Sunday December 8, 2019
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Sex can boost brain power in older adults

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Staying busy in your bedroom even after age 50 could be good for your brain as researchers have found that older adults who have sex more frequently do better in brain function tests.

The researchers found that those who engaged in more regular sexual activity scored higher on tests that measured their verbal fluency and their ability to visually perceive objects.

“People don’t like to think that older people have sex – but we need to challenge this conception at a societal level and look at what impact sexual activity can have on those aged 50 and over, beyond the known effects on sexual health and general well being,” said lead researcher Hayley Wright from Coventry University in England.

The study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences, involved 73 people aged between 50 and 83.

Participants filled in a questionnaire on how often, on average, they had engaged in sexual activity over the past 12 months – whether that was never, monthly or weekly – as well as answering questions about their general health and lifestyle.

They also took part in a standardised test, which is typically used to measure different patterns of brain function in older adults.

This included verbal fluency tests in which participants had 60 seconds to name as many animals as possible, and then to say as many words beginning with F as they could — tests which reflect higher cognitive abilities.

They also took part in tests to determine their visuospatial ability which included copying a complex design and drawing a clock face from memory.

It was these two sets of tests where participants who engaged in weekly sexual activity scored the most highly, with the verbal fluency tests showing the strongest effect.

The researchers from the universities of Coventry and Oxford said further research could look at how biological elements, such as dopamine and oxytocin, could influence the relationship between sexual activity and brain function to give a fuller explanation of their findings.

“We can only speculate whether this is driven by social or physical elements – but an area we would like to research further is the biological mechanisms that may influence this,” Wright said.

“Every time we do another piece of research we are getting a little bit closer to understanding why this association exists at all, what the underlying mechanisms are, and whether there is a ’cause and effect’ relationship between sexual activity and cognitive function in older people,” Wright added.(IANS)

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Husbands With Well-Paid Wives May Have Poor Mental Health

A wife who is well-paid may be injurious to husband's mental health

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Mental Health
Working wives who are paid well can be the reason for a poor mental health in husbands. Pixabay

If your wife earns more than you, especially after marriage, and you are facing some sort of mental stress for quite some time, there is a definite link between the two.

An interesting study has found that husbands are least stressed when their wives earn up to 40 per cent of household income but become increasingly uncomfortable as their spouse’s wages rise beyond that point and are most stressed when they are entirely economically dependent on their partner.

The research from the University of Bath also showed that husbands did not suffer psychological distress about their wives’ income if their wife was the higher earner before marriage and the existing and potential income gap was clear to them.

The study of over 6,000 American heterosexual couples over 15 years showed husbands are at their most anxious when they are the sole breadwinner, shouldering all the burden of responsibility for the household’s finances.

Stress levels decline as their wives’ earnings approach 40 per cent of household income. But as women’s earnings go through that point, the study showed husbands’ stress levels gradually increasing.

“The findings suggest that social norms about male breadwinning — and traditional conventions about men earning more than their wives — can be dangerous for men’s health. They also show how strong and persistent are gender identity norms,” said Dr Joanna Syrda, an economist at the University of Bath’s School of Management.

The study also shed light on the ‘bargaining power’ between husband and wife.

“The elevated psychological distress that comes with husbands’ economic dependence on their wives can also have practical underpinnings due to bargaining in the shadow of dissolution or the fear of reduced economic status in the event of an actual divorce. These effects are larger among cohabiting couples, possibly due to the higher probability of dissolution,” she elaborated.

Mental Health and distress
Social Norms set for men is another reason for poor mental health. Pixabay

The study also showed a disparity in the way husbands and wives assessed their own psychological distress and that of their partner.

Survey respondents were asked to measure distress in terms of feeling sad, nervous, restless, hopeless, worthless, or that everything was an effort. Men reported better mental health than their wives reported on their behalf.

“This too may be down to gender norms. If masculine social roles preclude the admission of vulnerability, and men are inclined to hide symptoms of stress and depression, it follows that wives’ responses (about their spouses) will be less accurate,” said Dr Syrda.

In fact, wives reported their husbands’ lowest distress level was when they were contributing 50 per cent of the household income, while husbands reported lowest distress when their wives contributed 40 per cent.

Also Read- Young People Diagnosed with Diabetes May Experience High Stress Levels

“With masculinity closely associated with the conventional view of the male breadwinner, traditional social gender norms mean men may be more likely to experience psychological distress if they become the secondary earner in the household or become financially dependent on their wives, a finding that has implications for managing male mental health and society’s understanding of masculinity itself,” the researchers elaborated.

The fact that a wife observes to a lesser degree her husband’s elevated psychological distress when he is financially dependent on her may be simply because he does not communicate it — this may be yet another manifestation of gender norms, showed the findings published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (IANS)