Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fat fathers-to-be 'have overweight daughters who are at greater risk of diabetes and premature ageing'

If you are a rat

Fat fathers-to-be could end up with overweight daughters who are at greater risk of diabetes and premature ageing, new research warns.  A father's diet, weight and health at the time of conception affects the baby’s genes and health.  The link is most pronounced in baby girls.

The impact of a mother's health on her children has been well documented but the effect of the health of fathers is new.

The study found that if male rats ate a high fat diet, had diabetes, and were obese, their offspring had altered gene functions in the fat and pancreas.

Two groups of male rats, one diabetic and on a high fat diet, and the other thin and on a normal diet, mated with thin female rats.

Researchers looked at their female offspring and found that the rats with obese fathers had trouble breaking down glucose, even while on a healthy diet.

Specifically, they showed gene function changes in the pancreatic islets, which are responsible for making insulin to control the blood glucose and fat tissue.

This altered gene function may increase the risk of future obesity and premature ageing.

Other genes that were different were those that have been linked to premature ageing, cancer and chronic degenerative diseases.

Dr Margaret Morris, a researcher for the Pharmacology School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney said: ‘While scientists have focused on how the maternal diet affects children's health, this study is part of exciting new research exploring the impact of paternal diet on offspring risk of obesity.

‘The fact that similar gene markers were affected in pancreas and fat tissue tells us that some of the same pathways are being influenced, possibly from the earliest stages of life.

‘It will be important to follow up these findings, and to learn more about when and how to intervene to reduce the impact of poor paternal metabolic health on offspring.’

Gerald Weissmann, editor of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal added: ‘For a long time, we've known that the nutrition and health status of women who are pregnant or who want to get pregnant is critical to the health of her offspring, and we've also suspected that the same is true for fathers to a lesser degree.

‘This report is the first step in understanding exactly how the nutrition and health of fathers affects his children, for better or worse.’

The research was published in the FASEB Journal


To him that hath, more will be given him (and her too)

Another indication of general biological fitness

Middle class women have better sex lives than their poorer counterparts, according to new research.

A large scale study found those from the most affluent backgrounds reported more satisfying love lives than less privileged counterparts.

Being comfortable financially improves awareness of sexual needs as well as leading to greater control over the use of contraception, according to the academic study.

Dr Dolores Ruiz, of the Barcelona Public Health Agency, said: 'There is a need to introduce public policies which aim to reduce socioeconomic and gender inequalities we have found in sexual satisfaction, in the use of contraceptives and in abusive sexual relations within the Spanish population.'

The mainly Catholic country’s first national sex survey of almost 10,000 men and women found overall Spaniards are happy with the quality and quantity of their time in the bedroom with nine in ten ‘quite’ or ‘very satisfied’.

But a deeper analysis of the 2009 data also found a link between socioeconomic status and sexual enjoyment, especially among female respondents.

Dr Ruiz said: 'People of a lower socioeconomic status claim to be less satisfied sexually, which especially applies to women, who seem to be more influenced by these factors.'

The study published in the Annals of Epidemiology said those who were more well off appeared to have a 'better awareness of their own needs and a greater capacity for developing their sexuality in a way which is satisfying for them.'

Respondents likewise reported higher satisfaction when they had a stable partner (97 per cent of men, 96 per cent of women) rather than a casual partner and a series of hook ups (88 per cent men, 80 per cent women).

In terms of safe sex, 77 per cent of women and 73 per cent of men had used contraception habitually with a stable partner during the last year, whereas in the case of a casual partner these rose to 92 per cent for women and 86 per cent for men.

In this case, socioeconomic factors influence men as much as women, even with the different types of partner. Dr Ruiz said: 'Those people with a lower socioeconomic status are always those who use less contraception.'

Worryingly, more than 4 per cent of men and 6.5 per cent of women claimed to have had some kind of sexual activity against their will, with 1.6 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively alleging they had been abused or raped at some time.

Dr Ruiz said: 'Once again, it is particularly women of a lower socioeconomic status who suffer more experiences of sexual abuse. It is important to bear in mind these women also might have more problems when it comes to contacting the various organisations that can provide help for them.'

Although the general sexual health of the young adults was apparently quite good, the research found socioeconomic and gender inequalities in practically all of the aspects studied.

Dr Ruiz said: 'People that have a more disadvantaged socioeconomic status tend to have less satisfying and less safe sexual relations, as well as suffering more experiences of sexual abuse.

'Furthermore, women usually suffer more experiences of sexual abuse than men and they claim to have less sexual gratification during their first sexual intercourse.'

According to the World Health Organisation sexual health 'is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.

'Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.'


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