A 36 yr old saves $100 every month for her retirement

A $100 per month saved and paid as a premium for an Index Universal Life Insurance ( IUL) plan can yield good retirement money for a 36 yr old female with death benefit of $300,000. In this plan, there is a flexibility to save more each month on top of the monthly premium.

My son is saving at 2% in his credit union because he wants to help his sister move to another city. Do allocate around 5-10% of your income for a cash accumulation IUL or other retirement plan early on, to allow enough time to grow at 8% or higher rate with no downside market participation.

My daughter saves her money for a house at age 24 and had been going to thrift stores most of the time. As a teacher, she still can buy school supplies for her students as an art teacher.

Here is a sample quote for a 36 yr old female with death benefit of $300k:


When parasites catch viruses

When parasites catch viruses

Researchers have found that the pathogenicity of the sexually transmitted protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis — the cause of trichomoniasis — is fueled by a viral invader. Pictured is the Trichomonas vaginalis trophozoite.

Researchers have found that the pathogenicity of the sexually transmitted protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis — the cause of trichomoniasis — is fueled by a viral invader. Pictured is the Trichomonas vaginalis trophozoite.

Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Antibiotics not the solution for STD that affects 250 million people

When humans have parasites, the organisms live in our bodies, co-opt our resources, and cause disease. However, it turns out that parasites themselves can have their own co-habitants.

Researchers from Harvard Medical SchoolBrigham and Women’s Hospital, and State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University have found that the pathogenicity of the sexually transmitted protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis — the cause of trichomoniasis — is fueled by a viral invader. Trichomoniasis infections are more common than all bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STD) combined. Annually, trichomoniasis affects nearly 250 million people, typically as vaginitis in women and urethritis in men.

“Trichomoniasis is associated with devastating consequences for women due to inflammation and related risks of reproductive disease,” said Raina Fichorova, leader of the research team as well as associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Our future goal is to determine how the viral symbiont and its inflammatory ‘halo’ affect the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight.”

“This is only one of two incidences that we know of for which the pathogenicity of a protozoan virus has been characterized,” said Max Nibert, Harvard Medical School professor of microbiology and immunology and co-author of the paper. “When found together, the result is an increase in virulence of the protozoan parasite to the human host, leading to exacerbated disease.”

This study, which was initiated by a Harvard Catalyst Pilot Grant, will be published online in Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

Rather than invading human cells, Trichomonas vaginalis attaches to their surface and feeds on them, sometimes remaining asymptomatic for a period of time. The virus, called Trichomonasvirus, infects the protozoan and increases its pathogenic power by fueling virus-specific inflammatory responses.

Moreover, carrying the protozoan parasite predisposes women to acquire sexually transmitted viruses, particularly HIV and human papillomavirus, or HPV, both of which can lead to serious diseases such as AIDS and cervical cancer, respectively. Fichorova and Nibert have recently obtained funding from the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research to find out if the virus itself is directly responsible for increased HIV risk.

According to Nibert, the virus-parasite symbiosis is the norm rather than the exception with this particular protozoan. Upwards of 80 percent of Trichomonas vaginalis isolates carry the virus. “Unlike flu viruses, for example, this virus can’t spread by jumping out of the cell into another one,” said Nibert, who has pioneered molecular biology work on double-stranded RNA viruses, a category that includes Trichomonasvirus. “It just spreads between cells when they divide or mate.”

According to the researchers, it is this double-stranded nature of the viral genome that contributes to increased virulence of the protozoan parasite. “The double-stranded RNA seems important to the signaling process,” added Nibert.

Currently, trichomoniasis is treated with the antibiotic metronidazole. But this treatment is only effective on the protozoan. “When the medication is used, the dying or stressed protozoa release unharmed virions, which then signal to the human cells,” explained Fichorova. As a result, the symptoms are aggravated, and this in turn might increase the danger trichomoniasis poses to pregnant women and their children.

“Ahead is more research to better understand the viral cycle and structural features that might be vulnerable to drugs, which will lead to opening new doors for better treatment of trichomoniasis and related diseases,” said Fichorova. “Our complementary expertise, interdisciplinary team efforts, and strong collaboration is the key to our future success.”

Nibert added that basic research on Trichomonas vaginalis is not nearly as supported as he thinks it should be. “It is unfortunate that a human pathogen of such worldwide significance has been neglected to such a degree,” he said.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, a Harvard Catalyst Pilot Grant, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, and the National Center for Research Resources.

Women with larger number of “bridging regions” in the brain and Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s disease affects memory. It is rooted in the gut microbiome according to the latest research.  Bad bacteria, molds, fungus, animal feces, high blood glucose, lipids and parasites can affect the brain which cannot fight these invading microbes.
Most women who have Alzheimer’s have also diabetes and depression.  Stress is also a major factor and lack of sunshine. As stress is higher, the less we can sleep.  Those who stayed home and with less education have less ways to use their memory, the first root cause.

Results of recent analysis showed the architecture of tau networks is different in men and women, with women having a larger number of “bridging regions” that connect various communities in the brain. This difference may allow tau to spread more easily between regions, boosting the speed at which it accumulates and putting women at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Source: https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-progression-gender-14499/

Why Cannabis Affects Women Differently

Source: Frontiers.

Cannabis use is riding high on a decade-long wave of decriminalization, legalization and unregulated synthetic substitutes. As society examines the impact, an interesting disparity has become apparent: the risks are different in females than in males.

A new review of animal studies says that sex differences in response to cannabis are not just socio-cultural, but biological too. Published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, it examines the influence of sex hormones like testosterone, estradiol (estrogen) and progesterone on the endocannabinoid system: networks of brain cells which communicate using the same family of chemicals found in cannabis, called ‘cannabinoids’.

Animal studies

“It has been pretty hard to get laboratory animals to self-administer cannabinoids like human cannabis users,” says study co-author Dr Liana Fattore, Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy and President of the Mediterranean Society of Neuroscience. “However, animal studies on the effects of sex hormones and anabolic steroids on cannabinoid self-administration behavior have contributed a lot to our current understanding of sex differences in response to cannabis.”

So how does cannabis affect men and women differently? Besides genetic background and hormonal fluctuations, the paper highlights a number of important sex differences.

Men are up to four times more likely to try cannabis – and use higher doses, more frequently.

“Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behavior and suppress the brain’s reward system, which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs, including cannabis” explains Fattore. “This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone.”

But despite lower average cannabis use, women go from first hit to habit faster than men. In fact, men and women differ not only in the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use, pattern and reasons of use, but also in the vulnerability to develop cannabis use disorder.

“Females seem to be more vulnerable, at a neurochemical level, in developing addiction to cannabis,” explains Fattore.

“Studies in rats show that the female hormone estradiol affects control of movement, social behavior and filtering of sensory input to the brain – all targets of drug taking – via modulation of the endocannabinoid system, whose feedback in turn influences estradiol production.

“Specifically, female rats have different levels of endocannabinoids and more sensitive receptors than males in key brain areas related to these functions, with significant changes along the menstrual cycle.

cannabis leaves

“As a result, the interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the brain level of dopamine – the neurotransmitter of “pleasure” and “reward” – are sex-dependent.”

Human impact

The inconsistency of conditions in these studies greatly complicates interpretation of an already complex role of sex hormones in the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid sensitivity.

“The effects varied according the specific cannabinoid studied, as well as the strain of animals tested and duration of hormone exposure,” admits Fattore. However, the human data so far are consistent with the idea that estradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids. As in animals, human males and females are diverse in their genetic and hormonally driven behaviour and they process information differently, perceive emotions in different ways and are differently vulnerable to develop drug addiction.

“Blood levels of enzymes which break down cannabinoids fluctuate across the human menstrual cycle, and imaging studies show that brain levels of cannabinoid receptors increase with aging in females – mirroring in each case changes in estradiol levels.”

Fattore believes that deepening our understanding of the interactions between cannabinoids and sex steroids is crucial in assessing the impact of increasing cannabis use, and tackling the fallout.

“Gender-tailored detoxification treatments and relapse prevention strategies for patients with cannabis addiction are increasingly requested. Optimizing personalized evidence-based prevention and treatment protocols demands further research on the source of sex disparities in cannabis response.”


Source: Matt Prior – Frontiers
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Open access research for “The Modulating Role of Sex and Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Hormones in Cannabinoid Sensitivity” by Dicky Struik, Fabrizio Sanna and Liana Fattore in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. Published October 26 2018.

Frontiers”Why Cannabis Affects Women Differently.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 26 October 2018.


The Modulating Role of Sex and Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Hormones in Cannabinoid Sensitivity

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide. Although its use is associated with multiple adverse health effects, including the risk of developing addiction, recreational and medical cannabis use is being increasing legalized. In addition, use of synthetic cannabinoid drugs is gaining considerable popularity and is associated with mass poisonings and occasional deaths. Delineating factors involved in cannabis use and addiction therefore becomes increasingly important. Similarly to other drugs of abuse, the prevalence of cannabis use and addiction differs remarkably between males and females, suggesting that sex plays a role in regulating cannabinoid sensitivity. Although it remains unclear how sex may affect the initiation and maintenance of cannabis use in humans, animal studies strongly suggest that endogenous sex hormones modulate cannabinoid sensitivity. In addition, synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroids alter substance use and further support the importance of sex steroids in controlling drug sensitivity. The recent discovery that pregnenolone, the precursor of all steroid hormones, controls cannabinoid receptor activation corroborates the link between steroid hormones and the endocannabinoid system. This article reviews the literature regarding the influence of endogenous and synthetic steroid hormones on the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid action.

Women find strength and camaraderie in rowing as they age

Women find strength and camaraderie in rowing as they age

Jayne Lytel, 61, is a member of D.C.’s Potomac Boat Club. She has been rowing since 2012. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

As they launched their rowing shell onto Boston’s Charles River one sunny October morning, four Alexandria women prepared to live a rower’s dream: competing in the three-mile Head of the Charles Regatta that is to rowers what the Boston Marathon is to runners.

They’d trained together for months, even hired a coach to push them harder, and here they were, fit and ready.

Average age in the boat: 63.

That was two years ago. Harriett Pallas, 67, Brenda Waltz, 67, Pamela Zitron, 69, and Eleanor Richards, 61, are still rowing and still competing along with a growing contingent of older women who discover that rowing can be a good way to get and stay fit. Many later find themselves racing on rivers from the Potomac to the Thames and beyond.

The four came to rowing by different paths. Waltz and Zitron found the sport through younger family members who rowed, and Richards claims that learning to row “was my midlife crisis.” Pallas, already a cyclist, skier and tap dancer, tried it and was hooked.

“I don’t know what I’d be without rowing!” she said.

Most aerobic sports bathe the brain with feel-good endorphins after a workout, and rowing is no exception. Studies show that rowing offers cardiovascular and respiratory advantages for those who train even semi-seriously. And sports physiologist Fritz Hagerman, who taught at Ohio University and died in 2013, found that the lungs of rowers who train seriously use oxygen far more efficiently than those of most other athletes. After all, rowing uses all the body’s oxygen-hungry major muscle groups in the legs, torso and arms.

Lytel uses a rowing before getting onto the water on Mar. 26. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Weight control can be an added benefit. In the past year, Waltz has lost 60 pounds. “I realized if I was going to row the way I wanted to, I’d have to lose the weight,” she said.

Some women even swear that it staves off the post-menopausal thinning of bones that can lead to fractures.

Most older women who row admit that after they decided to give the sport a try, they got pulled in by the rhythm, the water and the way it looks easy but can be maddeningly challenging.

Just as important as the health benefits for many are psychic boosts such as companionship. A rowing shell full of friends can offset even an empty nest.

Best of all, for women of a certain age, rowing can deliver a huge sense of accomplishment.

Jayne Lytel, 61, a member of D.C.’s Potomac Boat Club, understands. “I start my day rowing three mornings a week, and I like the way it makes me feel,” she said. “I feel proud that I can do this!”

“It’s such a challenging sport,” said Joanna Rubini, 42, a coach in Alexandria. “It’s very empowering when you can do it.”

In the past five years, rowing has grown in popularity for every age group. USRowing, the sport’s governing body, says that its membership of 23,000 grew by 22 percent between 2015 and 2016. About 14 percent of its members are 50 or older. At the 2016 Head of the Charles Regatta, almost a quarter of the competitors were older than 50. USRowing doesn’t break down those figures by gender.

Lytel and Chuck Selden prepare to row after launching their craft from the Potomac Boat Club. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

“The growth in the number of our older members underlines the fact that you can be 13 or 93; you’re always the right age to row,” said Susan Smith, membership director at USRowing. “Rowing is truly a lifelong sport, no matter if you’re a racer or a recreational rower.”

But first, there’s the learning process. And the fact that the stroke — like a new dance step — must be learned is another of rowing’s advantages.

“Running or walking, people can do that fine,” said Stella Volpe, 53, a sports physiologist and nutritionist who heads Drexel University’s nutrition sciences department. With “something like rowing . . . there’s the mental effort in learning something new. You need to think a lot in the boat.”

There’s also a good reason why rowing maintains bone density, according to Volpe, a rower herself. When the rower pushes against the boat’s footplate as she pulls her oar through the water, she’s “putting a lot of mechanical loading on the bones and the muscles,” she said. “And that’s good for the bone.”

Dana Perrone, 70, a member of the Potomac Boat Club, reports that since she began rowing 16 years ago, scans show she has maintained her bone density without the medication she once took.

“My doctor says, ‘Don’t quit!’ ” she said.

To learn the basics, newbies often try a “learn to row” event. USRowing sponsors a National Learn to Row Day, this year on June 3, when some rowing clubs in the D.C. area open their boat bays to the public for demonstrations of the stroke and even short paddles in one of those sleek narrow boats called shells.

More women are turning to rowing as a form of exercise. It’s good for the bones and the brain. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

But rowing demands more than an hour or two of instruction. And for those who want more, the Washington Rowing School in Bladensburg, several local clubs and Thompson’s Boat Center, near the Kennedy Center, offer learn-to-row courses. RowVigor, a new “rowing gym” in Arlington, provides rowing machine instruction for those who want to learn the basics on dry land.

Writer and photographer Mary Berry, 79, of Alexandria first picked up an oar when she was 52. Today, she drives to Philadelphia almost every weekend to row with a team out of Vesper Boat Club. A look at her family tree with its long-lived females convinced her she needed serious exercise if she was going to face the coming decades with a strong body.

“Getting old is rough,” she said. “And you need to hang on to your mobility. . . . The harder you exercise the more you gain in mobility.” But not if it meant destroying her knees, Berry concluded. Low-impact rowing was the answer.

For many women born before the mid-1950s, rowing may be their first experience of team competition.

“All of us were pre-Title IX,” Richards said, referring to the 1972 federal law demanding equal sports opportunities for men and women on most college campuses. “I never had the chance to be on a team, to compete.”

Berry found that racing satisfied her competitive streak while making her a better rower. As she began to work harder, to actually train with a coach, she began to experience the exhilaration of rowing in total synch with crewmates whose oars hit the water together and finish the stroke at exactly the same moment.

“I didn’t think I was particularly competitive, but racing was a way of getting better at rowing,” Perrone said. “You have to work harder than just paddling.”

Gabriele Cipollone, 60, a former Olympian, coaches Berry along with 11 other women who range in age from 60 to 80. In 2015 and 2016, her boats won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Masters National Regatta sponsored by USRowing. Berry and three other rowers won a gold in Belgium at an international competition.

“You have to have some kind of self-discipline to row,” Cipollone said. “A lot of women never did athletics. They aren’t familiar with the idea of pushing yourself for an hour. Or a half-hour, with a break, and then another half-hour. . . . Not everybody is willing to do this. If they decide, ‘It’s not for me,’ that’s fine.”

Research shows that rowing burns calories at the same or even higher rates than running. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Michael Porterfield, 50, who coaches in Alexandria and at Capital Rowing Club, said coaching older rowers is gratifying but not always simple.

“You have to understand the athletes — their baselines and level of fitness,” said Porterfield, a coach for the women’s Olympic team in 2000. “You have to know how to work around limitations.” And sometimes, he said, it’s knowing when to tell a rower she is pushing too hard and needs a day off.

Older rowers “are all different. Some want to look at the birds. Some are super-competitive and don’t care they’re a shade slower than younger rowers,” Rubini said. “They still have an edge.”

But those who put in the work necessary to row well often gain benefits that go beyond stronger bones and competition medals. Cipollone said one of her older rowers “came to me and thanked me for saving her life”: Rowing had lowered her blood pressure and left her happier as well.

School counselor Dee Marrara, 53, started rowing a year ago in D.C. after she’d finished treatment for breast cancer. She spotted a flyer on a learn-to-row program at her oncologist’s office and decided to try it.

“I’m an athlete again,” said Marrara, a former collegiate basketball and soccer player. “Cancer took this away from me for a while. I can use my body again. I’ve regained my sense of identity.”

You may order your first Bike Rower from Motherhealth, email motherhealth@gmail.com

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