4 Specialized Dating Sites for People With Health Concerns

Online dating is now a $2 billion business. Whether you’re looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, there are plenty of dating websites and apps to find him. But what do you do if you’re looking for something a little more…specific?

For people with certain health conditions or concerns, it can be hard to meet new people on traditional sites like OkCupid and Tinder because they might worry about how soon to tell their potential partners about their diagnosis.

That’s just one of the many reasons Olivia Cantu and her mother, Kristen Fitzpatrick, started SpectrumSingles.com, a dating and social media site for people on the autism spectrum. People with autism may be worried about the perceived stigma surrounding their diagnosis or just the awkwardness of telling someone about it on a non-autistic dating site, Cantu told Buzzfeed News. “Do I tell them I’m autistic from the beginning? Will they still like me after they find out?”

RELATED: 10 Tips for Dating With Depression

Both Cantu and Fitzpatrick are on the spectrum, and while there are already plenty of online communities for people with autism, the mother-daughter duo were disappointed to find that none of the website owners actually have the disorder. “We wanted to create a website that brought together people on the spectrum for dating and friendships, but also be able to differentiate people’s spectrum traits,” Cantu told BuzzFeed News.

On Spectrum Singles, users with similar attributes are matched based on a 184-question test the duo created called the Spectrum Compatibility Test. As people with the condition themselves, Cantu and Fitzgerald recognize how unique each person with autism is, and made sure the community reflected that.

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“For example, just because someone is on the spectrum, does not mean they have social anxiety,” Cantu said. “I myself and many other people on the spectrum are uncomfortable with physical affection. Most other dating sites do not include a question about this, but it can be very important.”

Turns out, Spectrum Singles isn’t the only specialized dating site. Here are three more health-focused places to find your next coffee date.

Sober

It often seems like the only place to meet new people IRL (or have a first date) is at a bar. But there are tons of people who are uninterested in alcohol, or are working to stay sober following an addiction. The app Sober (Free, iTunes) brings those people together. Like Tinder, Sober is a location-based app where users can find similarly minded people around them and connect sans alcohol. Right now the app is only available in San Francisco, but the designers are working on expanding to more cities by the end of this year.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Telling Your Partner a Health Secret

Allergic Attraction

If you’re one of the many people suffering from a severe peanut allergy, you know how awkward it is to ask your date if they ate a PB&J before you indulge in a little PDA. Also: wouldn’t it be nice to go out to dinner with someone who understands you really can’t eat soy or gluten? Allergic Attraction takes the awkwardness (and risk factor!) out of it. Members can join groups based on their allergy (think shellfish, soy, wheat, and more) to find their perfect match.

RELATED: 13 Reasons to Have More Sex

Dating4Disabled

Some people with disabilities are looking for partners or friends who really understand the daily struggles (and triumphs) of being in a wheelchair or having another disability. Dating4Disabled is a free online community that answers that need. Users can create a profile and post in the public forums and send private messages to get to know one another.

RELATED: 20 Weird Facts About Sex and Love

Ending a Text Message With a Period Makes You Seem Less Sincere, Study Finds

You may feel as if topping off your texts with a period makes you sound extra sophisticated (not to mention grammatically correct). But it turns out, you could just be coming off like you’ve got an attitude to your pal on the receiving end.

Folks do in fact interpret punctuation use in text message exchanges, according to a study recently published in Computers in Human Behavior, and text messages with periods are perceived as less sincere.

A team of researchers at Binghamton University recruited 126 undergraduate students to assess 16 non-verbal exchanges in the form of either texts or handwritten notes. In each conversation, the sender’s message kicked off with a statement, followed by an invitation in the form of a question (think, “Dave gave me his extra tickets. Wanna come?”). The receiver’s response was an abrupt, one-word response, like “Okay,” “Sure,” or “Yeah.”

They experimented with two versions of each exchange, one in which the receiver’s answer didn’t end with any punctuation, and one in which the receiver’s response ended with a period. The results? Students tended to rate text messages with periods as less sincere than those sans periods.

RELATED: Why Inappropriate Texting Is Officially Out of Control

Following the initial study, the team, led by Celia Klin, PhD, tested out whether exclamation points would sway the results. They found that the mark did in fact make texts come off as more sincere, rather than less sincere, like the period.

The findings weren’t all that surprising, Klin, who is an associate professor of psychology and the associate dean at Binghamton University’s Harpur College, said in a press release.

“Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on,” she explained. “People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting … it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them—emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”

RELATED: How Texting Can Seriously Mess Up Your Spine

Loneliness Could Become an Even Bigger Public Health Threat Than Obesity

Everybody experiences loneliness from time to time. But a new study suggests that in recent years, people have felt increasingly lonely and isolated—and the physical and psychological ramifications of all this solo time could prove to be a bigger health threat than the obesity epidemic.

The idea that having fewer social connections can lead to poorer health is not new. But the research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, two meta-analyses of previous data covering 218 studies, made a stronger case that it’s a major public health issue.

The first meta-analyses looked at previous study results covering more than 300,000 people and found that those with higher social interactions decreased their risk for early death by 50%. The second reviewed prior study data on over 3.4 million people and concluded that social isolation, including living alone, caused the risk of premature death to surge—and this had a greater impact on dying early than obesity.

RELATED: The Secret to Happiness, According to Yoga

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University and lead author of the study, in a press release. 

Finding yourself unable to connect with others is never a fun feeling, but it’s an inescapable human condition, Igor Galynker, MD, associate chairman for research in the department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, tells Health. “Socialization activates our reward circuitry and is mentally rewarding, so the absence of such creates a withdrawal similar to feelings of hunger with food,” Dr. Galynker says.

Still, a number of things can affect how often or deeply a person experiences loneliness. People who suffer from or anxiety are likely to feel isolated on a grander scale, since loneliness is a state of mind, says Dr. Galynker, adding that a happy person with five social interactions a day may feel connected, while a depressed person with the same five social interactions may feel isolated and disconnected from others. 

RELATED: Why Having a Best Friend Is Good for Your Health, According to Science

How often and how deeply a person feels lonely is inherited to a degree, says Dr. Galynker, but environmental factors also play a role in determining isolation’s effect on an entire population. In the United States, people tend to value individualism and self-resilience more than other parts of the world, he says. This cultural mindset normalizes living alone, while other cultures value extended families and spend their entire lives living with their children or grandchildren. A culture that lessens the value of social interaction results in less people who interact with others, he adds.

Social media plays a role, too. While the elderly have been shown to benefit from increased communication via the internet, those who naturally gravitate toward isolation become more lonely the more they use social media. “They substitute the internet for human contact and are more likely to develop an internet addiction,” says Dr. Galynker. 

So when is loneliness natural and when is it life-threatening? “If you feel lonely and reach out to people to alleviate loneliness, that’s fine. But if it doesn’t work, you need to see a psychiatrist or therapist to find out if it’s something more,” says Dr. Galynker, like a mood or anxiety disorder.

RELATED: Can Social Media Sites Leave You Socially Isolated?

The best way to cope with feeling isolated is asking for help and support, says Dr. Galynker, but people who are actually lonely feel difficulty doing this. “They shun uplifting situations. Actually reaching out is associated with fear of rejection and more stress. But if they are able to [reach out] they will feel less rejected and more likely to reach out in the future,” he says.

Consider this advice next time you’ve been solo for a while and are craving face time with friends and family, or if you suspect someone in your circle might be dealing with isolation and needs a hand to help pull her out.

Is Your Doctor Laughing at You Behind Your Back?

You’re sick, in the hospital, or maybe even undergoing surgery. The last thing you want to contemplate is the thought that your doctor might be making fun of your tattoos while you’re anesthetized.

But does it happen? Yes. According to a survey of doctors starting a residency in internal medicine, 17% had—along with their colleagues—made fun of a patient, sometimes when the patient was under.

Egad. Is nothing sacred? The good news, though, is that 94% of the 110 medical interns who took the anonymous survey realized that such behavior was inappropriate, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That means that only seven doctors in the survey thought that type of behavior was A-OK.

I guess it’s not that surprising, given the behavior of our on-air favorites. From Grey’s Anatomy to House, the overwhelming warts-and-all portrait seems to be this: Doctors are human. They fall in love, they get angry, and they like a good chuckle—sometimes at the patient’s expense.

Is it so surprising that some of those bad on-air behaviors might occur in real life too?

Next: Is unprofessional behavior more common than in the past?

Is unprofessional behavior more common than in the past?Television shows from yesteryear, such as Marcus Welby, M.D., and Dr. Kildare, presented doctors as somber and ultraprofessional, but that doesn’t mean that unprofessional behavior is a new problem, says study author Vineet Arora, MD, an assistant dean at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

“Those shows projected a much more professional image,” she tells me, but “to say that this is a new phenomenon would not be correct.”

Learning respect and discretion are part of the so-called hidden curriculum—all of the things doctors learn on-the-job that don’t have to do with diagnosing and treating diseases.

Hospitals want to make sure that more seasoned doctors don’t promote or perpetuate unprofessional behavior and that newly minted MDs—like those surveyed—learn what is appropriate and inappropriate by the time they finish their residency, the training period after medical school.

While the teaching hospitals aren’t trying to drain all the humor out of the residency experience, they want to teach doctors where to draw the line. “I do think there are examples of really good-natured humor that is therapeutic, but not at someone’s expense,” she says.

And laughter at a patient’s expense could compromise care, says Dr. Arora.

“What if you were a patient and someone made fun of you behind your back?” she says. “You trust somebody to care for you and you would wonder about their ability to be objective and truly care for you.”

Dr. Arora couldn’t say whether the behavior of TV doctors—such as Dr. House—influences real-life doctors in any way. “That’s an interesting question,” she says. But TV programs do influence the public’s image of doctors.

“Certainly media portrayal of physicians definitely has an impact on the public perception of physicians,” she says.

Next: Burnout may contribute to unprofessional behavior

Burnout may contribute to unprofessional behaviorDr. Arora suspects that sleep deprivation and burnout are part of the problem. Doctors who behave unprofessionally, she explains, might have troubles of their own.

“There’s a lot of good data to suggest that people who are sleep-deprived in these settings do have more staff conflicts and burnouts and could possibly even further exacerbate unprofessional behavior,” she says.

And there are more serious behavioral problems—aside from laughing at patients.

The survey included questions about behavior that is frowned upon, such as attending a pharmaceutical-sponsored dinner or social event (69%), as well as behaviors that are considered egregious, including falsifying patient records (13%), and reporting patient test results as “normal” when unsure of the true results (10%).

“Those are examples that would compromise patient safety,” Dr. Arora says.

An unprofessional demeanor in residency could spell trouble for your entire career, she adds. Research has shown that those with poor ratings on professional behavior early in their careers are at greater risk of disciplinary action later on.

By Theresa Tamkins

(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)


Related Links:Physician “Professional Courtesy”The Doctor Is In, but He’s Almost Always LateGo Ahead, Email Your Doctor as Long as It’s Not SeriousHow to Get Your Doctor to Take Your Pain Seriously


‘Bonding Gene’ Could Help Men Stay Married

MONDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) — Whether a man has one type of gene versus another could help decide whether he’s good “husband material,” a new study suggests.

A study of Swedish twin brothers found that differences in a gene modulating the hormone vasopressin were strongly tied to how well each man fared in marriage.

“Our main finding was an association between a variant of the vasopressin receptor 1a gene and how strong bonds men reported they had to their partners,” said lead researcher Hasse Walum, of the department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “Men carrying this variant scored on average lower on a scale measuring the strength of the bond compared to men not carrying this variant.”

Women married to men carrying the “poorer bonding” form of the gene also reported “lower scores on levels of marital quality than women married to men not carrying this variant,” Walum noted.

His team published its findings in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

Walum’s team first got interested in the role of vasopressin and bonding among males when studying a rodent, the vole. “Studies in voles have shown that the hormone vasopressin is released in the brain of males during mating,” Walum explained.

Vasopressin activates the brain’s reward system, and “you could say that mating-induced vasopressin release motivates male voles to interact with females they have mated with,” Walum said. “This is not a sexual motivation, but rather a sort of prolonged social motivation.” In other words, the more vasopressin in the brain, the more male voles want to stick around and mingle with the female after copulation is through. This effect “is more pronounced in the monogamous voles,” Walum noted.

But voles and humans are very different species, so would the same effect hold true for men?

To find out, the Swedish team zeroed in the vasopressin 1a gene, which is shared by both species. Variations in this gene strongly influence vasopressin activity in the male vole, so Walum wondered if it might do the same for men.

To find out, his team looked for variants of the vasopressin 1a gene among 552 pairs of male twins enrolled in Sweden’s ongoing Twin and Offspring Study. All of the men were currently in a relationship that had lasted at least five years, although about 18 percent of the men remained unmarried. The men were subjected to psychological tests assessing their ability to bond and commit, and the researchers also interviewed the men’s spouses when possible.

They found that men with a certain variant, known as an allele, of the vasopressin 1a gene, called 334, tended to score especially low on a standard psychological test called the Partner Bonding Scale. They were also less likely to be married than men carrying another form of the gene. And carrying two copies of the 334 allele doubled the odds that the men had undergone some sort of marital crisis (for example, the threat of divorce) over the past year.

All of these findings “make sense,” said Dr. John Lucas, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He said it’s well known that genes help drive much of human behavior, including mate bonding.

But the vasopressin 1a gene is likely not the only factor influencing a man’s ability to form true and lasting bonds, he added.

“It’s unlikely to be a single gene [at work] — it’s likely to be multiple genes that are expressed incompletely and interact with the environment,” said Lucas, who is also a psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He pointed out that what psychologists call “temperament” — the individual palette of emotions and behaviors that even babies display — is probably “hard-wired” by our genetics. “But temperament, through training and experience, becomes personality,” Lucas said. “And personality is a complicated situation, of course, and it involves the ability to commit.”

So, it’s too early for men to blame their inability to commit on a single gene, although Lucas guesses it’s an excuse that’s “certainly going to be used.”

For his part, Walum agreed that men and their spouses shouldn’t read too much into the finding.

“Taken together, the effect of the gene variant that we have studied on human pair-bonding behavior is rather small, and it can not, with any real accuracy, be used to predict how someone will behave in a future relationship,” he said.

Walum also noted that the finding would probably not be applicable to women, since vasopressin appears to be tied to social bonding in males, but not females.

In a related study, also in the same issue of the journal, researchers at the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu said they’ve identified a gene strongly linked to extended health and life span in humans. The FOXO3A gene, involved in insulin signaling, is just the second gene ever found that is closely tied to longevity, the researchers said. In their study of Japanese-American men, those who lived to an average age of 98 had a specific variant of FOXO3A compared to men who died at younger ages, the team said.

More information

There’s more on genes and behavior at Stanford University.

SOURCES: Hasse Walum, department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; John Lucas, M.D., clinical assistant professor, psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, and psychiatrist, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Sept.1-5, 2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

By E.J. MundellHealthDay Reporter

Last Updated: Sept. 01, 2008

Copyright © 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Cranky Doctor or Annoying Patient? Sometimes It’s Both

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By Anne HardingMONDAY, Feb. 23, 2009 (Health.com) — Erin Krebs, MD, once had a patient who spent the first eight minutes of his appointment telling her everything that was wrong with the past four primary care doctors he’d seen—including one she knew personally and considers a “lovely person.” “We know that doctors are not perfect,” said Dr. Krebs, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine. “But it’s not a good start to spend a lot of time complaining about the past.”

Getting off to a bad start is not at all unusual in the doctor’s office; physicians say they have a “difficult” encounter with one in every six patients.

Now a new survey suggests that the number-one trait that most annoys doctors is a patient who insists on a prescription for a medication he or she doesn’t need. But the survey, published Monday in the  Archives of Internal Medicine, also shows that some docs—particularly those who are stressed or burned out—find patients more irritating than others do.

Perry An, MD, of Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass., and colleagues found that these doctors were less satisfied with their work, more pressed for time, and admittedly more likely to make mistakes.

“It’s not just that there are difficult patients or there are difficult doctors. Maybe there are fits that aren’t so great between the two,” said Dr. Krebs, who coauthored a 2006 study on the characteristics of physicians who report being frustrated with patients called “The Difficult Doctor.”

In the current study, the researchers surveyed 422 primary-care doctors practicing across the United States about how often they experienced eight different types of difficult encounters, from having a patient with unrealistic expectations for care to one who was disrespectful or verbally abusive. Doctors fell into three clusters based on how often they reported such difficulties, with 27% having a high number of difficult encounters, 63% a medium number, and 10% a low number.

The most common challenge doctors reported was “patients who insist on being prescribed an unnecessary drug,” with 36.7% saying they encountered such patients frequently. Additionally, 16.1% said they frequently saw patients dissatisfied with their care, and 13.7% said they frequently saw patients who had unrealistic expectations of their care.

Doctors who said they had more troublesome patients tended to be younger, on average, than the other physicians, and they were also more likely to be female.

These “difficult” doctors were 12 times as likely as the low-difficulty doctors to say they were burned out, nearly four times as likely to report high stress, and more than nine times as likely to say they had provided “suboptimal care” in the past year.

Next page: 6 ways to avoid the ‘difficult’ label

Studies have shown that “difficult” patients tend to have nebulous, hard-to-pin-down symptoms like headache, dizziness, and fatigue, notes Kurt Kroenke, MD, of the Regenstreif Institute in Indianapolis, who wrote an editorial accompanying Dr. An’s study. Certain doctors just don’t like dealing with these types of patients, he added; in his editorial, Dr. Kroenke notes that “physicians with a distaste for the psychosocial side of patient care” identify 23% of their encounters with patients as difficult, compared to 8% of their “more psychosocially oriented colleagues.”

So how can you avoid being labeled a difficult patient, possibly by a doctor who’s just impatient and stressed out? Experts on the patient-physician relationship agree there are things you can do, including coming to your doctor’s office prepared and being aware of time constraints.

“The advice goes for both patient and doctor, including myself, to state up front what are our goals for the time we’re spending together, also our expectations, and also to have an understanding of the time limitations we have going forward,” Dr. An said. If time runs out before you can address all of your issues, he adds, you can make another appointment.

Experts on physician-patient relationships recommend that you:

Make a list. Decide what is the most important thing to discuss with your doctor, advises Dr. Krebs. If your list is long, pick two or three top priorities.

Bring your medicine with you. Make a complete list of what you’re taking, including nonprescription drugs, supplements, and herbal medicines. One of Dr. Krebs’ pet peeves, she admits, is a patient who, when asked what medicines she’s taking, says, “Well, that’s your job to know.”

Bring up your top concerns early. “It’s better to bring it up earlier than right at the end of the encounter, as the doctor is getting up to leave the room, because that’s frustrating for both patient and doctor,” says Dr. Kroenke. “Put it on the table as the appetizer, not the dessert.”

Tell your doctor the truth. For example, if you haven’t been taking your blood pressure medication regularly, don’t say you have; this could lead to a prescription for another drug that you wouldn’t need if you were taking the other one as recommended.

Ask your doctor about—but don’t demand—a certain drug. You should “take Internet research and advertising with a grain of salt,” adds Dr. Krebs. “Understand that you might not have the whole story and be open to the possibility that a particular treatment or medication might not be the right one for you.”

Think about switching doctors. There are certain situations where patient and doctor just aren’t a good match, according to Dr. Krebs. “We’re all human beings, and we all have our personal strengths and weaknesses, our pet peeves that we bring with us.”

If you feel like your doctor is difficult to understand or won’t answer your questions, you should feel comfortable telling him this and asking him to clarify. “This may be a fine doctor, but perhaps again the visits are just too short and the doctor is just trying to be efficient and get to the next patient on time,” Dr. Krebs said. If you get a sense that your doctor is being impatient with you, “you can always ask about it: ‘How could I explain myself better? What information do you need?’ Those kinds of clarifying questions might help,” she says.

In the case of her complaining patient, Dr. Krebs says she was able to turn things around by telling him that it must have been tough to see a string of doctors he didn’t like, but that the two of them should have a fresh start. She then asked him to summarize two or three of his most important concerns. “That seemed to change the subject and help a little bit.”


Related Links:Preventing Medical Mistakes at the Hospital and the Doctor’s Office25 Random Things…About HealthWhat to Look for in a Medical SpecialistSecrets to a Stress-Free Home


A Wedding Weight Loss Plan That Works

By Shaun ChavisFollow me on twitter.I recently read a friend’s blog about bride-fattening farms―where young girls in Africa are tortuously forced to overeat in order to gain weight to please their future husbands. (There are 12-year-olds weighing 175 pounds!) In the U.S., we have obsessions about bridal body image, too. But we work to lose weight—not gain it—for that big day. And our sad extreme, instead of obesity, is called brideorexia.

More than 70% of engaged women want to lose weight, according to a Cornell University study. And 40% of them tried unhealthy strategies like skipping meals, making themselves throw up, or smoking. On average, engaged women who want to lose weight set a goal of 23 pounds. But, on average, they lose eight. And, most brides in the Cornell study were within a healthy BMI range to begin with.

Is that a failure? I don’t think any bride should walk down the aisle feeling anything less than fabulous, no matter what the scale says.Istockphoto

So how do you go about losing weight before your wedding, while making sure you look and feel great, too? It’s a no-brainer: Find a sensible, healthy diet you can follow. Try our Feel Great Weight plan, check out our Diet Guide, or use this Wedding-Ready Work Out. I put out some informal calls to experts in the wedding business—people who’ve seen the best and worst—for their stories and advice.

Though they all had different stories, the experts were unanimous about one thing—it’s not a good idea to order a dress smaller than your current size. Taking in a dress is much easier than to letting it out.

Elaine Parker of Weddings With Elan in Nashville, Tennessee, told me about a size 14 bride who insisted on ordering a size 12 wedding dress. By the week of her wedding the bride was between sizes 16–18. The bride and Parker ended up scouring the city for lace and dye to match her gown so a seamstress could put panels in both sides of the dress.

There were some great success stories, too. One bride lost 70 pounds before her wedding and worked closely with her seamstress throughout her weight loss to get the dress of her dreams.

Here are five no-fail tips for brides-to-be (and anyone who wants to lose weight for a big event):

Get a reality check. “If the bride wants to lose weight, I suggest her goal should be one dress size only. When she goes in for her fittings, it’s much easier for the seamstress to adjust for one size rather than two.” —Stephanie Rochelle, Entertain With Ease, Novi, MI

Give yourself plenty of time. “Start losing weight between six and nine months before the wedding.  At four months, switch to weight maintenance and order the gown.  It can take up to three months for a gown to arrive.” —Rhonda Allen, New Beginnings Weddings, Atlanta GA

Let your dress do the work. “Purchase a gown with a corset back. This allows more flexibility to gain or lose a little weight. It will also save the bride money by not having to do alterations on small weight losses. Maggie Sottero is one designer who has a beautiful collection of corset gowns to choose from.” —Lori Melin and Audrey Byrnes, P.W. Jitters Bridal Boutique, Rosedale, CA

Try your dress on—often! “If you are dieting, stay on top of doing alterations and periodically going in for fittings.  If you are losing weight, then keep an eye on the fit of your dress.” —Shafonne Myers, Making Your Events Special, Richmond, VA

Don’t be afraid to eat. “My biggest concern is that the bride eat healthfully, especially on the day of the wedding.  With nerves boiling over and concerns over how they will look in the gown, many brides avoid eating on their wedding day.  Brides need to understand it is a very long and arduous day!  They need to eat in order to keep their emotions in balance and to keep from passing out at the altar.  I usually suggest a continental breakfast of mini-bagels and lots of assorted sliced fruits.  Girls can graze all morning and not feel like they’re overeating.  A little mimosa toast also helps give the perfect start to the day.” —Katy Baker, Adagio Weddings & Events, Sacramento, CA

Tooth Implants That Increase Libido, Denny's Sued Over Salt, and the Health Risks of Divorce

Who knew that tooth implants could increase your sex drive? Or that you really should chew gum for healthier teeth—as much as six or seven pieces a day? These 50 surprising secrets that your dentist wants you to know have (almost!) helped us get over our fear of sitting in that chair! [Reader’s Digest]

We do our best to stay well within the suggested range of 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The fine cuisine of Denny’s, however, isn’t so salt conscious. Dishes like the Meat Lover’s Scramble pack more than twice the recommended daily amount into one meal! Now the Center for Science in the Public Interest is suing the restaurant for serving such dangerously salty dishes. [That’s Fit]

De-stress, improve concentration and memory, and tame acid reflux. It’s not an all-expenses-paid, weeklong spa getaway, but the little-known health benefits of chewing gum! [Real Simple]

We can’t help reading about Jon and Kate’s highly publicized split. Not only because it makes for great gossip, but because couples who split up face some serious health risks: Divorced men and women are 20% more likely to experience conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer than married people. [Newsweek]

From iPhones to Twitter, it seems there’s never time to focus on just one thing at a time. But behind the wheel, we’d be smart to put all distractions aside. This game demonstrates how surprisingly—and entirely!—distracted we are by all those beeps and buzzes. [New York Times]

The Voice of Mr. Right, the Dangerous Power of Perfume, and Why Redheads and Dentists Don't Mix

Nobody loves going to the dentist. But a new study found that redheads in particular may really hate inspections of their pearly whites. A common gene in people with ginger-colored locks may make them resistant to certain pain medications often used in the dentist’s chair, leading to not-so-comfy visits. [Rodale]

Lots of little things we find attractive in members of the opposite sex are supposedly deeply rooted in our evolutionary instinct to find a good mate to reproduce with. Just like appearance, a voice can attract us to Mr. Right too. [DivineCaroline]

Imagine how convenient it would be to have a doctor’s opinion of that weird new rash with just the click of your mouse. It may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Cisco and UnitedHealth Group are looking into the doctor visits of the future: Web chats. [Wired]

At least 30 workers in a Texas office building were taken to a local hospital today after two complained of chest pains and headaches from a strange smell near their cubicles. A hazmat crew feared it was a carbon monoxide leak, but later determined it was only a coworker’s strong perfume!  [MSNBC]

Hate wasting the globs of mustard left at the bottom of the jar, or the chunks of broccoli stem you trim off? So do we. That’s why we love these tips for creative ways to use those little bits and pieces you don’t want to waste.  [Whole Story]


Previous news from Around the Web:Fighting Alcoholism With a Pill, Building a Better Burrito, and the Tummy Tuck TaxWomen Get Prettier, Teen Overdoses on Nicotine Gum, and What Wine Has in Common With Toilet CleanerTooth Implants That Increase Libido, Denny’s Sued Over Salt, and the Health Risks of Divorce

Tossing and Turning May Fuel Marital Discord

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By Ella Quittner

MONDAY, June 13, 2011 (Health.com) — The snooze button on your alarm clock may not be the only casualty of a sleepless night.

A new study of married couples suggests that when wives have trouble falling asleep, the quality of their relationship with their husband suffers. The longer it took women to drift off, the study found, the more likely both partners were to report negative interactions with their spouse—such as feeling ignored or criticized—the following day.

The same wasn’t true for the men, however. The researchers found no relationship between the amount of time it took a husband to fall asleep and the couple’s interactions the following day. So why didn’t the husbands’ sleep affect next-day interactions, too?

“There is some evidence to show that women tend to be more communicative and expressive in relationships and men may be more repressive,” says the lead researcher, Wendy Troxel, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. “After a bad night of sleep, women may be more likely to express irritability or frustration, whereas men might be more likely to withhold that.”

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Research on sleep problems such as insomnia has tended to focus on the individual who is directly affected, Troxel and her colleagues note. But, they add, their findings suggest that sleep problems should perhaps be viewed—and treated—in a broader context that takes into account the patient’s relationships and social interactions.

“Sleep doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” says Lauren Hale, PhD, a sleep expert and associate professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, in New York. “It’s embedded in the social world, and particularly relevant to one’s romantic relationships.”

Hale, who was not involved in the new study but has researched the effect of social factors on sleep, says that the person you share your bed with each night can have a significant influence on your own sleep quality. “It may not be simply your own choices that affect your sleep,” she says. “If your partner snores or gets into bed two hours later than you and wakes you up, that will affect your sleep.”

Troxel presented preliminary results from the study at an annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis on Monday. Unlike studies published in medical journals, the findings have not been thoroughly vetted by other experts.

Next page: Study a “wake-up call”

Over the course of 10 nights, Troxel and her colleagues gauged the sleep quality of 35 married couples using an actigraph, a watch-size monitor that records patterns of rest and activity. (None of the participants had been diagnosed with a sleep disorder or other serious medical problems.) In addition to measuring the amount of time it took each partner to fall asleep, the researchers also looked at their total sleep time and the number of times they woke up during the night.

In a series of brief daily questionnaires, the study participants also reported whether they had negative interactions (such as feeling ignored) or positive interactions (such as feeling supported or valued) with their spouse that day. On average, both partners were likely to report more negative and fewer positive interactions when the woman had trouble falling asleep the previous night.

Though the researchers identified no link between the husbands’ sleep and marital interactions, they did find that men tended to sleep for less time than usual after a day of positive interaction with their spouses. In this case, getting less sleep isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, Troxel says, it could even indicate intimacy, rather than sleep, in bed.

Although more research is needed to explain how exactly marriages and sleep quality interact, the study highlights that sleep problems can potentially harm relationships and need to be treated, Troxel says.

“Maybe this [study] will be a wake-up call,” she says. “This might be a really important indicator to get treatment for sleep disorders, not only because they can affect relationships, but also because spouses can be important reminders and instigators to get treatment.”