Thursday, August 19, 2010

The pill makes women more chatty

Since it mimics pregnancy that is not too surprising. Women chat a lot to their bubs, long before their bubs can talk. It's the only way the bubs learn

Only mentioned in passing below is that while speech areas in the brain grow, the brain does not increase overall in size. Very bad of me to mention it but the implication is that other areas of the brain shrink

Taking the Pill makes certain areas of women's brains bigger, a study has found. In a further discovery that will give women plenty to talk about, the research showed the contraceptive enhances the brain's 'conversation hub'.

Grey matter essential for memory and social skills also grows in size.

Differences in brain structure between the sexes have been studied many times before but this is the first study that has looked at the impact of the hormonal contraceptive on the brain.

The study found that the contraceptive of choice of 3.5million British women - a quarter of all 16 to 49-year-olds - increases brain size by around 3 per cent.

Scientists took high-resolution images of the brains of 14 men and of 28 women, half of whom were on the Pill. The women not on the contraceptive were scanned more than once to account for the hormonal fluctuations that occur over the course of a month. Several areas of the brains of women taking the Pill were larger than the brains of those not taking the contraceptive, the journal Brain Research reports.

No matter which brand or formulation of the drug, or how long it had been prescribed for, the results were the same.

The growth occurred in regions that scans showed to already be larger in women compared to men, like those involved in conversation. However, the contraceptive appeared to have little effect on areas more dominant in men, including those associated with spatial skills such as map reading.

Dr Belinda Pletzer, of Salzburg University, said the sex hormones in the Pill were clearly having a 'tremendous effect' on the female brain. She added: 'Larger volumes of a brain area could lead to an improvement of the functions this area is responsible for.

'Looking at the brain areas involved in our study, which are larger in Pill users compared to naturally-cycling women, this could concern several higher order brain functions, especially memory and verbal skills. 'The behavioural changes due to contraceptive use are likely to affect those skills that are already better developed in women compared to men like, for example, memory.'

Just how the Pill could have such an effect is not clear. But one theory is that the oestrogen or progesterone used to stop eggs from being released also strengthens the links between nerve cells in the brain.

Although some areas got bigger, the brain did not increase in overall size, and it is not known whether these parts shrink back to their original dimensions when a woman comes off the Pill.

The oral contraceptive is fertile ground for researchers. A previous study concluded that the Pill, taken by millions who are not yet ready to be mothers, makes women broody. Other research suggested that the hormones in the contraceptive suppress a woman's interest in more masculine men - and make boyish males seem more attractive.


Australia: Big burger causes do-gooder freakout

Looks yummy and seems to have lots of good stuff in it. Don't believe the crap about fat being bad for you. See the sidebar of this blog for the evidence on the matter

A burger branded a heart attack on a plate by dietitians is being billed as Brisbane's latest tourist attraction. The 21 burger - created by chefs at Treasury Casino's Cafe 21 - features 21 ingredients including a 250g meat pattie and a new super-sized bun to "support" its heavy load.

"It's definitely a monster," sous chef Anthony Swanson said. "We really just wanted something that would set us apart from the competition and give people another reason to come here."

He said the burger was easily Brisbane's biggest and would hopefully become something of a tourist attraction. "It's our new signature dish," said Mr Swanson.

But dietitian Nicola Fox said the burger was gluttony at its best. "The meat, salad and bread would be suitable as a meal, certainly not a snack," Ms Fox said. "Brisket, cheese, egg and bacon increase the calories significantly and the mayo, sugar, butter, onion jam and sauces add more calories without providing any nutritional value."

She said adding beer-battered fries and aioli on the side would make the ``ridiculously high-fat, high-calorie meal even more horrendous". "It's scary, a heart attack on a plate."

Mr Swanson said at $17, the burger was more expensive than its fast-food chain competition but "still good value".

The 21 Burger's ingredients: Rangers Valley beef, Wagyu beef brisket, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, mayo, chives, cream chees, bacon, Spanish onion, onion jam, egg, lettuce, tomato, smokey BBQ sauce, white damper roll, bread crumbs, parmesan, sugar, salt, pepper, butter.


1 comment:

John A said...

"The meat, salad and bread would be suitable as a meal, certainly not a snack," Ms Fox said.

That may explain why so many of the pronouncements of those against "fast" and "junk" foods sound so idiotic. If they think this is a snack for between meals rather than a meal, they need to stop munching on their lawns