Women stay mentally sharp farther into old age than men typically do, and scientists now think they know why. It all has to do with how the brain burns energy. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that women’s brains burn energy in a much more youthful way throughout adulthood. Women’s brains appear to be about three years younger than men’s of the same chronological age, even in their 20’s, and that difference holds for the rest of their lives.
Binge drinking and prolonged heavy drinking may trigger a permanent change in a person’s DNA, which results in an even greater desire for alcohol. A study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research shows that among binge and heavy drinkers, two genes are modified that influence drinking behavior—one that influences the body clock and another regulating the stress-response system. Scientists hope the findings may eventually help identify biomarkers for people at risk for alcoholic changes.
And finally, more than half of all American workers say they’ve suffered from job burnout, but most of them won’t take a “mental health day” away from the job to deal with it. The University of Phoenix survey shows only a third of workers have taken time off for mental health, mostly because they say their companies don’t view it as an acceptable reason to be off work.
Bullying, while thought to be a problem confined to adolescence, is actually more common amongst adults than many are led to believe. In fact, nearly a third of adults have experienced bullying, and typically it happens in the workplace. Dr. Ron Riggio, Professor of Psychology and Leadership at Claremont McKenna College, explains that oftentimes child bullies will grow up into adult bullies if bullying is successful for them when they are young. Bullying can be done for many reasons, but Charles Sophy, Medical Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, says that it is usually connected to a person’s insecurities and low self-esteem.
In the workplace the bully is often a boss but other coworkers can be bullies too. Most workplace bullies are men, but women bully too, and when they do other women are typically their targets. Dr. Riggio explains that bullies in the workplace tend to pick out people who are different, often workers with disabilities, or those who are part of underrepresented groups. The effects from bullying can be severe many victims will suffer from psychological problems, such as anxiety, appetite and sleep changes, and depression.
Why does bullying continue to be present in the workplace, and how can the victims be helped? Riggio explains that the bullying is often subtle, verbal, and behind the victim’s back. Even so, many people say they have witnessed a coworker being bullied, but they did not say anything. Dr. Gary Namie, Director at Workplace Bullying Institute, says that this is a problem because victims should not be in charge of reporting their bully. He explains that three groups of people can help victims of workplace bullying: coworkers offering support by getting over their fear of being the next victim, employers enforcing regulations, and lawmakers creating anti-workplace bullying bills. While workplace bullying has not been stopped some states are beginning to take a stand against it.
Ron Riggio, Professor of Psychology and Leadership at Claremont McKenna College
Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
Dr. Gary Namie, Director at Workplace Bullying Institute
Show Synopsis: Freezing eggs in their 30’s allows women to preserve fertility well into their 40’s. The concept was originally meant for women whose fertility was threatened by disease or medical treatment, but today the majority of those having eggs frozen are doing so for social or career reasons. Now egg freezing is even offered as a corporate benefit in some places. Experts discuss the procedure and its uses.
Synopsis: The US once led the world in proportion of women in the workplace, but that number has declined the last 15 years. Experts explain the social, economic, and governmental factors that are leading women to quit their jobs–often unwillingly–and stay home.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Pamela Stone, Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author, Opting Out: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home; Dr. Claudia Goldin, Professor of Economics, Harvard University