Coffee drinking linked to less depression in women

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Drinking that depression away.

For many women, the mood-elevating effects of a cup of coffee may be more than fleeting. A new study shows that women who regularly drink coffee – the fully caffeinated kind – have a 20 percent lower risk of depression than nondrinkers. Decaf, soft drinks, chocolate, tea and other sources of caffeine did not offer the same protection against depression, possibly because of their lower levels of caffeine…

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High Heels can Ruin a Woman’s Health

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High heels are very popular, especially with celebrities such as
Gwyneth Paltrow, but there is a steep price to pay over time

Like the tall Lara Dutta or the shorter Rani Mukerji, you might want to flaunt stilettos to look glamorous and sleek. But experts feel this style statement can cause serious harm to the body if proper care is not taken.
“Increased pressure puts the forefoot at risk of injuries such as stress fractures, bunions and hammer toes. Knee pain is also common when high heels are involved,” says Ashish Jain, M.S. (orthopaedics), consultant joint replacement specialist at Max Hospital.
“The heel height causes increased strain on the knee joint and associated tendons. The quadriceps muscle group in the front of the thigh works harder, increasing pressure on the kneecap by up to 26 percent.”
“This can ultimately increase the incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee and quadriceps tendonitis,” Jain added.
Jain also spoke of other hazards.
He revealed that when the heel is constantly elevated, the calf muscle and Achilles tendon can contract and shorten. Wearing high heels habitually can result in a woman not being able to tolerate a flat shoe. On occasions, this can even require surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon.
Sometimes the tight fit of many heels will force the toes to conform to its shape. The pressure of the shoe itself can cause corns to form. Furthermore, the compression of the metatarsal bones can cause pressure on the nerves that run between them.
“The toenails are also at risk as the incidence of in-growing toenails and nail infections is higher in heel wearers. In-growing toenails can be very painful, unsightly and require surgery to correct,” Jain added.
Women feel high heels like gladiator sandals, tip toes and others add a touch of elegance and glamour to one’s overall style and the legs appear longer and slimmer. Thus, to look special in that chic footwear and not experience painful after effects, many are going in for dermal fillers.
“It has been observed that women are undergoing filler injections to plump up the underside of their feet, thus filling them out and providing padding inside the foot to relieve the pain that comes from wearing high heels,” said Satish Bhatia, dermatologist and skin surgeon, Lady Ratan Tata Medical and Research Centre.
“This trend is rising despite the fact that the effect does not usually last for more than six-seven months,” Bhatia added.
Given that certain industries like hospitality, aviation and fashion place a premium on height and appearance, wearing heels becomes a norm, thus making women opt for the expensive solution to ease pain arising out of use of high heels.
“The dermal filler injection is injected in the ball of the foot to ease the pain caused by wearing high heels. The injection costs between Rs.12,000 and Rs.15,000,” he added.
Rajesh Malhotra, professor of orthopaedics, AIIMS, threw light on a few other ways of curing the pain arising out of extended use of stilettos.
“The best way to avoid pain is that one stops wearing high heels at all because they are the cause of the problem. But if that is not possible then there are a few treatments,” he said.
“The entire body pressure is on the ball of the foot; so among many treatments one is that we put the metatarsal bar on the sole of the footwear so that the entire body weight is not on the ball of the foot, which results in less pain,” Malhotra told.
If it is very essential to wear heels, the maximum height advised by doctors is not more than an inch.
“The height of the heel also changes the amount of weight on the forefoot. A one-inch heel will increase the pressure by 22 percent, a two-inch heel by 57 percent and a three-inch heel by 76 percent. So anything not more than an inch is fine,” said Jain.

More women are wearing higher heels, and for longer, and experts are increasingly concerned about the long-term damage they are doing to their feet. Recent research suggests that up to a third of women suffer permanent problems as a result of their prolonged wearing of ‘killer heels’, ranging from hammer toes and bunions to irreversible damage to leg tendons. (Pics)

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It’s Official: Men look at Women’s Breasts First

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David Letterman is famously guilty of looking down before looking up

Women often say that men tend to ogle at their breasts and their face is the last thing they notice, and now a scientific study has found evidence to prove them right.
Scientists have found that almost half – 47 per cent – of men first glance at a woman’s breasts. A third of the “first fixations” are on the waist and hips, while fewer than 20 per cent look at the woman’s face, reports the Daily Mail in UK.
In fact, breasts are not only the first thing men look at, they also glance at them for longer than any other body part, revealed experts. Many believe that the reason behind such male tendency could be evolutionary, as women with larger chests and slim waists – such as Jennifer Hawkins, Lara Bingle and Rachael Finch – have higher levels of the female hormone oestrogen, indicating greater fertility. But the researchers conceded that there could be a more prosaic explanation.
“Men may be looking more often at the breasts because they are simply aesthetically pleasing, regardless of the size,” the Daily Telegraph quoted them as saying.
Subjects tested by researchers from New Zealand’s University of Wellington were presented with six images of the same woman, digitally altered to increase or decrease the size of her bust, waist and hips. The scientists recorded which areas men looked at first, the number of times they looked, and how long their gaze lasted, using cameras and mirrors to measure tiny eye movements.
“Eighty per cent of first fixations were on the breasts and midriff. Men spent consistently more time looking at the breasts and also made significantly more fixations upon them than other regions,” the study concluded.
It also found that men began to gaze at the “components of the hourglass figure” within 0.2 seconds. The research also discovered that few glances were directed at the arms, lower legs and feet.

Women often say that men tend to ogle at their breasts and their face is the last thing they notice, and now a scientific study has found evidence to prove them right. Scientists have found that almost half – 47 per cent – of men first glance at a woman’s breasts. A third of the “first fixations” are on the waist and hips, while fewer than 20 per cent look at the woman’s face, reports the Daily Mail in UK. (Pics)

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Coming Soon, One-Shot Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

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Radiotherapy for breast cancer patients could soon be a single dose 30-minute affair, instead of the tedious present-day regimen lasting over six weeks.
In a major breakthrough, a team of British doctors headed by University College London’s Dr Jayant S Vaidya — an Indian from Goa — has succesfully created and tested a new technique that will blast the remnants of a tumour inside the breast in just one shot, lasting half an hour. The team used radiation on areas just around the tumour rather than the whole breast, as is done presently.
A 10-year trial of this Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TIR), conducted in nine countries involving over 2,200 women, confirmed that radiation targeting a specific area of the breast was as effective as whole-breast radiation in reducing breast cancer recurrence in women.
The results of this trial was published in the latest edition of the medical journal ‘The Lancet’.
So, while a patient is still under anaesthesia following the removal of the tumour, a series of gentle X-rays are administered to destroy any remaining tumour cells at the cancer site. The technique is highly convenient, requiring just one session of radiation, making it less time consuming and less costly than whole-breast treatment.
“TARGIT trial can change two fundamental principles in the treatment of breast cancer: whole breast radiotherapy can be replaced by a targeted one-time shot and a much smaller dose of radiation may be adequate,” Dr Vaidya told TOI from UK. Several hospitals in India, including Breach Candy in Mumbai and AIIMS in Delhi, have expressed interest in his work, he added.
“Breast cancer usually recurs around the area where the tumour was detected the first time. So it’s logical to give concentrated dose of radiation to the tissues at highest risk of cancer coming back rather than the whole breast,” he added.
Dr Vaidya said that since 2000, the team started delivering TIR to patients. A special machine called Intrabeam administered radiation from inside the breast to the exact site of the cancer, instead of the present-day external beam radiotherapy.
“Our decade-long TARGIT trial has now confirmed that old and new methods are as good as each other,” Dr Vaidya said.
The therapy, however, has a few limitations at present. It can be done on patients over the age of 45 and the tumour should not be bigger than 3cm. “Our trials till now tried this technique on women above age of 45. So we don’t know how effective it will be in stopping recurrence of cancer on younger women. Trials to find this are going to start soon,” he said.
Dr Vaidya launched the TARGIT trial on March 24, 2000. In this randomized trial, women aged 45 years or older with breast cancer undergoing breast-conserving surgery were enrolled from 28 centres in nine countries. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive TIR or whole-breast external beam radiotherapy.
The study said, “At four years, there were six local recurrences in the intraoperative radiotherapy group and five in the external beam radiotherapy group. Recurrence in the conserved breast at four years was 1.2% in the targeted intraoperative radiotherapy and 0.95% in the external beam radiotherapy group. Radiotherapy toxicity was lower in the TIR group.”
Prof Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at University College London who carried out the first procedure using intraoperative radiotherapy in 1998 said, “Many women specially in the developing world who live hundreds of miles from a radiotherapy unit will be spared six weeks of treatment going back and forth to the radiotherapy centre.”
* Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TIR) has a comparable recurrence rate of around 1% with presently used external beam radiation
* Radiotherapy toxicity were four times lower, with an incidence rate of 0.5% compared with 2% from EBR
* The new technique involves an intense blast of radiation to the tumour site extending to a radius of 2 cm lasting 30 minutes
* It takes place after the surgeon has taken out the tumour and before the wound is closed
* TIR completely avoided irradiation of the heart, lung and oesophagus causing no damage to these structures
* It is currently only available to women taking part in clinical trials

Radiotherapy for breast cancer patients could soon be a single dose 30-minute affair, instead of the tedious present-day regimen lasting over six weeks.

In a major breakthrough, a team of British doctors headed by University College London’s Dr Jayant S Vaidya — an Indian from Goa — has succesfully created and tested a new technique that will blast the remnants of a tumour inside the breast in just one shot, lasting half an hour. The team used radiation on areas just around the tumour rather than the whole breast, as is done presently.

Continue reading… “Coming Soon, One-Shot Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer”

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Is Yawning Uncontrollable and Contagious?

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Hanging out with Steve Platek will make you yawn. He’ll get you thinking about yawning, reading about yawning, and sooner or later, your mouth’s gaping. You can’t help it. “My favorite way to induce a yawn,” Platek says, “is a video clip of a good yawner paired with yawn audio.” Platek, a cognitive neuroscientist at Drexel University, alternately describes yawning as “a primitive unconscious mechanism” or something that’s “sweet,” “totally cool” or “awesome.” And he’s finally figuring out why it’s contagious.
Scientists (and everybody else) have known for decades that yawns are contagious, but they’ve never known why. Some think it’s an unconscious mirror effect – someone yawns, you yawn in response almost like a reflex. But Platek says he thinks it has to do with empathy. The way he sees it, the more empathetic you are, the more likely it is that you’ll identify with a yawner and experience a yawn yourself. In a recent study, Platek looked at contagious yawning in people with “high empathy,” “low empathy” and everything in between. He found that higher empathy meant more yawn-susceptible and lower empathy meant more yawn-immune.
But that wasn’t proof enough. So Platek put volunteers in M.R.I. machines and made them yawn again and again to pinpoint the areas of the brain involved. When their brains lighted up in the exact regions of the brain involved in empathy, Platek remembers thinking, “Wow, this is so cool!”
Some yawning researchers – of which there are few – have identified many types of yawns. There’s the contagious yawn, the I’m-tired yawn and the I-just-woke-up yawn. There’s the threat yawn, which is the my-teeth-are-bigger-than-yours yawn that’s so popular with primates. (“People do it, too,” says Platek, “but unfortunately, we don’t have scary teeth anymore.”) There’s also the sexual yawn. (One scientist claims that yawns are used in seduction.)
At some point, you have to wonder: why study yawning? It’s quirky, interesting, but not important, right? Wrong, says Platek. Nearly every species on the planet yawns: insects, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals. “Yawning is such a primitive neurological function,” Platek says, “it’s a window into what happened during the evolution of the brain.”
The good thing about yawning is that it’s not boring. “Scientists like me usually go to conferences and give talks about technical mumbo jumbo,” Platek says. “The audience always yawns, and we’re up there thinking, Oh, man, they’re so bored! But when I give a talk about yawning and they yawn, I think: Sweet! They’re paying attention!”

Several years ago, I took a remarkable psychology class from a professor whose interest in the field seemed to be motivated, at least in part, by a desire to unearth new tricks for beguiling the opposite sex. Ethical implications aside, his lectures were generously garnished with anecdotes that held his wide-eyed freshmen audience in rapt attention. Among the tips he shared was a psychologically based method for casually gauging just who might be checking you out in a crowded place: yawning. The theory goes that if you yawn, anyone who’s surreptitiously watching you won’t be able to resist yawning too, giving themselves away (and marking them as a susceptible target for wooing). (Pics) Continue reading… “Is Yawning Uncontrollable and Contagious?”

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Woman’s Quest To Be Fattest In The World

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Mega Mom on a Mission!

Donna Simpson already weighs 43st (273kg), but she is determined to nearly double her size to become the world’s fattest woman.

The 42-year-old from New Jersey, US, is set on reaching the 1,000lb mark (71st) in just two years. Remarkably she insists she is healthy, despite now needing a mobility scooter when she goes shopping.

Donna, who wears XXXXXXXL dresses, eats mounds of junk food and tries to move as little as possible.

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Anti-Rape Condom Could Help Protect Victims

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Rape is not a pretty topic, but it is massive global problem.
A new “anti-rape” condom could protect women in dangerous areas from being attacked. The device is a female condom filled with sharp, microscopic barbs that will attach themselves to flesh. The theory is that while the attacker is stunned and doubled-over with pain, the woman will have a chance to flee the scene before the rapist has a chance to do further damage to her. Once it latches on to the skin, the condom can only be removed surgically, which will mean that attackers will have to go to the hospital and risk getting caught…
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Swedish Group Renames Hymen ‘Vaginal Corona’

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A rose by any other name?
A Swedish sexual rights group unilaterally proclaimed a new English term for what it considers one of the most misunderstood parts of the female anatomy. “The mythical status of the hymen has caused far too much harm for far too long,” the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) said in a statement. “The new term in English is vaginal corona.”

The linguistic declaration comes on the heels of what RFSU considers a successful campaign carried out in Sweden aimed at dispelling a number of myths surrounding the hymen and virginity.

“There are lots of questions about the hymen throughout the entire population of young people in Sweden,” RFSU secretary general Åsa Regnér said. “Both among girls and boys, and among people born in Sweden as well as those born in other countries.”

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