Category Archives: Health & fitness

Health & fitness

Why some make so much noise during sex 

By Ian KernerAll you have to do is watch nearly any depiction of female orgasm on screen to get an idea of how a woman is “supposed” to react during sex.

From “When Harry Met Sally” to “Sex and the City” to your basic porn film, women in the throes of passion aren’t just shouting their ecstasy from the rooftops, they’re moaning with pleasure. Loudly.
But is this just cinematic license, or is there really something to noisy sex?
The ancient evolutionary origin of the elusive female orgasm

Experts wondered the same thing. In 2011, Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds published their research on the topic — technically known as “copulatory vocalization” — in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. In the study, they asked 71 sexually active heterosexual women between ages 18 and 48 for more details about vocalization during sex.
The researchers found that many of the women did make noise but not necessarily while they were having an orgasm. Instead, 66% said that they moaned to speed up their partner’s climax, and 87% stated that they vocalized during sex to boost his self-esteem.
“While female orgasms were most commonly experienced during foreplay, copulatory vocalizations were reported to be made most often before and simultaneously with male ejaculation,” the researchers wrote. Women also reported making noise to relieve boredom, fatigue and pain/discomfort during sex.
So is female vocalization during sex just a performance for a guy’s benefit? (After all, Meg Ryan’s over-the-top moans were meant to prove a point to “Harry” that men are easily duped by a fake orgasm.)
“There isn’t a lot of research in this area,” said Kristen Mark, a sexuality researcher at Indiana University, “but we’re bombarded with images through mainstream media that tell us moaning is associated with orgasm and sexual pleasure. So it would be a fairly wise faking strategy to moan since men already tend to associate moaning with orgasm.”
Of course, there’s nothing smart about faking it.
“If you’re faking an orgasm, you are signaling to your partner that he is doing everything right, when in fact he isn’t,” sex educator and author Patty Brisben said. “Use moaning as a way of signaling that you are excited and things really are feeling good, not as a way to hide that they aren’t.”
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Fake or not, women aren’t the only primates who vocalize during sex. Research in the animal kingdom reveals that female baboons, for example, have a variety of copulation calls, which appear to relate to their fertility: The vocalizations tend to become more complex when the females are closer to ovulation and vary when a female is mating with a higher-ranked male baboon. Female macaque monkeys give a shout to help trigger their mates’ orgasm, too.
Performances and primatologists aside, vocalizing during sex can actually be a great tool to help women get what they want in bed. As I discussed in my columnon the topic of talking about sex, it isn’t always easy to translate sexual thought into action, so a little strategic moaning can definitely help get the point across.
“Women are learning to take responsibility for their own sexual needs and wants in the bedroom,” Brisben explained. “We need to take this one step further and give ourselves permission to become teachers. Use vocalization to teach your partner what feels good. It can help you say, ‘stop, go, yes, more please,’ without sounding like a traffic cop.”
How much sex should you be having?

And when it comes to noise, “partner benefit isn’t the only piece of the puzzle,” Mark said. “Perhaps making noise turns some women on and helps them experience pleasure.”
Brisben concurred: “I think there are many women who need to be vocal to help themselves achieve orgasm. It helps move them and their orgasm along. There are certainly phases. As a woman gets into it, she may become extremely vocal and then move into a period of quiet as she is on the verge.”
So do what feels right to you. Any other benefits are just a great bonus. And when it comes to “copulatory vocalization,” perhaps men should take a lesson from the ladies.
Join the conversation
“Women understand that moaning is a turn-on for guys, and many women ultimately enjoy it because they’ve made an effort to push a little beyond what comes naturally,” said Logan Levkoff, a sex educator and author of a guide for men entitled “How To Get Your Wife to Have Sex With You.”
“But sexual self-esteem is a two-way street, and, for their part during sex, guys should aim for more than a single grunt at the end. It’s not about faking or doing something you don’t want to, but more about being sexually present and in sync with each other.”
So let’s all make some noise.

Source: Why some make so much noise during sex 

Does marijuana weaken heart muscles? 

Your brain on weed

Your brain on weed

Just last week, five more states voted to legalize recreational marijuana, but users may want to be cautious. A study released Sunday suggests that marijuana use can weaken heart muscles, particularly in young men. The study was presented at the annual scientific conference of the American Heart Association in New Orleans.

Recognizing the possible adverse health effects of smoking pot to get high, the researchers examined the link between marijuana use and heart health.
Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approve recreational use of marijuana

Marijuana users vs. non-users

The researchers, from St. Luke’s University Hospital Network, focused on patients with stress cardiomyopathy, a sudden temporary weakening of the heart muscle that prevents it from pumping. Patients with the condition, which has been said to mimic a heart attack, can experience acute chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.
The muscle weakness is most often caused by acute stress or grief, such as a breakup or the death of a loved one. However, according to Dr. Amitoj Singh, the lead investigator of the study, at least two cases of stress cardiomyopathy in medical literature have been related to marijuana use.
“There have been many reports of heart attacks, strokes and the two cases of (stress cardiomyopathy) that have been linked to marijuana,” Singh said.
Greater availability of marijuana, particularly for recreational use, has heightened concern in the medical community about cardiac risks, sparking Singh’s interest.
Doctors face medical marijuana knowledge gap
Using Nationwide Inpatient Sample data from 2003 to 2011, the researchers tracked hospital admissions and outcomes of 33,343 patients with stress cardiomyopathy. The data were taken from across the country and represented both men and women of varied ages. Two groups were formed from the data: one group of marijuana users (which had 210 patients, or 1% of the total study pool) and a group of patients who did not use the drug.
Each group was strikingly different in terms of demographics, medical histories and outcomes. The marijuana users tended to be younger and more often male, a finding that was surprising to Singh, because stress cardiomyopathy most often occurs in older women, he said.
Marijuana users also had fewer risk factors that typically cause stress cardiomyopathy, such as acute stress, hypertension, diabetes, migraines and hyperthyroidism. The non-marijuana-using group had much higher rates of these conditions.
Colorado visitors are using pot and ending up in the ER
“Even though these young people had less cardiac risk factors, they still had high cardiac risk,” Singh said.
Marijuana users also suffered more severe cardiac problems. “Despite being younger and with fewer cardiovascular risk factors than non-users, during stress cardiomyopathy, the marijuana users were significantly more likely to go into cardiac arrest (2.4% vs. 0.8%) and to require an implanted defibrillator to detect and correct dangerously abnormal heart rhythms (2.4% vs. 0.6%),” the American Heart Association said of the study in a news release.
Investigating further, the researchers created a model that excluded all of the known causes of stress cardiomyopathy to see whether marijuana use alone could trigger the condition. They found a statistically significant relationship between the drug and stress cardiomyopathy, Singh said.
“Someone who uses marijuana is almost two times more likely to develop stress cardiomyopathy,” he explained.
Weed users found to have poorer verbal memory in middle age
However, the report also found that marijuana users were more likely to use tobacco and illicit substances, as well as suffer from depression, than non-marijuana users.
Dr. Ann Bolger, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, said these factors can contribute to stress cardiomyopathy. “It’s hard to know exactly that you can account for all of these other contributors” when determining causation of the condition, she said.

Should you avoid marijuana?

Bolger agrees with the overall concern raised by the new study. “It does give me some very appropriate worry that exposure to (marijuana) may not be as benign as some people seem to think.”
Colorado marijuana's potency getting 'higher'
She added that “If this is in some way predictive of poor outcomes or indicative that we need to have concern about the cardiovascular health and outcomes of patients using marijuana, I think it’s a very good thing to start to think about.”
Singh acknowledges that marijuana has several benefits in medicine, particularly with treatments such as chemotherapy. “We don’t want to underestimate the benefits of medical marijuana,” he confirmed.
Still, Singh wants to draw attention to the potential harms of recreational use. The lack of regulation makes it difficult for users to know the amount of THC, the psychosis-inducing chemical in marijuana, contained in a dose, which can be dangerous. Singh is still not certain whether THC is principally responsible for users’ cardiac problems; that is a topic that needs to be further studied, he said.
Join the conversation
As a whole, more research needs to be done regarding the effects of marijuana on heart health, Singh emphasized.
“This is a retrospective study, so we cannot determine causation” between marijuana and weakening heart muscles, he concluded. “Further research is needed to evaluate this study, especially considering the current increase of recreational marijuana in our country.”

Source: Does marijuana weaken heart muscles? 

Winter Beauty Trends

Having trouble bidding warm weather a bittersweet goodbye? Turn all your attention toward this winter’s beauty trends and you’ll find yourself psyched for a drop in temperatures in no time! Dramatic and elegant looks were all the rage on the fall/winter 2016 runways and we no longer have to wait to experiment. Here are 6 beauty trends that are going to be a huge deal this winter.

[Photo: Imaxtree]

Source: Winter Beauty Trends

You Have to See This Woman Contour Her Butt 

butt contouring
First came leg contouring, then came boob contouring, now here’s…butt contouring? Um, WTF? In case you’ve gotten this far into your day without wondering what is wrong with society, this wacky beauty trend is sure to snap you back to reality., a makeup tutorial account followed by some 1.6 million ‘grammers, posted a video yesterday of a girl using Benefit’s Hula Bronzer and Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit to contour each butt-cheek into an admittedly perkier version of its former self.

Check out the video:

We’d like to thank Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Meaghan Trainor, and Kate Upton for championing curves in the midst of stick figure-saturated media, but this trend seems a little less “Yay, all shapes and sizes” and more “If your cheeks don’t look like melons, you should fix that.”

But don’t call us haters—we have nothing but sympathy for our butt-contouring friend. Not only does she have to fear that the makeup will rub off on her pants, should she choose to wear any; her chair, should she choose to sit; or someone else, should she make human contact—but she’s also missing out on the most applause-worthy aspect of a high, tight butt. Knowing that you worked for it.

Source: You Have to See This Woman Contour Her Butt

This Super-Cheap Natural Treatment Cleared Up My Biggest Zits After Just a Week 

lemon juice
I get stressed out—a lot, and often—and it shows, all over my face. I’d hoped that I would leave all of my embarrassing zit-filled nightmares behind with my teen years, but sadly, acne knows no age. The anxiety that accompanied me into adulthood continues to punish my pores, and I’ve made a reluctant hobby out of trying way too many treatments to calm my over-active skin.

I recently even considered turning to chemical treatments, but having always been an “I prefer natural” kind of gal—and with a baby on the way—I made one last attempt at a non-toxic solution, courtesy of a desperate Google search.

(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)

“Eating citrus products that are high in antioxidant plant polyphenols, as well as vitamin C, can reduce the collagen breakdown that can lead to early aging,” says Arash Akhavan, M.D., dermatologist and founder of The Dermatology and Laser Group. “But citrus products can also have positive effects when carefully applied as a topical agent to the skin.”

I was ready to give it a go.

lemon juice
My skin before the lemon juice experiment. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF KRIS RILE

The Trial

I cut up fresh lemons and put them in a small glass jar on my bathroom counter next to my toothbrush so I would remember to add it to my nightly routine. At the start of my week-long experiment, I dabbed a Q-tip into the lemon wedge, making sure that it was completely soaked, then rubbed it on my biggest zits, followed by a cotton ball soaked in lemon juice that I rubbed over the rest of my face.

lemon juice
My skin seven days later. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF KRIS RILE

The Result

I continued to wash my face with my usual cleanser in the morning and night (followed by the lemon juice regimen in the p.m.), and happily, after two nights, I no longer needed the Q-tip of lemon juice, because my biggest problem areas had disappeared! I continued with the cotton swab, though, as I didn’t want to chance those annoying eyesores coming back.

After a week, while the biggest problem zits had disappeared, smaller clusters of pimples remained. Although disappointed that my face wasn’t suddenly porcelain-like, I did notice that my overall complexion was more even and looked healthier. The blotchy red zones that I spent 15 minutes every morning trying to cover up were more faded, and my skin had a fresher (citrusy!) glow.

I was hooked. Is it the all-natural, all-perfect acne solution I was looking for? All-natural—yes; all-perfect—not really, as all the zits hadn’t disappeared. But my skin was definitely benefitting from a nice citrus bath followed by a few undisturbed hours of rest each night, and I wasn’t adding harmful chemicals to my skin-care routine, so I put it in the win column for acne sufferers like myself.

Here’s Why It Works

Lemons contain antibacterial properties (which is why it’s a great cleanser; in fact, see what other 12 things you can clean with a lemon), so it helps to fight the bacteria agents that are causing your breakouts. It also acts as a natural exfoliator—removing dead skin cells that can clog your pores—as well as a great oil eliminator.

“Citrus products can also be used to treat hyperpigmentation of the face by aiding in exfoliation of discolored skin,” says Akhavan. This was my most exciting take-away from this beauty experiment: the fading of my old acne scars and reduced redness.

For this trial, I used just plain, fresh lemon juice, but there are plenty of combinations to help soothe a variety of facial issues. If you have oily skin or just need a simple toner to even-out your complexion, try these DIY facial cleansers for every skin type. If you hang out on the other side of the facial spectrum and need a recipe to fix your dry, sensitive skin, we love these 10 facial smoothie recipes.

Akhavan does caution that using citrus on the skin isn’t for everyone. “Citrus should be avoided in those who are going to be having sun exposure, as an unusual skin reaction that causes inflammation and hyperpigmentation can take place called phytophotodermatitis, due to increased sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation,” he says. So if you’re heading to the beach, leave the lemons at home.

Source: This Super-Cheap Natural Treatment Cleared Up My Biggest Zits After Just a Week 

How To Manage Your Emotions In High-Stress Situations



In high-stress situations, our emotions often lead us to act in ways we later regret. Renown psychologist and Harvard Medical School instructor Susan David offers invaluable lessons for navigating our inner world of thoughts and emotions in her new book, Emotional Agility.

We can easily get “hooked” by our feelings when facing difficulty, says David. “Our thoughts, stories and emotions start to dominate our actions as opposed to our values, intention and who we want to be in the situation.” For example, perhaps you’d like to volunteer to lead a new project at work, but you’re afraid to raise your hand for fear of not being chosen. Conventional wisdom says to push your fear aside and simply force yourself to volunteer. But according to David, research has shown that approach doesn’t work. “The emotions come back.”

Instead of trying to ignore a feeling, David first recommends labeling it specifically. Let’s say you feel you’ve been undermined in a meeting. Don’t generalize about your frustration, perhaps chalking it up to your overall dissatisfaction with your job. Acknowledge to yourself that you’re feeling undermined. This labeling leads to better problem solving, says David.

If you feel undermined, your first thought might be to shut the other person down. Instead of doing so, David advises creating mental “space” between the emotion and the successive thought. Recognize that you’re feeling the emotion of being undermined and the thought that you want to lash out in retaliation. Viktor Frankl, the neurologist, psychologist and Holocaust survivor, once captured this concept eloquently. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” he said.

Once you’ve created that mental space, take a step back and focus on the thought of taking a swipe at the other person. Will you benefit from that action? Even if you’re truly being undermined, you should choose your response wisely. “Emotional agility isn’t about whether you’re right or wrong,” David says. “It’s about whether your behavior is serving you.”

In deciding how to react, consider whether your next move is aligned with your values, or your beliefs about the person you want to be. Maybe one of your values is teamwork. If you feel undermined and decide to lash out, you could do lasting damage to your relationship with that person and hurt your reputation among colleagues. A better approach might be to remain calm during the meeting and speak to the offender afterward to explain that you felt undermined.

Taking all of these steps might sound like a lot to cover in the heat of high-stress moment, and don’t expect to make changes overnight. But using this framework should get easier over time. Simply paying more attention to your emotions and thoughts can make you a more emotionally agile person and set you on a faster path to achieving your goals.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffKauflin.

Source: How To Manage Your Emotions In High-Stress Situations

New Studies Show Sugar’s Impact On The Brain, And The News Is Not Good

By Keck Medicine of USC

(Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)



We all know what sugar does to our waistlines. New studies show its impact on the brain — and it’s not good.

As it turns out, sugar is not so sweet. Besides causing obesity and diabetes, eating a diet saturated with sugar is linked to a number of abnormal brain functions, including poor memory and cognitive activities. Here’s what you need to know to prevent a sugar overload.

Not all sugars are bad. Our bodies turn most of the food we eat into sugar. Good sugar, or glucose, comes from carbohydrates like bread and pasta. It fuels the cells throughout our bodies, including our brains.

The second type of sugar is fructose. When eaten in fruits and vegetables, fructose is harmless, but when consumed in foods like soft drinks, honey, and virtually any processed foods like condiments, salad dressings, and junk food, fructose can be detrimental to our health. “Fructose fails to stimulate hormones, like insulin, that are important in helping us feel full,” said Kathleen Page, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck Medicine of USC.

“We gave volunteers choices between being served tasty food immediately after the study or having money sent to them one month later,” said Dr. Page. “When the study participants consumed fructose, they had a greater willingness to give up the money to obtain immediate high-calorie foods, compared to when they consumed glucose.”

Sugar ages skin. We can’t blame it all on the sun. Too much sugar breaks down the collagen and elastin in our skin, which keeps the cells from repairing themselves. Even worse, there’s no way to heal the damage once premature wrinkles have formed. The only fix is keeping sugar intake to a minimum or eliminating it altogether.

Sugar numbs our overeating “sensor.” It’s a common fact that a high-sugar diet makes us fat. But only recently have researchers figured out that chronic consumption numbs the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, the sensor that prevents overeating. When our brain doesn’t release hormones to signal that we’re full, we’re more likely to continue eating.

Sugar reduces our BDNF factor. Our brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) assists our brains with learning and forming new memories. When our BDNF level is low, we get stuck, unable to learn new things. Our memory diminishes. Some research has even discovered links between low BDNF factors and Alzheimer’s, depression and dementia.

Sugar withdrawal is real. Eliminating sugar from our diets can cause the same reactions as withdrawals from drugs — teeth chattering, anxiousness, tremors, and head shakes. The first and most important way of breaking free of sugar dependence is a drastic change in diet. “The best way to reduce fructose intake is to decrease the consumption of added sugar sweeteners, the main source of fructose in the American diet,” said Page.

Source: New Studies Show Sugar’s Impact On The Brain, And The News Is Not Good

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