Women / Prenatal / Infant

Men who do exercise produce better quality semen

- October 31, 2012

Science Daily/Plataforma SINC

A new study conducted by researchers in Spain links moderate physical activity in males with better hormone levels and sperm characteristics that favor reproduction compared to sedentary men.

 

Semen quality at large has dropped in the last 50 years. Amongst other factors, this is due to exposure to external agents and alcohol and tobacco consumption. This decline in sperm properties has caused an increase in reproductive problems.

 

Therefore, experts have studied the possible relationship between sperm quality and lifestyle habits in males. Published in the 'European Journal of Applied Physiology', the new study suggests that men who do moderate physical exercise have better hormone levels and their gonads undergo healthier spermatological processes.

 

Moderate exercise is the key

In 2010, the same researcher published a study showing that the sperm parameters of elite sportsmen (triathletes and waterpolo players) are worse than men who are just physically active. It is possible that the increased strain of training causes a decline in sperm quality.

 

"Despite that fact that more studies are needed to confirm these findings, we can suggest exercise to improve the hormonal environment and stimulate the sperm process," adds Vaamonde.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031110742.htm

Marijuana use implicated in pregnancy problems

- September 12, 2012

Science Daily/Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

New research indicates marijuana-like compounds called endocannabinoids alter genes and biological signals critical to the formation of a normal placenta during pregnancy and may contribute to pregnancy complications like preeclampsia. A new study offers evidence that abnormal biological signaling by endocannabinoid lipid molecules produced by the body disrupts the movement of early embryonic cells important to a healthy pregnancy.

 

"The findings or our investigation raise concerns that exposure to cannabis products may adversely affect early embryo development that is then perpetuated later in pregnancy," said Sudhansu K. Dey, PhD., principal investigator on the study and division director. "Also, given that endocannabinoid signaling plays a key role in the central nervous system, it would be interesting in future studies to examine whether affected cell migration-related genes in early embryos also participate in neuronal cell migration during brain development."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912101806.htm

Lack of Sleep Found to Be a New Risk Factor for Aggressive Breast Cancers

Aug. 27, 2012 —

Science Daily/University Hospitals Case Medical Center

Lack of sleep is linked to more aggressive breast cancers, according to new findings published in the August issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment by physician-scientists from University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University.

 

"This is the first study to suggest that women who routinely sleep fewer hours may develop more aggressive breast cancers compared with women who sleep longer hours," said Dr. Thompson, who is Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and lead author. "We found a strong correlation between fewer hours of sleep per night and worse recurrence scores, specifically in post-menopausal breast cancer patients. This suggests that lack of sufficient sleep may cause more aggressive tumors, but more research will need to be done to verify this finding and understand the causes of this association."

 

"Short sleep duration is a public health hazard leading not only to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but also cancer," said Li Li, MD, PhD, a study co-author and family medicine physician in the Department of Family Medicine at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Effective intervention to increase duration of sleep and improve quality of sleep could be an under-appreciated avenue for reducing the risk of developing more aggressive breast cancers and recurrence."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827113359.htm

How Well Is Depression in Women Being Diagnosed and Treated?

Aug. 20, 2012 —

Science Daily/Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers

Major depression affects as many as 16% of reproductive-aged women in the U.S. Yet pregnant women have a higher rate of undiagnosed depression than nonpregnant women, according to a study published in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

 

Jean Ko, PhD and coauthors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, found that more than 1 in 10 women ages 18-44 years had a major depressive event during the previous year -- representing about 1.2 million U.S. women -- but more than half of those women did not receive a diagnosis of depression and nearly half did not receive any mental health treatment. The article "Depression and Treatment among U.S. Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women of Reproductive Age, 2005-2009," further reports that disparities in receiving a diagnosis and treatment were associated with younger age, belonging to a racial/ethnic minority, and insurance status.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820110841.htm

A pack of walnuts a day keeps the fertility specialist away?

- August 15, 2012

Science Daily/Society for the Study of Reproduction

After eating 75 grams of walnuts every day for 12 weeks, healthy young men aged 21 to 35 saw increased sperm vitality, motility, and morphology, researchers report.

 

Approximately 70 million couples experience subfertility or infertility worldwide, with 30 to 50 percent of these cases attributable to the male partner. Some studies have suggested that human semen quality has declined in industrialized nations, possibly due to pollution, poor lifestyle habits, and/or an increasingly Western-style diet.

 

The best sources of dietary PUFAs in a Western-style diet include fish and fish oil supplements, flax seed, and walnuts, the latter of which are rich sources of α-linolenic acid (ALA), a natural plant source of omega-3.

 

With support by the California Walnut Commission, Dr. Robbins' team selected 117 healthy men between the ages of 21 and 35 who ate a Western-style diet and split them into two groups: one (58 men) who would avoid eating tree nuts and another (59 men) who would eat 75 grams of walnuts per day. Previous studies had indicated that 75 grams of walnuts would be a dose at which blood lipid levels would change, but at which healthy young men would not gain weight.

 

Before the experiment began and then again 12 weeks later, the men's semen quality was analyzed according to conventional parameters of male fertility, including sperm concentration, vitality, motility, morphology, and chromosome abnormalities.

 

After 12 weeks, the team found no significant changes in body-mass index, body weight, or activity level in either group. The men consuming walnuts, however, had significantly increased levels of omega-6 and omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids and experienced improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology. Those eating walnuts also had fewer chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm following the walnut dietary intervention. The control group, on the other hand, experienced no changes.

 

Although this research indicates that eating 75 grams of walnuts per day can positively affect a young man's sperm quality, it is still unknown whether the benefits would apply to young men with fertility problems and whether they would actually translate into increased fertility.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815151610.htm

High Rates of Sleep Apnea in Women

Aug. 15, 2012 —

Science Daily/Umeå universitet

New research from Umeå and Uppsala universities has found high rates of sleep apnea in women, despite the condition usually being regarded as a disorder predominantly of males.

 

The results found that obstructive sleep apnea was present in 50% of women aged 20-70 years. The researchers also found links between age, obesity and hypertension: 80% of women with hypertension and 84% of obese women suffered from sleep apnea. Additionally, severe sleep apnea was present in 31% of obese women aged 55-70 years old.

 

Lead author Dr. Karl Franklin said: "We were very surprised to find such a high occurrence of sleep apnea in women, as it is traditionally thought of as a male disorder. These findings suggest that clinicians should be particularly aware of the association between sleep apnea and obesity and hypertension, in order to identify patients who could also be suffering from the sleeping disorder."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120816075411.htm

Sick from stress? Blame your mom… and epigenetics

- July 31, 2012

Science Daily/Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

New research suggests that choline supplementation in pregnant women lowers cortisol in the baby by changing epigenetic expression of genes involved in cortisol production.

 

If you're sick from stress, a new research report appearing in the August 2012 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that what your mother ate -- or didn't eat -- may be part of the cause. The report shows that choline intake that is higher than what is generally recommended during pregnancy may improve how a child responds to stress. These improvements are the result of epigenetic changes that ultimately lead to lower cortisol levels.

 

Epigenetic changes affect how a gene functions, even if the gene itself is not changed. Lowering cortisol is important as high levels of cortisol are linked to a wide range of problems ranging from mental health to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

 

"We hope that our data will inform the development of choline intake recommendations for pregnant women that ensure optimal fetal development and reduce the risk of stress-related diseases throughout the life of the child," said Marie A. Caudill, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Division of Nutritional Sciences and Genomics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

 

"Depending on the relationship, one's mother can either produce stress or relieve it," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This report shows that her effect on stress begins even before birth. The importance of choline cannot be overstated as we continue to unravel the role it plays in human health and development."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731103037.htm

Night work may put women's health at risk

- June 19, 2012

Science Daily/INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale)

The risk of developing breast cancer is higher among women who have worked at night, according to new research. The study compared the careers of 1,200 women who had developed breast cancer between 2005 and 2008 with the careers of 1,300 other women.

 

Breast cancer is the number one cause of female mortality. It affects 100 out of 100,000 women per year in developed countries. Each year, more than 1.3 million new cases are diagnosed, 53,000 of these in France.

 

The risk factors of breast cancer are varied. They include genetic mutations, late first pregnancy, low parity or hormone therapy, but other causes of breast cancer such as way of life, environmental or professional causes have not yet been completely identified.

 

In 2010, based on experimental and epidemiological work, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified work that disturbed the circadian rhythm as being "probably carcinogenic." The circadian rhythm, that regulates the alternation between wakefulness and sleep, controls numerous biological functions and is altered in people who work at night or who have disrupted working hours.

 

Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the observed links between night work and breast cancer: exposure to light during the night, that eliminates the nocturnal melatonin surge and its anti-carcinogenic effects, disturbed functioning of the biological clock genes that control cell proliferation, or sleep disorders that can weaken the immune system.

 

The risk of developing breast cancer was 30% higher in women who had worked nights compared to women who had never worked nights. This increased risk was particularly marked in women who had worked nights for over four years, or in women whose working rhythm was less than 3 nights per week, because this led to more frequent disturbances between night and day rhythms.

 

Finally, the link between night work and breast cancer seemed to be more marked when we looked at women who had worked at night prior to a first pregnancy. An explanation for this result could be that the mammary cells, incompletely differentiated in women before their first pregnancy, are more vulnerable.

 

"Our work has corroborated the results of previous studies and poses the problem of taking night work into consideration in public health management, especially since the number of women working atypical hours is on the increase", states Pascal Guénel, the main author of this work.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619112907.htm

Anxious Girls' Brains Work Harder

June 5, 2012 —

Science Daily/Michigan State University

In a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, Michigan State University scientists say the brains of anxious girls work much harder than those of boys.

 

"This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls," said Moser, assistant professor of psychology. "It's one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders."

 

Although the worrisome female subjects performed about the same as the males on simple portions of the task, their brains had to work harder at it. Then, as the test became more difficult, the anxious females performed worse, suggesting worrying got in the way of completing the task, Moser said.

 

"Anxious girls' brains have to work harder to perform tasks because they have distracting thoughts and worries," Moser said. "As a result their brains are being kind of burned out by thinking so much, which might set them up for difficulties in school. We already know that anxious kids -- and especially anxious girls -- have a harder time in some academic subjects such as math."

 

Currently Moser and other MSU researchers are investigating whether estrogen, a hormone more common in women, may be responsible for the increased brain response. Estrogen is known to affect the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in learning and processing mistakes in the front part of the brain.

 

The study, reported in the International Journal of Psychophysiology, is the first to measure the correlation between worrying and error-related brain responses in the sexes using a scientifically viable sample (79 female students, 70 males).

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120605113719.htm

Women Trying to Have Babies Also Need to Think About Circadian Clock

May 23, 2012 —

Science Daily/Northwestern University

 A new Northwestern University study shows that the biological clock is not the only clock women trying to conceive should consider. The circadian clock needs attention, too.

 

"If you disrupt your internal rhythms, there will be negative consequences -- that is very clear," said Keith Summa, first author of the paper and an M.D./Ph.D. candidate working in Turek's lab. "Our results suggest people should consider their biological rhythms for optimal health."

 

The repeated shifting of the light-dark cycle shifts the biological clock throughout the body. This environmental disturbance is more relevant to shift workers and those frequently flying across time zones, the researchers note, than genetic disruption of the circadian clock, which also negatively influences reproductive function.

 

Epidemiological studies have shown female shift workers, such as nurses, and female flight attendants who work on long-distance east-west routes (i.e., those with constant jet lag) have fertility and menstrual issues. They are habitually out of sync with the external light cycle. But the role circadian rhythm disruption may play in their reproductive problems is a poorly studied area.

 

"We were surprised at how dramatic the effect of manipulating the light-dark cycle was, especially in the phase-advanced group," Summa said. "We expected a negative effect from the circadian clock disruption, but not this much."

 

"Our results have important implications for the reproductive health of female shift workers, women with circadian rhythm sleep disorders and/or women with disturbed circadian rhythms for other reasons,"

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523200754.htm

Mom's Stress During Pregnancy Can Affect Baby's Iron Status

Apr. 29, 2012 —

Science Daily/University of Missouri-Columbia

Newborns whose mothers are under stress during the first trimester of pregnancy may be at risk for low iron status, which could lead to physical and mental delays down the road, according to a study presented April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

 

Results showed that the 63 babies whose mothers were in the stress group had significantly lower cord-blood ferritin concentrations than the 77 infants in the control group.

 

"Our findings indicate that infants whose mothers were stressed during pregnancy are a previously unrecognized risk group for iron deficiency," Dr. Armony-Sivan said. "Pregnant women should be aware that their health, nutrition, stress level and state of mind will affect their baby's health and well-being."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120429085406.htm

'Brain Fog' of Menopause Confirmed

- March 14, 2012

Science Daily/University of Rochester Medical Center

The difficulties that many women describe as memory problems when menopause approaches are real, according to a study published recentlyin the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

 

"The most important thing to realize is that there really are some cognitive changes that occur during this phase in a woman's life," said Miriam Weber, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who led the study. "If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems, no one should brush it off or attribute it to a jam-packed schedule. She can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal."

 

Women who reported memory difficulties were also more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. The team did not find any link between memory problems and hormone levels.

 

Generally anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of women during this stage of life report forgetfulness and other difficulties that they view as related to poor memory.

"If you speak with middle-aged women, many will say, yes, we've known this. We've experienced this," said Weber, assistant professor of Neurology. "But it hasn't been investigated thoroughly in the scientific literature.

 

"Science is finally catching up to the reality that women don't suddenly go from their reproductive prime to becoming infertile. There is this whole transition period that lasts years. It's more complicated than people have realized."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314124018.htm

Stress reduction and mindful eating curb weight gain among overweight women

December 7, 2011

Science Daily/University of California - San Francisco

Mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting in overweight women.

 

In a study by UCSF researchers published online in the Journal of Obesity, mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting.

 

Women in the study who experienced the greatest reduction in stress tended to have the most loss of deep belly fat. To a greater degree than fat that lies just under the skin, this deep abdominal fat is associated with an elevated risk for developing heart disease or diabetes.

"You're training the mind to notice, but to not automatically react based on habitual patterns -- to not reach for a candy bar in response to feeling anger, for example," said UCSF researcher Jennifer Daubenmier, PhD, from the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. "If you can first recognize what you are feeling before you act, you have a greater chance of making a wiser decision."

 

Daubenmier led the current study with UCSF psychologist Elissa Epel, PhD. The study, published online in October, is part of ongoing UCSF research into how stress and the stress hormone cortisol are linked to eating behavior, fat and health.

 

Recognizing Sensations of Hunger, Fullness and Taste Satisfaction

The women who participated were not on calorie-counting diets. Instead, 24 of the 47 chronically stressed, overweight and obese women were randomly assigned to mindfulness training and practice, and the other 23 served as a control group. Although no diets were prescribed, all participants attended one session about the basics of healthy eating and exercise.

 

The training included nine weekly sessions, each lasting 2 1/2 hours, during which the women learned stress reduction techniques and how to be more aware of their eating by recognizing bodily sensations -- including hunger, fullness and taste satisfaction. At week six they attended an intensive seven-hour, silent meditation retreat.

 

They were asked to set aside 30 minutes daily for meditation exercises and to practice mindful eating during meals. Researchers used a scientifically tested survey to gauge psychological stress before and after the four-month study, and recorded the women's fat and cortisol levels.

 

Among women in the treatment group, changes in body awareness, chronic stress, cortisol secretion and abdominal fat were clearly linked. Those who had greater improvements in listening to their bodies' cues, or greater reductions in stress or cortisol, experienced the greatest reductions in abdominal fat.

 

Among the subset of obese women in the study, those who received the mindfulness training had significant reductions in cortisol after awakening and also maintained their total body weight, compared to women in the waitlist group, who had stable cortisol levels and continued to gain weight.

 

In a separate, ongoing study with lower-income, pregnant women who are overweight, Epel, Daubenmier and colleagues are teaching similar mindful-eating techniques. Pregnancy is a time when heavy women tend to gain an excessive amount of weight and later find it very hard to lose it. Furthermore, excessive weight gain during pregnancy can harm the baby's health.

 

"We are intervening at a critical point, when the health of the next generation is being shaped,"Epel said. "We hope to improve the health of both the mothers and their babies."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111207152418.htm

Abused girls may have higher risk of heart disease, stroke as adults

November 30, 2011

Science Daily/American Heart Association

Sexually and physically abused girls may have higher risks for heart attacks, heart disease and strokes as adults, according to new research.

 

In the study, compared to women who weren't molested or raped as children or teens, women who reported:

 

·      Repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence had a 62 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease as adults.

 

·      Severe physical abuse in childhood or adolescence was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events.

 

Mild to moderate physical or sexual abuse was not associated with increased risk.

 

"The single biggest factor explaining the link between severe child abuse and adult cardiovascular disease was the tendency of abused girls to have gained more weight throughout adolescence and into adulthood,' said Janet Rich-Edwards, Sc.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass.

 

"Women who experience abuse need to take special care of their physical and emotional well-being to reduce their risk of chronic disease," Rich-Edwards said. "Primary care health professionals need to consider childhood abuse histories of women as they transition into adulthood but to help the health professionals prevent cardiovascular disease among women with a history of abuse, we need to learn more about specific psychological, lifestyle, and medical interventions to improve the health of abuse survivors."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111113141258.htm

Older women still suffer from hot flashes and night sweats years after menopause

November 21, 2011

Science Daily/Wiley-Blackwell

Women still have hot flashes and night sweats years after menopause, a new study finds. Hot flashes and night sweats (HF/NS) are the main physical signs of the menopause, however their prevalence, frequency, severity and duration vary considerably.

 

The majority (89.6%) of women had experienced HF/NS at some time, more women having had hot flushes (86%) than night sweats (78%). However, over half (54%) of the women were currently having HF/NS and the prevalence was fairly even across the age range. The frequency of HF/NS was 33.5 per week and this remained broadly at this level across the age range.

 

"Age didn't seem to affect the prevalence or frequency of the symptoms. Health professionals need to be aware that women can still have hot flushes and night sweats in their late 50s and 60s. There is a need for effective non-hormonal treatments for women with problematic hot flushes and night sweats, and for women who have a recurrence of hot flushes after they stop taking hormone therapy."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024848.htm

Poor sleep habits linked to increased risk of fibromyalgia in women

November 17, 2011

Science Daily/Wiley-Blackwell

Researchers from Norway have uncovered an association between sleep problems and increased risk of fibromyalgia in women. The risk of fibromyalgia increased with severity of sleep problems, and the association was stronger among middle-aged and older women than among younger women

 

Experts estimate that fibromyalgia -- a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome -- affects more than 5 million people over the age of 18 in the U.S., with the general adult population prevalence at 3% to 5%. Studies have shown that the syndrome onset typically occurs in middle age and up to 90% of those with fibromyalgia are women. While previous research has found that insomnia, nocturnal awakening, and fatigue are common symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia, it is unknown whether poor sleep habits contribute to the development of this pain syndrome.

 

"Our findings indicate a strong association between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia risk in adult women," said Dr. Mork. "We found a dose-response relation, where women who often reported sleep problems had a greater risk of fibromyalgia than those who never experienced sleep problems."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114095717.htm

Poor sleep quality in first, third trimesters linked to preterm births

November 2, 2011

Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Significant risk for preterm birth found in women reporting sleep disruptions during their first and third trimesters, even after medical risk factors and income levels were accounted for. However, it's inexpensive and uncomplicated to assess, and requires only a change in behavior to help reduce risk when intervened early enough.

 

A study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Sleep shows a significant risk for preterm birth in women reporting sleep disruptions during their first and third trimesters. The connection remained even after medical risk factors and income levels were taken into account.

 

"This supports the growing evidence that poor sleep is an important risk factor for preterm birth," said Michele Okun, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

 

"It likely occurs in the presence of other risk factors, but sleep can be measured easily and quickly during prenatal visits. Simply by assessing a woman's sleep quality, we may be able to identify a risk early in the pregnancy, when there is time to intervene. The data suggest that beneficial outcomes may be possible through modifications in behavior," Okun said.

 

Sleep quality in the second trimester did not correlate with increased risk. Okun said sleep often improves modestly during this part of pregnancy, although it is unclear why. One explanation might be hormones or other biological pathways playing a role, but there is no data.

 

Similarly, Okun and her co-authors suggest a biological cause for the increase in preterm births with disrupted sleep. Poor sleep quality has been shown to initiate inflammation, possibly activating the processes associated with childbirth prematurely. Sleep disruption also might do this in combination with stress, a known activator of inflammation.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101095304.htm

Increased caffeinated coffee consumption associated with decreased risk of depression in women

September 27, 2011

Science Daily/JAMA and Archives Journals

The risk of depression appears to decrease for women with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee, according to a new study.

 

Caffeine is the most frequently used central nervous system stimulant in the world, and approximately 80 percent of consumption is in the form of coffee, according to background information in the article. Previous research, including one prospective study among men, has suggested an association between coffee consumption and depression risk.

 

Because depression is a chronic and recurrent condition that affects twice as many women as men, including approximately one of every five U.S. women during their lifetime, "identification of risk factors for depression among women and the development of new preventive strategies are, therefore, a public health priority," write the authors. They sought to examine whether, in women, consumption of caffeine or certain caffeinated beverages is associated with the risk of depression.

 

Michel Lucas, Ph.D., R.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues studied 50,739 U.S. women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study. Participants, who had a mean (average) age of 63, had no depression at the start of the study in 1996 and were prospectively followed up with through June 2006.

 

"In this large prospective cohort of older women free of clinical depression or severe depressive symptoms at baseline, risk of depression decreased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee," write the authors. They note that this observational study "cannot prove that caffeine or caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of depression but only suggests the possibility of such a protective effect." The authors call for further investigations to confirm their results and to determine whether usual caffeinated coffee consumption could contribute to prevention or treatment of depression.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926165904.htm

Less depression for working moms who expect that they 'can't do it all'

August 25, 2011

Science Daily/University of Washington

Working mothers who expressed a supermom attitude that work and home lives can be blended with relative ease showed more depression symptoms than working moms who expected that they would have to forego some aspects of their career or parenting to achieve a work-life balance.

 

A new study shows that working mothers who expressed a supermom attitude that work and home lives can be blended with relative ease showed more depression symptoms than working moms who expected that they would have to forego some aspects of their career or parenting to achieve a work-life balance.

 

"Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities," said Katrina Leupp, a University of Washington sociology graduate student who led the study. In reality, juggling home and work lives requires some sacrifice, she said, such as cutting back on work hours and getting husbands to help more.

 

She found that the stay-at-home moms had more depression symptoms than the working moms in the study, which agrees with findings from other studies. "Employment is ultimately beneficial for women's health, even when differences in marital satisfaction and working full or part time are ruled out," said Leupp. She added that there is some truth to the adage, "Stay-at-home moms have the hardest job in the world."

 

But among the working moms in the study, Leupp found that those with the supermom attitude -- who as young adults consistently agreed with statements that women can combine employment and family care -- were at a higher risk for depression compared with working moms who had a more realistic view.

 

"Employed women who expected that work-life balance was going to be hard are probably more likely to accept that they can't do it all," Leupp said. These moms may be more comfortable making tradeoffs, such as leaving work early to pick up kids, and, Leupp shows they have fewer depression symptoms.

 

But women who expect that work and family life can be satisfactorily combined without many tradeoffs may be more likely to feel like they are failing when they struggle to achieve this ideal. Guilt over not being able to manage the work-family balance and frustration over division of household labor could also play roles in the increase of depression symptoms in the supermom group. "Supermoms have higher expectations for fairness, so it makes sense that they would be more frustrated with the division of household chores," Leupp said.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110820135309.htm

Depression linked to increased risk of stroke in women

August 12, 2011

Science Daily/American Heart Association

Depression is associated with a moderately increased risk of stroke. Depressed women taking anti-depressant drugs -- particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- had an increased stroke risk, which researchers said may not be a cause but rather an indicator of depression severity. Researchers said patients should continue taking their anti-depressant medication.

 

In six years of follow-up of women in the Nurses' Health Study, researchers found that a history of depression was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of total stroke -- even after considering other stroke risk factors. Women who used anti-depressant medication -- particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- had a 39 percent increased risk of stroke. Examples of these drugs are Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa.

 

Anti-depressant medication use may be an indicator of depression severity, said Kathryn Rexrode, M.D., the study's senior author and Associate Physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. "I don't think the medications themselves are the primary cause of the risk. This study does not suggest that people should stop their medications to reduce the risk of stroke."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811162820.htm

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