Today’s Headlines: Your Genes Might Be Responsible for Hot Flashes, Getting Surgery on Friday is Probably Safe After All, and How to Maintain a Strong Sexual Bond in Long-Term Relationships

A study published this week in the journal of Menopause suggests that a woman’s susceptibility to hot flashes may be determined by her genes. As part of the U.S. government’s Women’s Health Initiative, researchers studied the DNA of more than 17,000 women. Among these women, those most sensitive to hot flashes shared a variation of genetic code that plays a role in estrogen production. One of the doctors involved in the study, JoAnn Manson, speculated that “there may be something among women with these variants that influence estrogen receptors.” That’s why this research marks progress, says Carolyn Crandall, the study’s leader: “It may have therapeutic options if we can understand the role of this (genetic) pathway.” (CNN)

New findings challenge a medical care phenomenon referred to as “the weekday effect”–that surgeons who perform operations on Fridays are less experienced, and therefore, patients receive lower-quality care. In the study, patients who had an operation on Friday had the same risk of death within 30 days of their procedure as patients who had operations on any other weekday. The lead author of the study, Dr. Luc Dubois, an assistant professor at Western University in Ontario, said the findings indicate “that people are getting consistent care across the week.” The takeaway, Dubois says, is that patients should rest assured they’re going to be receiving good care if they show up on Friday. (CBS)

According to new research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, if partners in long-term relationships are responsive to each other, then both are more likely to maintain a strong sexual desire. Partners are responsive by taking care to understand what each other is saying, offering validation for the other’s beliefs and most prized goals, and expressing warm feelings toward them. Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist who led the small study, said that “responsiveness creates a deep feeling that someone really knows and understands you. It makes you feel unique and special, and that is very, very sexy.” (WSJ)