Posts made in September, 2014

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in menopause | 0 comments

Basket with chicken eggs with one in front

Back in 2010 I wrote a piece about a woman’s egg supply and its role in predicting when menopause may start. There’s some new information to add to the story so thought I’d rerun the piece with a few highlights.

So eggs and baskets. What, pray tell, do they have to do with menopause? Let’s break it down, step by step (or, year by year, as the case may be). The bottom line is that roughly 69% of the total reserve of eggs that a woman has and how that varies throughout her lifetime can be determined by age alone.

While still in the womb, a female will develop several million eggs. Up until age 14, the eggs will continue to increase in number, accelerate around puberty (i.e. ages 9 through and then the reserve steadily declines until menopause (around age 50 or 51).

Using computer modeling of data taken from about 325 women, researchers determined that by the age of 30, 95% of women will only have 12% of their egg reserves remaining. By age 40, only 3% remain.  What’s more, age remains the primary influencer of the number of eggs up until about age 25. Then as a women grows older, other factors, including smoking, body mass index, stress and previous pregnancies start to play more important roles.

Back to the menopause component. The majority of readers of this blog are of the age where pregnancy is no longer a consideration an the number of eggs in reserve, pretty irrelevant. However, by considering and mapping how the ovarian reserve of eggs is established and then diminished in the first place, researchers hope to be better able to predict when menopause will start individual women. This strategy compliments the anti-Mullerian hormone blood test (check out information on that here) and closely follows the way that scientists used the blood test to predict menopause.

However, geeky science aside, by having a better idea of when menopause will start, you may be able to take appropriate steps in a timely fashion to both stave off vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats and maintain body weight and physical health. What’s more, imagine the possibilities in terms of mood swings and depression. The potential rewards are endless.

According to the researchers, they might also be able to predict which women treated for cancer are at highest risk for early menopause as the result of treatment. Since many of these women are young, this might provide opportunities for proactive family planning.

And finally, by measuring ovarian volumes, a key factor in the computer modeling, researchers believe that they may be able to predict young women who are at risk for developing premature loss of their ovarian function, a common side effect of cancer treatment. The benefit here is that it may be a way to help these young women preserve their eggs early for later fertility efforts.

So, all those eggs in one basket? You might not be able to control how many but you may be able to control certain outcomes. Nice!

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Guyside: The Trick to Social Media Happiness? Spend Less Time By Doing More

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Guyside, Inspiration | 0 comments

Do more, be happy

I’ve found myself wondering whether social media is all it’s cracked up to be.

Sure it makes it easier to connect with people from all over the world, from Nigeria to Nicaragua and from Pakistan to Poland, but how much satisfaction and contentment are we really getting from this online craze?

Social Media And Value

It’s common these days to see people heavily engaged in social media, chatting to their friends about any topic under the sun. They’re either on Facebook or Google+, or they’re on Twitter telling the world about the strange homeless man they’ve just walked past.

But despite all of this usage that social media gets, is there a lot of value going on around here? Are there any debates as to how to solve the problems of the world, or even a genuine problem that one of their friends is going through? Better yet, how many conversations in social media do you get where at least one person feels genuinely better having had that conversation?

Social Media And Time

Let’s look at another perspective on this, look at the amount of time we spend active on social media sites. The extremists spend up to 7-8 hours a day on social networks, but I believe the average person of today spends between 1-2 hours a day.

Now, let’s say that someone spends 1 hour a weekday on social media, and 2 hours a day on weekends, chatting away with their friends and viewing the latest photos and tweets. It sounds like a ‘normal’ amount, right? Multiply each weekday by 5, and each weekend day by 2, and you’re left with a weekly social media total of 9 hours a week on social media sites.

Again, this may seem like a normal and ordinary amount for you, but let’s now look at what you’re spending those 9 hours on.

Social Media And Content

Let’s look at some of the things you can do on social media:

–          Instant messaging

–          Updating statuses

–          Sending individual/direct messages

–          Promoting yours, or someone else’s content

Looking at these items, we can certainly keep in touch with our friends, and we can keep up regular relations with our clients. This is all well and good, but take this away, and what is left? What else can you do in social media besides these afore-mentioned items?

The truth is, not a lot.

Sure, you can play games and you can ‘poke’ your friends and family, but is this really important? Even referring to what is listed above, how much time do you need to be spending there? Do you really need to spend 9 hours a week on keeping in touch with friends and clients?

Granted, some of the more important relationships in your life will warrant a longer time, but the more important relationships in our lives are also maintained outside social media, and even outside the internet. Our families and our closest friends are traditionally the ‘more important relationships’, and how many of them are based primarily on a social media network?

Take away the ‘core relationships’ of your life and you’re left with those relationships that are standard, such as those with our clients and the rest of our social circle. Do you really need, or want, to be spending 9 hours a week building a relationship with them?

That’s a question that only you can answer for yourself, but I believe a good portion of those 9 hours can be spent otherwise.

Social Media And Society

Let’s consider the big picture – social media is meant to represent, at least in theory, the ‘society of the world’. It’s meant to be the voice which communicates to the world what the ‘common person’ is thinking, and what the common person wants. In other words, social media is meant to be our way of communicating with the world at large.

Do you think it’s doing a good job?

Personally, I don’t think it’s doing a good job at all. There’s too much mindless chatter, too much time wasted on activities that are either trivial or completely meaningless. And the worst part is that this isn’t likely to end any time soon.

If social media wishes to truly provide happiness on a deeper scale, then it needs to provide deep and lasting value. Enabling someone to provide a virtual cake for a friend on their birthday is not deep and lasting value. Having a deep conversation with someone about their countries’ politics, and discussing ways to improve is a much better way to provide deep and lasting value.

In fact, discussing deeper issues and opening up on a level that both parties agree upon and trust, is something that can quite easily come about. How? The trick is to be more aware.

Be Aware

Social media is the same as any other feature in this world – you get out of it what you put into it. If I was to spend an hour on Facebook viewing other people’s profiles and checking for new photos, then I’m not going to get much out of it. But if I have a meaningful conversation about a third-world crisis with someone, then I’m going to feel much more engaged and energised as a result.

So here’s the key – be more aware of what you use social media for. That’s my challenge to you. The next time you log onto your Google+ or your Twitter account, decide there and then what you’re going to do with your time. Then, as you’re using that social network, be aware of your actions and what you’re clicking on. If you find yourself drifting off into auto-pilot, bring yourself back to your pre-set agenda. Simple as that.

By being more aware, you can get more value out of your social media time, and possibly spend less time by doing more. There’s a lot of benefit up for grabs here.

So I’ll see you in the chatroom?

image: Paloetic

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