Study subjects: 2,850 people
Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that men have the highest rates of orgasm. The research focused specifically on singles having sex with a familiar partner. On the whole, men were found to achieve orgasm about 85 percent of the time. But women were a different story. Much more unpredictable, the average woman was only able to orgasm roughly 63 percent of the time. The only exception was seen among lesbians, who were able to reach orgasm during nearly 75 percent of sexual encounters. Interestingly, sexual orientation did not seem to affect the rate of male orgasm. (Gay men showed just as high of an orgasm rate as straight guys.)
Significance:The Indiana University study raises important questions about orgasms. Some researchers speculate that orgasm is an evolutionary adaptation to promote reproduction. Others say there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim. Either way, IU researchers are unclear about why lesbians seem to experience such a stellar orgasm rate. They cited previous research that found lesbians to spend more time per sexual session when compared to other groups.
Location of study:U.S.
Study subjects: 12 people with alopecia areata
Results:An FDA-approved drug designed to treat blood cancer was found to reverse hair loss in a recent study. At least half of the participants saw fully restored hair growth. All suffer from a common autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, which causes dramatic and disfiguring hair loss. The drug used in the study (known as a JAK inhibitor) both prevented and reversed the disease in mice. When tried in humans, the results were equally exciting.
Significance:Researchers say that the current treatment options are limited. “The landscape for treatment of alopecia areata hasn’t changed in decades, and has merely included injectable steroids, which is painful and often doesn’t work,” said Dr. Raphael Clynes, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center. The results are prompting a large-scale study of the drug.
Location of study:U.S.
Study subjects: Rats, dogs and humans
Results:Cancerous tumors in animals and humans were shown to shrink after being injected with an altered form of bacteria. The results were seen in a recent study out of Johns Hopkins Medicine, which used a modified version of the Clostridium novyi bacterium. The anti-tumor response was “strong and precisely targeted,” according to researchers. While the rats were treated for implanted brain tumors, 16 dogs that had naturally occurring malignant tumors were treated with this approach. Six of them showed tumor shrinkage within three weeks – three actually showed a complete eradication of their tumors.
Significance:The study tested the treatment in only one human patient (a woman who had been suffering from a metastatic tumor in her arm). After treatment, the tumor significantly reduced. However, she did experience a strong inflammatory response and abscess formation. Researchers say the results are still very tentative. The next step is to expand the clinical trial.