Women’s 9 best articles of 2015 by IFLScience

If you’ve found them on Facebook, you must be all too familiair with IFLScience (I Fucking Love Science). I love their articles about science, because they’re not too sciency, if you know what I mean. I find science very interesting, but usually I don’t understand much of the technical stuff or the terms they talk about. Which makes it really hard to read. Well, none of that at iflscience.com. They write about science in an easy way that everybody can understand. I thought I’d share with you my favourite IFLS posts of 2015!

The website has a lot of content, too much to simply browse through the articles and pick a few. So I have searched for articles containing the word ‘women’, since that is what I mostly focus on here, on An Aesthetic Escape. I browsed through all the articles that came up and that were published in 2015. A better task that was far more easily accomplished.

Below, you will find 9 articles from IFLScience – in no particular order – that I absolutely loved, found super informative and absolutely want to share with you. I added the first paragraph of each post, so you can have a preview before you click the link to read the rest. I hope you like the articles as much as I do!

Why Are Almost All Supercentenarians Women?

Out of the 53 living supercentenarians – people over 110 years old – 51 are women. That’s more than 95 percent! In fact, you might say that no factor comes closer to predicting the likelihood of reaching such an exceptional age than simply being female.

In most mammals the two sexes age differently, and even though we’ve noticed this in our own species since the mid-18th century, researchers still haven’t been able to understand exactly why. But we do know that one of the most telltale signs of aging is the functional decline of stem cells. So perhaps it’s time to look at how stem cell behavior differs in men and women, Stanford’s Ben Dulken and Anne Brunet argue in a Cell Stem Cell paper published this week. “As the search continues for ways to ameliorate the aging process and maintain the regenerative capacity of stem cells,” they write, “let us not forget one of the most effective aging modifiers: sex.”

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We Need More Than Condoms To Prevent HIV In Women

Used properly and consistently, condoms are the most effective, affordable and low-tech way to prevent HIV. Unfortunately, condoms are not an easy option for everyone – particularly women.

Many women find it difficult to negotiate condom use. This may be for cultural or personal reasons. Married women, for example, may be seen to mistrust their husband if they insist on condom use, despite many married women being at risk of contracting HIV.

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Unhappiness and stress are not actually causes of death

There is a persistent belief among many that unhappiness and stress can lead to ill health and even increase your risk of death. But a new extensive study of women in the U.K. has found that happiness appears to have no direct impact on mortality, and that earlier studies suggesting this link had simply confused cause and effect. Despite this reversal of the well-established myth, the researchers think that because the notion is so deep-seated, their results might not actually change much of the public’s mentality.

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Men and Women Could Use Different Cells to Process Pain

We have known for some time that there are sex differences when it comes to experiencing pain, with women showing a higher sensitivity to painful events compared to men. While we don’t really understand why this is, it seems likely that both biological and psycho-social factors are involved. However, a new study published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that there may be a sex difference in the immune cells involved in the processing of pain signals. The results show that it is time to stop ignoring sex differences in research.

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VIDEO: Why Are There More Men Than Women?

And the full answer isn’t because of societal preferences – i.e. male babies being preferred over female babies for religious or economic reasons. Although that is a factor of course.

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The Mystery Of Breast Cancer

For most of the common cancers, a major cause has been identified: smoking causes 90% of lung cancer worldwide, hepatitis viruses cause most liver cancer, H pylori bacteria causes stomach cancer, Human papillomavirus causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, colon cancer is largely explained by physical activity, diet and family history.

But for breast cancer, there is no smoking gun. It is almost unique among the common cancers of the world in that there is not a known major cause; there is no consensus among experts that proof of a major cause has been identified.

Yet, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide. The risk is not equally distributed around the globe, though. Women in North America and Northern Europe have long had five times the risk of women in Africa and Asia, though recently risk has been increasing fast in Africa and Asia for unknown reasons.

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Worldwide, Climate Change Is Worse News For Women

If political leaders around the world are serious about gender equality, they must also get serious about climate change.

In the run-up to December’s crucial Paris climate talks, some of the clearest calls for climate action are coming from familiar quarters: public health and environmental groups such as the World Health Organization, Doctors for Climate Action and No New Coal Mines.

But there is yet another compelling reason to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: the fact that the current climate inaction is costing women their livelihoods and their lives.

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Are Hospitals The Safest Place For Healthy Women To Have Babies? An Obstetrician Thinks Twice

There is a good chance that your grandparents were born at home. I am going to go ahead and assume they turned out fine, or at least fine enough, since you were eventually born too and are now reading this.

But since the late 1960s, very few babies in the United Kingdom or the United States have been born outside of hospitals. As a result, you may find the new guidelines from the UK’s National Institutes for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) just as surprising as I did. For many healthy women, the NICE guidelines authors believe, there may be significant benefits to going back to the way things were.

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Chemical Messengers: How Hormones Affect Our Mood

“It’s that time of the month – stay away from her!”

The process of shedding the uterine lining with vaginal bleeding every month has an obvious reproductive focus, but it has also long been linked with changes to mood and behaviour. Unfortunately, this has often been an attempt to consign women to a “biologically” determined place of inferior mental functioning.

In recent times, we have learnt more about the connections between the “reproductive” or gonadal hormones and the brain, and how they affect not only women but men as well.

Gonadal hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) are produced by the gonads (the ovaries and testes) in response to other precursor hormones found in the pituitary gland and other brain areas. These gonadal hormones impact brain chemistry and circuitry, and hence influence emotions, mood and behaviour.

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Have you read any interesting articles about women in 2015? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

Women's 9 best articles of 2015 by IFLScience

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