Relationship, sex issues: What would you do?

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June 28th, 2013

By Ian Kerner, CNN Contributor

Your buddy’s wife decides to “friend” her ex on Facebook. Your local politician gets busted sending pictures of his private parts to his campaign workers. Your sister tells you her boyfriend wants her to watch pornography with him.

It’s easy to offer your two cents in these situations — but what would you do if they happened in your relationship?

That’s the premise of a new survey I developed with my colleague Kristen Mark, director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky.

We asked nearly 5,000 men and women how they thought they would react in 50 different sex and relationship scenarios to get a sense of how the average person would respond when faced with their own fun, adventurous — and sometimes, anxiety-provoking — situations. Their answers (and your own feelings on these subjects) might surprise you.

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Breast-Fed Babies Achieve Higher Social Status

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June 26th, 2013

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Studies suggest that breast-feeding can be good for a baby’s health, and now there’s fresh evidence that it may help children to climb the social ladder as well.

What does breast-feeding have to do with social status? According to the researchers from University College London, who reported their findings in the journal BMJ, breast-feeding can impact cognitive development, and that accounted for just over a third of nursing’s effect on improvements in social status. What’s more, the practice also seemed to lower the chances of downward mobility.

To assess the impact of breast-feeding on later social status, the researchers compared two cohorts of people, including more than 17,400 individuals born in 1958, and over 16,700 people born in 1970. When their kids were about 5 years old, mothers in both groups were asked if they had breast-fed their children. The researchers used the children’s fathers’ income and job to determine the youngsters’ initial social status when they were about 10 to 11 years old and compared this with their social status decades later, when they reached age 33 or 34. And to get some idea of the way in which breast-feeding might be influencing social status, the scientists also evaluated the children’s cognitive skills and stress responses when they were about 10 or 11.

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Talk Therapy or Antidepressant? A Brain Scan Predicts Which Works Best for Your Depression

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June 24th, 2013

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There hasn’t been much in the way of hard science to help doctors or patients decide on the best treatments for depression — until now. For the first time, brain imaging may be able to help determine who will get better in therapy and who improves more on medication.

Depression affects an estimated 1 in 5 people over a lifetime, and talk therapies and antidepressant medications can help a significant proportion of those patients. But figuring out who will benefit most from which treatments remains a major challenge; while nearly 22 million Americans take antidepressants, 40% of people are not helped by the first treatment — drug or talk therapy — they try. And since it often takes weeks to relieve symptoms, choosing the wrong first treatment can lead to extra months of suffering.

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Are You Happy or Horny? A Brain Scan Can Tell

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June 24th, 2013

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What are you feeling?  For the first time, a brain scan might be able to answer that question.

It’s not exactly mind reading, but a new program can identify emotional states— from happiness to sadness, lust to disgust— simply by analyzing brain activity, according to a recent study.

The technique isn’t just a parlor game; since emotional disturbances lie at the center of most psychiatric problems, a reliable way to detect feelings from brain scans could help researchers to better understand what goes wrong in cases of depression, autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and many other conditions, as well as offer new insight into how emotions work.

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How Money Makes You Lie and Cheat

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June 20th, 2013

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Money corrupts, they say, and now there’s a study that shows why people get so sneaky when it comes to making a profit.

The research, which was published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, revealed that people doubled the number of lies they told in order to earn extra cash if they were first prompted to think about money. The study involved more than 300 business students who participated in several experiments, all of which showed that cuing people to consider money increased either unethical intentions or actions.

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