Health News

Health24.com | ‘Daddy-Do-Overs’: Men increasingly getting plastic surgery

A new report finds many more men are taking advantage of the same plastic surgeries that have long been associated with women.

A nip or a tuck

The midlife decision by men to try a face-lift or other procedure has been nicknamed the “Daddy-Do-Over” – referencing the “Mommy Makeover” for women.

Whatever it’s called, “men are embracing the idea of surgery more than before,” said Dr Alan Matarasso, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

He stressed that the average man approaching or in middle age might have different reasons for wanting a nip or a tuck, compared to his female peers.

“Obviously, men don’t go through the same physical changes that women experience during pregnancy and post-pregnancy, but their lifestyle does change, which can impact their appearance,” Matarasso said in a society news release.

“Diet and exercise patterns fluctuate, and they don’t sleep as much,” he added. “Men notice their body changes due to ageing and parenting, and it starts to look completely different in their 30s and 40s. That is the point of a Daddy-Do-Over.”

Keeping the ‘dad bod’ at bay

In fact, according to the ASPS, more than 1 million men had cosmetic surgery in 2018, a 29% increase since 2000.

Like women, men are typically getting body contouring and facial procedures to enhance their physique and keep the dreaded “dad bod” at bay. The most popular procedure for men was rhinoplasty – a “nose job” – with 52 000 of the procedures performed on men in 2018, the ASPS said. That was followed by eyelid surgery, liposuction, breast reductions (24 000 cases) and hair transplants.

Botox injections are also popular with men, with nearly half a million procedures performed last year. Another 100 000 “filler” procedures were performed on men in 2018, the ASPS said.

One case in point is 57-year-old Scott, a restaurateur in New York City who said he couldn’t get rid of his spare tire.

“I realised I was never going to lose the weight on my own,” he said in the news release. “Plastic surgery is a personal decision, but I know guys my age who have done different cosmetic procedures. I think an open dialogue about plastic surgery is becoming more acceptable, especially for men.”

Fat in certain areas

Men are increasingly getting plastic surgery to help them advance their careers and compete in the workplace, Matarasso said.

Dennis, 59, is a creative director working in the New York City fashion industry. He was lean and fit, but still struggled with fat accumulating in certain areas.

“I’ve been in fashion my entire career, and it makes me feel good when I walk in the room and I don’t feel as if I look 60 in a room of 25- to 30-year-olds,” Dennis said in the news release. “I always carried weight in my neck and chin, and my droopy eyelids made me look more tired than I actually was.”

He underwent an eye lift and chin surgery and says he’s “gained unexpected confidence from the small changes”.

Of course every surgery comes with risks, plastic surgery included, so Matarasso stressed that men consult at length with an accredited, experienced surgeon to maximise safety.

Image credit: iStock

Health24.com | Why do young women get addicted to indoor tanning?

A combination of depression and genetic risk may fuel an addiction to indoor tanning.

That’s the conclusion of a new study out of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

Mutations in genes

For the study, researchers surveyed nearly 300 women who used indoor tanning beds, sunlamps or sun booths, and analysed DNA samples. The women were white and between 18 and 30 years of age.

The risk of tanning addiction doubled in those who had mutations in genes related to dopamine activity; dopamine is key to the brain’s pleasure and reward system. Those mutations, coupled with others linked to depression, increased the risk of tanning addiction by up to 13 times.

“By demonstrating that genes in behavioural reward pathways are associated with tanning addiction, we are providing stronger evidence that tanning addiction is a cancer risk behaviour in need of intervention,” lead author Darren Mays said in a Georgetown news release. “This finding adds to a growing body of evidence from animal studies and neuroimaging studies that have been done in humans.”

Deadly melanoma

Mays is an associate professor of oncology. He’s now beginning a study into the use of text messages as a way to help young women quit if they are addicted to tanning.

Exposure to ultraviolet light can cause skin cancers, including deadly melanoma. Indoor tanning accounts for 10% of skin cancers, and this year nearly 100 000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma.

The report was published online in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

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Health24.com | ‘Lost wallet’ test reveals how honest people are – and the results may come as a surprise

If you tend to doubt the honesty of strangers, the results of a new study may come as a surprise: All around the globe, people are more likely to return a lost wallet if it’s loaded with cash.

In experiments done in 40 countries, researchers found that people were more likely to return a lost wallet to its owner if it contained a large amount of money, versus little to no money. The pattern held true in 38 of the 40 nations.

Surprising findings

Globally, 40% of people returned a “missing” wallet if it had no cash. That rose to 51% when it contained a small amount of money – equivalent to $13 (± R190).

But if the wallet had a heftier sum – about $94 (± R1350) – 72% of people returned it.

It all runs counter to the notion that people act from their own material interests. And the researchers said they themselves were surprised by the findings.

The results were “remarkably consistent” across countries, said researcher Christian Zund, of the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

What seems to be driving people’s good behaviour? Altruism plays a role, Zund said.

In three countries, the researchers ran a side experiment: Some wallets contained money and a key, while others had no key. It turned out that people were more likely to return the key-containing wallets – suggesting they were partly motivated by concern for the owner.

Great variation across countries

But self-image may also be critical, too. In addition to the real-world experiments, the researchers conducted surveys in several countries, asking people to imagine the lost-wallet scenario.

In general, they found, people thought that keeping a wallet with a large amount of money “felt like stealing”.

“People do tend to care about the welfare of others, and they also have an aversion to seeing themselves as a thief,” said lead researcher Alain Cohn, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The study, published in Science, involved teams of research assistants who fanned out across 355 cities – the five to eight largest cities in each of the 40 countries.

The assistants posed as good citizens who’d found a wallet, going into the reception areas of various institutions – banks, museums, hotels, post offices and courthouses – and handing over the wallet to an employee. Each wallet contained a business card with a phony name and email address. The researchers used those email addresses to track which wallets were reported found.

In the end, the overall reporting rate varied widely across countries – from 76% to only 14%. At the top were Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. China, Morocco, Peru, Kazakhstan and Kenya rounded out the bottom. (The United States stood in the middle of the pack.)

Valuable insights

However, nearly all countries showed the same pattern: People were more likely to return a wallet with a significant amount of money, versus little to no money.

Shaul Shalvi, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, wrote an editorial published with the study.

Its insights are “very valuable”, he said. “This study tackles an important question about human honesty using a task that is relatively easy to control.”

The experiment did look at a specific scenario: what people do when they are handed a lost wallet at work. It’s possible, Shalvi said, the results would be different if the wallets were left on the sidewalk for anyone to pick up.

But that would have been a much less controlled setup, he noted.

Indeed, the researchers avoided the sidewalk scenario for that reason. “Maybe only dishonest people would pick the wallet up,” Cohn said. “Or maybe only honest people would.”

Overly pessimistic view of others

Shalvi said it’s not clear how well a person’s willingness to report a lost wallet predicts other, more complex forms of “civic honesty”. But, he added, there are reasons to believe it does.

“Returning a wallet is an action not forced by fear of punishment, so it may serve as a good predictor for one’s true nature,” Shalvi said. “Of course, whether someone who returns a wallet is also more likely to whistleblow in a corruption case is an open question.”

The study also suggests that many people are more cynical than they should be.

The researchers conducted two additional surveys – one of 279 economists and other “experts”, and one of nearly 300 Americans. In both, most respondents incorrectly predicted that people would be less likely to return a lost wallet loaded with cash.

According to Cohn, that suggests people often have an overly pessimistic view of others’ honesty.

Image credit: iStock

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Health24.com | This man traded in bar-hopping for barbells and lost 43kgs

Back In Business

Varsity can be a journey, a time for growth and one heck of a jol, all in one go. For Jonathan, like a lot of students, hitting the clubs was more appealing than hitting the books. Soon his Project X lifestyle led to XXL-sized clothing.

  • Location: Johannesburg
  • Occupation: Senior Business Development
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 1.79m
  • Weight Before: 128kg
  • Weight After: 85kg
  • Time To Goal: 6 Years

“Not taking care of my physical and mental health took a toll on me. And by the time I was 24, I realised that a huge change was needed to achieve my life goals.”

Jono had his moment of clarity years later, after attempting to tie his shoelaces and gasping for air afterwards. “I couldn’t fit into my favourite clothes without making them look like compression gear!” says the 29-year-old.

He couldn’t make the change by himself, so he found someone to show him the ropes.

“I knew if I could find a coach to guide and motivate me, I would be unstoppable. I found a gent named Nick Robert from ECT Fit, and decided to take on his training methods and meal plans. “

With a new-found attitude, the former party animal spent six days a week in the gym becoming more acquainted with weights and cardio.

In the last six years, Jono has deflated his belly and escalated his confidence. His bar-hopping was traded in for barbells, impacting his personal and work life.

“I sell more, I interact more – and most important of all, I’m happy! Before starting my fitness journey, I would hardly leave the house because I thought so little of myself. Today I can go to the beach, take my shirt off, and smile for photos. Now when I look at myself, I can be proud, and I know that I’m happy. This was the best lifestyle choice I have made.”

This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za.

Image credit: iStock/Supplied

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Health24.com | Your quick guide to Kegel exercises

“Kegel… what?” Kegel exercises are often recommended to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can help prevent or control urinary incontinence.

These exercises were named after Dr Arnold H. Kegel, an American gynaecologist who developed this non-surgical method in the 1940s to stop urinary leakage. He also invented the Kegel perineometer, an instrument for measuring the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. 

Kegel exercises involve nothing more than contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, and they can basically be done anywhere, anytime.

Why Kegel exercises are important

Your pelvic floor muscles are important for controlling your bladder and bowel. The stronger the muscles, the better the control. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can weaken the pelvic muscles and make them looser over time. These include:

  • Vaginal birth
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chronic constipation, which leads to straining on the toilet
  • Age
  • Prostate surgery or treatment (men)

When the pelvic muscles start to weaken, it’s difficult to control the bladder and you may be prone to leaking urine.

Not a complete cure for urinary incontinence

While Kegel exercises can certainly help improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, not all cases of urinary incontinence are the same or caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles. You may benefit from Kegel exercises if you constantly leak a couple of drops of urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing (stress incontinence), or when you experience a sudden urge to urinate without being able to control it (urge incontinence).

Other forms of incontinence can be caused by problems of the nervous system. If you are not sure why you are suffering from urinary incontinence, you should see your doctor to find the underlying cause and obtain the correct treatment plan.

Kegel muscle exercises for women

  • Start by finding your pelvic floor muscles – to do that, try and stop the flow when you are urinating.
  • Now that you’ve identified the muscle, you can do these exercises any time.
  • Do the exercises at least three times a day, with ten to fifteen repetitions.

Kegel muscle exercises for men

  • Find your pelvic floor muscle by imagining that you are trying to stop passing gas. You can also try and engage these muscles by trying to lift up your testicles without using your hands.
  • Now you can perfect the technique by doing Kegels anywhere.
  • Do the exercises at least three times a day, with ten to fifteen repetitions. 

What to remember:

  • It will take a couple of weeks for the exercises to show results.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask a medical professional more about Kegel exercises.
  • Combine Kegel exercises with other ways to manage your incontinence. 
  • Don’t ignore urinary incontinence. The sooner you find help, the sooner you will be able to manage it. 

Image credit: iStock

Health24.com | Is teen sexting a warning sign of other risky behaviours?

Parents who find a sex-based text on their teenager’s phone should be on the lookout for other problems in their child’s life, a new evidence review suggests.

Teens who share sexually explicit images are much more likely to be involved in other troubling activities, including unsafe sex, alcohol and drugs.

Troubling findings

“The kids who are sexting are engaging in a lot of other risky behaviours,” said senior researcher Sheri Madigan, a child development expert from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

“We found that youths who were sexting were approximately four times more likely to be also engaging in sexual intercourse, five times more likely to have multiple sexual partners, and half as likely to be using contraception,” she continued.

Also, sexting teens were:

  • Twice as likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Two and a half times more likely to be smoking or engaging in delinquent behaviours like stealing or vandalism.
  • More than three times as likely to be using alcohol or drugs.

But the findings are particularly troubling in light of a 2018 study led by Madigan that found one out of four teens is receiving sexts, and one out of seven is sending them.

Other risky behaviours

Results from the new review line up with what is already known about teens and sexting, said Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center at Florida Atlantic University.

“Many risky behaviours among youth tend to occur in a constellation,” he said. “If a teen experiments with one risky behaviour, that teen typically has experience with other risky behaviours.”

For this study, Madigan and her colleagues collected and combined data from 23 previous studies on sexting, involving nearly 42 000 teenagers.

They found significant links between sexting and sexual activity, risky sexual behaviour, symptoms of mood disorders, drug and alcohol use, smoking and delinquency.

Further, they found that associations between sexting and either sexual behaviour or mood disorders were stronger in younger adolescents, compared to those in their later teens.

It’s not clear whether sexting leads to these behaviours, or whether kids inclined to take risks are also more likely to sext, the researchers added. They noted the findings could not prove causation; it only showed an association.

What parents should do

It’s very possible that sexting is a gateway that could lead to more experimentation with sex, Madigan said.

“I think sometimes sexting is an initiation into greater sexual behaviour,” she said. “Sometimes kids use sexting as a starting point. People have called it the modern-day version of flirting.”

But other research also has found that when teens are sexting within the confines of a committed relationship, they are not more likely to be engaging in substance abuse and other risk-taking activities, Madigan added.

Those associations are more often found in “youth who are sexting as a method of flirting or sexting in a more casual way”, she said.

So what should parents do?

Hazing and cyberbullying expert Susan Lipkins said the “pat answer” is to remind children that anything they share over the internet is out of their control and could be used against them.

Kids will do what they want

Parents should start teaching their kids about privacy and consent as early as possible, even before they have a phone, she and Madigan advised.

Such conversations should include discussion of “what-if” scenarios, Madigan said: What if someone sends you a photo? What if you’re asked to send a nude of yourself? What if someone tries to coerce you into sexting? What if you share a nude with a boyfriend or girlfriend and then you break up?

“But the truth is, the kids will learn all that, they will memorise it and repeat it back to you, and then they will do whatever they want,” said Lipkins, a psychologist in Port Washington, New York.

The best thing adults can do is create a system for reporting sexts and other cyberbullying behaviour, one that is anonymous and allows for verification of complaints, she said.

Otherwise, it’s really in the hands of the teens themselves, she added.

“The kids themselves have to decide they don’t want to participate,” Lipkins said. “‘We’re not going to pass that photo along. No, I don’t want it on my device. No, I don’t want to get in trouble for having it. No, it is inappropriate, it is disrespectful to whomever, and I’m not going to participate in this behaviour.’ When they can say that and protect each other and themselves, that’s when it’s going to end.”

The new report was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Image credit: iStock

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