Tuesday December 10, 2019

Excess Male Hormones in Women May up Blindness Risk: Study

PCOS is known to be associated with increased levels of specific types of androgens, which can cause excess hair and irregular periods

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transgender
On the other hand, transmen -- those assigned female sex at birth but had male gender identity and received hormones -- had a more than three-fold rise in heart-attack risk compared with women, said the study, published in the journal, Circulation. Pixabay

Increased levels of hormone testosterone — male sex hormone — in women could cause a brain disorder that can lead to blindness, finds a new study.

The study, led by the University of Birmingham in Britain, showed that excess testosterone leads to Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) — high pressure in the brain — resulting in blindness and daily long-term headaches in women.

The findings showed that women with IIH had raised levels of testosterones compared to those with obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

The hormones were also found to be increased in the brain fluid of women with IIH.

“These findings mark a key step forward. For the first time we have found a pattern of androgen dysregulation that is unique to IIH and potentially a driver of abnormal brain pressure in people with the condition,” said Alex Sinclair, Researcher from the varsity.

Melatonin produced by a gland in the brain can help treat blood cancers
Representational image. Pixabay

“Taken together this provides the first evidence that IIH may be a manifestation of female androgen excess,” Sinclair added.

Originally identified over 100 years ago, the cause of IIH has remained unknown yet, despite speculation about why more than 95 per cent of the total incidence is in women with obesity.

For the study, published in the journal JCI Insight, the team examined the levels of testosterone in blood and urine, as well as in brain fluid known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), in 55 women aged 18 to 45 years with IIH.

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They then compared the results with the levels observed in women with obesity of the same age and body mass index (BMI), as well as a cohort of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is known to be associated with increased levels of specific types of androgens, which can cause excess hair and irregular periods. (IANS)

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No More Segregation on the Basis of Gender in Restaurants in Saudi Arabia

Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and men

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Saudi Arabia
Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women. Lifetime Stock

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government that upends a major hallmark of conservative restrictions that had been in place for decades.

The decision, which essentially erodes one of the most visible gender segregation restrictions in place, was quietly announced Sunday in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry.

While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh’s upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move codifies what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement. Despite that, neighboring Muslim countries do not have similar rules.

Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women who are out on their own or who are accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men. Many also have separate entrances for women and partitions or rooms for families where women are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women are not allowed in.

Reflecting the sensitive nature of this most recent move, the decision to end requirements of segregation in restaurants was announced in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The statement listed a number of newly-approved technical requirements for buildings, schools, stores and sports centers, among others.

Saudi Sex Segregation
A woman leaves a ladies only service area at a restaurant in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The statement noted that the long list of published decisions was aimed at attracting investments and creating greater business opportunities.

Among the regulations announced was “removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and (another) for families.”

Couched between a new regulation about the length of a building’s facade and allowing kitchens on upper floors to operate was another critical announcement stating that restaurants no longer need to “specify private spaces”— an apparent reference to partitions.

Across Saudi Arabia, the norm has been that unrelated men and women are not permitted to mix in public. Government-run schools and most public universities remain segregated, as are most Saudi weddings.

In recent years, however, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for sweeping social reforms, with women and men now able to attend concerts and movie theaters that were once banned. He also curtailed the powers of the country’s religious police, who had been enforcers of conservative social norms, like gender segregation in public.

Two years ago, women for the first time were allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the so-called “family” sections. Young girls in recent years have also been allowed access to physical education and sports in school, a right that only boys had been afforded.

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In August, the kingdom lifted a controversial ban on travel by allowing all citizens — women and men alike — to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing guardianship policy that had controlled women’s freedom of movement.

The new rules remove restrictions that had been in place, but do not state that restaurants or cafes have to end segregated entrances or seated areas. Many families in conservative swaths of the country, where women cover their hair and face in public, may prefer eating only at restaurants with segregated spaces. (VOA)