Touro Infirmary

FALL 2013

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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H E A L T H C E N T R A L N E W S A cry in the dark I f your husband sleeps undisturbed while you're abruptly awakened by your hungry baby, you may wonder if he's deliberately tuning out the baby's cries. It's not intentional, say researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Instead, their research suggests that unlike men's brains, women's brains are hard-wired to respond to a baby's cries. To test this, 18 men and women—parents and nonparents—were asked to let their minds wander. Then they listened to a recording of white noise interspersed with the sounds of an infant crying. Brain scans showed that regardless of whether the women were parents, their brains switched patterns of brain activity to attentive mode from a default mode. Men's brains, however, remained in the resting state despite the child's cries. Maybe a sharp jab in the ribs would have helped? • Playing for time Your children may have new partners when they play video games: their grandparents. Controlling a video game's action with fingers on the keys is not only fun for seniors, it may also delay cognitive loss, according to a study from the University of Iowa. As you age, your mind loses "executive function," which helps with memory, attention, perception and problem solving. Playing just 10 hours of a game improved seniors' mental processing and delayed declines by as many as seven years for a range of cognitive skills, according to the research, published in the journal PLOS ONE. Not just an impulse SHUTTERSTOCK Why is it impossible for you to pass up that adorable purse on sale, while your friend has no qualms about banking her money for later? In an experiment in which one group of seniors played a video game called "Road Tour" and another worked computerized crossword puzzles, the video group scored far better on concentration, nimbleness in shifting from one mental task to another and the speed at which new information was processed. • The answer depends on whether you feel good about deferring immediate gratification for future benefits, say researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. Just knowing something good is coming may be pleasurable for some people, but impulsive people show different brain responses. Their brain activity indicates that waiting for a reward isn't enjoyable. They may be impulsive because they can't imagine the future, so they prefer to receive rewards immediately, according to the experts. The researchers say their results may help therapists treat people who have impulsivity problems. • Beat job stress with healthy living When you work at a stressful job, it's especially important to compensate by taking good care of your health, suggests a study recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The combination of job stress and an unhealthy lifestyle puts you at greater risk for coronary artery disease than just the pressure alone. To see whether healthy living could reduce the effects of job stress on heart disease, researchers looked at more than 100,000 disease-free adults in Europe during a 15-year period; they found that 16 percent reported job stress. The health experts then examined whether the stressed individuals smoked, consumed alcohol, were physically active and were normal body weight. Those with unhealthy lifestyle habits had more than twice the incidence of coronary artery disease. • w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m FA L L 2 013 SPI RIT O F WOM EN 5

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