Stress hormone may help explain health advantages of marriage

Married couples may be healthier than single, divorced or widowed adults at least in part because they have lower levels of a stress hormone associated with a variety of medical problems, a recent study suggests. Previous research has linked marriage to a longer life and other health benefits, which could be due to the relationship itself or to other factors like higher household income, better medical insurance or improved access to care. The current study, however, offers fresh insight into another possible benefit of marriage: less stress. For the study, researchers tested levels of cortisol, a hormone released under stress, in 572 healthy men and women aged 21 to 55. They found married i

U.S. panel gives yellow light to human embryo gene editing

Editing the DNA of a human embryo to prevent a disease in a baby could be ethically allowable one day—but only in rare circumstances and with safeguards in place, says a widely anticipated report released today. The report from an international committee convened by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine in Washington, D.C., concludes that such a clinical trial “might be permitted, but only following much more research” on risks and benefits, and “only for compelling reasons and under strict oversight.” Those situations could be limited to couples who both have a serious genetic disease and for whom embryo editing is “really the last reasonable optio

Obese Couples Take Longer to Conceive, Study Finds

Couples who are both obese may have a harder time conceiving a child than couples who are both at a healthy weight, researchers reported this week. And obese couples struggle more with fertility than couples where only one person is obese, the team at the National Institutes of Health found. Women who are too fat or too thin have long been told they may find it harder to conceive, but this new study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, shows the effect is far stronger when both the man and the woman are obese. "Overall, obese couples were found to have approximately half the fecundability as couples with normal BMI," Rajeshwari Sundaram of the National Institute of Child Health and

When it comes to school, harsh parenting can backfire

Most of us modern parents worry at some point (maybe daily!) whether we are parenting our kids the right way. At a time when we see countless examples of helicopter parenting and entitled children who can't cope with setbacks, there are plenty of reasons to be asking ourselves if we're firm enough with our kids. But a new study in the journal Child Development shows how being too firm, to the point of being harsh -- which includes yelling, hitting and shoving and using other verbal and physical threats as punishment -- could negatively impact our children's ability to succeed in high school and college. Previous research has showed how hitting children can lead to them to be more aggressive

Could we one day make babies from only skin cells?

In the not-so-distant future, research suggests, eggs and sperm may no longer be needed to make a baby -- at least not in the traditional way. In 2016, scientists in Japan revealed the birth of mice from eggs made from a parent's skin cells, and many researchers believe the technique could one day be applied to humans. The process, called in vitro gametogenesis, allows eggs and sperm to be created in a culture dish in the lab. Adult cells, such as skin cells, can be reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells and are then known as induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can be stimulated to grow into eggs or sperm, which in turn are used to form an embryo for implantation into an ad

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