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Video games linked to sexism in teenagers, finds new Study

Agency Press France

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GRENOBLE – A new study among thousands of French gaming aficionados has found a correlation between the time teenagers spent playing video games and sexist attitudes. However, no evidence has been provided showing that it’s the games themselves that are reinforcing certain attitudes towards women.

The study carried out by a team of French and US researchers compared the time spent by 13,520 young people playing video games and their attitudes to women and gender roles.

The results published on Friday in the Frontiers in Psychology journal suggest that increased exposure to video games is associated with higher levels of stereotyping and sexism among teenagers.

“Sexist representations saturate advertising, television and cinema. Video games are no exception,” Laurent Begue, co-author of the study from Grenoble Alps University, told AFP.

“Content analysis has shown that women are under-represented in popular video games. They have passive roles, they are princesses who need to be saved or secondary, sexualised objects of conquest,” he added.

Although women are the main victims of stereotyping, men are also affected, being portrayed as “more active, armed and muscular”.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, in 2014 almost half of video game players were female.

Both boys and girls participated in the study (51 and 49 percent respectively), but results indicated that sexism was higher among males. Playing time varied from one to 10  hours a day.

Researchers from Savoie Mont Blanc University in France and Iowa State University in the United States also collaborated in the project.

Previous experiments had shown that playing specific video games for a few minutes can reinforce sexist attitudes, but the new study is the first large-scale examination of the phenomenon among teenagers.

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The survey questioned teens aged between 11 to 19, living in the southeastern cities of Lyon and Grenoble.

Begue cautioned that despite the “statistically significant” link between sexism and video games, the influence of gaming on teenagers’ attitudes remains limited.

Religious fervour was a greater determinant of sexism, the researchers noted.

Television, on the other hand, had a smaller impact than video games.

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Health

Drinking 3 cups of coffee or tea daily may keep stroke risk at bay

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — There have been several conflicting studies on the health benefits of drinking coffee and tea and their various varieties. But drinking up to three cups of coffee or tea in a day is safe because it reduces irregular heartbeat and stroke risk, according to a new study published in the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Coffee has previously been believed to worsen abnormal heart rhythms, as doctors generally discourage patients suffering from the condition. However, the results of this particular study say that a daily consumption of upto 300 mg of caffeine may be safe for arrhythmic patients.

This is because the caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and blocks the effect of adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical which causes Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

A single cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine. It acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and works to block the effects of adenosine — a chemical that causes AFib.

AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder, causes the heart to beat rapidly and skip beats, and if left untreated, can cause strokes.

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“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said lead author Peter Kistler, Director at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.

But, “caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have long-term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” he added.

A meta-analysis of 228,465 participants showed that AFib frequency decreasing by 6 per cent in regular coffee drinkers, and an analysis of 115,993 patients showed a 13 per cent reduced risk.

Another study of 103 post-heart attack patients who received an average of 353 mg of caffeine a day showed improvement in heart rate and no significant arrhythmias — or abnormal heart rhythms, that cause the heart to beat too fast, slow or unevenly.

However, in two studies, where patients drank at least 10 cups and nine cups of coffee per day, showed an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) – a condition in which the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) beat very quickly.

On the other hand, patients with pre-existing heart conditions who consumed two or more energy drinks — that contains concentrated caffeine — per day reported palpitations within 24 hours.

With Agency Inputs

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