Women on pill remember things differently
Women who take oral contraception remember events differently, according to the first study on the effects of the pill on memory. The research found that the contraceptive of choice of an estimated 3.5 million British women – a quarter of all 16 to 49-year-olds – remember the emotional impact of an event but not the details. The US study emphasised that the medication does not damage memory, it just means that a change in hormone balance mean women on the pill remember things differently.
Around 100 million worldwide take the pill and it has previously been linked to a higher risk of blood clots and breast cancer, although it has also been linked to protection against certain cancers. The effects on the brain have also been studied with previous studies suggesting the pill makes the female part of the brain bigger, boosting emotional skills. It has also been suggested women on the pill are more attracted to more boyish, caring men rather than masculine mates because they are less fertile.
The new study at UCI in the United States, is the first to look at the effect on memory. It looked at how women on the contraceptive pill or experiencing natural hormonal cycles remembered a car accident involving a mother and son. Women using hormonal contraceptives for as little as one month remembered more clearly the main steps in the traumatic event - that there had been an accident, that the boy had been rushed to the hospital, that doctors worked to save his life and successfully reattached both his feet, for instance. Women not using them remembered more details, such as a fire hydrant next to the car.
Shawn Nielsen, a graduate researcher involved in the study, said those who use contraceptives like birth control pills remember the gist of an emotional event while women not using the contraceptives better retain details. She stressed that the medications did not damage memory, adding: "It's a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit." "What's most exciting about this study is that it shows the use of hormonal contraception alters memory. "There are only a handful of studies examining the cognitive effects of the pill, and more than 100 million women use it worldwide."
Larry Cahill, a neurobiologist who also worked on the study, said the change makes sense because contraceptives suppress sex hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy. Those hormones were previously linked to women's strong "left brain" memory. "This new finding may be surprising to some, but it's a natural outgrowth of the research we've been doing on sex differences for 10 years." The findings could help lead to fuller answers about why women experience post traumatic stress syndrome more frequently than men, and how men remember differently than women.
The research was published in the latest issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. A neurobiologist not involved in the latest work agreed it was a logical and intriguing next step in the examination of memory differences between the sexes.
Pauline Maki, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago who specializes in memory and brain functioning, said further studies could reveal more about how oestrogen effects women's brains and therefore the longer term effects of the pill. "Larry Cahill is already well known for his phenomenal research linking sex to memory. "The fact that women on oral contraceptives remembered different elements of a story tells us that oestrogen has an influence on how women remember emotional events."
The Family Planning Association advise women to see their GP if they are worried about the contraception they are taking.
Source: Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent, Daily Telegraph,12 September 2011 I
Impact of sexualized lyrics on adolescent behaviors and attitudes
Do sexualized lyrics in popular music have an impact on the sexual behavior and attitudes of adolescents?
Researchers Cougar Hall, Joshua H. West, and Shane Hill from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, have taken a look at the trend of increasing use of sexually explicit lyrics in music. Their findings.. provide food for thought for educators whose focus is to promote healthy sexual development.
Cougar Hall explained, "Considering previous research establishing an association between sexualized music lyrics and adolescent sexual behavior, our findings unfortunately offer sexuality educators a stormy forecast." The amount of music that 8-18 year olds listen to has increased by 45 percent in recent years, rising dramatically with the popularity of MP3 players, such as iPods. Previous research has indicated that there is a strong link between exposure to sexual media (on screen and in music) and sexual activity. Teens tend to overestimate the sexual activity of their peers and one source of this misperception is the entertainment media.
In this study, the researchers analyzed the lyrics from the top 100 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 year-end most popular songs every decade from 1959 to 2009. They found that male and non-White artists were more likely to write songs with sexual lyrics in the past two decades and that there were more sexual references overall in 2009 than in 1959. The authors point out that not all sexual references are equal, and degrading and sexualized music can have a deleterious effect on teens. For girls in particular, this can lead them to judge their personal worth on a sexual level only, leading to poor body image, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
The authors advise that their findings raise serious concerns related to the promotion of unhealthy sexual messages in music. They conclude: "Popular music can teach young men to be sexually aggressive and treat women as objects while often teaching young women that their value to society is to provide sexual pleasure for others. It is essential for society that sex education providers are aware of these issues and their impact on adolescent sexual behavior."
Source: news-medical net, 7 September 2011
Half Of Parents Don't Tell Their Children About Puberty, Relationships And Sex, UK
From 9,000 young people participating in the study, 46 per cent revealed that they received 'nothing' or 'not a lot' of information on sex and relationships from their parents.
To raise awareness regarding growing fears about the sexualization of childhood, and in reaction to the survey, the sexual health charity FPA has launched their 'Facts of Live' national campaign, which gives parents the skills and information to communicate with their children regarding puberty, relationships and sex.
Although earlier Government enterprises, such as the Bailey Review, recognize a lot of the consequences and concerns about the sexualization of children, the FPA says that the initiative lacks practical advice and support to help parents tackling the subject at home. The FPA is the UK's leading and trusted authority that spent a decade helping 15,000 parents to communicate the facts of life with their children through their Speakeasy parenting program. The Facts of Life campaign is hoping to extend their work by distributing approximately 200,000 FPA leaflets 'Talking with confidence to your children about puberty relationships and sex' across the UK. The leaflets contain lots of practical advice and are distributed to various venues, including the Sure Start centers, sexual health clinics, GPs, schools and colleges as well as being available online.
According to Julia Bentley, Chief Executive FPA: "Explaining to a five year old where babies come from might be challenging enough. But as children get older, parents have things like the internet, fashion, music videos, gaming and pornography to deal with. It's no wonder parents struggle with how to talk to their children about these difficult subjects. We've produced this leaflet and the online information because we don't think there's enough practical support for parents. They should be reassured that with the right help and advice talking about the facts of life with your child doesn't have to be difficult. And many parents find that once they start addressing the often taboo subject of sexual health and relationships as a family conversation, other subjects also become more straightforward as well."
As part of the FPA annual Sexual Health Week (12-18 September), the campaign will be running with six thousand participating outlets across the UK. Source:
Medical News Today, 14 September 2011