Saturday, February 11, 2012

Retirement Updates—Sex, Meds and Pain

A collection of recent news items makes me glad I’ve reached retirement age. For one thing, I don’t have to worry about contraception anymore. This is fortunate, since Pfizer just recalled one million packages of several of its popular birth control pills. The pills were put into the daily dispenser packets in the wrong order. That means your hormone levels would be all wack-a-doodle, “increasing the likelihood of unintended pregnancies.” Ya think?

If I were on those pills, I’d be pregnant sure as God made little green apples (and Pats don’t reign in Indianapolis). As it is, I need one of those days-of-the-week containers just to keep my vitamins straight. A manufacturer screw up on the sequence of birth control pills would have meant preggers for certain. Not to mention that my hormone levels are already wack-a-doodle. If I had wack-a-doodle on steroids, my husband would be cleared for instant sainthood—and he’s Hindu.

If you’re feeling smug because you (or your partner) wear a raincoat for protection, keep reading. Some 1.35 million condoms distributed by the ANC in South Africa also were just recalled because the condoms broke during intercourse. That doesn’t mean that ones in the U.S. will also let the rain in (or out), but would you want to take a chance? Just sayin’. That leaves the rhythm method, which, I’m told, will be covered by all insurance plans, regardless of who is elected President in November.

A related news item (or not) is that Japan’s Health and Welfare Ministry projects that its population will decrease 30% by the year 2060 and be aging rapidly—seniors will then account for about 40%. Life spans will be longer (almost 91 for women by 2060) and birth rates lower (1.35 per woman by then). The report was issued just before the Pfizer recall, so expect adjustments to these figures when the next projections come out.

Maybe the Japanese need to practice yoga. My husband drew my attention to a Nightline feature on a new book on the benefits of yoga. The only one he remembered is that yoga increases sex drive. The cobra pose in particular is supposed to improve blood flow to the pelvis, leading to better “yogasms.” Will more yogasms lead to more offspring? Hard to say…

There’s good news for retirees on the medical front. A drug created to treat skin cancer has been shown to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in mice. More specifically: scientists at Case Western Reserve University have found that bexarotene improves memory function and social behavior in laboratory mice.

I’m a little fuzzy on how they were able to measure these improvements. I’m picturing the control group scampering around willy-nilly, squealing “Who moved my cheese?” Or maybe the ones on the test protocol found the cheese even when it was in the researcher’s pocket.

You have to wonder how they assess social behavior in mice. Are there recordings of the males murmuring, “Hey there, Minnie. Wanna see my etchings?” I did note something in the report about the mice building nests from tissue paper. Isn’t that what they do when they’re pregnant? Hmmm. Maybe they were on Pfizer’s birth control pills. I don’t want to even think about broken mouse condoms.

Another gender-related item: women feel pain more than men do. These findings fly in the face of beliefs that women have a higher pain threshold than men. In a study of 11,000 hospitalized patients with various ailments, women self-reported acute pain more than men did. However, since most nurses were female, men may have sucked it up to seem more macho. One pain women definitely tolerate better is a pain in the butt, especially when it’s caused by men trying to seem macho.

You are now up to date on all the important developments having to do with sex, meds and pain. I aim to serve. But not to learn the cobra pose…

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