Talking to an attractive woman really can make a man lose his mind, according to a new study.
Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or ‘cognitive resources’ trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.
The findings have implications for the performance of men who flirt with women in the workplace, or even exam results in mixed-sex schools.
Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.
This may be simply because men are programmed by evolution to think more about mating opportunities.
Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands carried out the study after one of them was so struck on impressing an attractive woman he had never met before, that he could not remember his address when she asked him where he lived.
Researchers said it was as if he was so keen to make an impression he ‘temporarily absorbed most of his cognitive resources.’
To see if other men were affected in the same way, they recruited 40 male heterosexual students.
Each one performed a standard memory test where they had to observe a stream of letters and say, as fast as possible, if each one was the same as the one before last.
The volunteers then spent seven minutes chatting to male or female members of the research team before repeating the test.
The results showed men were slower and less accurate after trying to impress the women. The more they fancied them, the worse their score.
But when the task was repeated with a group of female volunteers, they did not get the same results. Memory scores stayed the same, whether they had chatted to a man or a woman.
In a report on their findings the researchers said: ‘We conclude men’s cognitive functioning may temporarily decline after an interaction with an attractive woman.’
Psychologist Dr George Fieldman, a member of the British Psychological Society, said the findings reflect the fact that men are programmed to think about ways to pass on their genes.
‘When a man meets a pretty woman, he is what we call ‘reproductively focused’.
‘But a woman also looks for signs of other attributes, such as wealth, youth and kindness. Just the look of the man would be unlikely to have the same effect.’
Short answer: Ever heard of man-struation?
Men do go through hormonal cycles. That much is established. Their testosterone levels tend to peak first thing in the morning, perhaps in concert with circadian rhythms, and then diminish over the course of the day—though exercise can cause fleeting spikes. What science has yet to show is whether hormones dip and rise over weeks or months, as women’s do.
Some researchers believe that male hormones vary with the seasons. A 2003 study found that the testosterone levels of men in one Norwegian town bottomed out in summer and reached a high in late fall. A study of Danish men found similar seasonal variations (on a slightly different schedule). If these rhythms are real, they might have to do with sun exposure, summer workouts, or winter weight-gain. But studies done in sunny San Diego and snowy Boston failed to replicate the Scandinavian findings. In a 2012 review, urologists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston concluded that some “evidence exists to support the notion” of seasonal cycles but cautioned that more research was needed.
Endocrinologist Peter Celec of Comenius University in Slovakia, thinks that men have a straight-up monthly hormonal cycle too. In 2002 he published a study showing that both men and women experience roughly lunar rhythms of testosterone; the levels in men’s saliva peaked dramatically on day 18 of a 30-day cycle. Celec’s findings have not been replicated or accepted in the field, yet he remains convinced: “I have searched the literature for negative findings, but I have not found anything.”
Celec adds that if women didn’t bleed, the research establishment would likely be skeptical of their monthly cycles too.
Information about cancer risk can help you make informed decisions about screening and prevention strategies. As we recognize National Men’s Health Week, learn about the most common cancers in men in the United States and the options for prevention and treatment.
There will be an estimated 180,890 new cases in the U.S. in 2016.
One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Doctors can screen for early signs of prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen testing, which can detect elevated levels of a protein in the blood that may indicate prostate cancer. There are benefits and drawbacks to PSA testing; it can help detect and treat cancer at an early stage, but it is not always accurate. False readings can lead to unnecessary treatments, including biopsies that can increase the risk of impotence and incontinence.
- Age 18-40: Screening is usually not required.
- Age 40-49: You should discuss your risk level with your physician. Screening is recommended if you are considered high risk. African-American men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer are at a greater risk and should discuss PSA testing with their physicians.
- Age 50+: Discuss screening with your physician.
The best protection against prostate cancer is a healthy lifestyle. Follow this game plan for preventing, screening, and treating prostate cancer.
There will be an estimated 117,920 new cases in men in the U.S. in 2016.
Both smokers and non-smokers are at risk for lung cancer. Talk to your physician about screening and prevention if you experience symptoms of chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, hoarseness, bloody mucus, and a lingering cough.
Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. You can call the Smoker’s Helpline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to learn about programs to help you quit smoking, or you can discuss how to quit with your physician. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screenings for current smokers, those who have quit smoking within the last 15 years, and those ages 55-80 who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years. Screenings consist of a low-doseCT scan.
To further reduce the risk of lung cancer, maintain a healthy diet and avoid secondhand smoke and exposure to carcinogens such as radon, asbestos, and soot. Radon exposure is the main cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and can be detected inexpensively with an in-home testing kit.
There will be an estimated 70,820 new cases in men in the U.S. in 2016.
Colorectal cancer is a common but preventable disease. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include age, a history of polyps, having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a family history of colorectal cancer, physical inactivity, obesity, and frequent consumption of red meat and processed meats. Studies show that a daily dose of aspirin may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by up to 40 percent. Consult your physician before beginning an aspirin regimen.
When it is detected early, this disease is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, so it’s important to follow screening guidelines. Dana-Farber experts recommend the following guidelines:
- Age 18-39: It is not necessary to have a screening unless you have IBD, a family history of colorectal cancer, or a hereditary condition like Lynch syndrome. Speak with your doctor about the pros and cons of screening and whether it’s right for you.
- Age 40-49: Review your risks with your doctor. You may need to begin screening if you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer or if you’ve previously had polyps.
- Age 50+: Everyone should be screened. Talk to your doctor about the options, including colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and annual stool occult blood tests.
There will be an estimated 58,950 new cases in men in the U.S. in 2016.
Blood in the urine, changes in bladder habits, or inability to urinate may be signs of bladder cancer, or signs of a less serious bladder problem.
According to the American Cancer Society, you may be able to reduce the risk of urinary bladder cancer by drinking lots of water, eating fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, and limiting exposure to certain organic chemicals found in workplaces in the textile, paint, rubber, and leather industries.
A urinalysis, which tests for blood in the urine, can be used to detect bladder cancers early but may not be useful as a routine screening test. Urine cytology may be able to detect cancer cells in urine.
There will be an estimated 46,870 new cases in men in the U.S. in 2016.
Risk factors for melanoma include fair skin, a history of blistering sunburns, several large or many small moles, and a family history of unusual moles.
To detect melanoma as early as possible, check your skin once a month in front of a mirror in a well-lit room. Make note of any changes in patterns of moles, blemishes, and freckles over time, and use the “ABCDE rule” to help determine whether your physician should look at a mole.
- Asymmetry. One half of the mole looks different than the other.
- Border irregularity. The mole has blurry or jagged borders.
- Color. The mole does not have a consistent color and may have shades of brown, black, pink, white, red, or blue.
- Diameter. The mole’s diameter is greater than six millimeters (roughly the size of a pencil eraser).
- Evolving. The mole changes in size, shape, or color.
Statistics and additional prevention information provided by the American Cancer Society
The high frequencies and pitch found in pop and rock music cause vibrations that enhanced energy generation in solar cells containing a cluster of ‘nanorods’, leading to a 40 per cent increase in efficiency of the solar cells.
The study has implications for improving energy generation from sunlight, particularly for the development of new, lower cost, printed solar cells.
The researchers grew billions of tiny rods (nanorods) made from zinc oxide, then covered them with an active polymer to form a device that converts sunlight into electricity.
Using the special properties of the zinc oxide material, the team was able to show that sound levels as low as 75 decibels (equivalent to a typical roadside noise or a printer in an office) could significantly improve the solar cell performance.
“After investigating systems for converting vibrations into electricity this is a really exciting development that shows a similar set of physical properties can also enhance the performance of a photovoltaic,” said Dr Steve Dunn, Reader in Nanoscale Materials from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science and co-author of the paper.
Scientists had previously shown that applying pressure or strain to zinc oxide materials could result in voltage outputs, known as the piezoelectric effect. However, the effect of these piezoelectric voltages on solar cell efficiency had not received significant attention before.
“We thought the soundwaves, which produce random fluctuations, would cancel each other out and so didn’t expect to see any significant overall effect on the power output,” said James Durrant, Professor of Photochemistry at Imperial College London, who co-led the study.
“We tried playing music instead of dull flat sounds, as this helped us explore the effect of different pitches. The biggest difference we found was when we played pop music rather than classical, which we now realise is because our acoustic solar cells respond best to the higher pitched sounds present in pop music,” he concluded.
The discovery could be used to power devices that are exposed to acoustic vibrations, such as air conditioning units or within cars and other vehicles.
Co-author Dr Joe Briscoe also from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science, commented: “The whole device extremely simple and inexpensive to produce as the zinc oxide was grown using a simple, chemical solution technique and the polymer was also deposited from a solution.”
Dr Dunn added: “The work highlights the benefits of collaboration to develop new and interesting systems and scientific understanding.”
Pilot Safety Study of a Novel Operator-Independent Ultrasound Device in Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke
The Combined Lysis of Thrombus in Brain Ischemia With Transcranial Ultrasound and Systemic T-PA-Hands-Free (CLOTBUST-HF) study is a first-in-human, National Institutes of Health–sponsored, multicenter, open-label, pilot safety trial of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) plus a novel operator-independent ultrasound device in patients with ischemic stroke caused by proximal intracranial occlusion.
All patients received standard-dose intravenous tPA, and shortly after tPA bolus, the CLOTBUST-HF device delivered 2-hour therapeutic exposure to 2-MHz pulsed-wave ultrasound. Primary outcome was occurrence of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. All patients underwent pretreatment and post-treatment transcranial Doppler ultrasound or CT angiography. National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores were collected at 2 hours and modified Rankin scale at 90 days.
Summary characteristics of all 20 enrolled patients were 60% men, mean age of 63 (SD=14) years, and median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale of 15. Sites of pretreatment occlusion were as follows: 14 of 20 (70%) middle cerebral artery, 3 of 20 (15%) terminal internal carotid artery, and 3 of 20 (15%) vertebral artery. The median (interquartile range) time to tPA at the beginning of sonothrombolysis was 22 (13.5–29.0) minutes. All patients tolerated the entire 2 hours of insonation, and none developed symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage. No serious adverse events were related to the study device. Rates of 2-hour recanalization were as follows: 8 of 20 (40%; 95% confidence interval, 19%–64%) complete and 2 of 20 (10%; 95% confidence interval, 1%–32%) partial. Middle cerebral artery occlusions demonstrated the greatest complete recanalization rate: 8 of 14 (57%; 95% confidence interval, 29%–82%). At 90 days, 5 of 20 (25%, 95% confidence interval, 7%–49) patients had a modified Rankin scale of 0 to 1.
Sonothrombolysis using a novel, operator-independent device, in combination with systemic tPA, seems safe, and recanalization rates warrant evaluation in a phase III efficacy trial.
Therapeutic hypothermia is now the standard of care for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Treatment should be started early, and it is often necessary to transfer the infant to a regional NICU for ongoing care. There are no large studies reporting outcomes from infants cooled passively compared with active (servo-controlled) cooling during transfer. Our goal was to review data from a regional transport service, comparing both methods of cooling.
This was a retrospective observational study of 143 infants referred to a regional NICU for ongoing therapeutic hypothermia. Of the 134 infants transferred, the first 64 were cooled passively, and 70 were subsequently cooled after purchase of a servo-controlled mattress. Key outcome measures were time to arrival at the regional unit, temperature at referral and arrival at the regional unit, and temperature stability during transfer.
The age cooling was started was significantly shorter in the actively cooled group (46 [0–352] minutes vs 120 [0–502] minutes; <.01). The median (range) stabilization time (153 [60–385] minutes vs 133 [45–505] minutes; = .04) and age at arrival at the regional unit (504 [191–924] minutes vs 452 [225–1265]) minutes; = .01) were significantly shorter in the actively cooled group. Only 39% of infants passively cooled were within the target temperature range at arrival to the regional unit compared with 100% actively cooled.
Servo-controlled active cooling has been shown to improve temperature stability and is associated with a reduction in transfer time.
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics have similar efficacy and cost-effectiveness as broad-spectrum antibiotics in the treatment of pediatric community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), according to the findings of a retrospective study.
“The 2011 Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society/Infectious Diseases Society of America…guideline for the management of children with [CAP] recommends narrow-spectrum antimicrobial therapy for most hospitalized children,” the authors write. “Nevertheless, few studies have directly compared the effectiveness of narrow-spectrum agents to the broader spectrum third-generation cephalosporins commonly used among hospitalized children with CAP.”
Therefore, the researchers used the Pediatric Health Information System database to assess the hospital length of stay (LOS) and associated healthcare costs of children aged 6 months to 18 years who were diagnosed with pneumonia between July 2005 and June 2011 and treated with either narrow-spectrum or broad-spectrum antibiotics. The authors excluded children with potentially severe pneumonia, those at risk for healthcare-associated infections, and those with mild disease requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization.
Narrow-spectrum therapy consisted of the exclusive use of penicillin or ampicillin, whereas broad-spectrum treatment was defined as the exclusive use of parenteral ceftriaxone or cefotaxime.
The median LOS for the entire study population (n = 15,564) was 3 days (interquartile range, 3 – 4 days), and LOS was not significantly different between the narrow-spectrum and broad-spectrum treatment groups (adjusted difference [aD], 0.12 days; P = .11), after adjustments for covariates including age, sex, and ethnicity.
Similarly, the investigators found no differences in the proportion of children requiring intensive care unit admission in the first 2 days of hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.25 – 2.73) or hospital readmission within 14 days (aOR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.45 – 1.63) were noted between the groups.
Narrow-spectrum treatment was also linked to a similar cost of hospitalization (aD, −$14.4; 95% CI, −$177.1 to $148.3) and cost per episode of illness (aD, −$18.6; 95% CI, −$194 to $156.9) as broad-spectrum therapy.
The researchers note that the limitations of the study were mostly related to its retrospective nature, including potential confounding by indication, the absence of etiologic and other clinical data, and a relative lack of objective outcome measures.
“Clinical outcomes and costs for children hospitalized with CAP are not different when empirical treatment is with narrow-spectrum compared with broad-spectrum therapy,” the authors write. “Programs promoting guideline implementation and targeting judicious antibiotic selection for CAP are needed to optimize management of childhood CAP in the United States.”
Nearly half of pediatric influenza deaths occur in otherwise healthy children, according to an 8-year Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published online October 28 in Pediatrics.
“[T]hese data, which reveal that any child can be at risk of influenza-associated death regardless of age or high-risk medical conditions, support the recommendation that all children ≥6 months of age receive annual vaccination,” Karen K. Wong, MD, MPH, from the Epidemic Intelligence Service assigned to the Influenza Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues write. They note that the national coverage rate (52% in 2011-2012) remains far below the Healthy People 2010 objective of 80%.
The investigators reviewed data for 830 pediatric influenza-related deaths that occurred between October 2004 and September 2012. Of the 794 children with an available medical record, 341 (43%) had no high-risk medical conditions such as neurologic disorders, asthma, or diseases of the heart, kidney, liver, or immune system, and 453 (57%) did. Among the entire study population, the median age of death was 7 years (interquartile range [IQR], 1 – 12 years), with 35% of cases occurring before hospital admission.
As expected, the study data confirmed the increased risk for complications, including mortality, among children with comorbidities: 33% of high-risk deaths occurred in children with neurologic disorders, and 12% had genetic or chromosomal disorders.
However, researchers also found that otherwise healthy children were almost twice as likely to die before hospital admission as their high-risk counterparts (relative risk [RR], 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6 – 2.4) and were 1.6 times more likely to die within 3 days of symptom onset (95% CI, 1.3 – 2.0).Although the cause remains unclear, a doubled prevalence of bacterial coinfection may have factored in the observed acceleration of clinical course (relative risk [RR], 2.0; 95% CI, 1.5 – 2.5), the authors write.
Otherwise healthy children were also more likely to be younger than 5 years (RR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1 – 1.6; P < .001), with a median age of 5 years (interquartile range [IQR], 1 – 11 years), compared with 8 years (IQR, 3 – 13 years) in the high-risk group.
According to the authors, the findings underscore the need for clinicians to be more aggressive with antiviral therapy.
“[I]influenza antiviral medications can reduce the severity of illness and complications associated with influenza virus infection…. [H]owever, antiviral treatment was reported in less than half of the children who died during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons in this study,” the authors point out.
Children with signs or symptoms of severe or progressive illness and those who are hospitalized should be started on antivirals without waiting for laboratory results, even if they have no other risk factors for influenza-related complications, the authors write. Oseltamivir can be used in infants as young as 2 weeks, they note. In addition, antivirals are recommended regardless of illness severity for children younger than 2 years and for those with high-risk medical conditions.
“The potential for severe outcomes from influenza should be recognized in all children, both those with conditions that place them at higher risk of influenza-associated complications as well as healthy children,” the authors conclude.