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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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Couples bad at picking up on partner’s sad feelings: Study

For the study, over 100 participants completed daily diaries about their mood and the mood of their partners for seven consecutive nights

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Couples have tough time understanding soft negative emotions like sadness, loneliness of each other: Study.
Couples have tough time understanding soft negative emotions like sadness, loneliness of each other: Study.
  • Researchers have found that couples find it tough to identify negative soft emotions
  • Relationship related emotions can be identified more easily
  • The unidentified emotions can cause problems in relationships

Your spouse may react immediately when you feel anger, but is he/she equally good at knowing when you feel sad or lonely? No, suggests new research.

Couples do pretty well at picking up one another’s more intense feelings, like happiness or anger, but they are not as sensitive to “soft negative” emotions, said the study published in the journal Family Process. Couples do poorly when it comes to knowing their partner is sad, lonely or feeling down, the findings showed.

Couples do poorly when it comes to soft negative emotions of each other.
Couples do poorly when it comes to soft negative emotions of each other.

“We found that when it comes to the normal ebb and flow of daily emotions, couples aren’t picking up on those occasional changes in ‘soft negative’ emotions like sadness or feeling down,” said study lead author Chrystyna Kouros, Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, US.

The researchers believe that even when a negative mood is not related to the relationship, it ultimately can be harmful to a couple. “Failing to pick up on negative feelings one or two days is not a big deal,” Kouros said.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu to Build Safe Houses for Inter-Caste Couples

“But if this accumulates, then down the road it could become a problem for the relationship. It’s these missed opportunities to be offering support or talking it out that can compound over time to negatively affect a relationship,” she added.

For the study, over 100 participants completed daily diaries about their mood and the mood of their partners for seven consecutive nights. The problem is not one for which couples need to seek therapy, Kouros said.

Instead, she advises couples to stop assuming they know what their partner is feeling. “I suggest couples put a little more effort into paying attention to their partner — be more mindful and in the moment when you are with your partner,” she said.

She cautions, however, against becoming annoying by constantly asking how the other is feeling, or if something is wrong. IANS

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