Geography and heart disease

Study subjects: Nationwide survey of women's health

Location of study: U.S.

Results: New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital states that a woman's risk for cardiovascular inflammation -- which can lead to heart disease -- is higher if she lives in a state with a high rate of poverty. The individual's diet, weight, personal income level, exercise and smoking habits did not alter these findings.

Significance: "Geography matters for heart disease risk," lead researcher Dr. Cheryl R. Clark says.

 

Your taste in men might change if you're on the pill

Study subjects: 2,500 women worldwide taking oral contraceptives

Location of study: U.K.

Results: In a new study from the University of Stirling in Scotland, women with lower testosterone levels were found to be more attracted to "less masculine" men with lower testosterone levels. A low testosterone level in women can be caused by the use of birth control pills. However, once these women stopped taking the Pill, they had less interest in these "less masculine" men.

Significance: Although this contradicts the given norm that women are attracted to men with high testosterone levels, other studies have found that men with lower testosterone are less likely to stray, more supportive and better at caring for their family.

 

Obesity and autism risk

Study subjects: 1,004 California children, aged 2 to 5

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A study in Pediatrics found that mothers who were 35 pounds or more overweight during pregnancy were more likely to deliver babies with autism or other like disorders. Obesity increases inflammation and often includes elevated levels of blood sugar, both of which pass into the baby via the mother's blood.

Significance: About 60 percent of childbearing-age women in the U.S. are overweight, according to the study's researchers. If you're overweight and ready for a baby, talk to your doctor about how to have a healthy pregnancy.

 

Young women and iodine deficiency

Study subjects: Women 20-39 years old

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A new CDC report states that young women in the U.S. have borderline levels of iodine, putting them at risk for iodine deficiency.

Significance: Iodine is necessary for thyroid health. The hormones in your thyroid help control growth and development, and if your thyroid doesn't work properly, you could develop mood swings and low energy levels. Pregnant women need a good supply of iodine for the healthy development of the fetus. Apart from salt, seaweed is an excellent source of dietary iodine. Seafood, dairy products, grains and eggs also provide it.