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What is the evolutionary purpose of menopause? – University of Georgia

Posted: February 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

The Slow Moon Climbs delves into the science, history and meaning of this life shift

Menopausethat time in every womans life when the ovaries no longer release an egg each month and menstruation ceases foreveris a rare thing among Earths infinitely varied creatures. Humans and a few species of whales are the only mammals that experience menopause, where females live on for many decades in spite of the inability to reproduce. Scientists, psychologists and doctors have been puzzling over that fact for centurieswhat good are older women (or whales) once they lose their fertility? There must be some huge evolutionary benefit that renders womens lives so valuable post-reproduction that they actually live six to eight years longer than men everywhere around the world.

Indeed, the years after a woman experiences menopause can be incredibly productive and influential, according to Susan Mattern, Distinguished Research Professor of History at the University of Georgia and author of The Slow Moon Climbs: The Science, History, & Meaning of Menopause. She opens her book with an extraordinary example: that of Hoelun, the mother of the notorious Genghis Khan. Hoelun accomplished far more than simply giving birth to the notorious emperor of the Mongol Empire. Khan has more than 35 million direct male-line descendants. After Hoelan stopped having children she was critical in keeping her brood safe, leading them in a mission of revenge, and helping to turn the Mongols into a people.

Mattern contends that menopause emerged when we evolved away from chimpanzees millions of years ago. Longevity is what separates humans from chimpanzees and other apes, explained the 53-year-old historian. On average, we live twice as long as chimpanzees. After menopause, women could care for their grandchildren, nieces and nephews. They could forage and grow food, producing more than they consumed. This idea is often called the Grandmother Hypothesis, a concept that emerged in the 1990s, wherein older women are favored by evolution because they enhance human survival.

Yet today, said Mattern, we dont look kindly on menopause, seeing it primarily as a medical malady to be either stoically borne or treated with hormones, antidepressants and other medications. Thats just fundamentally wrong, she contended. People see the word menopause in the title of my book and they assume its a depressing book when in fact its full of good news.

Mattern reports that menopause wasnt even a concept in the ancient Mediterranean cultures she has spent her professional life studying: those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome. Ancient physicians and writers didnt write or talk about menopause, she explained. There wasnt a word for it. In fact, one ancient Roman physician, Soranus, thought that menstruation, not menopause, was unhealthy for women and rendered them fragile.

It wasnt until the 18th century that menopause became a mainstream concept. The term itself was coined by a French physician in 1821. It was also referred to as womens hell and the death of sex. Sigmund Freud referred to menopausal women as quarrelsome, vexatious and overbearing. A 1966 best seller,Feminine Forever, called post-menopausal women castrates. By the 1920s the first hormones were synthesized in the laboratory, and by 1938 synthetic estrogen had been developed. Menopause was soon infused with this idea of a deficit of estrogen, said Mattern. It is still a medicalized condition today, although medical nuance has been added with large studies examining the risks and benefits of estrogen alone, or estrogen with progesterone, and even in some cases adding in a dollop of testosterone, all to treat menopause.

Of late, though, attitudes toward menopause have begun to shift. Last year, the popular streaming show Fleabag featured a bar-stool soliloquy on the magnificence and freedom of menopause by famed actress Kristin-Scott Thomas. As the Los Angeles Times noted, It may be the best three minutes of television ever; any woman over 45, or under 45, should have it on a loop. Salon joined in as well with a piece entitled TVs changing view of the change.

Menopause is a legitimate phase of life, said Mattern, and we wouldnt be human without it; its part of what makes us a super adaptable unique species. In agrarian societies, she says, midlife was a time when a woman became a mother-in-law and a grandmother and held more status and power in the family. Weve lost that, while weve gained status in other ways, she explained, through business and the workplace. But weve lost the idea that there is a midlife stage that is valuable in its own right.

Theres a casual ageism in our culture that we need to consciously shift, she believes. Mattern dove into this topic in part because of her own personal experience: her second husband is 20 years younger than she. That made me think about menopause, she said, and my supposed expiration date. Our culture has an antipathy to aging and to midlife, and I wondered, Once I transition through menopause, should I still be sexual? Is it OK to have a younger husband? Will I be ugly or unworthy somehow?

The answer, she found out, is just the opposite. Her marriage has remained good and close through menopause, she is productive, and I feel liberated. Post-reproductive life is useful because we transfer resources, knowledge and energy to younger generations. Thats good news for the more than the 100 million Americans over age 50.

What is the evolutionary purpose of menopause? - University of Georgia

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Ted Cruz criticizes vasectomy bill, exposing his hypocrisy on reproduction rights – The Guardian

Posted: February 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Ted Cruz, the Republican Texas senator, has given an unwitting boost to an Alabama lawmakers attempt to push back on restrictive abortion laws in her state, by tweeting about her proposal to force men to have vasectomies when they reach the age of 50.

Democratic representative Rolanda Hollis introduced the measure to the states House last week, intending it as protest against a law passed by the Alabama legislature last year to outlaw abortion in almost every case unless the life of the mother was at risk.

The responsibility is not always on the women. It takes two to tangle [sic], Hollis wrote in a tweet acknowledging that her long-shot House bill, which would also a mandate a vasectomy after the birth of a fathers third biological child, was intended to neutralize the abortion ban bill.

After an initial flare of mostly local publicity, the issue was set to fade back into obscurity until Cruz waded in with a tweet that placed it firmly before a national audience and his own 3.5 million Twitter followers, exposing his apparent hypocrisy over reproductive legislation at the same time.

Yikes. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything literally! Cruz wrote, linking to an Alabama news websites account of the story from three days previously.

Cruz is noted for his staunchly conservative views on abortion and has previously condemned the Democratic partys efforts to protect access to abortion as a war on women. Comments on his tweet, however, allude to his opposition to the governance of male reproduction while supporting laws that dictate what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

Its outrageous to have government involved in these personal reproductive decisions! So glad you are pro-choice, Ted! one commentator wrote.

The controversial Alabama abortion measures, signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in May 2019, was struck down by a federal court judge in October, two weeks before they were due to take effect.

The law, which threatens doctors with up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions at any stage of pregnancy, is intended by its supporters to bolster efforts to have the US supreme court overturn its 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, the landmark case that legalized abortion across the country.

A number of right-leaning states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana, have passed stricter anti-abortion legislation in recent months as opponents grow in confidence that the supreme courts new conservative majority will reverse its 47-year-old ruling.

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Ted Cruz criticizes vasectomy bill, exposing his hypocrisy on reproduction rights - The Guardian

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Ted Cruz goes on Twitter tirade over proposed vasectomy bill – The Daily Dot

Posted: February 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

In a move blanketed with irony, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) unleashed his beliefs about bodily autonomy on Twitter in response to a proposed Alabama law that would require men to get a vasectomy once they reach 50 or have three children.

Vice reports the bill was proposed earlier this month by state Rep. Rolanda Hollis who, according to, said the bill is a response to last years abortion bill that passed the legislature and included anear-total ban on abortion.

In October, a federal judge blocked the abortion bill from going into effect.

The bills suggestion did not sit well with Cruz, prompting him to tweet A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everythingliterally!

Cruz is stridently anti-abortion and does believe a small government should still have the ability to take that right away.

Yikes. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything...literally! Alabama Democrat proposes bill mandating all men have vasectomy at age 50 or after third child.

Last night, Cruz doubled down even further on his remarks defending his stance in a chopped up thread.

Its been a sight to behold the last 24 hours of Lefties triggering over this tweet, Cruz said, distancing himself from being labeled as pro-choice.

Its been a sight to behold the last 24 hours of Lefties triggering over this tweet. Ah ha! Youre pro choice, they exclaim. No, I believe in BOTH life and individual liberty. Four points: (1) Too many on the Left believe the Malthusian nonsense that more children are bad. 1/x

5/x ...(4) yes, every adultman or womanhas a right to do whatever you want with your body...but that doesnt mean you have a right to do something harmful to ANOTHER persons body. Leftists refuse to admit that an unborn child is a separate human being whose life is precious.

Cruz concluded his thread by saying: Yes, every adultman or womanhas a right to do whatever you want with your bodybut that doesnt mean you have a right to do something harmful to ANOTHER persons body. Leftists refuse to admit that an unborn child is a separate human being whose life is precious.

His response to the proposed bill prompted users to call out Cruzs hypocrisy.

Further proof that if men carried the babies, abortions would be as easily accessible as Viagra, @TheTNHoller tweeted.



The Guardian: Ted Cruz criticizes vasectomy bill, exposing his hypocrisy on reproduction rights.

Hey Ted Cruz - So, you dont like the government telling you what you can & cant do with your sperm. Mandatory vasectomy? #Karma - what goes around comes around. Stay out of womens health decisions. We can make our own choices ~ just like men supposedly can.

Ted Cruz is offended that a Democrat in Alabama proposed a bill mandating men have a vasectomy at age 50 or after their 3rd child! But he's okay with the government dictating a woman's decisions.

Yes @tedcruz, it's almost like this Alabama Democrat is proposing an outlandish bill mandating all men have a vasectomy at 50, or after a third child, to prove a point about the outlandish bullshit that men propose controlling women's reproductive rights and choices.

According to VICE, Hollis bill doesnt stand a chance of passing due to Alabamas majority Republican legislature.

Prior to Cruzs outburst, a Twitter user questioned Hollis on the reasoning behind the bill, in which she stated, The responsibility is not always on the women. It takes (two) to tangle.


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Ted Cruz goes on Twitter tirade over proposed vasectomy bill - The Daily Dot

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

For Most People Infected With Coronavirus, Symptoms Will Be Mild. So What’s Happening In The Extreme Cases? – Kaiser Health News

Posted: February 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Scientists explain how the virus is killing patients--mostly elderly or people with underlying medical conditions--when about 80 percent only have mild symptoms from the infection. In other news related to the science behind the outbreak: a forecast of an epidemic, the infection rate, how long the virus can linger on surfaces, a treatment option, and more.

WBUR:How COVID-19 Kills: The New Coronavirus Disease Can Take A Deadly TurnMore than 1,300 people, almost all in China, have now died from COVID-19 the newly minted name for the coronavirus disease first identified in Wuhan, China, that has infected more than 55,000 people. Yet according to the World Health Organization, the disease is relatively mild in about 80% of cases, based on preliminary data from China. (Godoy, 2/14)

Stat:Disease Modelers Gaze Into Their Computers To See The Future Of Covid-19, And It Isnt GoodAt least 550,000 cases. Maybe 4.4 million. Or something in between. Like weather forecasters, researchers who use mathematical equations to project how bad a disease outbreak might become are used to uncertainties and incomplete data, and Covid-19, the disease caused by the new-to-humans coronavirus that began circulating in Wuhan, China, late last year, has those everywhere you look. That can make the mathematical models of outbreaks, with their wide range of forecasts, seem like guesswork gussied up with differential equations; the eightfold difference in projected Covid-19 cases in Wuhan, calculated by a team from the U.S. and Canada, isnt unusual for the early weeks of an outbreak of a never-before-seen illness. (Begley, 2/14)

The Wall Street Journal:How Many People Might One Person With Coronavirus Infect?When an infection erupts the way coronavirus has exploded in Wuhan, China, and elsewhere in the world, public-health experts try to gauge the potential for an epidemicor, worse, a pandemicby calculating the pathogens basic reproduction number. The figure, generally written as R0 and pronounced R naught, is an estimate of how many healthy people one contagious person will infect. Because viruses spread exponentially, a few cases can quickly blow up to an overwhelming number. An R0 of two suggests a single infection will, on average, become two, then four, then eight. (McGinty, 2/16)

The Associated Press:Questions Complicate Efforts To Contain New Virus From ChinaReports one day suggest the respiratory outbreak in China might be slowing, the next brings word of thousands more cases. Even the experts have whiplash in trying to determine if the epidemic is getting worse, or if a backlog of the sick is finally getting counted. Continuing questions about the new virus are complicating health authorities' efforts to curtail its spread around the world. And the United States is taking the first steps to check that cases masquerading as the flu won't be missed, another safeguard on top of travel restrictions and quarantines. (Neergaard, 2/15)

CNN:How Long Coronaviruses May Linger On Contaminated Surfaces, According To ScienceConcerns are mounting about how long the novel coronavirus may survive on surfaces -- so much so that China's central bank has taken measures to deep clean and destroy its cash, which changes hands multiple times a day, in an effort to contain the virus. It is unknown exactly how long the novel coronavirus can linger on contaminated surfaces and objects with the potential of infecting people, but some researchers are finding clues by studying the elusive behaviors of other coronaviruses. (Howard, 2/18)

The Wall Street Journal:Gileads Coronavirus Drug Trial Slowed By Lack Of Eligible RecruitsClinical trials being conducted in Wuhan to test Gilead Sciences Inc.s antiviral drug, a promising remedy for the new coronavirus, are going more slowly than hoped for as the drugmaker struggles to recruit qualified patients, underscoring the challenges in quickly developing drugs during outbreaks. The trials, aimed at testing more than 700 patients infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, have succeeded in recruiting fewer than 200 people after 10 days. (2/18)

Boston Globe:Northeastern Students Target Rumors, Falsehoods On Coronavirus Via New On-Line MagazineWhile much of the world focuses on the rising death toll and infection rates from the coronavirus, a new on-line magazine produced by international students at Northeastern University aims to put a human face on the outbreak and challenge some of the falsehoods surrounding the crisis. In a recent post in the Global Observer, graduate student Yushu Tian painted an eerie picture of conditions in Wuhan, the city of 11 million at the center of the epidemic: Transportation in and out the city shut down; residents primarily confined to their homes. Included in her post were photos of a barren subway and vacant main road. (Sorensen, 2/16)

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For Most People Infected With Coronavirus, Symptoms Will Be Mild. So What's Happening In The Extreme Cases? - Kaiser Health News

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

The right way to give pupils sex education – IOL

Posted: February 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Opinion/18 February 2020, 9:01pm/MARY DE HAAS

The Department of Basic Education has developed what it terms a comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) policy for implementation in schools which has been rejected by many teachers and parents.

Despite some of the content being highly controversial the department has warned teachers that if they refuse to teach it they will be subject to disciplinary action.

This authoritarian approach suggests that the department has not consulted widely enough with either the teachers or parents, and it is encroaching on the rights of parents to decide what their children should be taught about sex, and by whom.

Nor are teachers the people to teach such a sensitive subject for it requires skills and experience which are not part of standard classroom teaching.

It seems that the department is unaware of the existence of a comprehensive sex education programme which was taught, successfully, for many years in KwaZulu-Natal, by social workers or experienced counsellors who had had specialised training in this field and in dealing with human relationship problems generally.

The programme was devised by the late Ruth Keech, an experienced marriage and family therapist (and a well-known South African poet) at what was then Marriage Guidance (now Famsa) from the 1970s.

It was regularly updated - to deal with HIV-related issues, for example - and the early version was published by Keech in her book Education for Living. Before she died in 2013 she had written a voluminous draft of an update which included topical issues, and guidelines for running group discussions about them.

Teaching the biological aspects of sex and reproduction is straightforward, but when linking it to human behaviour moral issues abound, especially in a culturally and religiously heterogeneous society.

Education for Living was grounded in the experience gained by social workers in the field of marriage and family therapy, which included sexual problems, but Keech also read widely on moral philosophy and all the topics covered in the syllabus, taking into account relevant background influences in the pre-1994 racially segregated schools.

The basic premise was that any teaching about sex should only take place in the broader context of a range of key issues affecting human relationships and sexuality, and value systems which inform them.

Education of this nature should not be imposed on teachers, and anyone implementing it should be well trained and, if not experienced in the field, receive supervision.

The solution would be for the department to assign social workers to schools in different districts, provide them with specialised training in human relationship problems and sex education - which Famsa could probably offer - but who would also act as counsellors at the schools.

The department has done this the wrong way: while riding roughshod over the rights of teachers and parents, it wants to enforce a programme which, as currently conceived, is unlikely to succeed in its aims.

* Mary De Haas is a violence monitor and analyst.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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The right way to give pupils sex education - IOL

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Inovi Fertility Launches State-of-the-Art Fertility Lab in Central Houston Location – PR Web

Posted: February 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

(PRWEB) February 18, 2020

Inovi Fertility & Genetics Institute, a new boutique fertility clinic located in the heart of Houston, TX, will be launching a state-of-the-art laboratory in February as part of its advanced in vitro fertilization (IVF) and andrology treatment services.

We are excited to provide the thriving, fast-growing community of Houston with the convenience and unparalleled value of an ultra-modern, on-site fertility laboratory, said Dr. Stephan Krotz, founder of Inovi. Our clients will benefit from being able to receive both comprehensive care and innovative lab services all under one roof.

The Inovi Fertility & Genetics Institute, which has been open and actively seeing patients since last fall, has already distinguished itself by taking an integrative approach towards assisted reproductive techniques (ART). They provide both basic and advanced fertility care, fertility preservation treatments, and third-party reproduction services, including egg donation and surrogacy.

As a boutique clinic, Inovi also offers a full suite of complementary services, such as fertility yoga sessions, as well as access to an extensive reservoir of information and resources. Our goal is not only to provide our patients with high-quality, advanced care but also to offer them a personalized concierge experience that will support them emotionally during their fertility journey, Dr. Krotz stated.

Currently, many fertility clinics in the Houston area outsource their laboratory services to medical centers and satellite offices, forcing patients to spend significant time traveling to multiple locations. Not only will Inovis integrated laboratory provide a solution to that problem, but their central location makes them easily accessible for the entire Greater Houston metropolitan region.

Built and equipped with the latest cutting-edge technologies, the Inovi laboratories will offer a vast array of diagnostic services and procedures, including:

Internationally recognized as a progressive reproductive health and fertility expert, Dr. Krotz has a notable history of using advanced technologies and methods to treat infertility. In 2009, he created the first artificial human ovary while at Brown University a medical achievement that was designated by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010. Dr. Krotz, with his experience and ability as an innovator in Reproductive Medicine, and his team are focused on bringing the patient experience to a new level and advancing the delivery of fertility care in Houston and beyond.

Prospective patients in the Greater Houston metropolitan area can start their fertility journey today and take advantage of Inovis state-of-the-art boutique facility by setting up an appointment. For more information, visit or contact the clinic at (713) 401-9000.

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Inovi Fertility Launches State-of-the-Art Fertility Lab in Central Houston Location - PR Web

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