#The Power of Flowers May Ease #Fibromyalgia Symptoms

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Participating in a flower-arranging course may improve both pain and psychiatric symptoms for patients with fibromyalgia, new research suggests.

The findings highlight the potential benefits of floristry as occupational therapy to improve the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia.

Coinvestigator Howard Amital, MD, head of the Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, and professor of medicine at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, noted that flower arranging is particularly effective because it’s a “multistimulation therapy.”

It affects different senses that “all coincide and produce a very positive effect on the patient,” Amital told Medscape Medical News.

He added that it’s important for clinicians to hear about nonpharmacologic therapies for fibromyalgia, which is why he sought to have the study published in a medical journal.

The findings were published online in the July issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal.

Creating Bouquets

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, widespread pain and fatigue and is often accompanied by somatic syndromes such as irritable bowel and migraines. Patients may also present with mood and anxiety disorders.

Worldwide, fibromyalgia affects 2% to 4% of the population. It mostly affects women.

Little is known about the pathogenesis of the syndrome, so treatments primarily focus on alleviating pain and improving quality of life. Experts recommend a multimodel approach that includes aerobic exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy in addition to pharmacologic regimes.

The current observational study included 61 adult female patients (mean age, 51 years) who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.


The women completed a 12-week flower design course that included weekly sessions under the supervision of a trained florist. The participants learned to create flower bouquets that they could take home.

Two consecutive groups participated in the study. The first group participated from week 1 to week 12, and the second, from week 12 to week 24.

At baseline, 12 weeks, and at study completion (week 24), the researchers measured a number of fibromyalgia disease-activity indices. Assessment tools included the 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36), the Brief Pain Impact Questionnaire (BPI), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), tender-point count, and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).

The study also assessed depression, using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), and anxiety, using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA).

The two groups were similar with regard to mental and physical health at baseline, but the VAS score was significantly higher in group 1, the first group to complete the course, than in group 2 (mean, 8 vs 7, respectively; P = .01).

There were no between-group differences in use of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or pregabalin(Lyrica, PF Prism CV). However, the participants in group 1 reported significantly higher use of cannabis (46.7% vs 13.3%; P = .010).

“Quite Amazing”

Results showed statistically significant improvements in the SF-36 physical and mental health components, VAS scores, FIQ scores, and HAMA and HDRS scores for the entire study population (all, P < .05), which Amital said is “quite amazing.”

However, tender-point counts remained unaffected, which was not surprising, Amital noted. Tender points “are not discriminatory enough” and reflect a limited aspect of the syndrome, which also includes unrefreshing sleep, fatigue, and cognitive impairment, he added.

When evaluating the groups separately, the researchers found a significant improvement in all study measures except tender-point count during the course. There was a slight decline in improvement in group 1 after their course ended (weeks 12 to 24), but the measurements did not return to starting levels.

“These study participants still kept the positive effect,” said Amital.

However, he added that, as with any intervention, especially for patients with fibromyalgia, “you need to do maintenance” to preserve the optimal effect.

Participating in a floristry course combines art therapy with exposure to a natural element, flowers, both of which have been shown to be beneficial.

For example, studies have shown that self-expression through creative art therapy alleviates psychiatric symptoms for patients presenting with trauma and depression. Engaging with natural elements — for example, flowers and houseplants indoors and parks and forests outdoors — is believed to promote relaxation, reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and improve stress levels and mood.

Amital is now planning to start a flower arranging course for patients with fibromyalgia and other rheumatic conditions at the Sheba Medical Center, which is the largest hospital in Israel.

“I thought it would be a good platform to show that even though it’s a bit different from the conventional way of education and thinking that we physicians are usually exposed to, it does have a positive effect and has no side effects,” he said.

Shows Promise

Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, Clayton Jackson, MD, former president of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management and clinical assistant professor of family medicine and psychiatry, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, noted that the study had some limitations, including its small size and its observational, nonblinded design.

However, he said the intervention shows promise, and the results “add to the evidence base that there are multiple interventions that can be helpful for patients with chronic pain.”

Jackson, who was not involved with the research, stressed that fibromyalgia is “particularly problematic” with respect to symptom relief.

“This study is interesting because it’s a non-opioid and nonpharmacological approach to a difficult pain management problem in patients with fibromyalgia,” Jackson said. “Anything nonpharmacological that can be shown to work is incredibly interesting because it might have implications for other pain syndromes.”

Unlike other types of occupational therapy, floral design “might be multisensory in its effect” in fibromyalgia, Jackson added.

“There’s social contact, there’s visual stimulation from the flowers, there’s tactile stimulation of arranging in certain ways, and then there’s potentially an element of aromatherapy, because flowers are aromatic,” he said.

One theory of pain is that “pleasant sensory experiences may help to block unpleasant sensory experiences,” said Jackson.

Amital and Jackson have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Isr Med Assoc J. 2019;21:449-453. Full article


#Noix, #noisettes et #amandes dopent le désir et le #plaisir sexuel

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Stéphanie Lavaud

Tarragone, Espagne — Selon une étude espagnole, consommer quotidiennement 60 grammes d’un mélange de noix, noisettes et amandes doperait le plaisir sexuel des hommes [1]. Très précisément, cette poignée journalière de fruits secs boosterait la qualité des orgasmes et de la fonction sexuelle. Cette observation qui pourra sembler farfelue à certains vient pourtant corroborer des résultats similaires d’une précédente étude où il était, cette fois, question de pistaches [2], et s’appuie sur un rationnel : la richesse de ces nutriments très présents dans le régime méditerranéen en arginine, un précurseur de monoxyde d’azote, vasodilatateur connu pour son action sur les corps caverneux. L’étude réalisée en collaboration avec l’unité de nutrition humaine de l’Université Rovira i Virgili (URV) et le réseau CIBERobn a été publiée dans Nutrients [1].

Noisettes versus noisettes

Noix et noisettes vont-elles devenir le nouvel aphrodisiaque à la mode ? On pourrait le prédire au vu des résultats d’une petite étude contrôlée et randomisée menée par une équipe espagnole dans le cadre d’un projet intitulé FERTINUTS. Dans cette étude, 83 jeunes hommes entre 18 et 35 ans, consommant un régime alimentaire de type occidental (pauvre en fruits et en végétaux et riche en graisses animales, et ne contenant pas d’oléagineux) ont été divisés en deux groupes, l’un continuait son alimentaire habituelle pendant 14 semaines (40), pendant que l’autre (43) complétait ce régime avec une prise quotidienne de 60 grammes de noix (30g), noisettes (15g) et amandes (15g) (non salées). A l’entrée dans l’étude, les participants ont renseigné leurs antécédents médicaux, l’utilisation de médicaments et rempli un questionnaire de 143 items sur leurs habitudes alimentaires. Au début et à la fin de l’étude, des prélèvements sanguins à jeun ont eu lieu pour doser le glucose, les lipides, l’insuline, la protéine C-réactive et l’acide folique. Le sperme des participants a été étudié en termes de volume, pH, comptage et concentration, motilité, viabilité, et morphologie. De même, chacun a complété un questionnaire validé, le IIEF-15, comprenant 15 items pour explorer les 5 composantes de la fonction sexuelle masculine. Et deux marqueurs de la fonction endothéliale, le NO et la E-sélectine ont été mesurés par Elisa.

Plus de noix = plus de plaisir

Si aucune différence entre les deux groupes n’existait à l’entrée dans l’étude quant à la fonction érectile, une augmentation significative de la fonction orgasmique (p-value = 0,037) et de désir sexuel (p-value = 0,040) a été observée dans le groupe supplémenté en oléagineux au cours de l’intervention. En revanche, aucune différence n’a été mise en évidence sur les autres composantes du IIEF-15 en termes de fonction érectile (p-value = 0,192), satisfaction sexuelle (p-value = 0,473), et satisfaction globale (p-value = 0,333). De la même façon, aucune corrélation n’a pu être établie entre les changements concernant la fonction sexuelle et les différents paramètres biochimiques, ou encore les mesures périphériques de NO et de E-sélectine.

Précisons que les principales caractéristiques (âge, poids, taille, IMC, circonférence de la taille, pression artérielle, glycémie, cholestérol total, HDL, LDL, VLDL, triglycérides, insuline, protéine C-réactive, acide folique) et les principaux paramètres spermatiques étaient identiques à l’inclusion dans les deux groupes.

Quant à l’adhésion au régime en oléagineux, elle a été objectivée par des mesures significativement différentes dans le groupe oléagineux par rapport au groupe contrôle pour le magnésium (p-value < 0,001), la vitamine E (p-value = 0,014), les acides gras omega-3 (p-value < 0,001), l’acide α-linolénique (ALA) (p-value < 0,001), et les acides gras omega-6.

Mangez des noix

Les auteurs en concluent que « l’addition de 60 g/jour d’oléagineux non transformés à un régime alimentaire occidental de 14 semaines améliore la fonction orgasmique et le désir sexuel chez un groupe d’hommes en âge de se reproduire et en bonne santé comparé à un groupe contrôle apparié ». Mais ils reconnaissent qu’aucun des mécanismes potentiels explorés (le NO ou encore la e-sélectine comme marqueurs de la fonction endothéliale) ne semble pouvoir expliquer les effets bénéfiques observés sur les deux paramètres sexuels. Une absence d’impact qu’ils expliquent par un manque de puissance de l’étude ou par le fait que les participants étaient en bonne santé, sans diabète de type 2.

Ils trouvent cependant intéressants que leur observation rejoigne les résultats de la seule étude clinique ayant rapporté une amélioration de toutes les composantes du IIEF-15 après un régime de 100 g de pistaches quotidiennes pendant 3 semaines chez des patients qui présentaient une dysfonction érectile [2]. « De fait, notre étude étend ces résultats à une population saine sans dysfonction érectile et supplémentées en noix, noisettes et amandes » ajoutent-ils.

Les chercheurs rappellent dans la discussion que la (dys)fonction érectile (DE) et l’athérogénèse partagent des voies communes. Ils estiment donc absolument nécessaire de réaliser des essais de ce type chez des patients à haut risque cardiovasculaire et présentant une DE pour établir très précisément l’effet de la consommation de noix sur ces 2 critères.

Si les résultats demandent à être confirmés quant à ce bénéfice précis, nul doute que les oléagineux, de par leurs caractéristiques, participent à une alimentation de meilleure qualité à titre individuel et collectif. Dans un rapport du 17 janvier 2019, coréalisé par la revue médicale The Lancet et l’ONG Fondation EAT, des spécialistes préconisaient en effet de diviser par deux la consommation mondiale de viande rouge et de sucre tout en doublant celle des fruits, des légumes et des noix. Seule manière, selon eux, de nourrir sainement 10 milliards d’humains d’ici 2050 tout en préservant la planète.

L’étude a été en partie financée par le Conseil international des noix et des fruits secs (INC), via une bourse de recherche, et par le Human Nutrition Unit funds. INC est une entité catalane à but non lucratif. Les noix ont été fournies par Crisolar, en Espagne.


#Las #redes sociales deprimen por su hipocresía

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Reflejan un mundo idílico con el que los usuarios más vulnerables comparan su normalidad vital

La autoestima sufre por los contrastes entre la vida real y la vida digital.

Al igual que ese mundo esbelto, sonriente, de playas limpias y ofertas tentadoras que presenta la publicidad, las redes sociales también escamotean alegremente los lados oscuros de la vida. Aunque acogen todo el espectro vital, abundan las vacaciones fantásticas, las fiestas maravillosas, los niños adorables y las comidas sabrosísimas. La mayoría de usuarios muestran sus éxitos y sus diversiones, y maquillan sus lunares, derrotas y defectos. Lejos de animarles, estos reflejos positivos pueden generar síntomas depresivos en adolescentes que comparan sus vidas con lo que ven compulsivamente en Instagram, en Facebook o en la televisión.

Es una de las conclusiones de un estudio realizado por un equipo del CHU Sainte-Justine y de la Universidad de Montréal, dirigido por la psiquiatra Patricia Conrod y que se acaba de publicar en JAMA Pediatrics. Analizaron a casi 4.000 adolescentes canadienses de 12 a 16 años que formaban parte del ensayo Co-Venture. Tenían que informar del tiempo que pasaban frente a las diversas pantallas -redes sociales, televisión, videojuegos y ordenador- y responder a cuestionarios sobre posibles síntomas depresivos. Durante cuatro años se evaluaron estos datos con otras observaciones conductuales. “Nuestra investigación revela que el aumento del tiempo empleado en algunas formas de medios digitales predice los síntomas depresivos”, afirma Conrod. “La identificación temprana de la vulnerabilidad a la depresión da a los médicos y padres margen para intervenir, regular los abusos digitales y establecer medidas correctoras“. La relación era más evidente con las redes sociales y la televisión, y menos acusada con los videojuegos y los ordenadores. Según los autores, al reducir su participación en relaciones directas o actividades físicas, las comparaciones sociales indirectas a través de las redes se asocian con menor autoestima y más síntomas depresivos, originando una espiral de refuerzo en personas más vulnerables y que más tiempo dedican a estas redes.

Los resultados son consistentes con hipótesis previas sobre cómo se desarrolla la depresión. “Las redes sociales y la televisión exponen con frecuencia a los adolescentes a imágenes de otros que operan en situaciones más prósperas, tienen cuerpos más perfectos y un estilo de vida más emocionante o rico. A partir de la teoría de las espirales reforzadas, las personas buscan y seleccionan información congruente con su estado de ánimo. Y las redes crean y mantienen bucles de retroalimentación al sugerir contenidos similares a los usuarios en función de sus comportamientos de búsqueda”.

La falacia digital

Este análisis coincide con otro publicado en julio en Behavior & Information Technology por el equipo de Phillip Ozimek, de la Universidad Ruhr de Bochum, en Alemania: los que visitan las redes con frecuencia pueden ver afectada su autoestima y desarrollar síntomas depresivos al pensar que todos son mejores que ellos. Mediante un estudio experimental y dos cuestionarios, dos grupos de voluntarios escribieron sus impresiones sobre las primeras cinco personas que vieron en su muro de Facebook o en el sitio web del personal de la Facultad de Teología de la universidad. Un tercer grupo quedó al margen. Luego, los tres grupos –alrededor de 800 personas- completaron un cuestionario con información sobre su autoestima. “Enfrentarse a la información social en internet, selectiva y favorable, ya sea en Facebook o en los sitios web de los empleados, conduce a una menor autoestima“, informa Ozimek. Y como la baja autoestima está estrechamente relacionada con los síntomas depresivos, incluso este efecto a corto plazo puede ser una fuente potencial de peligro.

Es decir, existe una correlación positiva entre el uso pasivo de Facebook, en particular, y los síntomas depresivos cuando se comparan las habilidades, las vacaciones, los negocios o las compras, “mientras que todo lo que veo fuera de la ventana de mi oficina es gris y está nublado”, resume Ozimek. “Y si experimento esto día tras día, una y otra vez, se promueven las tendencias depresivas a largo plazo”. De todos modos, matiza que “no es el uso de las redes sociales lo que lleva o está relacionado con la depresión, sino que ciertas condiciones previas y un tipo particular de uso aumentan el riesgo de tendencias depresivas. Es importante por eso aclarar que la impresión de que todos los demás están mejor que uno mismo es una falacia absoluta. De hecho, muy pocas personas publican en las redes sociales experiencias negativas. Sin embargo, el hecho de que estemos inundados de estas experiencias positivas en internet nos crea una impresión distorsionada”.

#Moins de #symptômes dépressifs chez les consommateurs de #chocolat noir

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Londres, Royaume-Uni / Calgary, Canada— On dit que le chocolat est bénéfique pour l’humeur, on lui attribue même des vertus anti-dépressives. Pour autant, les études divergent et certaines ne retrouvent pas cet effet. Pour explorer l’impact réel du chocolat, une équipe de chercheurs anglais et canadiens a conduit une grande étude longitudinale, en comparant les différents types de chocolat consommés, noir et non-noir, en essayant de s’affranchir au maximum des facteurs confondants.

Publiée dans Depression and Anxiety, cette étude est la première à se pencher sur l’association entre dépression et chocolat en fonction du type de chocolat consommé [1]. Elle confirme bien l’effet anti-dépresseur du chocolat et montre qu’il est réservé au seul chocolat noir.

Consommation quotidienne du chocolat

Les chercheurs de l’University College London (UCL) ont travaillé en collaboration avec des scientifiques de l’Université de Calgary et les services de santé de l’Alberta (Alberta Health Services Canada) et évalué les données émanant de 13 626 adultes ayant participé à la US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) entre 2007/8 et 2013/4.

La consommation journalière en chocolat au cours des 24 dernières heures précédentes a été demandé aux participants lors d’un appel téléphonique et rapportée au questionnaire de santé des patients (Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ‐9) qui évalue les symptômes dépressifs. Des scores ≥10 indiquaient la présence de symptômes cliniquement pertinents.  Les investigateurs ont utilisé une régression logistique à variables multiples pour évaluer l’association entre la consommation de chocolat (aucune, chocolat noir, chocolat autre que noir), quantité de chocolat consommée (en grammes par jour) et symptômes de dépression cliniquement significatifs.

Les adultes souffrant de diabète ont été exclus et de nombreux facteurs incluant la taille, le poids, le statut marital, l’origine ethnique, le niveau socio-culturel, l’activité physique, le tabagisme, la consommation d’alcool, et les pathologies chroniques ont été pris en compte pour se prémunir contre d’éventuels facteurs confondants et focaliser sur les symptômes dépressifs.

70% de risque en moins avec le chocolat noir

Au final, il s’est avéré que 11,1% de la population étudiée consommait du chocolat (de n’importe quel type), et 1,4% disaient manger spécifiquement du chocolat noir.

Après ajustement de tous les facteurs cités ci-dessus, il a été établi que les individus qui rapportaient manger du chocolat noir avaient 70% de risque en moins de rapporter des symptômes dépressifs cliniques notables par rapport à ceux qui ne consommaient pas du tout de chocolat. Par ailleurs, l’analyse en termes de quantité consommée a montré que les 25% de consommateurs de chocolat qui en mangeaient le plus (104–454 g/jour et de toute sorte, pas juste le noir) étaient aussi moins enclins à rapporter des symptômes dépressifs comparés à ceux qui ne mangeaient (OR = 0,43, 95%CI 0.19–0.96) pas du tout de chocolat, et ce, après ajustement sur la consommation de chocolat noir.

En revanche, aucun lien n’a pu être établi entre la consommation de chocolat autre que noir et symptômes dépressifs cliniquement pertinents.

Mais une faible quantité de chocolat consommée

Les auteurs reconnaissent des limites à leur étude, comme le fait que le groupe de consommateurs de chocolat noir était petit, avec une consommation relativement faible (moins de 1,1% de la population totale avec une moyenne de 11,7 grammes chocolat noir consommé quotidiennement) et différait du reste de la population sur un certain nombre de critères. « Néanmoins, le fait que nous ayons observé une association avec le chocolat noir malgré les deux remarques ci-dessus atteste de la force du résultat » remarquent les auteurs tout en reconnaissant qu’« il n’est pas impossible que, malgré de nombreux ajustements sur nombre de facteurs confondants, il puisse en rester certains qui n’aient pas été pris en compte, ou qui ne soient pas mesurables ».

Substances psychoactives et notion de plaisir

Le chocolat a très largement été rapporté comme ayant des propriétés bénéfiques sur l’humeur et plusieurs mécanismes ont été avancés. On sait par exemple que « le chocolat contient un certain nombre de substances psychoactives qui produisent un effet d’euphorie similaire à celui des cannabinoïdes, trouvés dans le cannabis. Il contient aussi de la phényléthylamine, un neuromodulateur dont on pense qu’il est important pour réguler l’humeur » écrivent les auteurs.

Des preuves expérimentales suggèrent aussi que les améliorations de l’humeur ne surviennent que si le chocolat est appétissant et agréable à consommer, « ce qui suggère que l’expérience qui consiste à apprécier la dégustation est un facteur important, qu’il ne s’agit pas seulement d’une question d’ingrédients » ajoutent-ils. La consommation de chocolat, en tant qu’expérience plaisante, peut interagir avec un certain nombre de neurotransmetteurs impliqués dans le système de récompense et la régulation de l’humeur (comme la dopamine, la sérotonine, et les endorphines).

Si ce qui est indiqué ci-dessus est vrai pour tout type de chocolat, « le chocolat noir possède une concentration en flavonoïdes plus élevés, des composants antioxydants qui améliorent les profils inflammatoires, dont on sait qu’ils jouent un rôle dans la survenue de la dépression » précisent les chercheurs.

Clarifier le sens du lien causal

Pour le premier auteur, le Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, Londres) : « Cette étude apporte des preuves que la consommation de chocolat, particulièrement le chocolat noir, peut être associée à un risque moindre de symptômes dépressifs cliniquement pertinents » [2].

Bien évidemment, d’autres recherches, notamment longitudinales, voire randomisées, sont nécessaires « pour clarifier le sens du lien causal – on pourrait aussi penser que la dépression entraine une perte d’intérêt pour le chocolat, ou qu’il existe d’autres facteurs qui conduisent, à la fois, les gens à manger moins de chocolat et à être déprimé ».

« Si une relation causale montrant un effet protecteur de la consommation de chocolat sur la dépression était établie, resterait à comprendre le mécanisme biologique pour déterminer le type et la quantité de chocolat à consommer pour un effet préventif maximal de la dépression ».

#Erectile dysfunction tied to poor productivity and quality of life

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A new study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice highlights the substantial burden of erectile dysfunction (ED) on work productivity and health-related quality of life (HR-QoL).

In this cross-sectional observational study, researchers analysed data on men aged 40 to 70 years (n=52,697) from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Work productivity, activity impairment and HR-QoL were assessed.

The overall ED prevalence was 49.7 per cent. Men with ED versus those without ED reported higher absenteeism (7.1% vs 3.2%), presenteeism (22.5% vs 10.1%), overall impairment in work productivity (24.8% vs 11.2%) and activity impairment (28.6% vs 14.5%). Additionally, men with ED versus their non-ED counterparts scored substantially lower on the Mental Component Summary (46.7 vs 51.2), Physical Component Summary (48.3 vs 53.0) and health state utilities (SF-6D: 0.693 vs 0.778). The severity of ED was associated with worse patient‐reported outcomes.

The authors said the results of the study “further suggest the need for better management and appropriate treatment, especially among those with ED in the workforce, as the burden may prove to be a significant, under-recognised concern for patients and employers alike”.

#Obese People Get More Satisfaction From Food

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In new research, people who were obese showed significantly heightened perceptions of initial food satisfaction, whereas the gradual reduction of satisfaction that is typical with increased consumption — in this case, of chocolate — occurred at a slower rate compared with persons of normal weight and persons who were overweight.

“Our finding that obese participants, on average, tended to report a greater level of taste perception for a given quantity of chocolate than nonobese participants may, in part, explain why obese people consume more than nonobese people,” said lead investigator Linnea A. Polgreen, PhD, in a podcast of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which published the study July 30.

“If our findings are generalizable to other food, they may help inform future interventions,” said Polgreen, who is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

The randomized study included 290 adults. Participants were provided with samples of chocolate one piece at a time and were asked to rate their perceptions of the chocolate on a scale of 1 to 10.

There were no limitations on the amount the participants could consume. To facilitate the evaluation of how perceptions changed with increased consumption, the participants were asked to eat as much as they could without feeling uncomfortable. About half (n = 150) were provided with nutritional information on the chocolates.

For 161 participants, body mass index (BMI) was normal (<25); 78 participants were considered overweight (BMI, 25 to <30); and 51 were obese (BMI, ≥30 or higher). Eighty percent of the participants were women. Ages ranged from 18 years to 75 years.

Although the taste perceptions were nearly identical for the normal and the overweight participants, those who were obese reported significantly higher perceptions of initial taste (= .02).

Overall, the obese participants rated the samples approximately 0.5 points higher on the 10-point scale than the nonobese participants rated them.

The decline in perceived taste that occurs relative to the quantity consumed, an effect known as sensory-specific satiety, was about 2.0 points per sample overall but was significantly more gradual in obese compared with nonobese participants (P < .01).

The slower diminishment in taste perception could result in increased food consumption, first author Aaron C. Miller, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, the University of Iowa, said in a statement.

“Our findings indicate that obese participants needed to consume a greater quantity of chocolate than nonobese participants to experience a similar decline in taste perceptions,” Miller said.

“Specifically, we found a woman with obesity would need to eat about 12.5 pieces of chocolate to fall to the same level of taste perception as a nonobese woman who ate only 10 pieces, which in our sample corresponds to a difference of about 67.5 calories. This may, in part, explain why obese people consume more than nonobese people,” he said.

In the study, the amount of chocolates consumed ranged from as few as two to 51 pieces, although there were no significant differences between the groups in the amount of chocolates consumed. The mean consumption was 12.1 pieces (= .36).

There were also no significant differences in the mean amount of time spent sampling the chocolates, which was 26.9 minutes in total and around 2.7 minutes per piece of chocolate (P = .28).

Women experienced more rapid declines in taste perceptions than men, with decreases of 0.09 additional points per sample for women compared with men.

There were no significant differences in taste perceptions among those who received nutritional information about the chocolates, a finding that is generally consistent with evidence suggesting that such information may not be as influential as expected, the authors note.

“We find that nutritional information, at least when provided for pieces of chocolate, had no effect on marginal taste perception,” they write. “Thus, providing nutritional information alone may have limited effectiveness in reducing rates of obesity.”

Taste perceptions were influenced, however, by hunger. Participants reported an increase of 0.13 in rating for each additional point on the hunger scale.

Whereas the vast majority of previous studies of sensory-specific satiety have focused on perceptions measured at the beginning and end of a meal, the new study is unique in observing instantaneous taste perceptions as well as how those perceptions change over time as more food is consumed, the authors say.

Study limitations include the fact that the participants were predominantly women and were volunteers recruited for the specific purpose of consuming chocolate. In addition, the results may not be generalizable to other types of food, such as those that are salty or bitter.

The findings nevertheless underscore potential benefits in focusing weight loss programs on the heightened food satisfaction that obese people may experience, the authors note.

“Indeed, strategies aimed at reducing obesity may need to account for differences in the perceived taste; strategies that work for normal weight or overweight individuals may not work as effectively for obese individuals if they derive more satisfaction from eating additional amounts of food,” they say.

“For example, dieticians might advise obese patients to select or weigh out portions prior to beginning consumption to counteract the effect of difference in marginal perceptions.

“If marginal perceptions decline more gradually for obese individuals, stopping decisions may be delayed during a continuous period of consumption,” they write.

In future studies, a key consideration should be the question of which comes first, obesity or heightened taste sensitivity, the authors suggest.

“Future work should also attempt to determine if differences in taste perceptions are a cause of obesity, or if obesity leads to higher levels of marginal taste from food,” they say.

The study received no funding. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

J Acad Nutr Diet. Published online July 30, 2019. Abstract


#How Does #Sex Affect Your Emotions? 12 Things to Know About Attraction and Arousal

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First things first: Sex means different things to different people

Sex can be the ultimate expression of romantic love and intimacy. Or an emotional roller coaster. Or a tension reliever. Or it’s all about procreation. Or it’s simply a good time. It can be all of these things and more.

Sex means different things to different people. And whatever it means to you isn’t necessarily constant, either.

It can mean different things at different points in your life, or even from one day to the next.

And you know what? It’s all perfectly normal.

Despite the stereotypes, your gender has nothing to do with your emotional response to sex

Women are at the mercy of their roller-coaster emotions; men are firmly in control of the few emotions they have. At least that’s what popular wisdom would’ve once had us believe.

These ideas have deep roots, but humans are much more complex than that.

There have been some studiesTrusted Source to suggest that women are more expressive about emotions, at least in the United States and some Western European countries.

They also suggest men have the same or greater physiological response to emotional stressors.

This difference could be due to the influence of the culture in which we live. Maybe we’ve simply been acting on what we were told is acceptable.

These days, people are less inclined to conform to simple gender categorizations.

Whatever your gender and whether you openly express it or not, your emotional response to sex is uniquely yours.

Some people require emotional attraction to experience physical attraction

Do you need to feel some level of emotional attraction before any thought of sex enters your mind? If that sounds like you, you’re surely not alone.

Maybe you need to connect on a spiritual level. Maybe it’s their mind or the fact that you share some basic philosophies of life.

Perhaps you felt that first twinge of excitement when they made you laugh ’til you cried.

Or it’s a case of je ne sais quoi — that certain something you just can’t put into words, but you know it when it happens.

You’re seeking intimacy. Once your feelings are in the zone and you’ve made an emotional connection, you may begin to feel physical arousal.

Outside of that zone, you’re just not into sex. You’re into making love.

Others find that acting on physical attraction can lead to emotional attraction

Some people are physically drawn together like magnets.

There’s a chemical reaction, a hunger, a purely physical craving for getting physical with another person. It’s lust.

When the chemistry between people is just right, getting physical can grow into so much more.

2012 retrospective review found two areas of the brain that track the progression from sexual desire to love. One is the insula. It’s located in the cerebral cortex.

The other is the striatum. It’s located inside the forebrain. Interestingly, the striatum is also associated with drug addiction.

Love and sexual desire activate different parts of the striatum.

Sex and food are among the pleasurable things that activate the lust part. The process of conditioning — of reward and value — activates the love part.

As sexual desire is rewarded, it becomes a bit of a habit, which can lead you right down the path to love.

As feelings of lust start to turn into love, another area of the striatum takes over.

Others may find that emotional and physical attraction operate in two entirely different vacuums

People are intricate creatures with many layers.

For some of us, there are clear dividing lines between emotional attraction and physical attraction. They don’t necessarily come together.

You might be emotionally attracted to someone without having the slightest sexual urge. Or you have a mind-blowing physical attraction for someone who doesn’t really do it for you emotionally.

Even in long-term relationships, people can alternate between making love and having sex — or forgoing sexual activity entirely — and that’s OK.

Regardless of your individual outlook, sex and emotion affect the same pathways in the brain

2018 study suggests integral links between sexual, emotional, and reproductive brain processes having to do with the endocrine system and, in particular, a hormone called kisspeptin.

According to a Tufts University neuroscience blog, sexual arousal doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but in a context.

It involves cognitive, physiological, and neurological processes, all of which include and are influenced by emotion. Makes sense.

What’s more, most people experience similar emotions during sexual activity and release

The rush of hormones involved in sex means that certain feelings are fairly common during or immediately following sex.

Nobody feels every emotion every time, of course.

Among the more positive ones are:

  • euphoria
  • total release
  • relaxation and calm
  • satisfaction

Depending on the circumstances, you might have some less than positive emotions, such as:

  • vulnerability
  • embarrassment
  • guilt
  • feeling physically or emotionally overwhelmed

If you have postcoital dysphoria, you might even feel sad, anxious, or tearful after sex.

It’s also worth noting that sexual arousal can turn off parts of the prefrontal cortex

We don’t always recognize it when it’s happening to us, but it’s obvious in hindsight. It’s not the stuff of science fiction or fantasy. It’s very real.

Sexual arousal can deactivate parts of the brain that help you think critically and behave like a rational human being.

Yes, you actually take leave of your senses.

Good judgement and reasoning are lost to sexual desire, swept away in the excitement of it all.

When you snap back to reality, you might wonder, with a tinge of regret or embarrassment, what you were thinking.

Hint: You weren’t.

Oxytocin dependency is also a thing

Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the hypothalamus, which opens the floodgates when you have sex.

That rush of oxytocin is involved in the physical part of sex. It can also boost emotions like love, affection, and euphoria.

It well deserves its reputation as the love hormone. Alias, you can become hooked on the feeling or outright enthusiastic about love.

Oxytocin keeps you coming back for more.

Researchers are still unpacking the different variables in the lust, attraction, and attachment equation

The biology of lust, attraction, and attachment is far from simple. Hormones certainly play a role.

Generally speaking, lust is driven by testosterone and estrogen, regardless of gender. And lust is driven by the craving for sex.

Attraction is driven by dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Attraction may or may not involve lust, but the brain’s reward center is a factor. That’s why you get all giddy or feel like you’re walking on air in a relationship’s early phase.

Attachment is driven by oxytocin and vasopressin. That’s what sets the stage for bonding and long-term relationships.

There’s some overlap of hormones, hormone levels differ, and there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

Let’s face it: Sex and love are complicated. We’re only skimming the surface of what makes humans tick.

The scientists among us continue to delve into the mysteries of our sexual desires and emotions and how they play on each other.

Yet it’s entirely possible that we’ll never solve the equation, leaving a little something to the imagination.

If you want to separate sex and emotion

There’s any number of reasons why you might want to compartmentalize sex and emotion.

It’s a good idea to explore your motivation so, if needed, you can deal with any unresolved issues.

In any case, there’s no right or wrong here. You’re not locked into one way of being for the rest of your life.

If you’re looking for a casual relationship or a “friends with benefits” situation, here are some suggestions:

  • First and foremost, be honest with the other person. It’s only fair.
  • Talk about what you’re willing — and unwilling — to give physically and emotionally, along with what you expect in return.
  • Discuss birth control and safe sex practices.
  • Work together in establishing rules to avoid getting overly attached or dependent on each other.
  • Talk about what you’ll do if one of you starts to want something more.

Keep in mind that whatever your plan or however careful you may be, feelings can crop up anyway. Emotions are funny that way.

If you want to deepen the relationship between sex and emotion

So, despite the hormones and biology of it all, maybe you need something to help deepen the bond.

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Don’t let physical intimacy become an afterthought, a thing you do as time permits. Schedule it. Make a date. Give it top priority.
  • Incorporate affectionate touch throughout the day. Hold hands. Stroke an arm. Hug. Cuddle up. Give each other a massage. Touch doesn’t necessarily have to lead to sex right away. A little anticipation goes a long way.
  • Make eye contact and hold it. Do this often — when you agree, when you disagree, when you share that inside joke, and when life gets overwhelming.
  • Let your guard down. Be emotionally vulnerable and available for each other. Be their person.
  • Kiss. Really kiss. And take your time about it.
  • Communicate your emotions. Say “I love you” if that’s how you feel.
  • What turns you on? Candlelight, sensual music, a long soak in a hot tub? Whatever it is, take the time to set the stage and get in the mood.
  • Communicate your physical desires. Take turns leading each other through what you like.
  • When things get physical, tune in to your senses. Touch, see, hear, smell, and taste with every fiber of your being.
  • Really be there in the moment with this person who wants to be in the moment with you. Let there be nothing else. And by all means, turn off the TV and cell phone during your time together.
The bottom line

Let’s face it. The world would be pretty boring if we all felt the same way. When it comes to sex and emotions, there’s no right way to feel. Just be yourself.




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