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Unhappy Marriages Detrimental To Self-esteem And HealthMedical News Today Category: Psychology/Psychiatry News


Article Date: 27 Jan 2006 - 0:00am (UK)

Long-term, low-quality marriages have significant effects on overall well-being, according to a recent study by Penn State researchers.

Daniel Hawkins, graduate student, and Alan Booth, distinguished professor of sociology, human development and family studies, and demography, said that people who remain unhappily married suffer from lower levels of self-esteem, overall health, overall happiness, and life satisfaction along with elevated levels of psychological distress, in contrast to those in long-term happy marriages.

Booth states, "Unhappily married people may have greater odds of improving their well-being by dissolving their low-quality unions as there is no evidence that they are better off in any aspect of overall well-being than those who divorce."

Until now, the impact of remaining in an unhappy marriage
for a number of years has received little attention. Social scientists have consistently found that married individuals have better psychological and physical well-being than those who are single or divorced. Similarly, research has demonstrated the detrimental impact of divorce on the well-being of individuals. However, Hawkins and Booth expected that in long-term, low-quality marriages, the negative impact of marital unhappiness would outweigh the potential benefits that marriage would otherwise confer.

People in unhappy marriages were tracked over a 12-year period in a national study of married individuals who are representative of the U.S. population. During the 12-year study, 1,150 participants were interviewed at four separate time points.

To assess individual's marital happiness, specific aspects of marriage such as agreement, faithfulness, overall happiness, helping around the house, and whether the marriage was getting better or worse were measured. In order to be classified as unhappily married, individuals had to consistently score below the average marital happiness of everyone in the study.

"Given the findings of this study, unhappily married individuals do not reap benefits related to overall happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, and health, typically associated with marriage," the researchers said. "The social and emotional support available to individuals from marriage is not being obtained by those who are unhappily married."

In fact, despite the negative consequences of divorce that lower people's psychological well-being, there is some evidence that remaining unhappily married is more detrimental than divorcing. Individuals who divorce and remain unmarried have greater life satisfaction and higher levels of self-esteem and overall health than unhappily married individuals, according to the study. Hawkins and Booth published their findings in the paper, "Unhappily Ever After: Effects of Long-Term, Low Quality Marriages on Well-Being," which appeared in a recent (September) issue of the journal, Social Forces.

Vicki Fong
vyf1@psu.edu
Penn State
www.science.psu.edu



How Mental Stress May Raise Heart Disease Risk

Medical News Today Category: Mental Health News

Article Date: 12 Jan 2006 - 0:00am (UK)

Most people believe that stress plays a role in heart disease. A study published in the latest issue of Psychophysiology finds that large rises in blood pressure during mental stress are associated with higher levels of activity in the regions of the brain associated with experiencing negative emotions and generating physiological responses in the rest of the body. The research suggests that exaggerated activity in the cingulate cortex during mental stress may generate excessive rises in blood pressure that may place some individuals at a greater risk for heart disease.

Most of what is known about the brain and its links to stress and heart disease has been taken from research on animals. This study on humans used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI ), a non-invasive technique for imaging brain activity. While they were inside an MRI scanner, twenty healthy men and women performed a computer task to create mental stress that, consequently, increased their blood pressure. This allowed the researchers to correlate simultaneous changes in blood pressure and brain activity during stress. This study is published in the current issue of Psychophysiology.

Psychophysiology reports on new theoretical, empirical and methodological advances in: psychology and psychiatry, cognitive science, cognitive and affective neuroscience, social science, health science and behavioral medicine, and biomedical engineering. It is published on behalf of the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Lead author Peter Gianaros is an Assistant Professor in the department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. He has published on the physiology of stress in several scientific journals.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date, has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Jill Yablonski
JournalNews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
www.blackwellpublishing.com


Risk Factors For Depression Similar For Men And Women, Virginia Commonwealth University Study

Medical News Today Category: Depression News

Article Date: 11 Jan 2006 - 0:00am (UK)

Men and women may share more similarities than previously thought when it comes to the risk factors for major depression, according to a new study by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers.

In the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers reported that although there is a wide range of risk factors for depression that can act at different stages of development, the patterns of causes of depression for men and women are fairly similar. Some of these risk factors include childhood sexual abuse, poor parent-child relationships, childhood anxiety disorders, marital problems, low educational attainment and low social support.

"Initially, we thought that the pathway to depression through acting out behaviors such as conduct disorder and drug use and abuse would be significantly more important in men than in women. But we found that there are only very modest differences," said Kenneth S. Kendler, a professor of psychiatry and human genetics in VCU's School of Medicine and lead author on the study.

In 2002, Kendler and his team presented a developmental model to assess major depression in women. Using similar methods, they presented an analogous model to assess depression in men. For this study, approximately 3,000 adult male twins from the Virginia Twin Registry were interviewed twice during a two- to -four-year period. Data collected from this population was compared to the results obtained from the 2002 study on women. The Virginia Twin Registry, now part of the VCU Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR), contains a population-based record of twins from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

According to Kendler, one difference observed was that childhood parental loss and low self-esteem were more potent variables in men than in women.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Kendler collaborated with VCU researchers Charles O. Gardener, Ph.D., and Carol A. Prescott, Ph.D.

About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, Va., Virginia Commonwealth University is ranked nationally by the Carnegie Foundation as a top research institution and enrolls more than 29,000 students in more than 181 certificate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral programs in the arts, sciences and humanities in 15 schools and one college. Forty of the university's programs are unique in Virginia, and 20 graduate and professional programs have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best of their kind. MCV Hospitals, clinics and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the leading academic medical centers in the country. For more, see http://www.vcu.edu .

Sathya Achia-Abraham
sbachia@vcu.edu
Virginia Commonwealth University
http://www.vcu.edu


Insomnia More Common Among Women Than Men

Medical News Today Category: Sleep Disorders News

Article Date: 04 Jan 2006 - 0:00am (UK)



A meta-analysis of published epidemiologic studies of
insomnia shows that women have a risk ratio for insomnia of 1.41 compared to men. According to the authors, a risk ratio of 1.0 would indicate an equal prevalence between study groups.

The authors examined research that involved a combined study population of more than one million individuals on four continents. Nine different analyses were performed to investigate the sex difference in the risk of insomnia among different conditions, including age of participants and sample size of the studies.

Each analysis shows a higher risk ratio of insomnia among female subjects. This risk increases with age, with elderly women having the highest risk of developing insomnia.

“A female preponderance of insomnia was found among different criteria, frequencies, and durations of insomnia,” the authors write. “A genuine female predisposition in the risk of insomnia indeed exists.”

SLEEP is the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. Go online to www.journalsleep.org.

Find accurate medical information about sleep and sleep disorders at www.sleepeducation.com




Can Snoring Ruin A Marriage?

Medical Health News: Category - Sleep Disorders

Article Date: 07 Feb 2006 - 0:00am (UK)

The husband snores. The wife nudges him to flip over. Both wake up feeling grouchy the next morning. It's a common occurrence that may have more of an impact on the marriage than most couples think.

The Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center is conducting a scientific sleep study to evaluate how a husband's sleep apnea impacts the wife's quality of sleep and the couple's marital satisfaction.

“This is a frequent problem within marriages that nobody is paying enough attention to,” said Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, founder of the Sleep Disorders Center at Rush. “Couples who struggle with sleep apnea have a high-divorce rate. Can we save marriages by treating sleep apnea? It's a question we hope to answer.”

The Married Couples Sleep Study is evaluating 10 couples in which the male has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. After completing surveys about sleepiness, marriage satisfaction, and quality of life, the couple spends the night in the sleep lab where technicians determine each partner's quality and quantity of sleep. Following two weeks of treatment, the diagnostic tests and surveys are repeated.

“Our early results are showing that the wife's sleep is indeed deprived due to the husband's noisy nights. This is not a mild problem. The lack of sleep for both partners puts a strain on the marriage and creates a hostile and tense situation,” said Cartwright.

For example, in one couple, the husband's snoring was arousing the wife out of sleep over eight times an hour. Her sleep efficiency rating, which is the percentage of time she is actually sleeping during the night, was 73 percent. The average person's sleep efficiency is closer to 90 percent. The wife had tried ear plugs, earphones, and numerous other devices to try to sleep through the snoring. She eventually gave up and chose to sleep alone.

“The strain on the marriage was evident. The couple was fighting all the time and the surveys revealed low satisfaction with the marriage, especially when it came to effective communication,” said Cartwright.

The husband underwent two weeks of treatment at home using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The noninvasive treatment prevents the upper airway from collapsing during sleep, allowing the lungs to function normally during sleep.

Following treatment, the wife's quality of life measure jumped from a 1.2 to a 7, meaning the sleep apnea was no longer bothering her at all. Her sleepiness scale, which measures how tired she feels during the day, dropped from 12 to 6. Marital satisfaction scores improved from 3 to 5.8 and the wife's sleep efficiency jumped from 73 percent to 82 percent.

“Our early results have been terrific,” said Cartwright. “It is beautiful to see couples getting along so much better.

The Married Couples Sleep Study is currently ongoing. The study of the first ten couples should be completed by April. Cartwright anticipates presenting data this summer. If the results are promising, the study will be expanded to include more couples.

The study is conducted in the Rush Sleep Disorders Center 's new “couples sleep room.” The room was made possible by a 50,000 donation from a former patient. The room is furnished with a queen size bed, television and other amenities to make the couple comfortable. Both the husband and wife undergo simultaneous polysomonography, a sleep test that monitors brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rate and rhythms, breathing patterns, blood oxygen level and body movements and respiratory sounds. All sensors are noninvasive and do not cause pain or discomfort.

The study involves first diagnosing the sleep apnea. The husband will sleep alone in the center as technicians monitor his sleep. If he has sufficient sleep apnea, he will undergo a split night study to determine the appropriate CPAP treatment.

Sleep apnea is a serious health problem that should be treated. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway. The breathing pause lasts at least 10 seconds and can occur 10 or more times an hour. Apnea lowers the oxygen level in the blood leaving the patient vulnerable to hypertension, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

Obstructive sleep apnea can occur in men and women of any age; however, it is most common in obese, middle-aged men. The most common signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, and fighting sleepiness during the day. In addition to continuous positive airway pressure, treatment includes losing weight, sleeping on your side instead of your back, avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

For more information on the Married Couples Sleep Study contact Benjamin Fleischer at 312-563-4292.

Founded in 1978 by Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, the Sleep Disorders Center at Rush was the first such center in Illinois and the first in the region to receive accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Since that time, the doctors at the center have treated more than 16,000 patients. Clinical and laboratory facilities include eight hotel-like bedrooms with private bathrooms, state-of-the-art computerized monitoring room, and four patient evaluation and examination spaces.

Find out more information about your particular sleep problems with our unique interactive conversation about sleep. This Web-based tool uses a friendly, conversational tone to help you explore your personal sleep issues in depth by asking pertinent questions that lead you to targeted information. You can access this interactive tool at http://www.rush.edu/sleep

Contact: Kim Waterman
Kimberly_Waterman@rush.edu
Rush University Medical Center




Sleeping Pill Beats Insomnia, Addiction And Obesity

Main Category: Sleep Disorders News
Article Date: 16 Feb 2006 - 12:00pm (UK)


A new sleeping pill that increases dreaming sleep improves memory capacity, according to the results of new research.

With only 10% of the 20-30% of the population who suffer with insomnia taking medication, pharmaceutical companies have been searching for the perfect sleeping pill. And one company at least has developed a completely new type of drug that not only induces sleep, but also increases the dream phase, consolidating memory and improving one's sense of wellbeing.

The drug targets the orexin system, which is also associated with feeding and addiction. Because of this, experts think a drug that effectively targets the system could also find application in treatments for obesity and addiction.

Orexin is a neuropeptide hormone that was discovered in 1998. It is known to control feeding and is associated with narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder that causes people to fall asleep several times a day and to have paralyzing attacks.

Swiss company Actelion's candidate drug orexin-RA-1 blocks the orexin system. Rats given the drug slept soundly and performed better in maze tests the following day than rats given conventional sleeping medications, suggesting that the drug improves memory capacity. Measurements of muscle tone and brain activity revealed an increase in the dream phase of sleep. ‘The dream phase is when memory is hardwired in the brain,' says Actelion CEO Jean Paul Clozel.

According to Clozel, older medications reduce REM sleep so that people do not dream enough and wake feeling tired and unwell.

Shahrad Taheri, a lecturer in medicine at the University of Bristol and one of the first people to experiment on orexin, says that a drug acting on this system could have beneficial effects other than inducing sleep.

‘Being overweight is associated with obesity, and orexin is thought to be involved in feeding regulation,' he says. ‘A beneficial effect of blocking the orexin system could be that the person would eat less.' The fact that narcoleptoics are resistant to amphetamine addiction also suggests an application in preventing addiction, according to Taheri.

The drug is currently in Phase II trials. Clozel says it could be on the market by 2012 and admits that there are plans to extend its application beyond insomnia.

Unlike older medicines, orexin-RA-1 shows no sign of being addictive or of losing its effect over time. This is the first drug based on this system to reach the clinical trials phase.

About Chemistry & Industry

Chemistry & Industry magazine from SCI delivers news and comment from the interface between science and business. As well as covering industry and science, it focuses on developments that will be of significant commercial interest in five- to ten-years time. Published twice-monthly and free to SCI Members, it also carries authoritative features and reviews. Opinion-formers worldwide respect Chemistry & Industry for its independent insight. http://www.chemind.org

About SCI

SCI is a unique international forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. Anyone can join, and the Society offers a chance to share information between sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science and safety. As well as publishing new research and running events, SCI has a growing database of member specialists who can give background information on a wide range of scientific issues. http://www.chemind.org

Originally established in 1881, SCI is a registered charity with members in over 70 countries.

http://www.chemind.org



How Traumatized Children Survive Against The Odds - Academy Meeting Focuses On The Resilience Of Children

Medical News Today - Main Category: Psychology/Psychiatry News
Article Date: 11 Feb 2006 - 14:00pm (UK)


While news about child abuse and children suffering in the face of natural disasters regularly makes headlines around the world and stories often emphasize the need to protect children because they are the most vulnerable citizens in society, little has been said about the success of those children who manage to survive and overcome instances of abuse, poverty, war and natural disasters.

Three-Day Conference Set for February 26-28 at Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, VA

What is it about these children that make them resilient and capable of withstanding the enormous stress generated by traumatic events? For adults living in a post-9/11 world dominated by fears concerning terrorism, crime, natural disasters and other uncontrollable events, what does new research about resilience in children teach us about raising children who are better able to cope with the threat of everyday violence and other stressful events in life?

New Research into Resilience Focus of Conference

To answer these and other intriguing questions, the New York Academy of Sciences will present a three-day conference, Resilience in Children, on February 26-28 at the Crystal City Marriott at Reagan International Airport in Arlington, Virginia. The event will bring together more than twenty top researchers from the U.S. and abroad who will describe how advances in neuroscience are contributing to our understanding of resilience in children.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the conference will bring together and examine the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of resilience in children (i.e., issues such as social class and race disparities; the role of genetic and environmental influences on the development of alcohol and drug addiction) and the neurobiological aspects of resilience in children (i.e., genetic, neural plasticity, emotion regulation, neuroendocrine, and intervention).

Window of Opportunity

According to Bruce S. McEwen of The Rockefeller University, a leading researcher on the effects of stress on the brain and one of the conference's organizers, the brain is strongest at certain periods in life, most notably during fetal development, in infancy, childhood (up to about age five), and in adolescence. It is during these periods, these “windows of opportunity” in which outside influences can have a profound effect on the brain and its later development.

Early intervention in cases of child abuse is particularly crucial, he notes, because “child abuse early in life may cause long-lasting alterations in brain circuits involved in memory, emotions, and decision making.” If the caregiver is inadequate or abusive, young children may experience higher levels of stress hormone activation. The absence of a caregiver in early life may produce long-term changes in the child's stress-response system, leaving him or her less able to cope with future adversity.

Resilience-Enhancing Factors

On the other hand, caring attention from a parent, relative, or other caregiver has been found to build up a child's capacity for endurance and reduce the harmful effects of stress. In addition, a high level of intelligence, or normal cognitive development, has also been found to play a role. According to science writer Catherine Zandonella, author of a comprehensive preBriefing on the conference (nyas.org/ebriefreps/splash.asp?intEBriefID=490), “the most important individual quality [for resilience] has been found to be normal cognitive development, which may be measured in terms of good attention skills, an average or better IQ, or ‘street smarts.'”

While psychology and behavioral studies have uncovered the behavioral and social influences that appear to facilitate resilience, the conference will highlight new genetic studies that are beginning to reveal whether genes and gene expression contribute to resiliency. Genes are now providing insight into an individual's resiliency potential.

New Strategies for Promoting Resilience

Researchers at the conference will also address the latest findings about the processes linking biology, brain, and behavior in resilience. Topics such as Promoting Resilience in Children and Youth: Preventive Interventions and Their Interface with Neuroscience with Dr. Mark T. Greenberg of Pennsylvania State University and Prevention of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: Integration of Psychosocial and Neurobiological Processes with Dr. Kiki Chang of Stanford University will cover how new genetic and biochemical approaches are shedding light on issues related to vulnerability and how to promote resilience.

“This conference will be viewed as a landmark in the study of resilience in children because it brings together psychosocial researchers with researchers who study gene-environment interactions and the psychobiology of resilience," observes Ann S. Masten, a leading child development researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and one of the conference organizers.

The conference was organized by Barry M. Lester, Ph.D., Brown Medical School, Providence, RI; Ann Masten, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; and Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University, New York, NY

For a preBriefing of this event, visit
nyas.org/ebriefreps/splash.asp?intEBriefID=490

Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences is an independent nonprofit organization of more than 24,000 members worldwide dedicated to serving science, technology, and society.

http://www.nyas.org




Parental Conflict Produces More Than Fleeting Distress For Children

Medical News Today - Main Category: Pediatrics News
Article Date: 15 Feb 2006 - 4:00am (UK)



In the latest issue of the journal Child Development, the team reported examining 223 children twice during a one-year period for their reactions to conflicts between their parents. First, their mothers and fathers participated alone in an exercise in which they attempted to manage and resolve a common point of disagreement. The researchers rated the parents' level of hostility or indifference to capture the characteristic ways that parents managed their conflicts. Then the children observed their parents working through two simulated telephone conversations: a short conflict and a resolution.

Researchers found that the ways parents managed conflicts in the exercise predicted how children responded to the simulated phone conflict--both within a two-week period and one year later. Parents who displayed high levels of discord had children who responded with greater than expected distress to the simulated phone conflict.

"The stressfulness of witnessing several different types of conflict may have long-term implications for children's functioning by directly altering their patterns of responding to those conflicts," says Patrick T. Davies, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. "Our results highlight the possibility that several different types of conflict between parents may negatively affect the well-being of children over time," he says.

According to the authors, prior experiences with parental conflicts can alter the way children cope with later conflicts. "Conflict between parents may have distinct meanings and implications for the child and family system even after considering the effects of parenting difficulties," Davies points out.

Although previous work has shown that children don't get used to their parents discord but, instead, become more sensitive to it, Davies and his colleagues wondered if different forms of destructive conflict between parents played different roles in children's reactions. It didn't matter whether the adults disagreed in openly hostile ways or appeared indifferent during the arguments. Both ways of managing conflict were linked with higher than expected distress in children that lasted even one year later.

The primary purpose of the study was to chart stability and change in children's responses to a conflict in the context of interparental and family interactions in the early elementary years. The authors believe that the study lays the foundation for new testing on how children adapt when dealing with interparental conflict.



Co-authors are Melissa L. Sturge-Apple, Marcia Winter, and Deirdre Farrell of the University of Rochester's Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the time of the study, and E. Mark Cummings, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. The research was supported by grants and fellowships from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Contact: Jonathan Sherwood
jonathan.sherwood@rochester.edu
University of Rochester


Chocolates Eaten More Often When They Are Clearly Visible - Out Of Sight Out Of Mouth

Main Category: Obesity/Overweight/Fitness News
Article Date: 10 Feb 2006 - 14:00pm (UK)


When it comes to candy, it is out of sight, out of the mouth, a Cornell University researcher finds.

The study finds that women eat more than twice as many Hershey Kisses when they are in clear containers on their desks than when they are in opaque containers on their desks -- but fewer when they are six feet away.

"Interestingly, however, we found that participants consistently underestimated their intake of the candies on their desks yet overestimated how much they ate when the candies were farther away," said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Applied Economics at Cornell.

The study -- one of the few experiments to quantify the "temptation factor" -- was presented at the Obesity Society meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity in September in Vancouver, Canada. It is published online and will be published in an upcoming February issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

Wansink and his co-authors, James E. Painter and Yeon-Kyung Lee, assistant professor and visiting scholar, respectively, in food science at the University of Illinois-Champaign, gave 40 university female staff and faculty members 30 chocolate Kisses in either clear or opaque candy jars on their desks or six feet away. Each night, the researchers counted how many candies were eaten and refilled the jars.

"Not surprisingly, the participants ate fewer candies when the Kisses were in opaque rather than clear candy jars on their desks and even fewer when the opaque jars were six feet away from their desks," Wansink said. "The less visible and less convenient the candy, the less people thought about it and were tempted."

Specifically, participants ate an average of 7.7 Kisses each day when the chocolates were in clear containers on their desks; 4.6 when in opaque containers on the desk; 5.6 when in clear jars six feet away; and 3.1 when in opaque jars six feet away.

What was surprising, however, was that the women consistently thought they ate more when they had to get up to get them. This suggests, Wansink said, that you are likely to eat fewer cookies in the cupboard versus those on the counter for two reasons. They take more effort to get, and you tend to think you ate more than you did.

"You eat more chocolate if it's visibly nearby, but the silver lining is this might also work for fruits and vegetables -- in other words, what makes the close candy dish nutritionally dangerous might just bring the fruit bowl back in vogue," he concluded.

Wansink, the author of the new book "Marketing Nutrition: Soy, Functional Foods, Biotechnology and Obesity," is also director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, made up of a group of interdisciplinary researchers who have conducted more than 200 studies on the psychology behind what people eat and how often they eat it.

by Susan S. Lang (Cornell Press Office)

Brian Wansink
Wansink@Cornell.edu
Cornell Food & Brand Lab
http://www.Cornell.edu


Men In Their 50s Have More Satisfying Sex Lives Than Men In Their 30s

Main Category: Senior's Health
Article Date: 22 Feb 2006 - 2:00am (UK)



Men in their fifties are more satisfied with their sex lives than men in their thirties and forties, recording similar levels to 20-29 year-olds, according to a survey published in the February issue of BJU International.

A team of experts from Norway and the USA surveyed 1,185 men aged between 20 and 79, asking them about various aspects of their sex life, including drive, erections and ejaculation.

They found that although there was a strong relationship between a man's advancing age and his declining sex drive and ability to have an erection and ejaculate, there wasn't such a strong link between age and overall sexual satisfaction.

The men who responded to the Norwegian postal questionnaire were asked to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of their sex life on a scale of zero to four, with four representing good sexual function and no problems. Men in their twenties recorded an average overall satisfaction level of 2.79 and the second highest level was among fifty-somethings who recorded an average of 2.77. Men in their 30s only reached 2.55 and men in their forties averaged 2.72.

After the age of 59, overall satisfaction fell significantly to 2.46 for men in their sixties and 2.14 for men in their seventies.

However when it came to sexual function, each of the scores moved steadily downwards toward zero as the respondents got older, indicating lower levels of function and more problems:

* The average score for sexual drive was 2.19 out of four, ranging from 2.79 for men in the twenties to 1.54 for men in their seventies.

* Satisfaction with erections averaged 2.83, dropping sharply once men reached their fifties. Men in their twenties scored 3.63, men in their fifties 3.03 and men in their seventies 1.60.

* Ejaculation averaged 3.28 and showed a more measured decline with age, falling more sharply for men in their sixties and seventies. Men in their twenties averaged 3.85 while men in their seventies averaged 2.32.

Other findings included:

* 86 per cent of the men surveyed were married or in a sexual relationship and 57 per cent had been sexually active in the last 30 days. Six per cent had had a new sexual partner in the last six months.

* 25 per cent were on medication for high blood pressure, five per cent for diabetes, six per cent for
anxiety/depression and five per cent for erectile dysfunction.

* Respondents were representative of the Norwegian male population in terms of marital status and education level.

"The survey was carried out using a questionnaire first developed and tested in American in 1995" says co-author Professor Sophie D Fossa from the Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Trust in Oslo, who carried out the research with colleagues from the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen and Harvard Medical School in the USA.

"The results showed a very strong correlation between men getting older and reduced sexual functioning, but not between age and sexual satisfaction" she points out.

"Age accounted for a 22 per cent variance in sexual drive, a 33 per cent variance in erection issues and a 23 per cent variance in ejaculation issues.

"But age only accounted for a variance of three per cent in overall satisfaction.

"Our results show that although men experience more problems and less sexual function as they get older, it doesn't necessarily follow that they are less satisfied with their sex lives as a result."

###

Notes to editors
Assessment of male sexual function by the Brief Sexual Function Inventory. Mykletun, Dahl, O'Leary and Fossa. Norway / USA. BJU International. Volume 97, pages 316 to 323. (February 2006).

Established in 1929, BJU International is published 12 times a year by Blackwell Publishing and edited by Professor John Fitzpatrick from University College Dublin, Ireland. It provides its international readership with invaluable practical information on all aspects of urology, including original and investigative articles and illustrated surgery. http://www.bjui.org/

Contact: Annette Whibley
wordwizard@clara.co.uk
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


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