Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Monday, February 6, 2017
crack why eating sounds
can make people angry
Why some people become enraged by sounds
such as eating or breathing has been explained by
brain scan studies. The condition, misophonia,
is far more than simply disliking noises such as
nails being scraped down a blackboard.
"I feel there's a threat and get the urge to lash out---
it's the fight or flight response," says Olana Tans-
ley-Hancock, 29, from Kent, UK.
UK scientists have shown some people's brains
become hardwired to produce an "excessive" emo-
tional response. Olana developed the condition when
she was eight years old. Her trigger sounds include
breathing, eating and rustling noises.
She told BBC News: "Anyone eating crisps is always
going to set me off, the rustle of the packet is enough
to start a reaction. It's not a general annoyance, it's an
immediate 'Oh my God, what is that sound? I need
to get away from it or stop it'
"I spent a long time avoiding places like the cinema.
I'd have to move carriages seven or eight times on
30-minute train journeys, and I left a job after three
months as I spent more time crying and having panic
attacks than working."
Scientists, including Olana, at multiple centres in
the UK scanned the brains of 20 misophonic people
and 22 people without the condition.
They were played a range of noises while they were
in the MRI machine, including: neutral sounds such as
rain; generally unpleasant sounds such as screaming;
and people's trigger sounds.
The results, published in the journal Current Biolo-
gy, revealed the part of the brain that joins our senses
with our emotions---the anterior insular cortex---was
overly active in misophonia. And it was wired up and
connected to other parts of the brain differently in
those with misophonia.
Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from Newcastle University,
said: "They are going into overdrive when they hear
these sounds, but the activity was specific to the trig-
ger sounds not the other two sounds. The reaction is
anger mostly, it's not disgust, the dominating emotion
is the anger---it looks like a normal response, but then
it is going into overdrive."
There are no treatments, but Olana has developed
coping mechanisms such as using ear plugs. She also
knows caffeine and alcohol make the condition worse.
It is still not clear how common the disorder is, as
there is no clear way of diagnosing it and it was only
recently discovered. (BBC)
Heavy lifting, evening/night/rotating shifts
associated with poorer egg quality
A physically demanding job or
work schedules outside normal
office hours may lower a wom-
an's ability to conceive, suggests
research published online in
Occupational & Environmental
Heavy lifting at work and evening/
night/rotating shift patterns were as-
sociated with poorer egg quality, the
Previous research has linked occu-
pational factors to fertility, measured
in outcomes such as time to pregnancy
and the ability to carry a pregnancy
to term. But no study has assessed
whether workplace factors might af-
fect a woman's biological capacity to
have a baby.
To try and address this, the research
team looked at indicators of "ovarian
reserve" --- the number of remaining
eggs (antral follicle count) and levels
of follicle stimulating hormone or FSH
for short, which rise as a woman ages
and represent dwindling fertility ---
in 473 women attending one fertility
And they also looked at ovarian re-
sponse --- the number of mature eggs
capable of developing into a healthy
embryo in 313 of the women who had
completed at least one cycle of IVF by
The average age of the women was
35, while their average BMI was 23,
and they were all part of an ongo-
ing (EARTH) study, which has been
looking at environmental and dietary
factors that might affect fertility since
The women were quizzed about the
level of physical exertion required for
their job and the hours and patterns
worked, as well as leisure time physical
and sedentary activities.
In all, four out of 10 women said that
their job required them to regularly
move/lift heavy objects, and around
one in four (22 per cent) said that their
jobs were moderately to very physically
demanding. Nine out of 10(91 per cent)
worked during normal office hours.
The number of remaining eggs,
revealed by ultrasound scan, ranged
from eight to 17 among all 473 women,
while the average number of mature
eggs retrieved from the 313 undergoing
an IVF cycle was nine.
Type of workload did not seem to
make any difference to FSH levels, but
women with physically demanding
jobs had a lower reserve of eggs than
those whose work did not regularly
require heavy lifting.
And compared with those whose
jobs didn't entail heavy lifting, among
women going through IVF, those with
physically demanding jobs had a lower
total reserve of eggs and fewer mature
eggs, representing reductions of nearly
nine per cent and nearly 14.5 per cent,
These differences were greater
among women working evening/
night/rotating shifts: they had fewer
mature eggs, on average, than those
working shifts within normal work-
ing hours. And they were even great-
er among those specifically working
evening and night shifts, possibly be-
cause of disruption to the body clock,
suggest the researchers.
Indian migrant workers in Bhutan doing road work. A physically demanding
job or work schedules outside normal office hours may lower a woman's
ability to conceive, suggests research published online in Occupational &
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