Married men will eat their peas to keep the peace, but many aren’t happy about it, and may even binge on unhealthy foods away from home.
“The key to married men adopting a healthier diet is for couples to discuss and negotiate the new, healthier menu changes as a team,” says Derek Griffith, assistant professor at the School of Public Health.
This seems obvious, but most times it doesn’t happen, according to a new study called “‘She looks out for the meals, period.’ African-American men’s perceptions of how their wives influence their eating behavior and dietary health.”
Researchers conducted focus groups with 83 African-American men. The majority of men said their wives didn’t consult them when helping them to adopt a healthier diet. Even though the healthier diet was often ordered by a physician, the husbands often disliked the food changes, but to avoid conflict, they didn’t object. Men focused more on maintaining a happy home than having a say in what they ate.
In fact, the only examples found of couples negotiating healthy food choices came about to benefit the children in the home, Griffith says.
However, without that communication, those good intentions and healthy diet changes often backfired, the study found. After tasteless ground turkey for the fifth night in a row, some men would head to the all-you-can-eat buffet for “a landslide of food.”
Physicians can help by recognizing that wives play a central role in what men eat at home, Griffith says.
“Doctors could suggest that men have a tactful conversation with their wives in a way that ensures the husbands aren’t sleeping on the couch that night,” Griffith says.
Julie Ober Allen of SPH and Henry Gaines of Black Men for Social Change are co-authors.
— Laura Bailey, News Service
The antidepressant drug duloxetine, known commercially as Cymbalta, helped relieve painful tingling feelings caused by chemotherapy in 59 percent of patients, a new study finds. This is the first clinical trial to find an effective treatment for this pain.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of certain chemotherapy drugs. The tingling feeling — usually felt in the toes, feet, fingers and hands — can be uncomfortable for many patients, but for about 30 percent of patients, it’s a painful sensation. Previous studies have found no reliable way to treat this type of pain.
In the current study, which was presented last week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, researchers looked at 231 patients who reported painful neuropathy after receiving the chemotherapy drugs oxaliplatin or paclitaxel. Patients were randomly assigned to receive duloxetine or a placebo for five weeks. They were asked to report on their pain levels weekly throughout the study.
The researchers found that 59 percent of patients who received duloxetine reported reduced pain, while only 39 percent of those taking placebo did.
“These drugs don’t work in everyone. The good news is it worked in the majority of patients. We need to figure out who are the responders. If we can predict who they are, we can target the treatment to the people it’s going to work for,” said lead study author Ellen M. Lavoie Smith, assistant professor at the School of Nursing and a researcher at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Duloxetine has previously been shown to help relieve painful diabetic neuropathy. This type of antidepressant is believed to work on pain by increasing neurotransmitters that interrupt pain signals to the brain.
Additional authors are Herbert Pang, Constance Cirrincione, Dr. Stewart Fleishman, Electra D. Paskett, Tim Ahles, Dr. Camilo Fadul, Chetaye Knox and Dr. Charles L. Shapiro.
— Nicole Fawcett, Comprehensive Cancer Center
A new U-M study finds that overweight men and women responded differently to advertisements about the benefits from exercise.
Daily well-being motivates women to exercise, while weight loss and health are more motivational for men. Researchers investigated whether reading a one-page advertisement featuring one of those three reasons would influence intrinsic motivation for exercising, and whether men and women respond differently. The study, funded by National Institutes of Health, was conducted among 1,690 overweight and obese women and men between 40 and 60 years old.
“Exercise is frequently prescribed as a way to lose weight,” says Michelle Segar, associate director for the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls and research investigator at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
“But promoting activity primarily for weight loss may backfire among overweight women. Our findings suggest that featuring weight loss as the reason to exercise not only decreases intrinsic motivation, it also worsens body image. This is not true for men.”
To optimally motivate both men and women to be physically active, public health marketing and messages may need to target gender, she says.
“For men, promoting exercise for weight loss or better health may be effective. But for women, messages might be more motivating if they highlighted the connection between exercise and well-being. We should consider rebranding exercise for women,” Segar says.
Segar, who is the principle investigator, collaborated with Caroline Richardson, associate professor of family medicine at U-M and research scientist at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, assistant professor in the U-M Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, and John A. Updegraff, associate professor, Department of Psychology, Kent State University.
The findings appear in the Journal of Obesity’s current special issue on Self-regulation, Motivation, and Psychosocial Factors in Weight Management.
— Jared Wadley, News Service
Religious practices that strongly control female sexuality are more successful at promoting certainty about paternity, according to a study published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study analyzed genetic data on 1,706 father-son pairs in a traditional African population — the Dogon people of Mali, West Africa — in which Islam, two types of Christianity and an indigenous, monotheistic religion are practiced in the same families and villages.
“We found that the indigenous religion allows males to achieve a significantly lower probability of cuckoldry — 1.3 percent versus 2.9 percent,” says Beverly Strassmann, lead author of the article and a biological anthropologist at U-M.
In the traditional religion, menstrual taboos are strictly enforced, with women exiled for five nights to uncomfortable menstrual huts. Strassmann says the religion uses the ideology of pollution to ensure that women honestly signal their fertility status to men in their husband’s family.
“When a woman resumes going to the menstrual hut following her last birth, the husband’s patrilineage is informed of the imminency of conception and cuckoldry risk,” Strassmann says. “Precautions include postmenstrual copulation initiated by the husband and enhanced vigilance by his family.”
Across all four of the religions practiced by the Dogon people, Strassmann and colleagues detected father-son Y DNA mismatches in only 1.8 percent of father-son pairs, a finding that contradicts the prevailing view that traditional populations have high rates of cuckoldry. A similar rate of cuckoldry has been found in several modern populations, but a key difference is that the Dogon do not use contraception.
The study is part of Strassmann’s ongoing, 26-year study of the Dogon people.
— Diane Swanbrow, News Service
Many men with metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer live longer on continuous androgen-deprivation therapy (also known as hormone therapy) than on intermittent therapy, according to a 17-year study led by SWOG, a cancer research cooperative group funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Men with newly diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer are usually either surgically castrated or given medications to suppress the production of male hormones that drive their cancer. The treatment can help keep the disease at bay temporarily, but in the majority of patients the cancer will relapse and contribute to the patient’s death.
Surgical castration is permanent but “medical castration” provides men the potential advantage of receiving therapy intermittently. A halt in this therapy is followed in time by a rise in testosterone levels. Scientific data suggested that intermittent treatment may delay the cancer relapse, and that the rise in testosterone may result in an improvement in the patient’s quality of life.
These data provided the rationale for the phase III clinical trial SWOG-9346, the largest such study to date in men with metastatic, hormone-sensitive disease. Results of this study demonstrate that intermittent androgen-deprivation (AD) therapy is not as good as continuous hormone therapy with regard to patient longevity.
The findings were presented last week at the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting by the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Maha Hussain, associate director of clinical research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Based on these results,” Hussain says, “we can conclude that intermittent AD is not as effective as continuous AD in men with metastatic prostate cancer.”
— Nicole Fawcett, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Mark Haviland, program manager, Center for Campus Involvement, on working with students to produce a show: “I have a real ‘show-must-go-on’ mentality. It will happen … I’m a cheerleader.”
Orson Welles New Acquisitions exhibit, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Special Collections Library, through June.