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11 Women's Sexuality News Articles
from 2018 1st Half
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1-17-18 America's broken childbirth system
How can we allow giving birth to bankrupt new families? Now that the Republicans have shaken the dust from their feet following all 497 of their failed attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act, we are probably due for one of those long spells where we pretend that all the issues that were so urgent last year until the GOP lighted upon "tax reform" are worth ignoring for a while. This would be a mistake. It is the perennial folly of columnists to allow politicians to decide what is and is not worthy of our readers' attention, to whip ourselves into fits of spasmodic rage whenever they propose something bad and sink back into indifference as soon as it looks as if they have changed their minds. The provision of medical care in this country was an important issue in 2017 and it is an important issue now. Just how far we have to go before we can think of ourselves as a civilized people is made clear by two recent pieces in The Guardian's excellent parenting section, "The Mother Load." Few issues demonstrate the callousness and absurdity of our current public-private system as the way we "finance" the birth of children. The cost of the average birth in the United States is more than $32,000 for a standard delivery with no complications. This is higher than any other country in the world, and it has nothing to do with the quality of care we provide to mothers and children. Parents such as Stella Apo Osae-Cwum and her husband who find themselves in difficult and unpredictable circumstances end up footing the bill for amounts that are even more unimaginable — $877,000 for the premature birth of their triplets. (Webmaster's comment: $32,000, a year's salary for many, for what used to be done at home without assistance except from a midwife. THAT'S NUTS!)

1-16-18 Evidence grows that normal childbirth takes longer than we thought
The insight could lead to fewer unnecessary C-sections being performed. A long-standing “rule” for women in labor has been challenged again. During labor, the cervix – the narrow, lower part of the uterus – dilates, or opens, to allow for a baby’s birth. For decades, the guidance has been that the cervix should dilate by at least 1 centimeter per hour. But a study in two African countries found a slower rate of dilation for many women who went on to have healthy, vaginal births, researchers report online January 16 in PLOS Medicine. The new study reinforces findings from recent research on pregnant women in the United States, Japan and other countries. Nevertheless, some doctors still wrongly classify slower labor as abnormal, researchers say, leading to unnecessary, potentially risky interventions such as cesarean delivery.

1-15-18 Sora Aoi: Japan's porn star who taught a Chinese generation about sex
When Japanese actress and former porn star Sora Aoi announced her marriage online, it set off a frenzy on Chinese social media. That's because she has played a surprisingly significant role in the lives of a generation of young Chinese internet users. On New Year's day, Ms Aoi posted a picture of her engagement ring on social media and announced the happy news to her fans around the world. Within 48 hours, the post got more than 170,000 comments and 830,000 likes on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. "We grew up with your movies and will support you as always," said one fan. Another Weibo user said: "You will always be my goddess… I wish you happiness." Ms Aoi started her career in pornography in the early 2000s. It is estimated that she had starred in more than 90 adult films, with new work being published every month between 2003 and 2005. Pornography is illegal in China, but that didn't stop Chinese men going crazy for her. "To many Chinese men who couldn't get proper sexual education in their adolescence, Sora Aoi became our teacher," 27-year-old "Liu Qiang" (not his real name) told the BBC.

1-10-18 Hormone replacement therapy may prevent depression in menopause
A study of 172 women suggests that HRT treatment is more effective than a placebo at preventing symptoms of depression from emerging during early menopause. Hormone replacement therapy seems to prevent depression in women going through the menopause. A study of 172 women without depression and aged between 45 and 60 has found that a year of HRT treatment can help stop symptoms of depression emerging in women who are entering the menopause or who are in the early stages of post-menopause. The team found that HRT was more effective at this than a placebo, and seemed to have the most effect in women in the early stages of menopause, and those experiencing other life stresses. “HRT reduced the proportion of women who experienced significant mood symptoms from about one in three to about one in six,” says Tony Cleare, of King’s College London, who was not involved in the study. “HRT is already recommended in the UK to treat symptoms of low mood during the menopause, so this research adds to the evidence by showing HRT can also prevent mood symptoms,” he says.

1-10-18 Venezuela pill shortage triggers rise in teenage pregnancies
In downtown Barquisimeto, Margaret Khawan's pharmacy is looking a bit empty these days. What products she does have she has spaced out along the shelves to make them look a bit fuller. Ms Khawan has not had any deliveries of contraceptive pills for a year. Every day people come looking for them and every day she has to turn them away. People are having to adapt. "It used to be just men buying condoms but women are buying them too now because there's nothing else," she says. "The price of condoms has gone up 200%." Across town, Darnellys Rodríguez is living the consequences of these shortages. She had her first baby when she was 15 years old. Then she had a second baby, and hoped that would be it, but then she got pregnant with her third. "My first reaction was to cry," she says. "Getting contraceptive pills is really hard. There's nothing and when you can get hold of them, the cost is beyond my reach." Financially it is a struggle. She lives with her children and partner in a corrugated iron shack in a poor neighbourhood of Barquisimeto. Now she is pregnant, she says her older boys have to go without clothes and shoes so she can pay for some of her medical tests. "I'm making plans to get sterilised," she says. "The idea of having another baby is too much."

1-9-18 Hormone replacement makes sense for some menopausal women
A reanalysis says hormones are worth a second look for younger women dealing with hot flashes and night sweats. Internist Gail Povar has many female patients making their way through menopause, some having a tougher time than others. Several women with similar stories stand out in her mind. Each came to Povar’s Silver Spring, Md., office within a year or two of stopping her period, complaining of frequent hot flashes and poor sleep at night. “They just felt exhausted all the time,” Povar says. “The joy had kind of gone out.” And all of them “were just absolutely certain that they were not going to take hormone replacement,” she says. But the women had no risk factors that would rule out treating their symptoms with hormones. So Povar suggested the women try hormone therapy for a few months. “If you feel really better and it makes a big difference in your life, then you and I can decide how long we continue it,” Povar told them. “And if it doesn’t make any difference to you, stop it.” At the follow-up appointments, all of these women reacted the same way, Povar recalls. “They walked in beaming, absolutely beaming, saying, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t do this a year ago. My life! I’ve got my life back.’ ”

1-9-18 Chinese dating apps closed after women revealed to be robots
A number of Chinese mobile applications have been shut down after it was revealed women on their platforms were actually automated robots, it's reported. According to the Modern Express newspaper, police have closed down mobile apps associated with 21 companies and arrested more than 600 suspects operating across 13 provinces, after discovering that messages from some women were being automatically generated by computer programmes. Police in southern Guangdong province began investigating in August 2017, after suspecting one app of fraudulently charging visitors to view pornographic videos which did not exist. Further investigation found that technical personnel from at least one company had created fake "sexy girl" accounts. They wrote computer programmes which generated greeting messages and compliments from fake accounts, and targeted these at newly registered users. "They solicited gifts and posted other messages to lure the user into spending money, and thus illegally generating profit," the police report reads. It says that tens of thousands of people are believed to have been conned out of a total sum of one billion yuan ($154m; £113m). The case has shocked but also amused social media users on the Sina Weibo microblog. "It looks like AI has finally overtaken human intelligence," says one user. Many say that they are surprised at the abilities of the people running the bots. "With skills like these, why bother engaging in fraud?" one asks.

1-8-18 Sex tweets help track spread of sexually transmitted infections
Twitter provided a more sensitive warning signal for syphilis rates in US counties than the previous year’s disease levels. A lot of sexual tweets in your area? Local syphilis rates could be on the rise. Oversharing on social media may be annoying, but it could predict the next outbreak of sexually transmitted disease. Sean Young at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues analysed tweets posted in 2012. They narrowed down millions of posts to 8538 tweets that could be geolocated to US counties and included keywords such as “sex” or “suck” used in a sexual context. Areas where sexual tweets were posted saw a 2.7 per cent increase in syphilis rates the following year. One way to predict an increase in syphilis rates is to look at the current number of cases – for example, each county that had a higher than average number of cases in 2012 saw a 0.6 per cent increase the following year. Tweets corresponded to a bigger change in syphilis rates, so they could provide a more effective way of planning where best to allocate resources. “There’s potentially as much or more information in what people say online as there is in where people live, what education they have, or how much they earn,” says Young. Even though using social media to predict sexually transmitted disease will never be perfect, if the analysis is carefully carried out it “can provide a lot of information,” says Alessandro Vespignani at Northeastern University, Boston, who was one of the authors of a prominent paper on Google Flu Trends, which used a similar method in an attempt to predict flu outbreaks.

1-5-18 A key virus fighter is implicated in pregnancy woes
Fetal mice whose immune system revved up in response to their mom’s Zika infection died or grew poorly. An immune system mainstay in the fight against viruses may harm rather than help a pregnancy. In Zika-infected mice, this betrayal appears to contribute to fetal abnormalities linked to the virus, researchers report online January 5 in Science Immunology. And it could explain pregnancy complications that arise from infections with other pathogens and from autoimmune disorders. In pregnant mice infected with Zika virus, those fetuses with a docking station, or receptor, for immune system proteins called type I interferons either died or grew more poorly compared with fetuses lacking the receptor. “The type I interferon system is one of the key mechanisms for stopping viral infections,” says Helen Lazear, a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who coauthored an editorial accompanying the study. “That same [immune] process is actually causing fetal damage, and that’s unexpected.” Cells infected by viruses begin the fight against the intruder by producing type I interferons. These proteins latch onto their receptor on the surfaces of neighboring cells and kick-start the production of hundreds of other antiviral proteins.

1-3-18 How will gender equality change dating?
This is what the heterosexual dating scene might look like in 100 years. On their first date, Mia and Josh talked as if they'd known each other for years. Josh loved Mia's wit; Mia delighted in Josh's warmth and ready smile. Their relationship blossomed, but doubts crept up on both of them now and again. Josh was the primary caregiver for a child from a previous marriage, and his financial prospects were dim. That didn't really bother Mia, since Josh's personality more than made up for it. Still, he wasn't her usual "type" — the type that was much younger than her, plus athletic and handsome to boot. Josh, meanwhile, had been dreaming of a cashed-up woman with high ambitions, status, and education, ideally with a PhD (or two). Mia's mere MA was a bit of a sticking point. It was the norm, after all, for men to be the ones to "marry up." This scenario probably sounds strange, and it should: I've invented an anecdote about how the heterosexual dating scene might look 100 years in the future. Currently, the desire for a young, attractive partner of the opposite sex tends to be more prevalent in men than in women. Women, meanwhile, are more likely to prioritize money and status over youth and beauty. Why? Many evolutionary psychologists put this trend down to the power of innate biological drives. Their argument is that women have a primeval urge to hang on to wealthy men to provide for their children during the long period of pregnancy and childrearing. Men, meanwhile, are mostly concerned about a woman's fertility, for which beauty and youth serve as helpful cues. In the distant past, this behavior was adaptive, and so evolution selected and encoded it in our genes, forever. Sure, the rituals of modern mating look very different to those of our ancestors. "Nevertheless, the same sexual strategies used by our ancestors operate today with unbridled force," as the psychologist David Buss put it in The Evolution of Desire (2003). "Our evolved psychology of mating, after all, plays out in the modern world because it is the only mating psychology we mortals possess." (There's little historical or intercultural research on LGBT mate preferences; such questions are clearly important, but sadly there isn't yet sufficient data to examine them properly.)

1-3-18 Blood test spots ovarian cancer years before it is usually found
A blood test that detects ovarian cancer up to two years earlier than is presently the case could help reduce the deadliness of the disease. A blood test that detects ovarian cancer in its early stages may reduce the deadliness of the disease. Ovarian cancer is known as the “silent killer” because most patients don’t know they have it until it spreads to other organs and causes symptoms, at which point it is usually too late to treat. Now, Martin Widschwendter at University College London and his colleagues have shown that the disease can be detected years earlier by looking for tell-tale DNA fragments that ovarian tumours leak into the bloodstream. By analysing DNA fragments in 648 blood samples from healthy women and ovarian cancer patients, they were able to pinpoint 3 fragments that marked the presence of the disease. In a follow-up study of 250 women, they showed they could identify those with ovarian cancer with 91 per cent accuracy by measuring these 3 DNA fragments in their blood. Finally, they showed that the new blood test could detect ovarian cancer 1 to 2 years before it is usually diagnosed in 88 per cent of cases. They did this by retrospectively analysing blood samples collected from over 100,000 women in a previous study, 43 of whom were diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the next 2 years.

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11 Women's Sexuality News Articles
from 2018 1st Half

2017 Women's Sexuality News Articles