Al Fin, You Sexy Thing!

29 November 2011

More Health Benefits of Motherhood

Women who bear four or more children appear to be protected from stroke, or cerebrovascular disease. The research was done at UCSD and involved 1300 California women.
Lead author Marni Jacoobs of the University of California, in San Diego, wrote in the journal Fertility and Sterility: "In conclusion, women in this study had less CVD mortality risk if they had more than four pregnancies, with the strongest association observed for non-CHD CVD mortality.

"The mechanism by which this decreased risk occurs is unknown, however, it may reflect higher fertility in healthier women, the effect of prolonged exposure to higher levels of circulating oestrogen or other hormones during pregnancy, increased endothelial function during pregnancy, or the added social support from a larger family."... _Telegraph_via_Impactlab
Various scientists and clinicians have attempted to explain this effect in various ways. But if we keep in mind the rejuvenating effects of pregnancy -- via both stem cells and humoural factors -- and the tendency for pregnancy to "build up the brain," the underlying truth of the matter probably lie in areas where most researchers have never looked.

Political correctness is the enemy of genuine science, and yet PC permeates so much of academia, politics, and the journalism of science. Fortunately, here at the Al Fin Institute of Sexology, our motto is: "Damn the Political Correctness! We Just Want to Learn the Truth!"

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21 November 2011

Another Way Pregnancy Makes Women Younger

In earlier articles, we explained how pregnancy can make a woman younger due to the transfer of certain molecules -- hormones, growth factors etc -- from the fetus to the mother. In another article we learned that pregnancy can help make women's brains work better. Now we learn that pregnant women's bodies can be regenerated via embryonic stem cell rejuvenation treatments from the fetus.

These findings come from research in mice done at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York:
Mouse fetuses will give up stem cells to repair their mother's heart. The discovery could explain why half the women who develop heart weakness during or just after pregnancy recover spontaneously.

Hina Chaudhry of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City mated normal female mice with males genetically engineered to produce a green-fluorescing protein in all their body cells. Half the resulting fetuses also produced the protein, making it easy to spot any fetal tissue in the mother.

Chaudhry's team inflicted a heart attack on the pregnant mice and killed them two weeks later to take a look at their hearts. They found some fluorescent cells in the mothers' damaged heart tissue, where they had accelerated repair by changing into new heart cells, including beating cardiomyocytes and blood vessel cells.

Chaudhry says that the phenomenon is an evolutionary mechanism: the fetus promotes its own survival by protecting its mother's heart. Because the cells are easy to obtain from the placenta and unlikely to cause immunological reactions, they could provide a new and potentially limitless source of stem cells for repairing damaged hearts.

"The study is the first to show conclusively that fetal cells contained in the placenta assist in cardiac tissue repair," says Jakub Tolar, director of stem-cell therapies at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. _NewScientist
All the debate that has gone on over embryonic stem cell treatments, and we discover that it has been going on in mammals from the beginning.

Now it is a matter of learning how to maximise the positive effects of pregnancy, and to compensate for the potential negative effects.

Of course, in the long run, artificial wombs will relieve most women of the burden of gestation. But for those stylishly retro women who will wish to carry their own -- the advantages continue to build.

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17 November 2011

Peeping Into a Woman's Brain As it Explodes Into Orgasm



Video Credit: The Visual MD via Guardian

As the animation plays, activity first builds up in the genital area of the sensory cortex, a response to being touched in that region. Activity then spreads to the limbic system, a collection of brain structures involved in emotions and long-term memory.

As the orgasm arrives, activity shoots up in two parts of the brain called the cerebellum and the frontal cortex, perhaps because of greater muscle tension. During orgasm, activity reaches a peak in the hypothalamus, which releases a chemical called oxytocin that causes pleasurable sensations and stimulates the uterus to contract. Activity also peaks in the nucleus accumbens, an area linked to reward and pleasure.

After orgasm, the activity in all these regions gradually calms down.

...In a new technique being developed by Komisaruk, people inside the scanner can see their own brain activity on a screen almost instantaneously. Through this "neurobiofeedback", Komisaruk speculates that people might be able to learn how to change their brain activity, a feat that could perhaps help treat a broad range of conditions, such as anxiety, depression and pain. _Guardian
An interesting form of neurofeedback indeed. We must all wish Komisaruk good luck in reaching his research goals.

Of course not everyone can take an MRI scanner to bed with them for purposes of intensifying their orgasms, via neurofeedback. Fortunately, new applications for Apple's iPad device will allow persons to use the handheld as an EEG neurofeedback system. Although the neurofeedback app is still in the lab, other biofeedback apps are available from itunes. For those who want to learn more about neurofeedback, here is a podcast on real time EEG neurofeedback.

Of course it is the sexual partner who actually needs reliable feedback on the state of his partner's pleasure. But we do not want to become slaves to "the standard orgasm." There are all kinds of orgasms, after all. There is no need for some psychologist or other self-proclaimed expert to tell us what we should be doing.

Just help us open the doors of perception and we will do the rest.

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08 November 2011

The Curious Cases Where "Women Can Be More Like a Man!"

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historic'ly fair;
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Well, why can't a woman be like that?
Why does ev'ryone do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head? _Why Can't a Woman be More Like a Man (My Fair Lady)


The eternal question, "Why can't a woman be more than a man?" finally has a medical answer: She can! It requires a bit of hormonal manipulation at a very young age, but it does happen naturally in occasional cases.

Some girls are more interested in things than people, like boys. Some girls do prefer to play with trucks than with dolls. And many of these girls do eventually grow up to enter predominantly male professions, such as engineering, surgery, mathematics, or computer science. Why are these girls different, more like a man, so to speak?
Females with CAH [congenital adrenal hyperplasia -- exposure to high levels of androgens in the womb and early childhood] are genetically female and are treated as females, but their interests tend to be more similar to stereotypically male ones.

In the study, investigators discovered females with CAH were significantly more interested in careers related to “things” compared to careers related to “people” (as compared to females that were not exposed to CAH).

Study findings are reported in the journal Hormones and Behavior.

“We took advantage of a natural experiment,” said psychologist Sheri A. Berenbaum. “We’re suggesting that these interests are pretty early developing.”

Females without CAH had less interest than males in occupations related to things, such as engineer or surgeon, and more interest in careers focused on interacting with people, such as social worker or teacher.

...Researchers believe the normal biological absence of androgen may be a reason that fewer women choose STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] careers. _PsychCentral

In the US there are plenty of STEM jobs available -- both now and for the foreseeable future -- but US students are not graduating in high enough numbers in STEM fields to fill those jobs. Those who do start out in STEM subjects too often drop out of these programs before graduation.
Since women are traditionally under-represented in STEM fields, you might think the answer to any shortages in those areas could be solved by routing more women into STEM studies. But as noted in the research above, if allowed to choose, most women without high congenital exposures to androgens will choose other subject areas, on their own.

No, Rex, it is best to allow women to be more of who they are, naturally. And to our radical feminist overlords: It is long past time to resume allowing men to be who they are naturally, without affirmative action, Title IX, political correctness, or other politically motivated distortions of the social and economic worlds.

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