Whole Life Magazine

December/January 2014

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/426101

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Page 12 of 43

M aking New Year's resolutions might seem like another annual letdown if you break your promises to yourself, but research suggests they sometimes work. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, scientists compared success rates of people who made New Year's resolutions to people who decided to change a problem at a later time in the year. Six months later, 46 percent of the New Year's "resolvers" reported success in their behavioral goals (weight loss, exercise, and quitting smoking were the most common) versus only 4 percent of the "non- resolvers." Researchers found that readiness to change, having the skills to change, and self-effi cacy also predicted a positive outcome. whole living By Laura G. Owens W hen it comes to intelligence, we all know men and women are created equal. However, on certain health issues research is uncovering some surprising gender differences. In an October animal study published in Cell Press, scientists found that men's brains respond differently from women's to a high-fat meal. It turns out fatty foods put men at higher risk for blood sugar imbalances and brain infl ammation, which is problematic because infl ammation is an underlying trigger for numerous diseases. "The data suggest it is probably okay for females to occasionally have a high-fat meal, where it is not recommended for males," explains Deborah Clegg of L.A.'s Cedar-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. Researchers say they were initially shocked to discover that male and female brains differ in fatty acid composition. When they manipulated male mouse brains to have the fatty acid profi le of females, they found that those animals were protected from the ill effects of a diet high in fat. Brain differences may be due in part to differences in estrogen and estrogen receptors. BATTLE OF THE BRAINS RESOLUTIONS RING IN RESULTS THE CONTROVERSIAL G-SPOT Rock Body YOUR M en, women and Cosmopolitan magazine have long been on the hunt for the elusive G-spot pleasure point said to be located inside the vagina in the pelvic urethra. Yet this mystical nether region where vaginal orgasms result from only the most aware lovers satisfying the most sexually responsive women is a myth, according to a 2014 review published in the journal Clinical Anatomy. Further, the term "vaginal orgasm" is a misnomer and we should instead use the term "female orgasm," researchers say, since a woman's orgasm is always caused by the surrounding "female erectile organs," which they describe as the "female penis" extending within the woman's body to the clitoris as its tip. The clitoris "is not just sticking out in plain view with a clear direction manual," explains Dr. Gail Saltz, author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life. "That means a woman has to be familiar with herself, then transmit that to her partner in a way that's comfortable for both of them," Saltz explains. Further, her partner has to be receptive to her communication. The G-spot may enhance arousal rather than lead directly to orgasm, but sexual arousal is highly individual and remains, to some degree, an elusive and seductive mystery. PRE-PROGRAMMED SNACKING W hen you grab a doughnut or bag of Doritos, researchers say, it's likely you're craving food your brain once tracked as high in calorie content. "The easy availability and low cost of high-calorie foods has been blamed for the rise in obesity," explains lead study author Dr. Alain Dagher. "Their consumption is largely governed by the anticipated effects of these foods, which are likely learned through experience." While each of us has free will to decide what to eat, food companies spend millions making sure your brain comes back for more. Michael Moss in his 2013 New York Times investigative report, "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food," found that food companies have known for some time that salty, sugary and fatty foods aren't good for us. "It's not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give- the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers," he wrote. "What I found over four years of research and reporting was a conscious effort to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive." So next time you reach for a bag of chips, ask yourself who made the decision: you or the food company? december/january 2014-'15 13

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