April 2013

Changing the Culture of Victim Blaming

 A disturbing trend in many cases of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and rape against women is the tendency to blame the victim of the crime, rather than the perpetrator. Over the past several months, there have been a number of high profile cases of violence against women that highlight the victim-blaming culture we live in.This was seen in the aftermath of the recent Steubenville, Ohio trial in which two male high school football players were found guilty of raping a sixteen-year-old girl who was unable to consent to sexual activity after drinking alcohol at a party.

You Are More Beautiful Than You Think

Dove does it again. In a recently released short film, Real Beauty Sketches, Dove conducted a social experiment involving seven women, several strangers and Gil Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic artist. Each woman was asked to enter a room and answer questions about her appearance to Zamora (a curtain separated the two), while he produced a sketch based on her answers. Afterward, he produced a second sketch with the aid of a stranger who’d spent a few minutes with the woman.

The results were dramatic. Sketches based on the women’s own descriptions show them with wrinkles, shaggy eyebrows, puffy cheeks and dark eye circles. Sketches based on the stranger’s descriptions, however, were much more flattering – and much more accurate.

Middle school dating

Dating in middle school may be not so much fun in the long run.  A study indicates kids who date in middle school have worse study skills, more substance abuse and more likelihood to drop out of high school than kids who don’t date. Researcher Pamela Orpinas of the University of Georgia saw that in seven years of data on 624 northeast Georgia students, starting in sixth grade.

Orpinas advises parents to keep their lines of communication open to kids:“Tell your children that dating is not a rite of passage. Many kids do not date in middle school. They can wait. Wait a little bit; wait until high school.”

Does diabetes rise when economic times are good?

Population-wide weight loss during an economic crisis in Cuba in the ’90s led to declines in death from diabetes and heart disease, which rebounded once the country got back on its feet, researchers found.   During the crisis, which occurred between 1991 and 1995, shortages in food and gas meant people ate less and walked or biked more, Manuel Franco, MD, of the University of Alcala in Madrid, and colleagues noted online in BMJ.

Colic in Babies an Early Sign of Migraine?

A new European study finds that children and teens suffering from migraine headaches were far more likely to have been colicky babies.  Dr. Phyllis Zee, a member of the Women’s Health Science Institute’s leadership council, commented on this study: “the suggestion is that the colic may be an early form of migraine and that it could very well be head pain or stomach pain or it could be both.”  Zee also suggests that colicky babies often do better in dark, quiet rooms, as do migraine sufferers.  Though there aren’t any indicated treatments for colic or migraine in infants yet, this study has the potential to shed some light on colic in babies.  Read the full article on Today Health.

Sex differences in Mesothelioma

Women are much less likely than men to be diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer – an approximate four-to-one ratio – but there is little to suggest a gender-based defense or susceptibility. The discrepancy centers more on blue-collar occupations and workplaces that have been dominated traditionally by males.

Increase in bone fractures seen with extended PPI use

Last week Health Canada released an official warning on the association of increased risk of bone fracture with the frequent use of Proton-Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medications, used to treat symptoms of  acid reflux and gastroesophegeal reflux disease (GERD).   While an important step, this warning, like the U.S. FDA’s before it, does not go far enough in ensuring that the public is aware of the immense risks posed by continuous dosages of PPI pills, particularly to women.

Employer-Sponsored Insurance Beginning to Dump Spouses and Children

Two weeks ago for Forbes I wrote about some of the unintended, but positive, consequences that could result from employers dropping employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI). Following that post, many weighed in about various other consequences of such behavior from employers and what that means for health care coverage for millions of families in the US. One issue in particular caught my attention; not only because of the touching stories associated with the discussion, but because of the unique and inspiring methods some providers are utilizing to compensate for the lack of insurance coverage.

Sleeping and Memories

Recently, I’ve been having very detailed dreams related to work that include problem solving  (unfortunately, they are not just fun fantasies!).  I’ve actually wondered if these dreams are some sort of mechanism that comes with aging.   Lo and behold, today I ran across a NIH article, How Snoozing Strengthens Memories  (through dreams) that may shed some light on this phenomena.  Here is part of the article: