Today’s Headlines: How Sex Benefits the Brain, Signs of Cardiac Arrest, and a Statement from the CDC on Young Women Drinking


For older people, frequent sexual activity might improve memory. A new study has found that an active sex life helps aging brains. “After adjusting for other factors that might explain the link between brain function and sexual habits — age, relationship status, living arrangements, education, wealth, exercise routines, depression, loneliness and quality of life — older men’s sexual activity levels were still tied to how well they did on both word-recall and number sequencing tests, the study found. But in women, only word recall was associated with sex. Number sequencing broadly relates to thinking skills known as executive function, while word recall is tied specifically to memory, the study authors note in Age and Ageing.” The study admitted that more research is needed in this area to understand the brain benefits further. (Fox)

Your body may be trying to warn you of an impending cardiac episode. Researchers have found that cardiac arrest is not as much of a surprise as people may think. In fact, there may be symptoms you should be paying attention to. “A recent study that analyzed 839 sudden cardiac arrests found that in 430 cases, or 51 percent, patients exhibited warning signs in the four weeks before the arrest. The victims either failed to recognize the symptoms or ignored them—in most cases until it was too late. The missed symptoms included chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and heart palpitations—classic signs of an impending or actual heart attack.” It is important to see a doctor if you start to have any of these symptoms in order to prevent a dangerous attack or potential death. (Wall Street Journal)

Women having unprotected sex and who are not using contraception should abstain from drinking alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines emphasizing the link between women’s alcohol intake and fetal alcohol syndrome. “The C.D.C. report, released on Tuesday, estimated that 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 who drink alcohol risk exposing their infants to the disorders, which can stunt children’s growth and cause lifelong disabilities.” Many women won’t know they are pregnant for at least several weeks, especially if a pregnancy is unplanned, which makes alcohol consumption a risky behavior. (New York Times)