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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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Sexual assault, harassment linked to worse physical and mental health among women

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Experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault could have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of midlife women, a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has suggested.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are highly prevalent experiences among women, according to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine,also will be presented at the North American Menopause Society meeting on Friday, Oct 5 2018 in San Diego, CA.

“When it comes to sexual harassment or sexual assault, our study shows that lived experiences may have a serious impact on women’s health, both mental and physical,” said Rebecca Thurston, PhD, professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine and the study’s first and senior author.

In the study, Thurston and her colleagues analysed the association between a history of sexual assault or workplace verbal or physical sexual harassment and physical and mental health parameters such as blood pressure, sleep, mood and anxiety.

“This is an issue that needs to be tackled with urgency not just in terms of treatment but in terms of prevention,” she added.

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The analysis was conducted among a group of 304 midlife women between the ages of 40 and 60 who were originally recruited as part of a larger study on association between menopause and cardiovascular health.

In the study group, approximately one in five women reported being either sexually harassed or sexually assaulted. Women who were younger or more financially stressed were more likely to be harassed.

Importantly, the study found that assaulted women were almost three times more likely to have symptoms consistent with major depression and were more than two times more likely to have elevated anxiety. Sexual harassment was associated with higher prevalence of hypertension.

Both sexual harassment and sexual assault were associated with a two-fold higher likelihood of poor sleep consistent with clinical insomnia.

Agencies

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