Facial Structure Linked To Sexual Drive and Orientation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven Arnocky PhD Faculty of Arts & Science-Psychology Nipissing University Canada

Dr. Arnocky

Steven Arnocky PhD
Faculty of Arts & Science-Psychology
Nipissing University
Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  – Previous research has linked the facial width-to-height ratio to a number of testosterone-mediated traits, primarily in men, such as aggression and achievement drive. Some research has also linked FWHR to testosterone directly, although this research is less consistent. If testosterone is linked to cranio-facial development then we hypothesized that facial masculinization should therefore correlate with other testosterone-linked traits. In both men and women, there is good evidence that testosterone increases sexual motivation.

In two samples of young-adults from two Canadian cities, we found that  facial width-to-height ratio predicted sex-drive, regardless of whether participants were male or female.

In the second study (the larger of the two) we also found that FWHR predicted a more unrestricted sociosexual orientation, in other words, attitudes and behavior consistent with more pluralistic mating, as well as more intended infidelity.

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Gene Helps Explain Why More Women Than Men Have Alzheimer’s

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Arthur W. Toga PhD Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences, Radiology and Engineering Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics Keck School of Medicine of USC University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA  90032

Dr. Toga

Arthur W. Toga PhD
Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences,
Radiology and Engineering
Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience
Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute
USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA  90032 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the main genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  This study reexamines and corrects the sex-dependent risks that white men and women with one copy of the ε4 allele face for developing Alzheimer’s disease using a very large data set of 57,979 North Americans and Europeans from the Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN).

The study results show that these men and women between the ages of 55 and 85 have the same odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with the exception that women face significantly higher risks than men between the ages of 65 and 75.  Further, these women showed increased risk over men between the ages of 55 and 70 for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a transitional phase to dementia.

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Television Storylines Influence Public’s Perception of Transgender Issues

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Traci-Gillig

Traci Gillig

Traci K. Gillig
Doctoral Candidate
Annenberg School of Communication and

Erica L. Rosenthal Senior Research Associate

Erica L. Rosenthal

Erica L. Rosenthal
Senior Research Associate

Hollywood, Health & Society
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90211

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Time magazine declared America reached a “transgender tipping point” in 2014, with the media visibility of transgender people reaching new levels. While research has shown that entertainment shapes viewers’ attitudes, no prior studies had explored the cumulative effects of exposure to media portrayals of transgender people. To address this gap, we worked with the TV show Royal Pains (USA Network) to assess how viewers’ attitudes toward transgender people and related policy issues were influenced by seeing a brief fictional portrayal of a transgender teen as well as other transgender TV characters.

We had advance notice of the storyline through Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), an organization affiliated with the USC Annenberg School of Communication. HH&S serves as a free resource to the entertainment industry, providing accurate health (and other) information through consultation with subject matter experts. Royal Pains assisted us in recruiting viewers for our study through their social media accounts. A total of 391 viewers who saw the episode featuring a transgender teen participated in our study, and we supplemented this sample with Royal Pains viewers who had not seen the episode, accessed through market research panels.

Findings of our study showed that viewers who saw the Royal Pains episode featuring a transgender character had more supportive attitudes toward transgender people and related policies, compared to viewers who did not see the episode. Additionally, cumulative exposure to transgender entertainment narratives improved viewers’ attitudes toward transgender people and policies. Neither exposure to transgender issues in the news nor Caitlyn Jenner’s story influenced attitudes.

Further, aligning with prior research, viewers who were more politically conservative reported more negative attitudes toward transgender people and less support for transgender-affirming policies. However, seeing multiple such storylines reduced the strength of this link by one half. Political ideology also influenced viewers’ responses to the Royal Pains episode. Those who were politically liberal were more likely to feel hope or identify with the transgender character in the episode, while those who were politically conservative were more likely to react with disgust. 

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Why Is HIV More Common in African American Women?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Tiffany Aholou Behavioral Scientist Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention CDC

Dr. Aholou

Dr. Tiffany Aholou
Behavioral Scientist
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Women accounted for 24% of people living with HIV in the United States at the end of 2013 and 19% of HIV diagnoses in 2014. Of these diagnoses, 78% were among black women and Latinas. HIV diagnoses among women are overwhelmingly attributed to heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or to be at high risk for, HIV infection. Of note, new HIV diagnoses among US women declined 40% over a 10 year period (2005-2014), yet we continue to see significant racial/ethnic disparities due largely to a complex web of demographic, individual, social and contextual factors with the environment that enables HIV risk behaviors to occur.

While the decline in new HIV diagnoses among US women is noteworthy, in our review of the literature, we found research studies that specifically focus on women and HIV from a domestic perspective were scarce. To fill this gap and sharpen our understanding about sexual behaviors that are associated with heterosexual transmission of HIV, this study used data from three cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (2006-2008, 2008-2010, and 2011-2013) to examine HIV-related sexual risk and protective behaviors – concurrent sex partnerships, non-monogamous sex partners, and condom use at either last vaginal sex  or anal sex  – among sexually active women aged 18-44 years by race/ethnicity and over time.

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Drug-Related Deaths Among Whites Soar But Alcohol and Suicide Mortality Stable

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Andrea M. Tilstra
Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology
Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder and
Ryan K. Masters
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Faculty Associate, Population Program and Health & Society Program
Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado Boulder

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  “Despair” deaths – deaths from suicides, alcohol poisonings, and drug overdoses – have been a topic of interest in recent mortality research. For instance, existing findings suggest that mortality among white Americans has increased as a result of middle-aged whites experiencing elevated levels of despair and distress. These factors supposedly are driving white Americans to cope in unhealthy ways – excessive drinking, drug use, and suicides.

However, there were two major problems with the existing research that supported this narrative. First, men and women were analyzed together, despite the knowledge that overall mortality levels and trends differ significantly by gender. Second, all three of the aforementioned causes of death were pooled together and analyzed as one group. This is highly problematic if deaths from suicides, alcohol use, and drug use are not, in fact, moving in conjunction with one another. We addressed these issues and expanded previous analyses by analyzing cause-specific death rates for men and women separately, for years 1980-2014, and decomposing the trends into period- and cohort- based analyses.

We find that there are huge gender differences in U.S. white mortality rates and that trends in mortality from the three causes of death are quite distinct from one another. Recent increases in U.S. white mortality are largely driven by period-based increases in drug poisoning deaths and cohort-based increases in metabolic disease deaths.

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Sex Differences In Brain Structure of Boys and Girls With Conduct Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Areti Smaragdi, PhD University of Southampton Southampton, UK

Dr. Smaragdi

Areti Smaragdi, PhD
University of Southampton
Southampton, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Conduct Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that involves severe antisocial behavior – symptoms of the condition include behaviors like physical fighting, pathological lying, and serious theft. The disorder affects around 5% of school-aged children and adolescents, and is up to three times more common in boys than girls. Because of this, very little research has focused on the possible brain basis of the disorder in girls.

We used MRI scanning methods to measure the brain structure of 48 boys and 48 girls with Conduct Disorder (14-18 years old) and 52 boys and 52 girls without severe antisocial behavior. We found that boys and girls with Conduct Disorder had reduced thickness and more folding in the prefrontal cortex, an area at the front of the brain which is responsible for reward and punishment processing and helping us to control our emotions and impulses. In contrast, in some other areas such as the superior frontal gyrus, which is involved in short-term memory, boys and girls with Conduct Disorder showed structural changes in opposite directions (e.g., more versus less folding) compared with controls. This suggests that there are common abnormalities in brain structure in boys and girls with Conduct Disorder, but also some sex differences that might indicate that the causes of the disorder are partly different in boys and girls.

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Majority of Murdered Women Are Killed By Current or Former Partners

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

EmikoPetrosky MD M.P.H Science Officer, National Violent Death Reporting System at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

Dr. Petrosky

EmikoPetrosky MD M.P.H
Science Officer, National Violent Death Reporting System at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged 44 years and younger. In 2015, 3,519 girls and women died by homicide in the United States.  It is the 5th leading cause of death for women under 45 years age (defining women as 18-44 years of age).

The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) links together data from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, and law enforcement reports, resulting in more information about the circumstances of death than what is available elsewhere.

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Brain Imaging Confirms Boys and Girls Experience Depression Differently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jie-Yu Chuang PhD Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom

Dr. Jie-Yu Chuang

Jie-Yu Chuang PhD
Department of Psychiatry
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Men and women appear to suffer from depression differently, and this is particularly striking in adolescents. By 15 years of age, girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys. There are various possible reasons for this, including body image issues, hormonal fluctuations and genetic factors, where girls are more at risk of inheriting depression. However, differences between the sexes don’t just involve the risk of experiencing depression. Men are more liable to suffer from persistent depression, whereas in women depression tends to be more episodic. Compared with women, depressed men are also more likely to suffer serious consequences from their depression, such as substance abuse and suicide. Despite this, so far, most researchers have focused on depression in women, likely because it is more common. As a result, we’d like to make people more aware of the sex difference issue in depression.

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Sex Of Research Subjects Plays a Large Role in Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sanger Insitute - Wellcome Trust. Photo by Phil MynottDr Natasha Karp PhD

Senior Staff Scientist – Biostatistician
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is evidence that the prevalence of disease, the symptoms experienced,  the progression,  and the side effects can be  dependent on sex.  However, women are underrepresented within biomedical research and this can be seen in the reporting, design of the experiments and subsequent statistical analysis.

Examples

  • A review of international animal research between 2011 and 2012 found that 22 per cent of studies did not state the sex of the animals, and of those that did, 80 per cent of studies used solely males and only 3 per cent included both males and females (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25175501)
  • In a study across 10 fields of biology,  80% of the rodents were male  (Beery and Zucker 2011 Neurosci Biobehav Rev).  This rate has not changed in 20 years  (Mazure and Jones 2015 BMC Women’s health)
  • Women encounter adverse drug reactions more often than men (odds ratio 1.596 confidence interval: 1.3-1.94)( Zopf et al 2008  Eur J Clinic Pharmacol)
  • Example – cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of US women,  and women differ to men in symptoms, outcomes and risk factors, yet only one third of cardiovascular trials subjects are female and only 31% of trials report results by sex (http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/womenshealth/ConnorsCenter/Policy/ConnorsReportFINAL.pdf)
  • Example – It took 21 years to lower the  dosing guidelines for women for the insomnia drug Zolpidem due to differences in the clearance rate of the drug exposing women to greater health risks (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918870/)

As a result of these observations, multiple bodies have called for sex to be considered as a biological variable in preclinical research.  The largest funders of biomedical research (National Institute of Health) made inclusion of sex a requirement of funding with a few well defined exceptions.  There was some push back on this,  particularly that scientists should be trusted and would know when sex was a variable and it was a waste of resources. I felt there was a knowledge gap on the role of sex.  We have had published studies of individual examples where sex had a role but no large scale study.

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Dramatic Increase in ACL Injuries and Surgery in Adolescent Girls

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mackenzie M. Herzog, MPH PhD Candidate, Injury Epidemiology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Mackenzie Herzog

Mackenzie M. Herzog, MPH
PhD Candidate, Injury Epidemiology
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 1999, a study by Arendt et al. reported that women were more likely to tear their ACL than men while playing the same sport. Since then, numerous studies have investigated this sex difference in ACL injury, and many prevention programs targeting youth athletes have been developed and tested. Although randomized trials have demonstrated the value of injury prevention programs in reducing the risk of ACL injury, the overall impact of these programs has not been examined in the general population. Our study investigated the net impact of research and prevention efforts over nearly 20 years in reducing ACL injuries by assessing time trends of ACL reconstruction, a consequence of ACL injury, among commercially-insured individuals in the United States.

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