Women’s brains note sexual arousal in male sweat
The odor of men’s sweat varies when sexually aroused – and women can subconsciously tell the difference, a new study finds.
A report published in January’s issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, proposes that women differentiate sexual sweat odor from neutral sweat odor by processing such odors in different parts of the brain.
During the study, 20 heterosexual male volunteers held absorbent pads under their arms as they watched an erotic film, and then again when they watched a film with neutral content.
The researchers then had 19 heterosexual females smell both the neutral sweat pads and the sexual sweat pads from the three men that reported the highest sexual arousal level. The women also sniffed a neutral pad, and a pad moistened with androstadienone, what some believe to be a sex pheromone that is produced in sweat.
The women were then asked to rate the pleasantness and intensity of the pads’ odors, while their brains were being monitored with MRI imaging.
In their verbal responses, only two women said they smelled any sweat, and none distinguished the sexual sweat from the neutral sweat. However, two areas of the brain – the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right fusiform region – responded much more to the sexual sweat of men than that of the other smells.
However the researchers note that their findings do not mean that sweat is an aphrodisiac, nor does the research find activations in the areas of the brain normally associated with pleasure.
Excess abdominal fat may lead to migraines
Those carrying extra weight around their waistlines have been delivered more bad news: They may be at an increased risk for migraines.
While general obesity has been considered a risk factor for migraines, a new study conducted by the Drexel University College of Medicine indicates that the risk is especially great in individuals under age 55 who have a high amount of abdominal fat (visceral fat).
Examining data from over 22,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, researchers found that men and women age 20 to 55 who had visceral fat were more likely to get migraines than their thinner-waisted counterparts.
The study especially sheds light on migraines in women. Those with extra belly fat were 30 percent more likely to experience migraines than women without extra belly fat, even after accounting for overall obesity.
In men over 55, however, there was little correlation, and in women over 55, those who had visceral fat actually had less headaches, but the reason for this is not yet clear.
Though the study is still in its early stages, the researchers indicate that losing weight around the stomach may be beneficial for younger individuals who experience migraines.
Results of the study will be presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting in April.
(Source: latimes.com and webmd.com)
Mediterranean Diet reduces stroke and heart disease in women, study suggests
New evidence suggests the traditional Mediterranean diet rich in monosaturated fat, plant proteins, whole grains and fish reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in American women.
The study, published in Circulation, looked at data of 74,886 women that participated in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1984 and 2002. The participants were between the ages of 38 and 63 in 1984.
The participants were then followed for 20 years. Those whose diets closely matched the Mediterranean-style diet had a 29 percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 13 percent reduced risk of stroke. The risk of dying from either heart disease or stroke was also reduced by 39 percent for followers of the diet.
Such statistics are comparable of those associated with taking statins – cholesterol-lowering medications.
The Mediterranean Diet is traditional in areas such as Greece and Southern Italy. The diet consists of consuming more protein from plant sources such as beans and nuts instead of meat. Fish is consumed about once a week, and red meat should be eaten only once or twice a month.
ANNA OPALKA compiles Science Scene and can be reached at email@example.com.