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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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Work Emails Cause Disruptions in Personal Life: Study

Mindfulness is within the employees' control, email expectations are not.

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Your work emails can affect your health, relationships
Your work emails can affect your health, relationships Pixabay

Does your boss expects you to be ever-connected on emails and work without boundaries? If so, besides causing harm to your health and well-being, it could also lead to conflict in family relationships, a new study has revealed.

Stress due to employers’ expectations of work during non-working hours brings strain in the family ties as the employee is unable to fulfil non-work roles at home.

Such expectations are “an insidious stressor that not only increases employee anxiety, decreases their relationship satisfaction and has detrimental effects on employee health, but it also negatively affects their partner’s health and marital satisfaction perceptions,” said Liuba Belkin, Associate Professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, US.

Employees do not need to spend actual time on work in their off-hours to experience the harmful effects.

If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated .Pixabay
If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated. Pixabay

The mere expectations of availability increase strain for employees and their significant others — even when employees do not engage in actual work during non-work time.

“The competing demands of work and non-work lives present a dilemma for employees, which triggers feelings of anxiety and endangers work and personal lives,” added William Becker, Associate Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US.

The findings were presented at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in Chicago.

According to Becker, policies that reduce expectations to monitor electronic communication outside of work should be ideal to mitigate the adverse effects of negative health outcomes.

When that is not an option, the solution may be to establish boundaries on when electronic communication is acceptable during off-hours by setting up off-hour email windows or schedules when employees are available to respond.

Emails
If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated. Pixabay

Importantly, organisational expectations should be communicated clearly, Becker noted.

“If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated formally as a part of job responsibilities.”

Knowing these expectations upfront may reduce anxiety in employees and increase understanding from their family members, he said.

Also Read: 8 Steps to Help You Secure Your Work Creativity

As for employees, they could consider practising mindfulness, which may help them to “be present” in family interactions, and help reduce conflict and improve relationship satisfaction, said Becker.

However, while mindfulness is within the employees’ control, email expectations are not, he added. (IANS)