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Our top stories from January 2017

Global Women launch The Purple Tent

 

On 26th January in Saffron Walden, Global Women Connected held the first meeting of The Purple Tent – a gathering of women who wish to explore their life journey and celebrate womanhood.  We will be meeting monthly and the topic for the February meeting will be female icons.  The first London meeting will be held at University College London on February 6th.   Read more...

Women's Health News  - Four of our top stories 

High dose bisphenol-A changes ovarian gene expression


In vitro short exposure to supra-physiological concentrations of BPA alters human membrane granulosa (MGC) gene expression, according to a study published in Human Reproduction.

It was already known that exposure to BPA may interfere with reproductive endocrine signaling. In vitro studies have shown an inverse correlation between exposure to BPA and follicular growth, meiosis, and steroid hormone production in granulosa cells.

Primary cultures of MGC obtained from 24 patients undergoing IVF (for PGD, male factor infertility or unexplained infertility) were exposed to various concentrations of BPA.

Microarray analysis was used to identify genes exhibiting expression changes following BPA exposure.  A distinct pattern of gene expression was observed in primary cultures of MGC exposed to the highest BPA concentration compared with untreated cells. 652 genes that exhibited at least 2-fold differences in expression after BPA exposure were identified.

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Metabolic screening in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome is underutilized

Guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Endocrine Society recommend that all women with polycystic ovary syndrome undergo screening for impaired glucose tolerance and dyslipidemia upon diagnosis and also undergo repeat screening every 2-5 years and every 2 years, respectively.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have substantially higher rates of insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome when compared with women without the disease.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Endocrine Society although a hemoglobin A1C and/or fasting glucose are widely used screening tests for diabetes, both preferentially recommend the 2 hour oral glucose tolerance test in women with polycystic ovary syndrome as a superior indicator of impaired glucose tolerance/diabetes mellitus.

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Staying in education is not one of the main reason women delay having children, according to study
 

According to the findings of new research, published in the journal Demography, the role of education is much smaller in delaying motherhood than previously believed.

Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and the Universities of Groningen and Wageningen in the Netherlands found that in the UK, a woman’s family background was the major factor rather than education.

The researchers investigated the extent to which education is causally related to later age at first birth in a large sample of female twins from the UK.

According to their findings, one year of additional schooling is associated with about one-half year later age at first birth.

Biometric analyses reveal that it is mainly influences of the family environment -not genetic factors- that cause spurious associations between education and age at first birth.

 

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Women with more friends have better breast cancer survival


At global women we have talked about the importance of having a network of friends. There are several research studies that show social networks are related to a higher quality of life and healthy lifestyle factors.

And now a new large USA study published in the journal Cancer looked at the social networks of 9,267 women diagnosed with stages 1 to 4 invasive breast cancer.  The study found that those who had a strong network of friends and family had a significantly reduced death and recurrence rate compared to socially isolated women.

“It is well established that women who have more social ties generally, including those with breast cancer, have a lower risk of death overall,” said Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, MPH, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and lead author of the study. “Our findings demonstrate the beneficial influence of women’s social ties on breast cancer-specific outcomes, including recurrence and breast cancer death.”

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Features  - Two of our top features 

What do you think of the brelfie?

By Yasmeen Zainal

The latest trend on social media is the #brelfie. Women from all over the world are sharing theirs on the internet and this appears to have gone viral in a campaign to normalize breastfeeding. The tree of life metaphorically illustrates the nutritious beauty of breastfeeding and the nurturing connection between mother and child. PicsArt is an app which easily allows you to create and edit your own brelfie.

This trend hopes to overcome the problematic way by which many societies view and sexualize women’s breasts. Nursing in public is often criticized or shamed, even though breastfeeding is the biological function of breasts. These images show solidarity as women support other women, but it is also important to educate men about these issues. 

Many women are discouraged from breastfeeding and this campaign aims to promote this natural process. Breastfeeding is associated with several benefits, to both infant and mother. Breastmilk provides balanced nutrients for growth, boosts the baby’s immune system, promotes mental and motor skill development and has been shown to reduce to the child’s risk of allergies and diabetes later in life. 

 
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Changing the colour of our skin




By Sam Poselay

Pigmentocracy is the development of a social hierarchy based on skin tone and is very much prevalent across large parts of the world, particularly Latin America, the Caribbean and large parts of Asia. Due to the prevalence of cultural attitudes there, darker skinned females are likely to be subjected to discrimination within their own ethnic communities. This is because the ideal standards of beauty have long been associated with paler skin at the epitome and darker skin at the bottom.

Evidence for this is apparently obvious from the market figures of skin lightening creams across India. 61% of sales in the dermatological market are for lightening creams that have been falsely advertised via lighter skinned models living the ideal successful and wealthy lifestyle. Some have even gone to the extent of showing a darker skinned girl not being able to marry only until she saw results from using the cream. Historically, pale skin has always been associated with superiority and wealth in social hierarchies. One reason is because colonization occurred within these areas from westerners who were significantly wealthier and darker skin meant you were likely to be a labourer who ploughed fields as opposed to a rich businessman who could avoid the sun indoors.

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Discussion of the day - Lets get talking

168 hours in a week:  how do you spend your time?

There are 168 hours in a week.

It may sound like a lot. But lets start by taking off time for sleep – ideally 8 hours a night – which is really what we should be getting.  56 hours – that leaves 112 hours.

Then work – maybe 40 hours a week (but you probably do more). So now we are at 72 hours.

Chances are you commute to work – my round trip is 3 hours a day (but I do not travel that distance every day). So lets make a conservative guess at 7 hours a week. Plus some time for housework, essential shopping and cooking – about 13 hours. And eating – at least an hour a day. Now we are down to 45 hours.

How long do you spend getting ready for the day; showering, make-up, getting dressed – one hour a day? 38 hours left.

Family/relationship time – lets make a conservative guess at 20 hours. Now just 18 hours left.

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Do you plank?

 

Let start of by saying that I’m not a fitness professional -HAH! That was the understatement of the month – so I can only go by what works for me and quite a few others.

The Plank has been hailed as one of the easiest and best ways to work on your core strength and can, if done well!, have amazing impact on your body.

I love the fact that you only have to do it 1 minute per day and see results. I can’t use the excuse that I have no time!

Do you do the plank and if not, can the fact that it’s only 1 minute make you do it?

To read more about its benefits and how to do it properly > http://www.womenshealthandfitness.com.au/fitness/workouts/1346-90-second-plank

 
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What do you think about retirement?

I am at the age when friends are starting to ask when I am going to retire.  My reply is simple – I do not want to retire.  I am lucky enough to really love my job so I want to stay productive – doing the work that I really enjoy.  I have some hobbies that I would like to have more time for (I love making stained glass windows and mosaics) but I am hoping I will have time for these when the kids leave home!

The death rate after retirement is very high, as is an increase in mental illness.  People lose their sense of usefulness and stop using their brain and bodies.

People who love their jobs do not want to retire –  look at actors, singers, other artists.  An inspiring example is David Attenborough – who is 90!.

But we do not all have the luxury of enjoying our job.  But you may retire and start something totally new.  It is never too late – see our post about granpreneurs.



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Do you have an addictive personality?

Why do some people become addicted to exercise, smoking, drinking, drugs, chocolate, coffee, but others do not?  It seems that certain people have an addictive personality which makes them prone to develop addictions. Addictions can ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

Alan R. Lang of Florida State University, author of an addiction study prepared for the United States National Academy of Sciences, said, “If we can better identify the personality factors, they can help us devise better treatment and can open up new strategies to intervene and break the patterns of addiction.”

There seems to be a hereditory link.  Twin studies show that usually both twins have an addictive personality.

When we get a thrill or high, the brain releases dopamine.  Scientists are trying to figure out if addictive personalities have abnormal levels of dopamine or become addicted to wanting to increase dopamine levels.

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