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Men, women process feelings differently

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WASHINGTON — Swiss researchers have revealed an alternative of how men and women’s brain work differently as it has long been said that both brains is wired in a different way.

A large- scale study by a research team at the University of Basel focused on deciding the gender-dependent relationship between feelings, memory performance and brain activity.

With the help of 3,398 test subjects from four sub-trials, the researchers were able to demonstrate that females rated emotional image content – particularly negative content – as more emotionally stimulating than their male partners did.

In the case of natural images, however, there were no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal. In a consequent memory test, female participants could freely recall fundamentally a larger number of pictures than the male participants.

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Surprisingly however, women had a specific preference over men when reviewing positive pictures. “This would suggest that gender-dependent differences in emotional processing and memory are due to different mechanisms,” says study leader Dr Annette Milnik.

Using fMRI information from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is connected to expanded brain action in motoric regions. The result would support the common belief that women were more sincerely expressive than men, clarified Dr Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.

This study is important, because many neuropsychiatric diseases also show gender-related differences.

The results will be published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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New vaginal ring to prevent HIV, pregnancy is safe: Study

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An experimental vaginal ring designed to prevent pregnancy and HIV looks safe, according to an early stage study.

The ring is designed to provide 90 days’ protection at a time. The dual-purpose ring releases the antiretroviral drug dapivirine and the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel, said researchers led by Dr Sharon Achilles, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

This small, 14-day trial involving 24 women who were not pregnant and not infected with HIV was the first clinical study of the ring.

“We are very encouraged by our findings in this first-in-human study of the dapivirine-levonorgestrel ring,” said Achilles, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

Its use resulted in sufficient levels of levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy and adequate levels of dapivirine to reduce risk of HIV infection, the researchers noted.

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There were no safety concerns, and the ring was well-tolerated, according to the Microbicide Trials Network study.

The researchers have started a second Phase 1 trial in which women will use the ring for 90 days.

“With a second study underway, we are another step closer to potentially having an easy-to-use product that can provide safe and effective, long-acting protection against both HIV and unintended pregnancy,” Achilles said in a network news release.

The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and presented Wednesday (Oct 24) at an HIV prevention conference, in Madrid, Spain.

Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Agencies

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