Fornicators, after the Utah state legislature this week belatedly voted to repeal the law criminalizing fornication, in which an unmarried person “voluntarily engages in sexual intercourse with another.”
3-9-19 Can acupuncture help menopause symptoms?
For some women, the menopause and the years leading up to it, can be a time of troubling emotional and physical symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) eases symptoms like hot flushes and sweats, but it's not suitable for all women. Now, a small study published in BMJ Open suggests acupuncture may be worth considering. The Danish study found that five weeks of acupuncture in women with menopausal symptoms reduced hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and emotional problems. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark cautioned that they couldn't rule out that the results were down to the placebo effect. The placebo effect is where a treatment works because a patient believes it will, rather than as a result of the treatment itself. One of the study authors, Prof Frans Boch Waldorff, from the University of Southern Denmark, said: "We can't explain the underlying mechanism behind acupuncture, nor determine how much of the effect is caused by placebo. "But this was a safe, cost-effective and simple procedure, with very few side-effects reported by the women. "Women seeking acupuncture treatment for menopausal symptoms should be informed of the current evidence, and its limitations, so they can make a decision."
2-28-19 Quick pregnancy safe after stillbirth, study finds
There is no reason to delay having another baby after a stillbirth, research in the Lancet suggests. Although women are often told to wait for a year before getting pregnant again, there is little evidence to back up this advice. This international study of 14,000 births found no increased risk of problems if conception happened earlier. A UK stillbirth expert said the findings were important and reassuring. About one in every 225 births in the UK ends in stillbirth, which is defined as the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy in the UK. However, in this study, a stillbirth is defined as a baby's death after 22 weeks' pregnancy. Stillbirth rates have been gradually reducing in the UK since 2000, and more sharply since 2015, but compared with many other European countries, improvements in the UK have been slow. In many countries there is limited guidance available on planning future pregnancies after stillbirth, the study says. Manchester University's Prof Alex Heazell, spokesman for Tommy's stillbirth charity and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said his message to women was "not to worry". "As long as they get all the information about why their baby died, then the choice of when to have another baby is down to when they are psychologically ready." He said there was no physiological reason to wait more than a year before trying for another baby. "Stress may exacerbate things and so waiting until that goes may be a reason for some to hold off," Prof Heazell said. The researchers looked at the birth records of 14,452 women who had previously had a stillbirth in Western Australia, Finland and Norway over 37 years. A total of 2% of those subsequent pregnancies ended in stillbirth, 18% were preterm births and 9% were babies born small for their age. The study found that those who conceived within 12 months of stillbirth were no more likely to have another stillbirth, or a preterm birth, than women who left two or more years between pregnancies.
2-7-19 In the third trimester, a pregnant woman’s sense of personal space grows
Expanding waists during pregnancy may bring expanding perceptions of personal space, a small study hints. Lots of changes come with pregnancy, but perhaps none is as obvious as the ever-growing midsection. Pregnant women’s bodies accommodate their babies in many ways — rib cages stretch, lungs bunch up around the throat and belly buttons pop out — as the fetus takes over every possible centimeter of available real estate. Along with that physical expansion comes an interesting mental one: Late in pregnancy, women’s sense of personal space grows too, a preliminary study finds. Pregnant women’s peripersonal space — the personal bubble defined as her own — expands during the third trimester, Flavia Cardini of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and colleagues reported December 10 at bioRxiv.org. To define the boundaries of peripersonal space, the researchers asked blindfolded participants to push a button as soon as they felt a light tap on the abdomen. Their responses could be tweaked with another signal: a 3-second-long sound that seemed to start far away and then move closer. People are slower to respond to a tap given while the sound is far away. But like a Karate-Kid chopstick to a fly, people’s reaction times to the tap sped up when the sound seemed closer, earlier studies have found. By pinpointing the distance at which reaction times sped up, Cardini and her colleagues could draw the peripersonal space boundaries of women at three stages of pregnancy: At week 20, when many women are just beginning to grow larger; at week 34, when they’re quite large; and about 2 months after giving birth. For comparison, researchers also tested women who hadn’t been recently pregnant.
1-30-19 People are seeking sperm donors online, but are the risks worth it?
Meeting your sperm donor offers a more personal experience, but the medical and legal complications might outweigh the benefits. PRIVATE sperm donation, taking place outside a licensed fertility clinic, is on the rise. The chief appeal of the DIY approach is that it gives both recipients and donors complete control – but there is a dark side to this trend. Some donors lie about their intentions and the legal paternity of the resulting children can be unclear. Some men are having dozens of children this way, leading to a risk of incest in future. So should we be concerned? Fertility clinics today offer sperm donation for heterosexual couples where the man has too few or poor quality sperm, as well as increasingly for LGBTQ couples and single people. In the past, donors were anonymous and users tended to keep their child’s origins secret if possible, but these days parents are encouraged to be open. In the UK and many other countries, children now have the right to find out their genetic father’s identity when they turn 18, making the choice of donor even more pertinent. Clinics generally provide a few details about sperm donors, such as their appearance and profession. But for many would-be parents, that is nowhere near enough – they want to see his face, talk to him, get a feel for his personality, says Erika Tranfield, who hit this problem when seeking a sperm donor herself. “You get a lot more from meeting someone face-to-face than you do on paper.”
1-25-19 Teabag-like device lets women incubate IVF embryos in their uteruses
A woman’s own uterus could be used as an incubator for her IVF embryos before they are removed and chosen for pregnancy. There are early signs that the method could give higher pregnancy rates than standard IVF. The new approach, developed by Swiss company Anecova, involves placing early embryos inside the womb in a tiny porous chamber to let them get nutrients and signalling chemicals, like hormones, from their mother. After five days, the chamber is pulled out through the vagina by a cord so the best embryo can be selected in the lab for re-implanting. The device looks tube-shaped tea bag. The embryos have to be in a removable device, because with IVF the aim is to create multiple embryos but implant only one or two at a time, freezing the rest. Normally “test-tube babies” are made not in a test-tube but in a dish. Sperm are placed alongside eggs and any resulting embryos grow in the dish for five or six days. Then the best-developed one or two embryos are put into the woman’s uterus. But there are concerns that embryos may be harmed by growing in the lab for their first few days. Studies so far suggest that children born by IVF are healthy, but the unnatural environment of a dish could be part of the reason why so many implanted embryos fail to lead to pregnancy: the success rate is less than 30 per cent per IVF cycle, even for younger women. So Anecova is aiming to make the embryo’s first days mimic more closely what happens in nature. In a recent trial, 68 couples with fertility problems tried Anecova’s method, although used the device for just 18 hours to be cautious. Each woman had an average of 13 eggs retrieved for fertilisation.
1-22-19 2020 Olympics: Japanese chains scrap porn magazines
Two of Japan's biggest convenience store chains have said they will stop selling pornographic magazines ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. 7-Eleven, which runs more than 20,000 shops in Japan, said it wanted "to create a proper shopping environment for all our customers". Its rival, Lawson Inc, with some 14,000 stores, made a similar announcement.Large numbers of tourists are set to visit Japan for both sporting events. Japan's popular 24-hour convenience stores sell everything from hot drinks to frozen meals, or spare work shirts for stressed businesspeople. Sex magazines are usually mixed in with other titles on racks near the front of the shop, sometimes on low shelves. The stores fear this could give a negative impression. "In the past, 7-Eleven was mostly used by male customers to buy beverages and fast food, and our product assortment was designed accordingly," the chain told Reuters. "However, as the role and usage of 7-Eleven stores has changed in recent years, 7-Eleven became an important shopping destination for families, children and elder people as well." The chain said pornography accounted for less than 1% of its sales, adding that other merchandise could be sold in the vacant space. The Rugby World Cup takes place in September, while the Tokyo Olympics will start in July 2020.
1-19-19 Tough times for Amsterdam sex business
Four young men in puffa jackets jostle, slapping their palms against the glass windows, waving at women posing in lacy lingerie. "It's all banter. Even they know about the banter," one tells me, gesturing towards a brothel. "They know about the English. They get enough money out of us." But many of the women who sell their bodies are increasingly struggling to attract paying clients because their shop windows are obscured by selfie-snapping tourists, interested in free photo-ops rather than paid sex. The Dutch capital's first female mayor is trying to find a solution. Femke Halsema is preparing to set out a range of measures to help the sex workers escape the cameras' glare. "It's the biggest free attraction park in the whole of Amsterdam," says Frits Rouvoet. As he guides me though the spider's web of cobbled alleyways, many of the prostitutes throw him a familiar wave. Frits runs a bookshop in the red light district and often invites the women in for coffee, a moment of respite from the abuse and intimidation they are subjected to in the street. "There's nowhere for them to run to," he explains. "If they want to make a living, they have to stand in the window but there are many, many men coming. From England, Scotland, Ireland. Drunk, screaming, trying to make pictures." Young women try to hide their faces, as tourists gawp and brandish their smartphones. For many this is a secret life. Having their photo placed on social media could see them ostracised by their families. Kristina opens her door, shivering as the icy air hits her exposed stomach. She stubs out a cigarette, turns down a video on her phone and leads me down a short corridor to a small, white, concrete room. It's warm and sparse: a mirror, black plastic mattress, antiseptic hygiene gel, alarm and fluffy slippers. "I don't like it (selling my body), but I have to." Kristina has been working in the red light district for a decade. She was persuaded to come by a Hungarian friend who had found her fortune in Amsterdam's seedy sex industry. She charges €100 (£88; $114) for half an hour, €150 for an hour. "I'm saving for my two kids. For their future. They're with my mother in Hungary. My kids don't know what I do." Kristina has no desire to move. She attracts good business here, despite the irritating sightseers. She speaks fluent Dutch and tells me she doesn't have a pimp - she sells her body because "it's easy money". And she feels safe here.
1-18-19 Contraceptive mandate stays in place
Federal courts in California and Pennsylvania this week blocked new rules that would have limited the free access to birth control required by Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration sought to expand the religious-objection exception to the ACA’s directive that insurers cover birth control with no copays. Under the new rules, any company could decline to provide contraception coverage as a matter of conscience or religious belief. New Jersey and Pennsylvania had sued, arguing that the planned changes would place too great a financial burden on the states. Philadelphia Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued a nationwide injunction that keeps them from taking effect. She said the new rules are “inconsistent” with the law.
1-14-19 Judge blocks Trump's new birth control rules in 13 states and Washington
A California judge has blocked new Trump administration regulations on birth control from applying in 13 states and Washington DC. The rules allow employers and insurers to decline to provide birth control if doing so violates their "religious beliefs" or "moral convictions". The rules were to come into effect nationwide from Monday. But the judge granted an injunction stopping it applying in jurisdictions which are challenging the policy. Plaintiffs in 13 states and the nation's capital argued that the new regulation should not come into force while they moved forward with lawsuits against it. While Judge Haywood Gilliam did not make a final decision, he said the rules could mean a "substantial number" of women would lose birth control coverage, a "massive policy shift" which could breach federal law. California attorney general Xavier Becerra said in a statement: "It's 2019, yet the Trump administration is still trying to roll back women's rights. "The law couldn't be clearer - employers have no business interfering in women's healthcare decisions." But the US Department of Justice said in court documents that the new rules defended "a narrow class of sincere religious and moral objectors" and stopped them from conducting practices "that conflict with their beliefs".
1-11-19 Croatian women challenge brutal pregnancy 'care'
Croatia has been experiencing its own #MeToo moment, as women protest at being put through avoidable suffering and abuse during pregnancy and childbirth. Campaigners call it "obstetric violence" and complain it has been going on for decades. ut it was not until one opposition MP spoke out in parliament about her own ordeal that a national debate started on social media - under the hashtag #BreakTheSilence. Ivana Nincevic-Lesandric described the "medieval treatment" she had experienced at the hands of medical staff after a miscarriage. "They tied up my arms and legs and started the procedure of curettage without anaesthesia. That means scraping the cervix, the internal organ, without anaesthesia. Those were the most painful 30 minutes of my life," she told shocked MPs. Health Minister Milan Kujundzic suggested the story was a figment of her imagination: "This is not how it's done in Croatian hospitals. You can give me your medical records if you want and I'll take a look." But many Croatians leapt to her defence, especially women, calling her statement bold and unprecedented. Croatia is a predominantly Catholic country, and many are reticent about talking openly about female reproductive health in what is still a largely patriarchal society. Pressure group Parents in Action (Roda), which for years has tried to highlight the issue, followed up the MP's testimony with a #BreakTheSilence campaign. In one weekend alone they received testimonies from 400 women, says spokeswoman Daniela Drandic. They duly handed them to the health ministry. "We have reports of biopsies being done without anaesthetic, of medically-assisted fertility procedures without anaesthetic, sewing to repair tears after vaginal childbirth, episiotomy being done without anaesthetic," she says. Among the accounts were examples of abuse and women being talked to in a demeaning way during childbirth. "Things like: 'If you could have sex you should now be able to take it,' or 'it was nice before and now the pain comes later' - telling women that they are being sewn to make their husbands happy." One of the 400 women is Jasmina Furlanovic, who still gets tearful when she recalls the humiliation and pain she endured when she had to have her placenta removed a few years ago. "They started the procedure without any explanation. The nurse was restraining me," she said.
1-9-19 This protein may help explain why some women with endometriosis are infertile
Having a reduced amount of HDAC3 renders mice sterile. A missing protein may help explain why some women with endometriosis are infertile. In samples of lining from the uterus, infertile women with the disorder had lower amounts of a protein called histone dacetylase 3, or HDAC3, than fertile women without endometriosis, a study finds. When mice were engineered to have a decreased amount of HDAC3 in the uterus, the animals became sterile, researchers report online January 9 in Science Translational Medicine. The new work brings scientists a step closer to understanding what’s driving infertility in women with endometriosis, says Linda Giudice, a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco who was not involved in the study. Such research could potentially offer ways to improve these women’s ability to become pregnant, she says. Endometriosis — a disorder in which tissue from the lining of the uterus invades other parts of the body, such as the ovaries, lining of the pelvis and bowels — can cause severe pain and infertility. Researchers don’t know why endometriosis strikes. Women whose menstruation began before age 10, were of low birth weight or were exposed to a synthetic estrogen called diethylstilbestrol, or DES, in the womb are at an increased risk for the disorder. Having family members with the disease also puts one at risk. The disorder is estimated to affect up to 10 percent of women of childbearing age. Among women with infertility, the prevalence of the condition may be as high as 50 percent. Reproductive biologist Jae-Wook Jeong at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids and colleagues wanted to study why fertility may be reduced during endometriosis.
1-9-19 CES 2019: 'Award-winning' sex toy for women withdrawn from show
A sex toy designed for women has been banned from the technology show CES. Lorna DiCarlo said it had been invited to display its robotic Ose vibrator at CES, after winning an innovation award. CES organiser the Consumer Technology Association, which granted the award, said it had included the device by mistake and could withdraw any immoral or obscene entry at any time. Lorna DiCarlo chief executive Lora Haddock said the CES and CTA had a history of gender bias. In a statement to The Next Web, the CTA said: "The product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted. "We have apologised to the company for our mistake." But, in a statement on the Lora DiCarlo website, Ms Haddock cites several examples of other female-oriented products included in the award category the vibrator was in. "Two robotic vacuum cleaners, one robotic skateboard, four children's toys, one shopping companion robot - looks like all of women's interests are covered, right?" she said. "Ose clearly fits the robotics and drone category - and CTA's own expert judges agree." The product had designed in partnership with a robotics laboratory at Oregon State University and had eight patents pending for "robotics, biomimicry, and engineering feats", Ms Haddock said. "We firmly believe that women, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and LGBTQI folks should be vocally claiming our space in pleasure and tech," she said. Ms Haddock said there was a double-standard at CES when it came to sexual health products targeted at men versus women.