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News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Testosterone is the enemy of smart investing decisions, study finds A landmark 2001 study showed that women outclassed men as investors by nearly 1% a year. Now we are coming closer to understanding why: Testosterone interferes with the male investor's brain. A new study from Caltech, Wharton, Western University and ZRT Laboratory found that men are quicker to make judgments and less likely to examine facts that might prove them wrong. Researchers gave two groups of men either a testosterone gel or a placebo. Then they asked questions designed to test their ability to reflect on facts. For instance, if a ball and a bat cost $1.10 and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost? Most people quickly say "10 cents," but that's wrong. The answer is 5 cents for the ball and $1.05 for the bat. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says Caltech Professor Colin Camerer. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" The interesting part is that, much like with investing, there was money on the line during the experiment. The test subjects were given $1 for every correct answer and additional $2 if they answered all of the questions right. It's not a startling amount, but behavioral finance researchers know that it doesn't take much cash to motivate a test taker. Nevertheless, cash wasn't enough enticement to overcome the “hurry-up” drug that is testosterone. Men in the study who got the dosed gel scored 20% fewer questions right than the men who used the placebo. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. Scientists hesitate to draw connections between unrelated studies, yet the result suggests that there's an actual reason why the 2001 study found women to be better at investing than men. Women do less trading. We know what. Lower testosterone might be the reason why. Brad Barber and Terrance Odean at the University of California Berkeley, writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that while women traded, men traded more. That extra trading costs plenty. In their words, "We believe that there is a simple and powerful explanation for high levels of trading on financial markets: overconfidence." In even earlier research, Odean showed that overconfidence, the belief that one understands with great precision the value of a security, led to more trading and, consequently, greater losses. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. If you trade more, however, the averages tend to catch up with you. That has a real cost in terms of performance. Now, 1% a year (the study found the gap between the sexes to be 94 basis points) might not sound like much, but it's huge. In a market where you might expect a portfolio to earn 8%, a steady difference of 0.94% is close to a 12.5% returns gap each year. Remember, too, that investments compound. Losses today, however small, mean you are missing money that no longer grows for you. A portfolio investment of $10,000 that generates 8% annual returns would become $100,627 over three decades. No additional saving, just compounding returns. That same portfolio earning 7.06% turns into $77,414. The performance gap here is 23%. You end up with 23% less money just by trading more. One might conclude that the answer is to hire female financial advisers. At Rebalance IRA, my firm, we absolutely support that notion and have many women advisers on our team. Yet it's just as logical to act like a woman investor and choose to tamp down the nasty effects of testosterone on your retirement investments. By relying on highly diversified, low-cost index funds you kill two birds with one stone: You jettison the extra cost trading built into most stock mutual funds and you eliminate the urge to buy and sell on your own. By all means, hire a female adviser if you can, but your first step toward retiring with more should be avoiding the testosterone trap by indexing instead. If your kids excel at these sports they’re more likely to get a scholarship Why you should learn a musical instrument as an adult


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

Guys who might not be so great at thinking things through may be able to blame their impulsiveness on testosterone, according to new research that seems to backup the old stereotype of the hot-headed guy. A new study links the sex hormone to relying on "gut instincts" over self reflection and more deliberate, slow consideration. A team of researchers set out to test the hypothesis that testosterone influences men to rely more on their instincts and intuitions at the expense of cognitive reflection, which is basically taking a moment to consider the wisdom of that initial gut reaction. The scientists from Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University, and ZRT Laboratory tested the cognitive reflection of men given doses of testosterone versus those given a placebo and found that old tropes of guys charging into battle or simply reacting in the heat of a moment aren't just a Hollywood creation. "The testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," explains Caltech Behavioral Economics professor Colin Camerer. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" We've also seen studies indicating that boosting testosterone in older women is actually useful in preventing cognitive decline, which is certainly different from cognitive reflection, but interesting nonetheless. The CalTech study was conducted using 243 men in different groups who were asked to take a cognitive reflection test that included questions like: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? The quick and intuitive answer for many people might be that the ball costs ten cents, but the correct answer is that the ball costs 5 cents. Go ahead and check the math yourself, and then perhaps check your hormone levels if you got it wrong. For a little extra incentive, the study participants were paid $1 for each correct answer and $2 extra if they answered all questions correctly. Men who received testosterone before taking the test got 20 percent fewer questions right than those who received a placebo. The group with the hormone boost also "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group," the study reads. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. More basic math tests requiring less reflection were also given to both groups as a control, and the testosterone did not seem to cause a difference between the groups in the results of those tests. Camerer notes that their results could have implications for the growing use of testosterone replacement drugs to increase sex drive in older men. "If men want more testosterone to increase sex drive, are there other effects? Do these men become too mentally bold and thinking they know things they don't?" The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

A new study reveals that testosterone makes hot-headed men snap first and ask logical questions later. The research found that men who were administered testosterone doses later performed poorly in cognitive reflection tests vis-à-vis the group, which was treated with a placebo. Testosterone is the basic male sex hormone present and is also an anabolic steroid. This particular hormone is also responsible for the development of male reproductive organs such as the prostate and testis. The hormone also enhances secondary sexual aspects in men such as increase in bone mass and muscle, as well as body hair growth. Researchers from Western University, California University of Technology, the Wharton School, and ZRT Laboratory conducted the new study. The researchers conducted an experiment to test their hypothesis. The researchers assumed that increased levels of testosterone causes men to make impulsive judgments. They hypothesized that men relied on their instincts instead of using cognitive reflection. To prove the hypothesis, the researchers conducted one of the largest, first of its kind experiment involving 243 healthy men. The subjects, who were chosen randomly, received a dosage of placebo gel or testosterone before the researchers carried out the cognitive reflection test. The participants did not have any inkling as to what type of dose was administered to them. Along with the cognitive reflection technique, a maths test was also given to the participants for motivation level, participant engagement, and to test their basic mathematics skills. The questions in the cognitive test were akin to — "a bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs one dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" The common answer that immediately strikes one is that the ball's price is 10 cents. However, this answer is wrong as then the bat's price would amount to 90 cents. The correct answer is that the bat costs $1.05 and the ball 5 cents. The test was not a time bound experiment so the participants got as much time they needed. Apart from the limitless time, they were also promised a dollar for every right answer and an extra two dollars for, if all the questions were answered correctly. The team discovered that people who relied on their gut were more prone to answering 10 cents at the first instant. However, using cognitive reflection, another may realize the initial error and give the right answer. The study also revealed that the group of men who received testosterone gel scored considerably lower vis-à-vis the group that was administered the placebo gel dose. On an average, the testosterone gel group answered 20 percent lesser questions correctly, compared to the placebo control group. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," Colin Camerer from Caltech, one of the researchers of the study, surmised. The researchers shared that the men who were administered with testosterone "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group." However, the results were not similar for the basic mathematics tests that were conducted for both groups. The scientists think that this phenomenon may be linked with testosterone's effect on increasing the confidence level in humans. The study's findings have been published in journal Psychological Science, on Friday, April 28. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A landmark 2001 study showed that women outclassed men as investors by nearly 1% a year. Now we are coming closer to understanding why: Testosterone interferes with the male investor's brain. A new study from Caltech, Wharton, Western University and ZRT Laboratory found that men are quicker to make judgments and less likely to examine facts that might prove them wrong. Researchers gave two groups of men either a testosterone gel or a placebo. Then they asked questions designed to test their ability to reflect on facts. For instance, if a ball and a bat cost $1.10 and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost? Most people quickly say "10 cents," but that's wrong. The answer is 5 cents for the ball and $1.05 for the bat. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says Caltech Professor Colin Camerer. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" The interesting part is that, much like with investing, there was money on the line during the experiment. The test subjects were given $1 for every correct answer and additional $2 if they answered all of the questions right. It's not a startling amount, but behavioral finance researchers know that it doesn't take much cash to motivate a test taker. Nevertheless, cash wasn't enough enticement to overcome the “hurry-up” drug that is testosterone. Men in the study who got the dosed gel scored 20% fewer questions right than the men who used the placebo. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. Scientists hesitate to draw connections between unrelated studies, yet the result suggests that there's an actual reason why the 2001 study found women to be better at investing than men. Women do less trading. We know what. Lower testosterone might be the reason why. Brad Barber and Terrance Odean at the University of California Berkeley, writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that while women traded, men traded more. That extra trading costs plenty. In their words, "We believe that there is a simple and powerful explanation for high levels of trading on financial markets: overconfidence." In even earlier research, Odean showed that overconfidence, the belief that one understands with great precision the value of a security, led to more trading and, consequently, greater losses. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. If you trade more, however, the averages tend to catch up with you. That has a real cost in terms of performance. Now, 1% a year (the study found the gap between the sexes to be 94 basis points) might not sound like much, but it's huge. In a market where you might expect a portfolio to earn 8%, a steady difference of 0.94% is close to a 12.5% returns gap each year. Remember, too, that investments compound. Losses today, however small, mean you are missing money that no longer grows for you. A portfolio investment of $10,000 that generates 8% annual returns would become $100,627 over three decades. No additional saving, just compounding returns. That same portfolio earning 7.06% turns into $77,414. The performance gap here is 23%. You end up with 23% less money just by trading more. One might conclude that the answer is to hire female financial advisers. At Rebalance IRA, my firm, we absolutely support that notion and have many women advisers on our team. Yet it's just as logical to act like a woman investor and choose to tamp down the nasty effects of testosterone on your retirement investments. By relying on highly diversified, low-cost index funds you kill two birds with one stone: You jettison the extra cost trading built into most stock mutual funds and you eliminate the urge to buy and sell on your own. By all means, hire a female adviser if you can, but your first step toward retiring with more should be avoiding the testosterone trap by indexing instead.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Hotheaded, impulsive men who shoot first and ask questions later are a staple of Westerns and 1970s cop films, but new research shows there might be truth to the trope. A study conducted by researchers from Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University, and ZRT Laboratory tested the hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone increase the tendency in men to rely on their intuitive judgments and reduce cognitive reflection--a decision-making process by which a person stops to consider whether their gut reaction to something makes sense. The researchers found that men given doses of testosterone performed more poorly on a test designed to measure cognitive reflection than a group given a placebo. The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says Caltech's Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics and T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience Leadership Chair. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" The study, which is one of the largest of its type ever conducted, included 243 males who were randomly selected to receive a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel before taking a cognitive reflection test. A math task was also given to control for participant engagement, motivation level, and basic math skills. The questions included on the cognitive reflection test are exemplified by the following: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? For many people, the first answer that comes to mind is that the ball costs 10 cents, but that's incorrect because then the bat costs only 90 cents more than the ball. The correct answer is that the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05. An individual prone to relying on their gut instincts would be more likely to accept their first answer of 10 cents. However, another person might realize their initial error through cognitive reflection and come up with the correct answer. Participants were not limited on time while taking the test and were offered $1 for each correct answer and an additional $2 if they answered all the questions correctly. The results show that the group that received testosterone scored significantly lower than the group that received the placebo, on average answering 20 percent fewer questions correctly. The testosterone group also "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group," the authors write. The same effect was not seen in the results of the basic math tests administered to both groups. The results "demonstrate a clear and robust causal effect of [testosterone] on human cognition and decision-making," they conclude. The researchers believe that the phenomenon they've observed can be linked to testosterone's effect of increasing confidence in humans. Testosterone is thought to generally enhance the male drive for social status, and recent studies have shown that confidence enhances status. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. Camerer says the results of the study raise questions about potential negative effects of the growing testosterone-replacement therapy industry, which is primarily aimed at reversing the decline in sex drive many middle-aged men experience. "If men want more testosterone to increase sex drive, are there other effects? Do these men become too mentally bold and thinking they know things they don't?" The paper is titled "Single dose testosterone administration impairs cognitive reflection in men." Co-authors are Camerer's former graduate student Gideon Nave (PhD '16), now at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Amos Nadler of Western University in Canada; and David Zava of ZRT Laboratory. Funding for the study came from the MacArthur Foundation, Ivey Business School, International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, Russell Sage Foundation, USC, INSEAD, and the Stockholm School of Economics.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Hotheaded, impulsive men who shoot first and ask questions later are a staple of Westerns and 1970s cop films, but new research shows there might be truth to the trope. A study conducted by researchers from Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University, and ZRT Laboratory tested the hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone increase the tendency in men to rely on their intuitive judgments and reduce cognitive reflection—a decision-making process by which a person stops to consider whether their gut reaction to something makes sense. The researchers found that men given doses of testosterone performed more poorly on a test designed to measure cognitive reflection than a group given a placebo. The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says Caltech's Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics and T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience Leadership Chair. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" The study, which is one of the largest of its type ever conducted, included 243 males who were randomly selected to receive a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel before taking a cognitive reflection test. A math task was also given to control for participant engagement, motivation level, and basic math skills. The questions included on the cognitive reflection test are exemplified by the following: "A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" For many people, the first answer that comes to mind is that the ball costs 10 cents, but that's incorrect because then the bat costs only 90 cents more than the ball. The correct answer is that the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05. An individual prone to relying on their gut instincts would be more likely to accept their first answer of 10 cents. However, another person might realize their initial error through cognitive reflection and come up with the correct answer. Participants were not limited on time while taking the test and were offered $1 for each correct answer and an additional $2 if they answered all the questions correctly. The results show that the group that received testosterone scored significantly lower than the group that received the placebo, on average answering 20 percent fewer questions correctly. The testosterone group also "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group," the authors write. The same effect was not seen in the results of the basic math tests administered to both groups. The results "demonstrate a clear and robust causal effect of [testosterone] on human cognition and decision-making," they conclude. The researchers believe that the phenomenon they've observed can be linked to testosterone's effect of increasing confidence in humans. Testosterone is thought to generally enhance the male drive for social status, and recent studies have shown that confidence enhances status. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. Camerer says the results of the study raise questions about potential negative effects of the growing testosterone-replacement therapy industry, which is primarily aimed at reversing the decline in sex drive many middle-aged men experience. "If men want more testosterone to increase sex drive, are there other effects? Do these men become too mentally bold and thinking they know things they don't?"


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Hotheaded, impulsive men who shoot first and ask questions later are a staple of Westerns and 1970s cop films, but new research shows there might be truth to the trope. A study conducted by researchers from Caltech, the Wharton School, Western University, and ZRT Laboratory tested the hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone increase the tendency in men to rely on their intuitive judgments and reduce cognitive reflection—a decision-making process by which a person stops to consider whether their gut reaction to something makes sense. The researchers found that men given doses of testosterone performed more poorly on a test designed to measure cognitive reflection than a group given a placebo. The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. "What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong," says Caltech's Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics and T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience Leadership Chair. "The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that 'I'm definitely right.'" The study, which is one of the largest of its type ever conducted, included 243 males who were randomly selected to receive a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel before taking a cognitive reflection test. A math task was also given to control for participant engagement, motivation level, and basic math skills. The questions included on the cognitive reflection test are exemplified by the following: "A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" For many people, the first answer that comes to mind is that the ball costs 10 cents, but that's incorrect because then the bat costs only 90 cents more than the ball. The correct answer is that the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05. An individual prone to relying on their gut instincts would be more likely to accept their first answer of 10 cents. However, another person might realize their initial error through cognitive reflection and come up with the correct answer. Participants were not limited on time while taking the test and were offered $1 for each correct answer and an additional $2 if they answered all the questions correctly. The results show that the group that received testosterone scored significantly lower than the group that received the placebo, on average answering 20 percent fewer questions correctly. The testosterone group also "gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group," the authors write. The same effect was not seen in the results of the basic math tests administered to both groups. The results "demonstrate a clear and robust causal effect of [testosterone] on human cognition and decision-making," they conclude. The researchers believe that the phenomenon they've observed can be linked to testosterone's effect of increasing confidence in humans. Testosterone is thought to generally enhance the male drive for social status, and recent studies have shown that confidence enhances status. "We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you're more confident, you'll feel like you're right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes," Camerer says. Camerer says the results of the study raise questions about potential negative effects of the growing testosterone-replacement therapy industry, which is primarily aimed at reversing the decline in sex drive many middle-aged men experience. "If men want more testosterone to increase sex drive, are there other effects? Do these men become too mentally bold and thinking they know things they don't?"


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Men who took high doses of testosterone performed worse on a test designed to measure cognitive reflection—the process in which we stop to consider if our gut reactions are right. “What we found was the testosterone group was quicker to make snap judgments on brain teasers where your initial guess is usually wrong,” says Colin Camerer, professor of behavioral economics and leadership chair of the T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience at the Caltech. “The testosterone is either inhibiting the process of mentally checking your work or increasing the intuitive feeling that ‘I’m definitely right.'” The study, which is one of the largest of its type ever conducted, included 243 men who were randomly selected to receive a dose of testosterone gel or placebo gel before taking a cognitive reflection test. A math task was also given to control for participant engagement, motivation level, and basic math skills. The following question exemplifies those on the cognitive reflection test: “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” For many people, the first answer that comes to mind is that the ball costs 10 cents, but that’s incorrect because then the bat costs only 90 cents more than the ball. The correct answer is that the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05. An individual prone to relying on their gut instincts would be more likely to accept their first answer of 10 cents. However, another person might realize their initial error through cognitive reflection and come up with the correct answer. Participants were not limited on time while taking the test and were offered $1 for each correct answer and an additional $2 if they answered all the questions correctly. The results show that the group that received testosterone scored significantly lower than the group that received the placebo, on average answering 20 percent fewer questions correctly. The testosterone group also “gave incorrect answers more quickly, and correct answers more slowly than the placebo group,” the authors write. The same effect was not seen in the results of the basic math tests administered to both groups. The results “demonstrate a clear and robust causal effect of [testosterone] on human cognition and decision-making,” they conclude. The researchers believe that the phenomenon they’ve observed can be linked to testosterone’s effect of increasing confidence in humans. Testosterone is thought to generally enhance the male drive for social status, and recent studies have shown that confidence enhances status. “We think it works through confidence enhancement. If you’re more confident, you’ll feel like you’re right and will not have enough self-doubt to correct mistakes,” Camerer says. Camerer says the results of the study raise questions about potential negative effects of the growing testosterone-replacement therapy industry, which is primarily aimed at reversing the decline in sex drive many middle-aged men experience. “If men want more testosterone to increase sex drive, are there other effects? Do these men become too mentally bold and thinking they know things they don’t?” The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. Coauthors are from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Western University in Canada; and ZRT Laboratory. Funding for the study came from the MacArthur Foundation, Ivey Business School, International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, Russell Sage Foundation, USC, INSEAD, and the Stockholm School of Economics.


News Article | November 6, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Hey new moms, don't put down that can of spinach just yet. A research team led by UNLV medical anthropologists found that eating encapsulated human placenta, a practice known as placentophagy, may not be as good a source of dietary iron for postpartum mothers as proponents suggest. The breakthrough placebo-controlled pilot study, the first of its kind on the increasingly popular practice, was published online Nov. 3 in The Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health. "The current study suggests that encapsulated placenta supplementation neither significantly improves, nor impairs, postpartum maternal iron status for women consuming the recommended daily allowance of dietary iron during pregnancy/lactation, compared to a beef placebo," the authors noted. The findings are important as iron demands are especially high during pregnancy, and iron deficiency during pregnancy and immediately after delivery is a common problem for mothers. Physicians often advise women to take iron supplements to prevent or reverse iron-deficiency during pregnancy and immediately after giving birth. Advocates of placentophagy often point to the organ's high iron content as a primary benefit. Laura Gryder, a former UNLV medical anthropology graduate student and lead author of the paper, explained the team's findings are especially important for women who are both iron deficient postpartum and whose only source of supplemental dietary iron is encapsulated placenta. By foregoing other sources, these women are likely not getting the supplemental boost they need to help iron levels rebound to normal levels. Placentophagy is an increasingly popular trend in industrialized countries throughout Europe, in Australia and in the U.S.. Proponents of the practice often reference placentophagy's common occurrence among nearly all mammals in nature, and they suggest it offers numerous benefits to human mothers too, including increased energy, improved mood, and more rapid postpartum recovery. Although precise numbers are not currently available, UNLV medical anthropologist and senior co-author Daniel Benyshek estimates there are likely tens of thousands of women in the U.S. alone who practice maternal placentophagy every year. And while the practice was first noted in home birth settings, it has been spreading to hospital births. "Human placentophagy appears to be an increasingly popular practice in the US and abroad, and yet almost no clinical studies have been conducted to assess its possible health benefits or risks. While there may indeed be other benefits for women who eat their placenta after birth, the common practice of consuming the placenta in capsule form in the first few weeks after delivery does not appear to significantly improve iron levels for new mothers," Benyshek said. Twenty-three women completed the three-week study. Ten women took placenta capsules three times a day for the first four days, followed by two times a day for the next eight days, and once a day for the next nine days postpartum. Thirteen of the women followed the same schedule, but were given a placebo pill containing dehydrated beef. Blood tests were taken just before and soon after childbirth and at roughly one and three weeks post partum. The tests revealed no significant differences in the iron status of the women in the two groups over the three-week postpartum period. The current study was part of a larger research project assessing the effects of eating the placenta on a host of postpartum measures, including maternal mood, fatigue, and hormone levels, compared to a placebo. Results from that larger study are still being analyzed, according to Sharon Young, one of the study leaders and coauthors. UNLV partnered with researchers from Nevada State College and ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton Oregon for the study. Study authors include Laura K. Gryder, a former graduate student in anthropology at UNLV and currently a Program Director at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Sharon Young, a former UNLV graduate student in anthropology and current Program Coordinator for the UNLV Office of Undergraduate Research, Daniel C. Benyshek, Professor of Anthropology, UNLV, David Zava and Wendy Norris with ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton, Oregon, and Chad L. Cross, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Nevada State College.


Zava T.T.,ZRT Laboratory | Zava D.T.,ZRT Laboratory
Thyroid Research | Year: 2011

Japanese iodine intake from edible seaweeds is amongst the highest in the world. Predicting the type and amount of seaweed the Japanese consume is difficult due to day-to-day meal variation and dietary differences between generations and regions. In addition, iodine content varies considerably between seaweed species, with cooking and/or processing having an influence on iodine content. Due to all these factors, researchers frequently overestimate, or underestimate, Japanese iodine intake from seaweeds, which results in misleading and potentially dangerous diet and supplementation recommendations for people aiming to achieve the same health benefits seen by the Japanese. By combining information from dietary records, food surveys, urine iodine analysis (both spot and 24-hour samples) and seaweed iodine content, we estimate that the Japanese iodine intake - largely from seaweeds - averages 1,000-3,000 g/day (1-3 mg/day). © 2011 Zava and Zava; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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