Archive for November, 2017

Photo: Aaron Burden

If you’re like me, you go crazy sitting around talking and eating all day long, which is tough—especially because that’s what the holidays are all about. But at the same time, fitting in a scheduled workout class when you’re traveling or even feeling motivated to take on tough workouts during Thanksgiving can feel like an impossible feat.

And that’s OK. With our go-go-go mentalities, I often tell my clients that moderation and cutting yourself some slack is usually the best strategy to keep up your stamina. So, no, I don’t want you to feel guilty if you skip your CrossFit or boot camp class over Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, why not go for a restorative, low-key option instead?

Here are four reasons to get moving and exactly how to move to return for your break the happiest version of yourself:

1. Exercise improves mood.

You know that post-awesome-exercise-session feeling when you feel “most like yourself”? Happy, confident, talkative, high on endorphins? Wouldn’t that be great to bring to the Thanksgiving table with you? I’m an introvert, and after I work out, I find conversations and connecting with others come easier to me. Plus, I simply feel better on the inside and can truly soak up the joy of the holidays when I’m in a better mood.

What kind of exercise do you love the most? Do that. What did you love to do as a child? Try that. Dancing, running, tag football, basketball in the driveway, jumping on the trampoline (safely), or playing hide-and-seek with the kiddos are all great ways to find your endorphin high.

2. Walking aids digestion.

Photo: Maxime Gauthier

Ate too much? Don’t beat yourself up—we’ve all been there. Heading out on a gentle walk, anywhere from 10 minutes to even 90 minutes, can help stimulate your digestion and ease your stomach pain.

Try a short walk after your meal to start the digestion process and add in a longer walk the next morning to help avoid constipation and get things going.

3. Stretching makes you more comfortable.

We can get so stuck in our bodies this time of year: feeling bloated, skipping exercise, sitting in traffic, enduring long plane rides, and covering ourselves up with layers of sweaters, sweatshirts, and thick, puffy parkas. These can all disconnect you from your body. A great way to feel more comfortable in your own skin is to stretch and open up.

Try five minutes stretching in the bathroom, a 20-minute YouTube Yoga video on a clean towel next to the bed, foam rolling or hitting up a local yoga class with a family member.

4. Movement burns off excess energy.

Ideally you’ll want to burn through some of your glycogen stores earlier on Thursday so you have “more room” to store the calories from a big meal. So you’re feeling up for it, try getting a tough workout in at least one morning of the weekend. Try lifting some heavy weights in your cousin’s basement or get outside for an hourlong distance run or brisk walk. There’s a reason why turkey trots are so popular!

When you eat more than usual, your body has excess energy. And technically, we should use up our excess calories within 12 to 16 hours after a big meal to avoid storing the energy as body fat. You might want to try an “intermittent fasting window” and wait until you’re genuinely hungry in the morning rather than just eating on autopilot because it’s breakfast time.

Need a little more structure to avoid grabbing a slice of pumpkin pie within half an hour of waking up? Go for an hourlong walk after coffee but before breakfast hits your system. You’ll use up some of the energy from any feasting you’ve done the night before and give your digestion system a boost before you eat next.


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Most of the essays we publish in Modern Love are about 1,500 words, and most of their authors could probably wax on longer if space and time were infinite. We wanted to see how readers would fare with far fewer words — 13, to be precise. Here are their Modern Love stories, in miniature.

Always laugh, especially after learning your husband took Ecstasy on your first date.

Jamie, Dallas

Strictly avoids long walks on the beach. Lets me have all the covers.

Keira Mayock, Charlotte, N.C.

A farmer’s wife is lonely from April to October. But what a view.

Charlotte McMullen, Ashville, Pa.

No-strings-attached sex, except for two kids, a mortgage and a dog.

Rachel Engel, Derby, Kan.

Walmart, car service, she repairs my heart daily. She is my love balance.

Kat Harris, Charlotte N.C.

Smile, though your heart is breaking. Then key his new BMW. It helps.

Sheila, Los Angeles

We both love craft beer and public radio. So we’re insufferable, but together.

Laura Fluty, Saint Peters, Mo.

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Grace Gardner’s parents, Duane and Catherine Gardner, with her brother, Michael Gardner.CreditGrace Gardner

My dad calls my mom Love, almost as if that is her name.

Grace Gardner, Atlanta

Subway commute. Missed connection. Craigslist ad. Reconnection. Could not spell burrito. Lost connection.

Stephanie Costa, Brooklyn, N.Y.

He now splurges on organic mac and cheese. He must seriously love me.

Jade Thurston, Bellingham, Wash.

When you accept his urge to fold both of your clothes after sex.

Luise Yang, London

He picked me up hitchhiking and I married him. It didn’t last long.

Connie Kuhns, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Friend with benefits eventually becomes ex-husband who pays less arousing, more satisfying benefits.

Sarah McKittrick, Baltimore

Our initial plan to be just friends lasted for less than a week.

Teresa Nield, West Hills, Calif.


Lisa Eng and Kristofer Eng in 1988.CreditLisa Eng

Fate = Joint baby shower at age 0, happily married 27 years later.

Lisa Eng, Menlo Park, Calif.

I regret lending you that book more than I regret the terrible sex.

Maria Martens, Berlin

How to find a partner: Secretly date while your friends are on vacation.

Sarah Ghoshal, East Brunswick, N.J.

I was sad. He sent me dinosaur erotica. I knew it was love.

Meredith Schwartz, Atlanta


Golda and her human, Amy Schreibman Walter.CreditAmy Schreibman Walter

Golda: Gold (Yiddish). Suits her; she’s like a pot of gold (after divorce).

Amy Schreibman Walter, London

Never bring up similarities between your spouse and your mother-in-law during a fight. [Editors’ note: We’re treating “mother-in-law” as one word here, because we couldn’t resist.]

Marlene Fischer, Armonk, N.Y.

She talks fast. She begins stories at their endings. Sorry, What? Sorry. Sorry.

Jack Ortiz, Madison, Wisc.


John Kafka and Leslie Dallas in August.CreditLeslie Dallas

How could you know Trader Joe’s parking lot would be our first kiss?

Leslie Dallas, Santa Monica, Calif.

I’m definitely allergic to this dog. How do you choose, asthma or sex?

Maisie Breit, Agadir, Morocco

Ukrainian village in Peace Corps, he offered me what I couldn’t resist: Wi-Fi.

Mary Offutt-Reagin, Terebovlya, Ukraine

My dog would hide his clothes. Should’ve been my first clue. Dogs know.

Litsa Dremousis, Seattle

I thought I was straight. She thought she was straight. We were wrong.

Rachael Ní Chonchúir, Ireland

Met on Internet. Left my girlfriend for him. He left his. No regrets.

Eve Fritz, France


A photo of Roger and Doris Cochrun, taken in 1947, appeared in the Ionia County Shoppers Guidethis year to mark their wedding anniversary.CreditAngie Cochrun Hamlet

Wartime. She hated writing letters, did it anyway. 70 happy years this October.

Roger Cochrun, Saranac, Mich.

I have two former fiancés. One, sadly, is dead. The other should be.

Sara, New York

Supported my crazy ideas, listened to me ugly-cry, stole my heart forever.

Rachel Waldman, New York

Locked eyes with my baby nephew, he smiled. But maybe it was gas?

Rekha Mishra, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

They said “no dating” in your first year of sobriety. They were right.

Caroline Grand, San Antonio, Tex.

Age 5, when love means naming your pet goldfish after best friend Molly.

Melissa Rodman, New York

Boy meets boy. Sparks fly. Boy kisses boy. Boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Boyd Davis, Kansas City, Mo.


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Photo: Bo Bo


When learning to breastfeed, the whole experience can seem quite foreign. No matter how many books you’ve read or videos you’ve watched, there are probably still a million concerns running through your mind, one of which is “Are my nipples normal?” and “Will I be able to breastfeed if I have (insert your boob concerns here)?”

As a certified lactation educator counselor, these are some of the most common concerns I hear, aside from those about baby’s weight gain and feeding schedules. Women early on begin to question whether or not their body is equipped to actually produce enough milk for the baby. While I know it goes without saying, I try to always remind Mamas that there is a vast variation of what is “normal” when it comes to boobs—specifically nipple size, skin tone, and breast shape. The most important thing to ask yourself is, “Did my breasts grow in size or change in color during pregnancy?”

It may actually be helpful to ask your partner. Oftentimes they are the first to notice your breasts and nipples changes. If your answer is “yes,” then your body is likely on the right track toward breastfeeding success.

Though there is a small percentage of women who experience conditions that cause them not to be able to reach their breastfeeding goals, for example, a diagnosis of insufficient glandular tissue, endocrine irregularities, or medical emergencies during labor that interfere with initiating breastfeeding soon after birth. In these cases it’s best to seek assistance from an IBCLC.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with or experienced any of the more serious examples I mentioned but are still concerned about whether or not you’ll be able to breastfeed, I’ve shared four of the most typical anatomical concerns women have and how to manage them in order to have a more stress-free breastfeeding experience.

1. Are my nipples too large for latching?

With large nipples one of the most important factors to experiencing painless breastfeeding is proper ridging (holding of the breast) and a deep latch for your baby. The primary concern in this case is that the baby won’t open wide enough to receive all of the nipple and most of the areola, and pain will ensue.

The best thing to do is swipe your nipple from baby’s top lip to the bottom to stimulate their rooting reflex and allow baby to open its mouth very wide (like a yawn). Your nipple should rest deep into baby’s mouth and as your baby compresses your breast tissue between their tongue and the roof of their mouth it will also compress and accommodate your nipple.

2. Will my small breasts make enough milk?

To begin, most women will experience significant breast growth during pregnancy. So even if you started your pregnancy with relatively small breasts, they may look much larger by the time you give birth.

Secondly, the ability to make milk for your baby is not related to the fatty tissue that gives breasts their shape but the lactating structures inside, which are the same in women with both “large” and relatively “small” breasts.

3. Will my inverted nipples cause breastfeeding problems?

In many inverted nipple cases, once baby latches on and begins suckling, your nipple will draw out. If you have any trouble getting baby to latch on, you can try pumping for a bit to help your nipple extend out. If this doesn’t work and you’re experiencing pain or nipple trauma, seek assistance from a lactation professional as soon as possible. Continuing to offer the baby your breast for multiple feedings will only cause more damage and make latching more difficult. It’s important to note that nipple shields should only be used under the directions and assistance of a lactation professional.

4. Can breasts be too large to breastfeed?

In this case, finding a comfortable position will help a lot. Laid-back feeding, where you recline back and your baby feeds in a vertical position on your chest, or feeding in the football hold with a rolled-up swaddle underneath your breast to provide a little lift are often very effective positions.

As I always like to say, breastfeeding is a two-person job at a minimum. Reaching out for advice and support before you run into any significant trouble is better than waiting until you feel completely overwhelmed. You can begin by interviewing lactation professionals before you give birth and planning for them to visit you within the first week postpartum.

Finally, if you are still at all concerned about your ability to breastfeed, especially if you’ve previously experienced any breastfeeding trouble, bring your concerns up to your doctor or midwife prenatally.


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Credit: Boule/Shutterstock

The holidays are full of tasty treats and festive cocktails — but instead of Christmas cheer, some alcoholic beverages may cause other, less pleasant feelings, a new study from England suggests.

In the study, researchers examined how consuming different types of alcohol, such as beer, spirits and wine, could affect a person’s emotions when drinking at home or out in public. Their findings suggest that spirits, which have higher alcohol concentrations, are frequently associated with feelings of aggression.

“Understanding emotions associated with alcohol consumption is imperative to addressing alcohol misuse, providing insight into what emotions influence drink choice between different groups in the population,” the researchers wrote in the study. [7 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health]

For the study, the researchers used data from the Global Drug Survey, which is the world’s largest online survey of legal and illicit drug and alcohol use among adults. The survey includes questions on alcohol consumption and the feelings associated with drinking beer, spirits and red or white wine when at home or out. The emotions analyzed in the survey included energized, relaxed, sexy, confident, tired, aggressive, ill, restless and tearful.

Specifically, the researchers looked at responses from roughly 30,000 survey participants between ages 18 and 31. The participants were from 21 countries and had drunk each of the specified types of alcohol within the past year, according to the study.

The results showed that different types of alcohol can trigger different emotions. Spirits, for example, were more likely to elicit negative feelings than all the other types of alcohol, the researchers said.

But red wine was linked to more positive feelings: About 53 percent of the survey participants said they felt relaxed after drinking red wine. Roughly 50 percent of the participants also associated this feeling with drinking beer. Spirits, however, were the least likely to be associated with relaxation, according to the study.

“For centuries, the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence,” study co-author Mark Bellis, a professor of public health at Bangor University in the U.K., said in a statement. “This global study suggests even today consuming spirits is more likely to result in feelings of aggression than other drinks.”

But aggression wasn’t the only emotion associated with sipping spirts. The researchers also found that spirits were associated with more positive emotions than beer or wine, including feelings of energy, confidence and sexiness.

The researchers found that survey responses largely differed based on level of education, country of origin and age. For example, participants between ages 18 and 24 were more “likely to associate any type of alcohol with feelings of confidence, energy and sexiness when drinking away from home,” the researchers said.

Gender and level of alcohol-dependency also seemed to have an effect on participants’ emotions. Compared with men, women were more like to associate their feelings with different types of alcohol.

The one exception, however, was aggression. Men were “significantly more likely to associate feelings of aggression with all types of alcohol, as were those categorized as heavy/dependent drinkers, who were six times more likely to do so than low risk drinkers,” the researchers said. (A questionnaire was used to assess a person’s level of alcohol dependency.)

Also, dependent drinkers were five times more likely to say they felt energized from alcohol than “low-risk” drinkers, suggesting that dependent drinkers rely on alcohol to generate the positive emotions they associate with alcohol, the researchers added. (“Low-risk” drinkers refers to drinkers who were less-dependent on alcohol.)

Although the study doesn’t provide explicit evidence linking certain emotions to different types of alcohol — in other words, it doesn’t prove that a specific type of alcohol causes a specific emotion — it demonstrates the effect that drinking beer, wine or spirits can have on a person’s feelings. The researchers also noted that several other factors could influence feelings elicited by alcohol, such as advertising, when and where alcohol is drunk, and the alcohol content of different drinks.

The findings were published today (Nov. 21) in the journal BMJ Open.


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5 Chronic Body Odors You Should Never Ignore

Hello Male Legislators: Women are not Stupid.

When it comes to the human body, there are some things that 99% of people are understandably embarrassed to talk about. One of those things? The stinky topic of body odors.

Obviously, we get it. No one likes to talk about the parts of their body that smell less-than-pleasant, whether it’s your mid-day armpit sweat or the morning breath you try to hide from your partner. But, truth be told, it’s actually really important to have a conversation about these (very natural) smells.

If you notice these five smells coming from your body, your first instinct might be to gargle, wipe, or spray product to mask the stink. But if, after taking those precautions, you can’t shake the smell there may be something wrong.

Here are the serious signs these five body odors could be pointing to:

1. Sour Breath

Everyone wakes up in the morning with gross morning breath. It’s really just a fact of life. But if your breath is SO rank that your partner can’t even have you breath on them until you’ve brushed your teeth, it might be a little bit more extreme.

If you brush and floss regularly at night before going to bed, but you still wake up with smelly breath, you could be dealing with sleep apnea.

This chronic disorder causes you to periodically start and stop breathing while you sleep. It happens randomly throughout the night, causing you to have dry mouth — a common cause of bad breath.

Having your mouth hanging open like this permits bacteria to breed more easily in your throat. Worse, certain kinds of bacteria make a sulfurous gas that gives your breath a rotten egg smell.

If you’ve got sour breath, daytime sleepiness, and snoring, look into getting a sleep test to confirm or deny sleep apnea.

2. (Extra) Smelly Feces

Hand pulling toilet paper.

Poop smells, we all know this. But it’s important to notice if your feces smell especially nasty after eating certain things — especially dairy. If your gas or poop has an extra-unpleasant stench to it after eating dairy, you may be unable to digest lactose.

Our small intestines produce an enzyme called lactase that breaks down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. When you don’t produce enough lactase, your small intestine will send lactose straight to your colon (instead of your bloodstream) where the gut bacteria will ferment it.

Fermented lactose results in loose, foul-smelling stool and gas, as well as bloating.

And if you’re thinking this is highly unlikely, it’s more common to be lactose intolerant than you’d think. According to the National Institutes of Health, 65 percent of people have trouble digesting dairy. If you’re one of them, you might consider checking with your doctor so you can navigate your diet correctly.

3. Putrid Pee

When you stay hydrated enough, your pee shouldn’t smell like too much of anything. If you haven’t had a lot to drink or you’ve just eaten asparagus, yes, your pee might smell a little. But if neither of those things are true and your urine still has a nasty stink, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI), which produces an almost chemical scent to urine.

You know you’ve got a UTI when you experience a burning feeling, have dark, cloudy urine and need to pee frequently and intensely.

UTIs are more common in women because female urethras are shorter; the infection is caused by a buildup of bacteria (typically E.coli) which enters the urinary tract and urethra, then multiplies in the bladder, thereby causing the infection.

While very unpleasant, these are easy to treat once identified.

4. Fruity Breath

This might not be a “stinky” problem, but it’s still a body odor you need to keep an eye out for.One of the complications of diabetes is known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It happens when the body runs low on insulin, causing blood sugar to spike.

If you notice a sweet, almost fruity taste/smell coming from your mouth, it could actually be a sign of diabetes. One of the complications of diabetes is known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It happens when the body runs low on insulin, causing blood sugar to spike.

More often than not, people with Type 1 diabetes experience DKA compared with people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.

Since your body doesn’t create enough energy to function, it breaks down fatty acids for fuel. One of those acids (acetone) emits a fruity smell from your breath.

Other signs to watch for: people with DKA vomit and urinate frequently, which causes their body to dangerously lose fluids at a rapid rate.

5. Stinky Feet

So, you went for a run without socks on a hot summer afternoon. Obviously, your shoes are going to stink to high heavens. But if you notice your shoes smell CONSTANTLY, no matter the weather or any deodorizing precautions you take, you might have athlete’s foot.

Besides the smell, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) says you will also notice the skin on around your toes will be dry and scaly with redness and blisters.

The odor you’ve noticed is caused by a combination of fungus and bacteria that erodes the webs of skin between your toes. Be careful not to scratch your feet and then touch another part of your body because you actually CAN spread this fungus

Although it might not seem like a dangerous thing, if left unchecked, athlete’s foot can develop into more complicated conditions such as cellulitis — a.k.a. a bacterial infection of the skin’s soft tissue.

Try an over-over-the-counter treatment like Lotrimin or Tinactin for a couple of weeks. If that doesn’t work, schedule an appointment to speak with your doctor for a stronger treatment.


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Just one photograph of a couple can reveal a lot about their relationship or a partner’s behavior, and sometimes it can even predict their future. This is exactly what Dr. Lillian Glass believes. She is the author of the documentary film Body Language Decoded and the bestselling book He Says She Says. You don’t have to be a master of psychology to understand it yourself.

Which details you should pay attention to if you want to become a body language pro.

13. Holding hands

If both partners’ bodies are turned toward each other and their hands are intertwined, it indicates their eagerness to be closer to each other. Actually, the “hand-in-hand” contact reveals a deep connection between them. If you see these body signs, be sure that these people have a very close emotional connection.

12. “He’s mine” gesture

A hand placed on a partner’s torso or chest hints at feelings of possessiveness. As a rule, it’s mainly women who use this kind of gesture. Their whole body says, “He is mine.” This is a subtle message for any romantic rivals out there.

11. Mutual care

If a woman’s body is turned to her partner, it means she wants to be as close to him as possible. The man is standing upright next to her with his hand placed on her waist. Pay close attention to their hands and how lightly they are placed. He doesn’t try to control her, and she doesn’t resist him.

  • These are the signs of mutual care and a good sexual relationship.

10. Strong connection

They became used to doing everything together a long time ago. They know each other quite well and feel really comfortable about it. The position of their legs and bodies says exactly this. The intertwined hands prove that the couple has a strong, deep connection.

  • In such couples, there’s always a leader and a follower. The one who places a hand on top usually dominates.

9. Owner

When a man holds a woman very firmly by her forearm, this sign indicates that he “owns” her. He shows her off, controls her, and tries to hold her close. Does she like it? Of course she doesn’t. Her hip is shifted to the side, and her hands are crossed. She’s not comfortable with it.

8. Like-minded

You’ve all seen the pose where a woman is sitting on her partner’s lap. It’s the most vivid sign of a good sex life. It might also mean that she depends on him, mainly because she wants it to be this way.

  • Relaxed hands and an intimately inclined head indicate 2 like-minded people who trust each other.

7. Who’s the boss?

Remember that holding your hands in your pockets almost always means that you feel anxious and a bit embarrassed. If a man does this, it means he is not the leader in a couple.

Now look at the woman. She is standing in front of the man and smiling. Her legs are positioned in a way to take up more space. This body language shows us a self-confident person. She’s the boss in this couple.

6. Popular people

People who love to be in full view have a specific body posture, and it’s very confident.The man is holding the woman firmly, and she knows how to stand to look great.

  • Although it may be showing off in public or a sign of a newly formed relationship, they are still perfect for each other.

5. Attachment

She puts a hand on his shoulder, and he places his on her waist (or the other way around). This gesture means that these 2 are very attached to each other. They are equal in this union: there are no leaders, no followers, and they live in peace.

  • They’ve been together for a long time and can always rely on each other. They have each other’s backs.

4. Bragging

Very often, a man can place his hand much lower than a woman’s waist. At first sight, this has a sexual subtext. However, it’s really a sign of an overprotective behavior. He wants everyone to know that she belongs to him and that they’re very close.

3. Toe-to-toe

By putting his hand like this, a man demonstrates deep care of a woman and the fact that he can protect her. In this case, they both walk toe-to-toe, meaning that they’re focused on each other, forgetting about everything else. These are the signs of a well-balanced relationship with mutual care and understanding.

2. Protector

This is a classic gesture where the woman holds her partner’s arm. It means she depends on him and feels protected. The man usually stands in front of the woman. He dominates in their relationship and shows that he can be relied on.

1. Alpha male

When a man (sometimes a woman too) puts his feet up, he demonstrates great self-confidence. Powerful people who make sole decisions often choose this position. They don’t rely on a partner’s opinion.

Look at the woman. Only the upper part of her torso is inclined. Her hands and legs are crossed, showing that she is feeling tense. She is not comfortable next to him.

Let’s see how it works and look at real-life examples.

(Based on photographs of Johnny Depp and his ex-wives, Vanessa Paradis and Amber Heard, and Donald Trump and his ex-wife, Marla Maples, and current wife, Melania Trump.)

Donald Trump’s marriage to Marla Maples lasted only 6 years, but it was very passionate, full of love and mutual care. Their numerous photos are a good example of mutual attachment and interest. The couple divorced in 1999 due to a misunderstanding that could have been caused by their age difference.

Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Vanessa Paradis spent 14 years together. Look how they lean to each other. Even in public, their hands are intertwined, their bodies turned to each other. Their pose illustrates a deep care of each other. Unfortunately, their marriage ended because of Depp’s affair with Amber Heard. However, after the divorce, they remained good friends.

In 2005, Trump married Melania Knauss, and their romance and personal life attracted wide media coverage. However, experts consider their poses in photos to be artificial and fake. In many photos, Melania appears to be very tense, and Donald often shows an ownership gesture. Today you rarely see them holding hands. More often, Melania swats away Donald’s hand in public.

Soon after his divorce, Depp married Amber Heard, but you can see how different these relationships are. They stand almost separately with a space between them, and the touching looks very artificial. Their relationship seems to be more demonstrative than sincere. No wonder they split up after just a year with a big scandal.

As you can see, subtle body language signals can sometimes speak louder than words. Do you recognize yourself in any of these postures? Look at your own photos, and decide which body language is typical of your couple. Share your thoughts and real-life examples in the comments.


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For women, high blood pressure in your 40s may be tied to increased risk of Dementia

Women who develop high blood pressure in their 40s may be more likely to develop dementia years later, according to a study published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“High blood pressure in midlife is a known risk factor for dementia, but these results may help us better understand when this association starts, how changes in blood pressure affect the risk of dementia and what the differences are between men and women,” said study author Rachel Whitmer, of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

The study involved 7,238 people who were part of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. They all had blood pressure checks and other tests from 1964 to 1973 when they were an average age of 33, then again when they were an average age of 44. About 22 per cent of the participants had high blood pressure in their 30s (31 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women). In their 40s, 22 per cent overall had high blood pressure, but the makeup was 25 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women.

Next the researchers identified the 5,646 participants who were still alive and part of the Kaiser Permanente system in 1996 and followed them for an average of 15 years to see who developed dementia. During that time, 532 people were diagnosed with dementia.

Having high blood pressure in early adulthood, or in one’s 30s, was not associated with any increased risk of dementia. But having high blood pressure in mid-adulthood, or in one’s 40s, was associated with a 65-per cent increased risk of dementia for women. Women who developed high blood pressure in their 40s were 73 per cent more likely to develop dementia than women who had stable, normal blood pressure throughout their 30s and 40s.

The results were the same when researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect risk of dementia, such as smoking, diabetes and body mass index.

“Even though high blood pressure was more common in men, there was no evidence that having high blood pressure in one’s 30s or 40s increased the risk of dementia for men,” Whitmer said. “More research is needed to identify the possible sex-specific pathways through which the elevated blood pressure accelerates brain aging.”

For women who made it to age 60 without dementia, the cumulative 25-year risk of dementia was 21 per cent for those with high blood pressure in their 30s compared to 18 per cent for those who had normal blood pressure in their 30s.

One limitation of this study is that many developments have been made since the study started in screening for high blood pressure and the use and effectiveness of drugs for it, limiting the ability to generalise the results to today’s population.


Source: American Academy of Neurology

Reference: Paola Gilsanz, Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, M. Maria Glymour, Charles P. Quesenberry, Dan M. Mungas, Charles DeCarli, Alexander Dean, Rachel A. Whitmer. Female sex, early-onset hypertension, and risk of dementia


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Sleep on your side, not your back in late pregnancy

A pregnant mother sleeping on her back during late pregnancy may cause problems for the fetus, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology. This is the first study to monitor unborn babies overnight and at the same time record the mother’s position during sleep.

The sleep position of women in late pregnancy has been shown to be related to an increased risk of late stillbirth (after 28 weeks’ gestation).

Researchers at the University of Auckland investigated sleep position of pregnant women by setting up an infrared video camera to record their position as they slept. They also continuous recorded the heart rate of the women and fetus overnight using an ECG device.

When the mother slept on her back, the fetus was less active. Fetal activity is one measure of its wellbeing. Fetuses were only in an active state when the mother was on her left or right side. When the mother changed position during sleep, for example from her left side to sleeping on her back, the baby quickly changed activity state and became quiet or still.

This research involved 30 pregnant women at 34-38 weeks gestation and all of them were healthy with healthy babies. The researchers are now investigating pregnancies where the fetus is not growing properly or the mother has reported decreased fetal movements, as both situations have been associated with an increased risk of stillbirth.

Peter Stone, one of the lead investigators on the study said, ‘In the situation where the baby may not be healthy, such as those with poor growth, the baby may not tolerate the effect of maternal back sleeping. We are suggesting that there is now sufficient evidence to recommend mothers avoid sleeping on their back in late pregnancy, not only because of the epidemiological data but also because we have shown it has a clear effect on the baby.’

Source: The Physiological Society and Science Daily

Reference: Peter R. Stone, Wendy Burgess, Jordan McIntyre, Alistair J. Gunn, Christopher A. Lear, Laura Bennet, Edwin A Mitchell, John M. D. Thompson. An investigation of fetal behavioural states during maternal sleep in healthy late gestation pregnancy: an observational study.


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Multivitamins in pregnancy may be linked to lower autism risk in children

The researchers stress that their findings cannot establish cause and effect, but say they raise questions about a possible association that warrant further investigation.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) includes a range of conditions, including Asperger syndrome, that affect a person’s social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. It’s estimated that about 1 in every 100 people in the UK has ASD. More boys are diagnosed with the condition than girls.

Research indicates that ASD most likely develops in the womb and that a mother’s diet during pregnancy could have an influence. But results from previous studies have been inconsistent, suggesting that other unmeasured factors (confounding), such as a mother’s overall health and lifestyle, could also play a role.

So an international research team set out to assess whether nutrient supplementation during pregnancy is associated with reduced risk of ASD, with and without intellectual disability.

They applied three analytical methods to a sample of 273,107 mother-child pairs living in Stockholm, Sweden. The sample was restricted to children who were 4 to 15 years of age by December 31 2011 and were born between 1996 and 2007.

Women reported their use of folic acid, iron, and multivitamin supplements at their first antenatal visit and cases of child ASD were identified from national registers.

After adjusting for several potentially influencing factors in both mothers and children, the researchers found that multivitamin use, with or without additional iron and/or folic acid, was associated with a lower likelihood of child ASD with intellectual disability relative to mothers who did not use folic acid, iron, and multivitamins.

There was no consistent evidence that either iron or folic acid use were associated with a reduced risk of ASD.

The results of the various analyses seemed to be consistent with each other, say the authors, suggesting that the association between multivitamins and ASD might not be fully explained by confounding.

They point to several study limitations, such as the potential for confounding and difficulty assessing type, timing and dose of supplements. However strengths included the relatively large population-based sample size and the advanced analytical methods used to gauge the robustness of findings.

“Together, the three analyses appear to point toward a potential inverse association between multivitamin use with ASD with intellectual disability,” say the authors.

Given the current understanding and strength of evidence supporting the importance of nutritional supplementation during pregnancy, “it is impossible to imagine that these results, on their own, should change current practice,” they write. However, they say these findings “raise questions that warrant investigation” and call for verification in randomised studies “before recommending a change to current practice.”


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Women who give birth in winter or spring less likely to have postpartum depression

Women who give birth in winter or spring are less likely than women who deliver in the fall or summer to suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), suggests a study being presented at the Anesthesiology 2017 annual meeting.

The study also found that women who delivered babies at a higher gestational age were less likely to develop PPD, and women who did not have anaesthesia, such as an epidural, during delivery had an increased risk. The authors said women who did not have anaesthesia may have been at an increased risk for PPD because the pain associated with labor may have been traumatising to the women during delivery, or it’s possible those who declined anaesthesia just happened to have intrinsic characteristics that made them more vulnerable to experiencing PPD.

Caucasian women had a lower risk of PPD compared to women of other races. Additionally, increased body mass index (BMI) was associated with an increased risk of PPD. There was no association found between delivery mode and PPD.

“We wanted to find out whether there are certain factors influencing the risk of developing postpartum depression that may be avoided to improve women’s health both physically and mentally,” said lead study author Jie Zhou, of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

At least 10 per cent of women suffer from anxiety or depressive disorders following childbirth. Symptoms of PPD include sadness, restlessness and/or agitation and decreased concentration. PPD typically arises from a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustments to motherhood and fatigue. Left untreated, PPD can interfere with mother-child bonding and cause distress to the mother, baby and the entire family.

The study included a review of medical records of 20,169 women who delivered babies from June 2015 through August 2017. A total of 817 (4.1 percent) women experienced PPD.

While the study did not examine why certain factors might influence the development of PPD, Dr. Zhou said the higher the gestational age, or the further along a woman is in her pregnancy, the more mature typically the baby will be at delivery. “It is expected that the mother will do better and be less mentally stressed when delivering a mature, heathy baby,” he noted.

Additionally, the authors suggest the protective mechanism seen for women delivering in winter and spring may be attributed to the seasonal enjoyment of indoor activities mothers experience with newborns, but say outdoor activities, although not as convenient, with newborns are also good, as this will help to increase sun exposure.

“The significant difference in the risk of developing PPD between Caucasian and other populations may be due to differences in socioeconomic status among these ethnicities,” he noted. “While women with increased BMI needed more hospital-based maternal outpatient follow-ups and had more pregnancy-related complications, which could affect maternal outlook.”


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