills! Not just the exertion will act like a tranquiliser, but the hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin released during orgasm also helps to promote sleep. No wonder most couples agree that the next best thing after a session between the sheets is sound sleep!

Delay Ageing With Sex

Reasons To Have Sex Every Day - Delay Ageing With Sex

You can easily look younger and reduce your risk of death within a 10-year period by almost 50 per cent if you have sex at least twice a week, compared to those who were lucky once a month. Higher levels of anti-ageing growth hormone, oxygen and testosterone are the tools to fight ageing.

Make Love To Make More Money

Reasons To Have Sex Every Day - Make Love To Make More Money

 

Your next hike depends on how you lucky you have been in bed lately! So, in order to excel in the boardroom, you need to perform in the bedroom. Research shows that the blood pressure of those who had sex in the previous fortnight raised less during public speaking and returned to normal more quickly. Sex reduces stress, hence preparing you to face that important presentation with full confidence.

Is There Such A Thing As Masturbating Too Much?


Sparklers

Medical Daily looks at the crucial question of whether we can really masturbate too much.

Given that we were once a country so desperate to stop masturbation that we invented Corn Flakes in the early 1900s, it’s safe to say we’ve felt conflicted about the act for quite some time, as fun and healthy as it might ultimately be.

Much of our fear of self-love can be attributed to enduring cultural and religious taboos surrounding sexuality and promiscuity, especially for women. But that fear has a physical component too. There’s the old-timey myth that it can cause blindness in teenage boys, for example, and the only slightly more credible idea that it will make us infertile — we’ve long worried that masturbation can cause irreparable damage to both our souls and bodies.

Outdated and silly as these urban legends may be, we might be tempted to think that there’s at least a grain of truth to them. That’s why Medical Daily enlisted a few sex experts to help explore a simple question: Can you really masturbate too much?

Erection Junction, What’s Your Function?

As with most questions, there’s a short answer and a long one.

“There’s really no such thing as overdoing it when it comes to masturbation,” Claire Cavanah, co-founder of the sex toy boutique Babeland and co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex, told Medical Daily. “As long you can still perform the major functions of your life, you’re fine.”

Dr. Ian Kerner, a psychotherapist and nationally prominent sex counsellor, largely agrees, though he does notice patterns among his male clients who report feeling physically unable to ejajacuate or have chafed equipment down under due to their masturbation schedule. “I will look at how often they masturbate, and it tends to be in the five to 10 times a day range, depending on age.” he said.

But when it comes to these select cases, Kerner adds that masturbation is more a symptom of other mental health issues like depression or anxiety than a problem in itself. “A lot of men are going through rough times on the employment scene and not going to work, or they’re single and either want to be in a relationship or not,” he said. “Sometimes men are using it as a distraction mechanism or a way of regulating anxiety or emotion.”

Excessive masturbation might even serve as a means of avoiding, albeit poorly, what Kerner calls erotic conflict. He offers the scenario of a male patient in a heterosexual marriage who is struggling with admitting his attraction to men. “The more he doesn’t deal with that attraction in different ways, the more it expresses itself through masturbation, which then leads to shame and guilt,” he said.

Kerner’s hypothetical also emphasizes the important point brought up by Cavanah — it’s not really the number of times we might masturbate a day that’s potentially a problem, but the level of distress it causes when we do.

“I think it’s misguided and useless to put a specific number on it,” New York University professor of human sexuality Dr. Zhana Vrangalova told Medical Daily. “It’s much more reasonable to think of masturbating too much in terms of it getting in the way of doing the things you want to do.”

The Right Stuff

As with the aforementioned myths, the fear of too much solo funtime is more often influenced by the beliefs we hold onto than any physical signs of overuse. “I get questions from people across the world asking ‘I masturbate once a week or once a day, is that a lot?’” Vrangalova said. “So there’s a lot of people who think that a very common amount of masturbation is harmful because of their beliefs.”

Figuring out the golden balance between your cultural or religious ideals and your sexual desires can definitely be tough, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Just like there’s no precise figure of overmasturbation, there’s no perfect right amount either. Especially since any number of personal and outside factors, such as ovulation or pregnancy in women, can muck with that frequency or our desire.

But for those who are legitimately worried about their self-love habit — whether because of feelings of shame, lost hours of the day, or some other reason — and want to explore that issue further, both Kerner and Vrangalova recommend finding a nonjudgmental therapist to talk openly with.

“Even if you think you’re masturbating too much, don’t jump to the conclusion that you’re a sex addict or a porn addict. You may have a behavior that’s out of control that you need to bring into control. But it’s much better to look at the underlying causes than to jump to the conclusion ‘Okay, I’m an addict! I need to go cold turkey or I need to go to some 12-step program,’” Kerner said. “These interventions may be down the line, but I would really do that under professional help and with a therapist who normalizes sexuality and who is sex-positive.”

And though women tend to masturbate less often than men, they do have their own unique version of the question, according to Cavanah: Can using a vibrator all the time to masturbate and orgasm ruin every other form of sexy fun?

“Sexual pleasure is fraught with anxiety in our mainstream culture,” she said. “We assure our customer: If they put their vibrator down for a while and masturbate without it, they will in all likelihood enjoy sex in other ways.”

No Shave November Or Movember? A Look At Both Men’s Health Awareness Initiatives


Movember or No Shave November

Do you celebrate No Shave November or Movember?

Hey, Men’s Health Awareness campaigns, it’s high time we all get on the same page. No Shave November or Movember? Moustaches or full beards? Prostate cancer or all Men’s Health issues? How are people supposed to become aware if they can’t even figure out which campaign they should follow?

It’s November, and depending on who you ask, it’s either No Shave November or Movember. For 30 days, men, other than hipsters, are encouraged to grow out their beards (or mustache… See? This is already getting confusing) to help raise awareness for prostate cancer (or a number of health issues impacting men, including depression, physical inactivity, etc.) But let’s face it, men are stubborn and the best way to get your point across is by really driving it home. Not by confusing us.

No Shave November Or Movember

According to the No Shave November website, the goal of the campaign is to grow awareness by embracing our hair — something that many cancer patients lose — and letting it grow wild and free. The tradition had been there for years, but the children of Matthew Hill, who passed away from colon cancer back in November 2007, took it a step further by using the cause to raise money for charity.

The Movember Foundation was started in Australia back in 2003 by Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, who were having a beer and couldn’t understand why the mustache ever went out of style. Unlike No Shave November, Movember is a global initiative that has spread to 21 countries.

Mustache or Beard

While the Movember Foundation is all about the mustache, No Shave November asks men to participate by “growing a beard, cultivating a mustache, letting those legs go natural, and skipping that waxing appointment.” For the most part, No Shave November is more laissez-faire when it comes to participation rules. “Grooming and trimming are perfectly acceptable” for people with a strict dress code at work, and participants coming into November with a few whiskers are more than welcome.

Movember, on the other hand, is a little stricter with its no shave rules. Men are asked to come into November clean shaven and focus their growing and grooming on their mustache for the next 30 days. Movember enthusiasts call mustaches “nature’s billboard.” When Garone and Slattery started the movement it was simply to bring back the stache as a look. However, when the men realized how much of a conversation starter their soup strainer was, they decided to use it to start meaningful conversations.

Prostate Cancer Or All Men’s Health Issues

Movember focuses its charitable contributions on four particular Men’s Health issues: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health, and physical inactivity. Prostate and testicular cancer are considered the two most common cancers among men, while around one in four adults suffers from a mental health issue and over half of men do not meet federal guidelines for physical activity. Since its inception in 2003, the Movember Foundation has raised around $650 million that has helped fund more than 1,000 programs focusing on these four issues that affect men everywhere.

No Shave November also focuses its efforts on benefiting cancer research, but they open it up to all cancers as opposed to just prostate and testicular. This web-based, non-profit organization, which has partnered with the American Cancer Society, Prevent Cancer Foundation, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, donates no less than 80 percent of the donations it receives to participating charities. Participants are asked to donate the money they would otherwise spend on grooming, like razors and trips to the barber shop.

No matter what the cause and no matter what grows on your face, though, everyone should do their part in standing up for Men’s Health Awareness this November. Men around the world die, on average, six years earlier than women. The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 510,000 men die each year due to suicide and the number of prostate cancer diagnoses worldwide is expected to double to 1.7 million by 2030. If you can wear pink in October, then you should be able to handle a conversation about Men’s Health.

Men’s Health May Be Suffering From Hypermasculine Energy Drink Ads; Study Warns They’re Not ‘Magic Potions’


Energy Drink

Energy drinks are very popular, but they aren’t too good for your sleep patterns, finds a new study.

Many Americans will reach for energy drinks, but perhaps no more so than men. Since men are the main consumers of these highly caffeinated, fizzy beverages, a team of scientists led by Dr. Ronald F. Levant, a professor of psychology at The University of Akron, was curious to see if there was a link between energy drinks and masculinity. The scientists also examined the effects energy drinks had on sleep and how drink expectations influenced consumption.

Oftentimes, energy drinks are marketed in a way that highlights masculinity. Commercials may feature men engaged in adrenaline-pumping, risky activities, like snowboarding or skydiving. Many brands of energy drinks sponsor sporting events as well, including ultimate fighting leagues, motocross, and racing.

“While most men who buy energy drinks aren’t martial arts champions or race car drivers, these marketing campaigns can make some men feel as though drinking energy drinks is a way to feel closer to, or associated with, these ultra-masculine sports,” said Levant in a press release.

Levant and his team first had 467 adult men take the Male Role Norms Inventory short form (MRNI-SF) designed by Levant. The survey attempts to measure a person’s agreement with traditional masculine attitudes, such as “I think a young man should try to be physically tough, even if he’s not,” and, “Men should not be too quick to tell others that they care about them.”

The second survey men took measured expectations about the effects of energy drinks, and included statements like, “If I consume energy drinks, I will be more willing to take risks,” and, “If I consume energy drinks, I will perform better.”

The final survey involved in the study was focused on sleep in order to compare disturbances in men’s sleep patterns to a standard sleep quality index. It looked at things like how often the men had to get up to use the bathroom, plus how much trouble they had falling asleep.

The researchers found associations between energy drink consumption and beliefs in traditional masculinity, the efficacy of energy drinks, and sleep disturbances with a couple notable exceptions.

“Older men were, more or less, exempt from the trend, and non-white men who endorsed traditional masculinity believed in the efficacy of energy drinks, but this belief didn’t translate into actual use,” they said.

For younger, white men in the sample, the link was much clearer.

“The link between masculinity ideology and energy drink use suggests that energy drinks use may be means of performing masculinity…as a way to raise masculine capital,” Levant said. He added the performance could be a way of showing off that one is consuming products associated with a competitive lifestyle.

The study suggests this association could have a negative effect on men’s health. Excessive consumption of caffeine can accelerate heart rate and increase anxiety, along with contributing to insomnia.

“Energy drinks contain very large amounts of caffeine, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require caffeine quantities to be displayed on beverage labels,” said Levant. “Because of this, some people may drink more caffeine through energy drinks than they might have intended to throughout a day, and drinking large amounts can cause problems — especially for sleep.”

Source: Levant R, Parent M, McCurdy E, Bradstreet T. Moderated mediation of the relationships between masculinity ideology, outcome expectations, and energy drink use. Health Psychology. 2015.

Masturbation Myths Debunked: Why Do We Masturbate And What Are The Pros And Cons?


masturbation

Besides making us feel good, what are other benefits associated with masturbation?

Masturbation is about as taboo as a topic can get. Men may discuss the topic in a joking manner and ladies may whisper about it among each other after a few glasses of wine, but in actuality serious conversations on the subject are few and far in between. Taking the shame out of masturbation is the first step to fully understand this equally unique and healthy human activity.

The Science Bit

What makes us human? A lot of things could be used to answer this question, but for the sake of this topic, the fact that we masturbate quite a lot is another distinctively human trait. Although other animals have been observed practicing self-pleasure, none do it to quite the same extent as man.

Masturbation is here for a reason. In males, the younger and more fresh the sperm sample is, the more likely it is to be accepted by the female reproductive tract and result in a fertilized embryo, Scientific Americanreported. Evolutionary biologists Robin Baker and Mark Bellis took samples of female “flowbacks,” the post-coital sperm that is rejected by the woman’s body, exiting around 5-120 minutes following sexual intercourse. It was found that the longer a man went without masturbating, the higher the number of sperm in their partner’s “flowback.” Based on this finding, they labeled male masturbation as a natural way to shed old sperm and make room for new, fitter sperm.

In females, orgasms, which are often obtained through masturbation, are also attributed to higher sperm retention. It is also believed that orgasms give women an incentive to have more sex, and therefore increase their chances of procreating.

The Benefits of Masturbation

Although there may be an evolutionary reason for why the habit of masturbation has stuck around for so long, the lists of benefits from the act of self-pleasing do not end with fertility. The orgasm so often achieved as a result of masturbation releases endorphins into the body. These hormones can help to relieve stress, relieve sexual tension, help offset insomnia, and boost metabolism, Everyday Health reported.

Orgasms, achieved by oneself or with the help of a partner, were also found to suppress the pain of a migraine and at times even halt the actual migraine processs altogether, LiveScience reported. “There’s a [portion] of patients with migraines, about one-third, who experience relief from a migraine attack by sexual activity,” said study researcher Stefan Evers, a neurologist and headache specialist at the University of Münster in Germany. Alexander Masukop, a neurologist and director of the New York Headache Center added to LiveScience that “having an orgasm in any way shape or form” will help with migraine relief.

What About Hairy Palms and Acne?

The good news is that masturbating will not give one hairy palms, make one go blind, or ruin future experiences of sexual intercourse. In fact, most experts will agree that moderate masturbation will lead to more satisfaction in one’s sex life with a partner. The old wives’ tale that masturbating gives you acne may be based a tiny bit on truth, for men at least. Male arousal results in the surge of male hormones, the same hormones that are also known to be responsible for the formation of acne. Theoretically, the long-term abusive masturbation can result in acne because of an imbalance of androgen hormones, which cause an increase in acne. However, most dermatologists regard this link as being very strained.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Excessive masturbation — that is masturbating every day several times a day for several years — can stimulate acetylcholine/parasympathetic nervous functions. The result of this is an overproduction of sex hormones and neurotransmitters. Possible bodily side effects can be fatigue, hair loss, memory loss, blurred vision, and groin pain. It can also lead to sexual exhaustion, which is exhibited in the form or impotence or erectile dysfunction.  Askmen also reported seminal leakage as another common problem associated with extreme masturbation.

Just like any other obsessive compulsive behavior, such as alcohol abuse or gambling, extreme masturbating can interfere with an individual’s personal relationship and professional life. At this point, the National Health Service suggests taking a break from the act may serve as a good thing. For those who seriously experience problems with controling their masturbation habits, there are programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous that may prove helpful.

Source:medicaldaily.com

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