A Belgian neurologist in a new study has found that the brain activity in transgender people is similar to that of cisgender people, more of their gender than their assigned sex at birth. Julie Bakker the led research at the University of Liege which included more than 160 MRI scans of transgender people who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria; the study involved children and teenagers. The study also included measuring brain microstructures using diffusion tensor imaging.
The scans were then compared to individuals of comparable age who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The study did find that transgender boys’ brain activity resembled cisgender boys’ and girls’ resembled cisgender girls’. It is believed that the technique could be used to assist transgender children at an earlier age.
“Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender,” said Bakker. Furthermore, she stated: “We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”
The results of the study were presented at the European Society of Endocrinology’s yearly meeting and appear to be in line with previous neurological studies that showed transgender adults appear to have similar brain structures to cisgender people of their gender.
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently published a Danish study that found people with HIV have an increased risk of developing certain types of skin cancer. There are three types of cancer that can affect the skin:
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): the most common form of skin cancer, mainly caused by excess exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light sources and most common in fair-skinned people. These cancers start in the lower level of the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): similar to BCC but starting in the upper layer of the skin.
Malignant melanoma (MM): a less common but more aggressive type of skin cancer, caused by sun exposure and ultraviolet light.
Researchers examined those with HIV and found that they are twice as likely to develop BCC, five times likely to develop SCC. To researched compared 4,280 participants to the general Danish Population (21,399 controls). “This unique study design using high-quality, population-based nationwide data enabled us to address potential confounding by skin type and family-related sun behavior, and to provide data on skin cancer risk in HIV-infected patients from more northern parts of the world,” said researchers in a report by NAM AIDSmap.
“The increased risk of BCC was restricted to patients reporting MSM [men who have sex with men] as the route of HIV. There seemed to be an association between immunosuppression and SCC-risk for [HIV-positive] patients. The risk of MM was not increased when compared with the background population, but [the] low number of MM cases makes definitive conclusion difficult.”
Because of advancements in antiretroviral therapy people with HIV are living longer healthier lives and AIDS-related cancers (Kaposi Sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma) have decreased since the 1990s. However, the rates of other malignancies no typically associated with HIV-related issues are increasing.
The research is unclear if HIV can be attributed to increased risks of skin cancer. Skin cancer is mostly caused by exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light, but a suppressed immune my increase the risk. “One could argue that the increased risk of BCC might be driven primarily by sun exposure or sunbed use in youth/adulthood not accounted for by the sibling model since previous data suggest that [HIV-positive] MSM might have increased recreational UV-exposure,” suggest the authors.
Most skin cancers are treated by surgery with a good prognosis after treatment. The key is to get regular check-ups and if cancer is present have it treated in an early state.
Watching porn all of the time might cause the brain to literally rewire itself. Triggering the brain to produce chemicals and form new nerve pathways, leading to lasting changes to your brain. Several studies have shown that frequently viewing pornography causes the brain to be less active and smaller in some areas.
Can porn change your brain? Studies have shown a correlation between consumption and less active and smaller brains. It's important to understand that your brain is continually's changing throughout your lifetime and is constantly rewiring itself and producing new nerve connection. The brain is made up of about 100 billion unique nerves called neurons, which carry electrical signals back and forth between parts of your brain and your body.
Look at it this way. Neuronal pathways are like many trails in the woods. Each time you use the trail it gets wider and more permanent. So, when messages travel down a neuronal pathway, it gets stronger. Our brains is a very hungry organ, while it's only 2% of your body weight, it eats up 20% of our energy and oxygen. Within the brain, there is fierce competition between brain pathways and the ones that don't get used enough most likely get replaced. Like that old saying "either use it or lose it" or "only the strong survive."
That’s where porn comes in.
Porn creates new, and long-lasting pathways within the brain. It is so ferocious that most activity can compete with it, including sex with someone real. It's no joke that porn can and will overpower the brains' natural ability to have real sex! Why is that? "porn creates the perfect conditions and triggers the release of the right chemicals to make lasting changes in the brain," explains Dr. Norman Doidge, a researcher at Columbia University.
The forming and conditions of strong neuronal pathways are called "flow". This is a satisfying state of focused attention. So when you're in the flow, it gets so deep that nothing else seems to matter. Your focus is on what you doing, and you lose track of time, everything sees to disappears, and you need more and more porn to create the process of "flow." So, your sitting in front of your computer (or on your phone) looking at porn. You become so absorbed in porn that nothing else can compete for your attention, not even going to sleep. This is the perfect condition for you to form new neuronal pathways, and that's what your brain is doing. Every time you click from movie to movie trying to find that perfect scene, you are reinforcing the pathways that are created in the brain.
Like any addictive behavior or substance, porn activates a part of your brain called the reward center, and this will trigger the release of a so-called cocktail of several chemicals that gives you a temporary buzz. One of the main components of that cocktail is a protein called DeltaFosB.
DeltaFosB is extremely important for learning any kind of new skill, is can also lead to compulsive/addictive behaviors, more so in adolescents. It is also referred to as "the molecular switch for addiction," once it builds up, it starts to switch on genes that create long-term craving, wanting you to grave porn more and more. Once released, DeltaFosB isn't going to go away anytime soon, it can remain around for weeks or months, which is why when you watch porn repeatedly you develop strong cravings long after you have stopped.
There is good news, neuroplasticity works in both directions. If you don't reinforce the porn pathways, they will over time disappear, so the pathways for porn can be replaced with something else.
There is a reason why the porn industry is so successful, and why they have overloaded the internet with porn, if you are addicted, you're going to continue to watch.
Lewis, M. (2017). Addiction And The Brain: Development, Not Disease. Neuroethics. 1-12. Doi:10.1007/S12152-016-9293-4; Hall, P., (2014). Sex Addiction—An Extraordinarily Contentious Problem. Sexual And Relationship Therapy, 29(1) 68-75. Doi:10.1080/14681994.2013.861898
Hilton, D.L, & Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective, Surgical Neurology International 2, 19. Doi:10.4103/2152-7806.76977
Meerkerk, G.J., Van Den Eijnden, R.J., & Garretsen, H.F. (2006). Predicting Compulsive Internet Use: It’s All About Sex!, CyberPsychology And Behavior, 9(1), 95-103. Doi:10.1089/Cpb.2006.9.95; See Also Korkeila, J., Kaarlas, S., Jaaskelainen, M, Vahlberg, T., Taiminen, T. (2010). Attached To The Web—Harmful Use Of The Internet And Its Correlates. European Psychiatry 25(4) 236-241. Doi: 10.1016/J.Eurpsy.2009.02.008 (Finding “Adult Entertainment” To Be The Most Common Reason For Compulsive Internet Use.)
Holden, C. (2001). Behavioral Addictions: Do They Exist? Science 294(5544), 980. Doi: 10.1126/Science.294.5544.980
Voon, V., Et Al. (2014). Neural Correlates Of Sexual Cue Reactivity In Individuals With And Without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), E102419. Doi:10.1371/Journal.Pone.0102419; Olsen, C. M., (2011). Natural Rewards, Neuroplasticity, And Non-Drug Addictions. Neuropharmacology, 61, 1109-1122. Doi:10.1016/J.Neuropharm.2011.03.010; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449. Doi:10.1038/Nn1578
Grindr is trying to handle the negative publicity over sharing users' HIV data. The popular hookup app has announced plans to remind users to get tested for HIV and has offered free advertising to clinics and LGBT centers that provide free testing.
HIV is still considered a global epidemic, there has been a rise in sexually transmitted infections that can be tracked to the uses of PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a drug taken once a day and when property used is almost 100% effective in preventing HIV transmission. Doctor's still caution patients to use condoms while on PreP, however, many gay men treat it as license to throw caution to the wind and just have bareback sex.
A stark report completed by the University of California of Los Angeles (UCLA) found a direct link between the use of PreP and a drastic increase in STI's. To make matters worse most gay men believe that STI's and HIV can be easily cured. For example, herpes cannot be treated with antibiotics, and some infections are now developing resistance to antibiotics, such as "super gonorrhea," or multidrug-resistant gonorrhea.
So if Grindr is interested in the health of the LGBT community then shouldn't they focus on STI's as a whole and not just HIV? The plain fact remains that while people will get tested for HIV and community centers many gay and bi men still define 'disease" in terms of HIV, while the STI's issue just remains in the background.
But issues with Grindr don't just stop there (along with other hook-up apps), as most of these apps pride themselves on shirtless (sometimes nude) photos men, might contribute to high rates of depression, body sysmorphia, and eating disorders to 3.6 million users (Grindr).There are a few professional studies that have been conducted to offer analysis and the effects of gay social media sites on mental health. But since most funding goes to HIV research very little finds it's way to other LGBT public issues. Grindr could in effect pressure medial professionals to study LGBT health on a broader scope.
With millions of users worldwide, Grinder has positioned itself to broaden the framework of LGBT health and address issues that might never receive attention.
SO, will Grindr step up to the plate and open honest dialog about STI's within the LGBT community or will the app just ignore it?
Grindr has been sharing 3.6 million daily active users' HIV statues along with other highly sensitive information with at least two outside companies. According to reports they have been sending this information to Applimize and Localytics; the information being shared was personal information (including your HIV status), along with your last tested dates.
The information was send with you GPS's data, email and phone ID; this was uncovered by Antoine Pultier a researcher at the nonprofit SINTF. “The HIV status is linked to all the other information. That’s the main issue,” Pultier told BuzzFeed News. “I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status.” James Krellenstein, a member of ACT UP New York, calls the whole thing “an extremely, extremely egregious breach of basic standards.” Further more “Grindr is a relatively unique place for openness about HIV status,” he says. “To then have that data shared with third parties that you weren’t explicitly notified about, and having that possibly threaten your health or safety–that is an extremely, extremely egregious breach of basic standards that we wouldn’t expect from a company that likes to brand itself as a supporter of the queer community.”
But wait it gets better; Grindr has also been sharing your "tribes", sexualities, ethnicties, and relationship statues to third-party advertising companies. To make matters worse the information was send via "plain text" that can easily be hacked.
“When you combine this with an app like Grindr that is primarily aimed at people who may be at risk–especially depending on the country they live in or depending on how homophobic the local populace is–this is an especially bad practice that can put their user safety at risk,” Cooper Quintin, a senior staff technologist and security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says.
Grindr released a statement stating that the reason they are sharing your health information is to improve their app. “No Grindr user information is sold to third parties,” the company says. “We pay these software vendors to utilize their services.”
The fact that Grindr is selling the information is a issue, but they are making the information available to third party companies that is a major issue. “Even if Grindr has a good contract with the third parties saying they can’t do anything with that info,” he says, “that’s still another place that that highly sensitive health information is located.” Quintin stated, and a bigger issue is “If somebody with malicious intent wanted to get that information, now instead of there being one place for that–which is Grindr–there are three places for that information to potentially become public.”
STILL WANT TO USE GRINDR?
Karl Schmid an entertainment reporter for ABC's affiliate station in Los Angeles over the weekend came out as HIV-positive in a Facebook post that has gone viral.
Hi. I’m a 37 year old HIV+ man who has been poz for almost ten years. I work in television. And on the side of the camera where, for better or worse it’s considered “taboo” for people ‘like me’ to be ‘like me’. For 10 years I’ve struggled with ‘do I or don’t I’? For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, ‘don’t! It’ll ruin you’.
Schmid decided to ignore the advice and is proud of who he is and doesn't see a reason to feel ashamed or to even hide his status. “I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted,” he writes. “So here’s what I say, stand tall, and stand proud. You can’t make everybody happy but you can make you happy.”
He concludes the heartfelt post with a few words of encouragement for other HIV-positive people:
Love me or hate me, that’s up to you. But, for anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters. Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I’m Karl Schmid, and I’m an HIV-positive man!
The support has been overwhelming and he appears to be humbled. He wrote on Twitter: “Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. For those of you who dm’d with your stories THANK YOU.”
Anal bleaching, that's out! Gay men in Thailand are starting a new trend for their nether regions, and getting their penises whitened. Lelux Hospital in Bangkok has reported that almost 100 men have had treatment, mostly identify as LGBT.
The hospital has been known for their body-whitening services and only began to offer this unique service after a customer requested to have his package lighted, after complaining of "dark parts."
Manager Bunthita Wattanasiri told AFT that a lot of people are asking about the procedure and most clients are between 22 and 55-years old and are willing to pay about $650 for five sessions. The procedure uses a tiny laser to whiten the area. "We have to be careful because it's a sensitive part of the body and can be quite painful at times," Wattanasiri said.
After the release of a man undergoing the procedure it started to get an excess of attention. While skin-whiting services are available worldwide, Channel NewAsia has reported that it's very popular in Thailand.
So would you have this done?
Three porn actors two men, and one female have claimed in a Federal law suit that they contracted HIV in 2014 while filming scenes for Kink. U.S. District Judge Dames Donato granted the insurance company a summary judgment saying a physical-sexual abuse exclusion "exempts the insurer from covering claims arising from sexual activity," according to a report in the Courthouse News. The three actors are being represented by Atain Specialty Insurance.
According to one of the actors now retired stated he was infected while filming "Bound in Public" in 2013. Another performer claims that while filming at the Armony in San Francisco, he was blindfolded and required to perform oral sex with dozens of men of the general public - "they were untested, unidentified members of the general public." He tested positive two week later. However does admit he had a cut in his mouth at the time of filming.
“The language of this exclusion is not ambiguous in the context of this policy and the circumstances of this case,” Donato wrote in his 6-page ruling. “Because the contractual language is clear and explicit, it governs.”
In a statement to Courthouse News Karen Tynan attorney for Kink.com in 2015 “None of these claims were made at the time of the shoots, and are easily refuted both by detailed shoot records, our testing protocols, and the video footage itself."
I am sure there are many points of view regarding "bareback", "risky" porn. What are your thoughts?
h/t: Courthouse News
There is no doubt that seniors in the LGBT community are isolated or discriminated. How may times have I heard men at a bar or event say "he's so old", "that man is a creep", "I would never dare be with someone that old", or even worse "he should be dead by now", "He props the bar up." No matter what is said there is this level of disrespect for seniors in the LGBT community. I've heard this 100's of time how this community is suppose to be inclusive, love one another, be there for each other, etc... And as I always say "this community is full of bullshit".
To assume that when someone reaches a certain age their no longer valuable to the community. Maybe the younger generation doesn't care to remember the past. The struggles that many in the senior community had to fight for or sacrifice. We as a community owe it to them to make sure they are taking care of, accepted, and loved. I mean when did you decide to just throw someone away because they have reached a certain age?
I came across an article Address Discrimination in Healthcare Against LGBT Elders from Within the Community, by Robert Vestees. It's an in depth look at the stigmatization LGBT seniors face in healthcare. But it's more than just health care issues that need to be addressed within the community. We have to take a hard look at care-giving issues, financial insecurity, social isolation and access to aging services.
To discard the legacy and history of LGBT seniors would be a disaster to our community. There has to be a proactive move to include senior's in our daily lives. To prove that we are more than the sum of who we are, and that we as a community take care of our own. That regardless of our age we belong, and we have value.
New Orleans is fortunate to have an organization to assist LGBT seniors. For more information contact New Orleans Advocates for LGBT Elders at noagenola.org or call (504) 517-2345.
Image purchased through istock.com and used for commercial use only.
Now I don't know about you, but I cannot stand an unclean penis. Especially if the man is uncircumcised (uncut). I mean who wants to go down there if it smells, and we have all been there. Now I understand that there are men who enjoy it unwashed, but I'm not one of them. I was surprised when someone asked me if there was a way to keep it clean. OK, after I got over my shock, I really didn't know the answer (common sense might work). Since I am cut there's never been an issue.
So in response to the question, I have put together 5 steps to keeping your Johnson clean and smelling just right! The fact that I'm even addressing this is just too funny to me, but here we go!
1. Choose a mild soap. Many soaps will contain perfumes that may cause skin irritation (sensitive skin), and some even contain cleaning agents which might be too hard to use on the genitals. For best result try using a mild, unscented soap that can be used on the body, whatever you do don't use hand soap.
3. Wash the penis. Lather up your choice of mild, unscented soap between your hands, and apply it to the testicles and shaft of the penis. The key thing to remember with an uncircumcised penis is to wash under the foreskin.
4. It is important to maintain personal hygiene, but doctors do over warn against over-washing the penis. Frequently washing, especially with soap or shower gel, can cause soreness and irritation. Therefore, you should also thoroughly dry the penis after showering/bathing. If you use talc or body powers on your testicles, resist the urge to powder the penis. Talc if it gets under your foreskin can cause irritation and discomfort.
5. Understand foreskin care. With proper care and hygiene, having an uncircumcised penis does not present any significant health problem; however, failure to clean under the foreskin can cause a buildup of oils and debris, called "smegma." Other common foreskin problems include:
Now I did consult a dermatologist to get basic information about keeping your uncut penis smelling nice, healthy and clean. For the most part it's not rocket science, and it's a pretty simple process.
Source: Peter W. Simoneaux, MD. Dermatologist. Ochsner Clinic. New Orleans, LA
Image: iStockPhoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.