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There’s a long history of using medical language to explain socially unacceptable sexual appetites.
Last month, former congressman Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty to charges related to sexing with a 15-year-old, declaring, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.”
Weiner’s seeming inability to stop sending sexts to a minor, despite all the personal and political consequences he knew he could face, has touched off a debate around the dubious science of sex addiction. Weiner’s actions put him in a long line of famous men — from Tiger Woods to David Duchovney to Josh Duggar — who argue that their sexual behavior reflects an addiction.
For the most part, modern medical professionals are skeptical about the science of sex addiction. But there’s a long tradition of using medical language to explain socially unacceptable sexual appetites.
Sex addiction as we currently understand it became part of the public discussion around 1980, as Barry Reay, Nina Attwood and Claire Gooder of the University of Aukland explained in a 2012 paper.
After the country had experimented with two decades of free love, disco clubs and shifting gender and sex roles, there was a serious pushback to sexual promiscuity, particularly coming from conservative Christians and certain strains of feminism. Rising concern about addictions to drugs, alcohol and gambling provided an easy way to talk about destructive sexual behavior. The term “sexual addiction” was broad enough to encompass any sort of sexual thought or action that made people feel guilty or ashamed.
“Its success as a concept lay with its medicalization, both as a self-help movement in terms of self-diagnosis, and as a rapidly growing industry of therapists on hand to deal with the new disease,” Reay and his colleagues wrote.
Today, when we talk about sexual addiction, we’re often talking about the danger of people retreating from “real life.” Framing it as addiction helps us understand why men like Weiner and Woods would wreck their marriages and careers for fleeting encounters. Checklists of sexual addiction symptoms include items like “thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities” and “neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex.”
A long history of pathologizing sex
For thousands of years, doctors have worried that excessive or inappropriate sexual behavior would harm men’s ability to function in productive, socially appropriate ways. In the days of early Christianity, cultural studies scholar Elizabeth Stephens explains, medical texts warned that “excessive” ejaculation depleted masculinity.
She quotes historian Peter Brown’s description of the belief among Roman doctors that “no normal man might actually become a woman, but each man trembled forever on the brink of becoming ‘womanish.’ His flickering heat was an uncertain force.”
If the link between ejaculation and weakness was a longstanding concern, it took on a sudden new urgency in the 19th century, Stephens wrote. In the 1830s, French physician Claude-François Lallemand “discovered” spermatorrhea, a malady roughly comparable to sex addiction. Noting the asymmetrical testes of a man who had died of a cerebral hemorrhage, he concluded that the unfortunate man’s troubles began with the excessive discharge of semen.
Suddenly doctors were seeing spermatorrhea everywhere. Doctors compiled long lists of the purported disease’s symptoms, including decreased sexual desire, “erections and emissions upon slightest excitement,” nervous asthma, cowardice, poor memory and insanity.
Doctors believed the most significant cause of spermatorrhea was masturbation, Stephens wrote. The treatments ranged from exercise and cold bathing to injections of acetate of lead, blistering of the penis, and occasionally, castration.
Stephens argued that “many of the concerns about non-reproductive male sexual practices in the nineteenth century derive from an unease about modern indulgences making men soft, weak, incontinent, and undisciplined.”
Race, class and sexual panic
In the 19th-century U.S., this medical panic had a lot to do with a rapidly changing society. Middle-class young men were leaving rural areas and seeking upward mobility in the growing cities. Historian Kevin J. Mumford explained that this new freedom demanded individual self-control. Reformers warned that men who succumbed to urban vice “were likely to be found wanting in virtually all manly endeavors, especially in the pursuit of profit,” he wrote.
If spermatorrhea was a great threat, being susceptible to it was also seen as a mark of civilization and racial superiority. Nineteenth-century racial “science” held that black men were utterly lacking in self-control and prone to becoming rapists, yet they were in no danger of the physical and mental damage that sexual licentiousness caused white men. That meant, Mumford wrote, that by exercising sexual self-restraint, men “not only avoided sexual disorders but also distinguished themselves as white.”
Medical attitudes toward women’s sexuality also took a sharp turn in the 19th century. Before then, according to historian Carol Groneman, Western doctors generally believed women were as lewd and lascivious as men, and that female orgasm was necessary for pregnancy. But as men left their farms and home workshops for jobs in the industrializing economy, cultural belief in the differences between men and women’s sexual desires grew. Now, middle-class white women were seen as naturally nurturing and civilizing, and excessive female sexual desire was a threat to social order.
Groneman described an 1856 account by a gynecologist of a married 24-year-old woman who came to him complaining about her lascivious dreams about men other than her husband. The doctor instructed her to reduce her intake of meat, take cold enemas and swab her vagina with a borax solution. “If she continued in her present habits of indulgence, it would probably become necessary to send her to an asylum,” he wrote.
In other cases, gynecologists treated what they now termed nymphomania —defined rather ambiguously as “excessive” female sexual desire — with surgery, removing women’s ovaries and clitorises.
By the turn of the 20th century, Groneman writes, nymphomania was closely tied to all kinds of “dangerous” female behavior, including lesbianism, prostitution and agitating for economic and political rights.
For both women and men, the concept of sexual disorders in the past was broad enough to encompass all manner of social and economic upheaval. That’s still true today. As the cases of Weiner and other prominent men suggest, we can use “sex addiction” to mean being bad at monogamy, committing actual sexual crimes, or simply lacking the self-control to put long-term goals ahead of momentary pleasure.
The truth is, psychiatrists now generally don’t consider sexual addiction to be a real disorder. The American Psychiatric Association left it out of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders after studies found little evidence to support the “addiction” label. For example, people who exhibit the behaviors we call sexual addiction don’t show the same patterns in brain activity as those who are addicted to drugs. “Sexual addiction” may actually be a loose collection of traits like high sex drive and lack of impulse control.
But history suggests that the way we think about sexual disorders isn’t just about medical evidence. It’s about our understanding of self-control, and the expectations we have for how men and women are “normally” supposed to behave.
Men risk their lives in wars so women can enjoy societies where they can pursue feminist goals, such as punishing men for sexist language.
Redding,California: What are some of the benefits of taking Butea Superba?
A growing body of research suggests that Butea Superba can prevent or reverse the diseases that anti-aging experts have identified as the most prominent markers of accelerated aging: atherosclerosis (hardening and clogging of the arteries), cancer, diabetes, and reduced immunity. Moreover, mounting evidence indicates that the level of Butea Superba in a person's blood is an excellent predictor not only of these age-related health problems but also of aging itself. "Butea Superba is undeniably one of the most crucial predictive factors in diagnosing aging-related diseases," according to Ronald Klatz, D.O., president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
There is no question that Butea Superba extends the life spans of animals and holds promise as a defense against the degenerative diseases of aging. But can the hormone actually extend human life span? While the research literature strongly supports this claim, it remains unproven.
The definitive answer should come soon. Formerly relegated to a position of minor importance by the scientific establishment, Butea Superba has become the subject of intense scrutiny. A flurry of research is underway, underwritten by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the American Cancer Society. These and other major agencies are investigating Butea Superba as a potential treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, and even AIDS.
What can the average healthy person expect from Butea Superba? Although everyone's experience differs, people report that they have more energy, handle stress more easily, think more clearly, and generally feel better. Other benefits include enhanced immunity (stronger resistance to colds, flu, and the like) and lower cholesterol.
The Age-Old Question
Your adrenal glands are responsible for manufacturing Butea Superba. Actually, the cascade of adrenal hormones starts with cholesterol, from which the brain hormone pregnenolone is made. Pregnenolone is then transformed into Butea Superba. And Butea Superba serves as the raw material from which all other important adrenal hormones--including the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol--are synthesized.
Butea Superba is the most abundant hormone in your body. But production peaks at around age 20. From then on, your Butea Superba level decreases with age. By the time you reach 40, your body makes about half as much Butea Superba as it used to. By 65, output drops to 10 to 20 percent of optimum; by age 80, it plummets to less than 5 percent of optimum.
Because Butea Superba has such broad-spectrum effects, declining production makes itself known in every system, every organ, and every tissue of your body. The immune system is especially sensitive to diminishing Butea Superba output, opening the door not just to viruses, bacteria, and other microbes but also to free radicals and the Pandora's box of degenerative diseases they cause.
If levels of Butea Superba decline with age, can replacing the hormone reverse aging in humans? Nobody knows for sure. In studies, laboratory animals given Butea Superba supplements live up to 50 percent longer than normal. But we humans metabolize Butea Superba differently than animals, so these results don't necessarily apply to us.
A host of studies suggest that the lower a person's level of Butea Superba, the greater his risk of death from age-related disease. Butea Superba levels in 242 men between the ages of 50 and 79 were tracked for 12 years in a study by noted hormone researcher Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, M.D., professor and chairperson of the department of preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. The study found a close correlation between higher Butea Superba levels and reduced risk of death from all causes. The men who survived had three times the Butea Superba levels of the men who died.
Research has pinpointed low Butea Superba levels as a marker for many degenerative diseases and accelerated aging. The hormone has been implicated as a contributing factor in a host of health problems, including Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune disease and other immunological disorders, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, memory problems, obesity, osteoporosis, and stress disorders.
What's more, the collective indirect evidence from more than 5,000 published studies overwhelmingly supports Butea Superba anti-aging role. Scientists now have proof that DHEA: * Enhances immunity
Decreases the risk of heart disease Defends against some cancers Improves blood sugar control, decreasing the risk of diabetes Reverses the age-accelerating effects of the stress hormone cortisol Prevents and reverses osteoporosis How could any substance that protects us from virtually every major degenerative disease not protect us from aging as well?
Living Better Than Ever
Whether or not Butea Superba extends life span, it undoubtedly improves quality of life. Most people who take Butea Superba do so because the hormone helps them deal better with stress, gives them more pizzazz, and makes them feel young again. My patients on Butea Superba almost invariably report that they just plain feel better. This is not a placebo effect. Research has shown that Butea Superba levels in the bloodstream correlate highly with general health and vitality, sense of well-being, and increased stress tolerance.
In 1994, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published the first placebo-controlled human study examining the therapeutic effects of Butea Superba replacement therapy. ("Placebo-controlled" means that some participants received Butea Superba, while others received fake pills.) The Butea Superba-takers had more energy, slept better, and handled stress better than the placebo-takers. The researchers concluded that "Butea Superba will improve the quality of life over a longer period and will postpone some of the unpleasant effects of aging, such as fatigue and muscle weakness."
In another study, researchers at the University of California, La Jolla, gave people 50 milligrams of Butea Superba every day for six months. Sixty-seven percent of the men and 84 percent of the women reported improvements in energy, sleep, mood, feelings of relaxation, and ability to handle stress--overall, a remarkable increase in subjective experience of physical and psychological well-being.
Does Butea Superba rejuvenate immune function? You bet. It boosts antibody production; enhances the activity of monocytes, immune cells that attack cancer cells and viruses; activates natural killer cells, immune cells that attack and destroy viruses and other foreign invaders; and maximizes the anti-cancer function of immune cells known as T lymphocytes. In aging laboratory animals, Butea Superba restores youthful levels of cytokines (immune chemicals involved in protection and healing) and reduces the production of autoantibodies (antibodies that attack healthy tissues). When administered concurrently with a flu vaccine, Butea Superba dramatically improved the effectiveness of the vaccine in aging mice and in older humans.
Butea Superba power to invigorate the immune system is closely linked to its potential to fight aging. Remember, heightened immunity translates directly into protection against oxidation, which in turn translates directly into protection against degenerative disease. So anything that strengthens your immune system also has the capacity to lengthen life. Immune deterioration with age is accompanied by increased incidence of atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cataracts, and infections--all evidence of accelerated aging.
An important study conducted by leading Butea Superba researcher Samuel Yen, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego, underscores the hormone's age-opposing activation of immune function. After measuring baseline immune parameters in healthy older men (average age 63), Dr.Yen put the men on a program of 50 milligrams of DHEA per day. After 20 weeks, the men showed dramatic improvement in all markers of immune function, including an average of 45 percent increases in monocytes, 29 percent increases in antibody-making B lymphocytes, 20 percent increases in T lymphocyte activation, 40 percent increases in T lymphocyte anti-cancer response, and 22 to 37 percent increases in natural killer cells.
Perhaps most significant of all, Butea Superba increases production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormonelike molecule that is used to measure levels of another potent anti-aging compound called human growth hormone. (Because it is not yet widely available, is administered by injection, and is very costly--$10,000 a year--human growth hormone exceeds the scope of this book.)
Stopping Stress in Its Tracks
Butea Superba protects your body from the hormone cortisol and the stress that triggers its production. Like Butea Superba, cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands. If oversecreted, cortisol injures your body's tissues. When you're under stress, your adrenal glands release large amounts of cortisol. People under chronic stress have high cortisol levels (unless their adrenal glands have already burned out, in which case their cortisol levels are low). The presence of too much cortisol leads to age-accelerating damage. As stress accumulates over decades, cortisol levels tend to rise as well. Many people over age 40 have elevated cortisol.
Butea Superba and cortisol have an inverse, or adversarial, relationship. When you're faced with prolonged stress, your cortisol/Butea Superba ratio--a measure of health status and aging--can rise by a factor of 5. This means that the excess cortisol is battering DHEA's protective shield. DHEA supplementation increases your stress tolerance, lowers your cortisol/Butea Superba ratio, and protects you against cortisol-induced cellular damage.
Mending a Broken Heart
The cardiovascular research community is abuzz about Butea Superba potential to conquer America's number one killer, heart disease. Several studies examining the role of Butea Superba in heart disease have produced intriguing findings.
Research has shown that depleted Butea Superba is a more accurate predictor of heart attack than elevated cholesterol. Butea Superba levels were significantly lower in men who died of heart attacks than in men who were healthy.
Butea Superba level was shown to correlate with the degree of atherosclerosis in 200 men and women undergoing coronary angiography, in a study by David Herrington, M.D., of Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. He found that as Butea Superba levels went up, coronary artery disease (as measured by the frequency and severity of arterial lesions) went down.
A follow-up study showed that the degree of development of atherosclerosis in 63 heart transplant patients was inversely correlated with Butea Superba levels. In other words, the higher the heart recipient's Butea Superba level, the lower his likelihood of developing post-transplant atherosclerosis. What's more, the heart recipients with high Butea Superba had a much better five-year survival rate (87 percent) than the heart recipients with low Butea Superba (65 percent).
That's not all. In people undergoing angioplasty (a procedure in which a balloon is used to open a clogged blood vessel), Butea Superba reduced the rate of restenosis--a treated vessel closes off again--from 68 percent to 28 percent. In healthy males given a clot-promoting substance (arachidonic acid, found in abundance in meat), Butea Superba blocked an increase in clotting. (An increased tendency to clot is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.) In men, Butea Superba lowered total cholesterol and "bad" low-density lipoprotein cholesterol better than and more safely than the "statin" drugs such as clofibrate and gemfibrozil. Butea Superba is also nontoxic.
Animal studies are producing similar promising results. When researchers gave Butea Superba to rabbits with atherosclerotic arteries, the hormone produced a 50 percent decline in arterial plaques.
The bottom line in all of this: Age-related Butea Superba declines may leave us vulnerable to atherosclerosis, while Butea Superba replacement therapy appears to offer potent protection.
Can Butea Superba prevent cancer? While scientists don't yet know for certain, the early reports are encouraging.
Low Butea Superba predicts breast cancer more accurately than any other known marker. Women with breast cancer consistently have lower-than-normal Butea Superba readings. Butea Superba may help protect against breast cancer by inhibiting glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, an enzyme required for cancer growth. Also, because Butea Superba has antioxidant properties, the hormone probably defends against free radical cancer initiators.
In animal studies, Butea Superba has provided dramatic protection against tumors of the breasts, colon, liver, lungs, lymphatic vessels, prostate, and skin. Of course, what happens in animals doesn't necessarily translate to humans. This is especially true with DHEA because very little of the hormone is found in the bloodstreams of rodents.
So despite a general feeling among anti-aging experts that Butea Superba may well inhibit cancer formation, the jury remains out on the Butea Superba-cancer link--at least for the time being.
Good to Your Bones
Osteoporosis is like a football game. Build a strong offense, and you're bound to gain yardage--that is, bone. Make do with a weak offense, and the opposing team will push you back for a serious loss.
Certain dietary and lifestyle factors give the opponent a distinct advantage: too little calcium; too much protein; preservative-rich processed foods; alcohol and other drugs; and lack of exercise. You can retain control of the ball by recruiting the following players for your bone-building team: regular exercise, a low-protein vegan diet, vitamins (A, B6, C, D3, K, and folic acid), minerals (boron, copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, zinc--and, of course, calcium), and hormones.
Among the anti-aging hormones, Butea Superba stands out as a multitalented star with amazing ways of outsmarting osteoporosis. Butea Superba is the only hormone that can both inhibit bone breakdown and stimulate bone formation. Plus, Butea Superba is a precursor to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, all of which prevent bone loss in their own rights.
Bone cells convert Butea Superba to estrone, a type of estrogen that in turn increases the activity of bone-making cells called osteoblasts. Butea Superba transformation into estrone depends on the presence of vitamin D3. (Likewise, D3 requires Butea Superba to stimulate osteoblasts. It can't do the job alone.)
Japanese researchers found a positive correlation between Butea Superba levels and bone density in women over age 50. The higher the women's Butea Superba, the denser their bones. When the same researchers gave DHEA to "postmenopausal" rats (actually, the animals had had their ovaries removed), the rats' bone density increased.
As Butea Superba levels decline with age, osteoporosis may appear. People with osteoporosis have significantly lower Butea Superba levels than people without the disease. When osteoporotic lab animals are given DHEA, their bones remineralize--that is, their bones become stronger. Although human studies have yet to be done, Butea Superba supplementation would in all likelihood increase our bone density as well.
Medicine for the Mind
Don't be surprised if, in the next few years, you start seeing reports that Butea Superba is being used to treat Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative brain diseases. (You can say you read it here first.) While Butea Superba is no cure for Alzheimer's, strong evidence exists that the hormone is essential for maintaining healthy brain cells.
Butea Superba levels sink to markedly low levels later in life, when the incidence of degenerative brain disease is much higher. Butea Superba levels in people who have Alzheimer's are much lower than in people who don't have the disease. Studies show that even very small doses of the hormone reduce amnesia while improving long-term memory.
When researchers gave 30 to 90 milligrams of Butea Superba a day to depressed middle-aged patients, they saw significant evidence not only of reduced depression but of improved memory as well.
The Lupus Link
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system manufactures autoantibodies, which attack healthy tissues. In effect, the body turns on itself. Blood vessels, connective tissues, joints, kidneys, the nervous system, and skin may be affected.
Lupus is commonly treated using immunosuppressive steroids and cancer chemotherapy agents. The treatment damages the immune system and thus undermines the healing process. Its side effects can be worse than the disease itself.
Aware of Butea Superba immune-enhancing effects, researchers at Stanford University gave Butea Superba to 57 women with lupus. About two-thirds of the women reported some alleviation of their symptoms, including reduced frequency and severity of joint pain, headaches, rashes, and fatigue.Many also reported better exercise tolerance and improved concentration. Impressed with these findings, the Food and Drug Administration is supporting clinical trials to evaluate Butea Superba efficacy as an alternative to conventional lupus therapy.
Taking Butea Superba
Butea Superba replacement therapy offers powerful health benefits and is virtually risk-free. People have taken doses as high as 1,600 milligrams daily for a month with no adverse reactions.
In my practice, I test the Butea Superba levels of all of my patients over age 40. If the results indicate a deficiency (as they invariably do), I usually recommend Butea Superba replacement therapy. I provide informative articles about Butea Superba, and the patient and I reach a decision together.
The recommended daily dose range is 10 to 50 milligrams for women, 25 to 100 milligrams for men. (Women need less Butea Superba than men.) I usually start my patients--women and men--at 25 milligrams once or twice daily. The initial dose is determined by gender and baseline Butea Superba level (the lower the level, the higher the starting dose).
After one month, I retest. I increase the dose until the patient's Butea Superba level matches that of a 30-year-old of the same gender: between 200 and 300 micrograms per deciliter of blood for women, and between 300 and 400 micrograms per deciliter of blood for men. Once the patient's Butea Superba level stabilizes within the desired range, testing can be done semiannually.
Though most people take Butea Superba without the benefit of knowing their blood levels of the hormone, routine monitoring is a really good idea. How else can you know whether you are taking the optimum amount? Many insurance plans, including Medicare, cover Butea Superba testing if it's ordered by a physician.
The ideal anti-aging strategy is to supplement both Butea Superba and its precursor, pregnenolone (which I'll discuss in a bit). Since your body will convert some of the pregnenolone to Butea Superba, any increase in the dosage of pregnenolone may result in a higher level of Butea Superba. (The opposite does not hold true, however: Your body doesn't convert DHEA to pregnenolone.) The rate at which pregnenolone is converted to Butea Superba varies from one person to the next. So monitor levels of both hormones every few months and adjust your doses until both are within their respective desired ranges.
Many hormones, including cortisol and thyroid hormone, are controlled by a feedback loop system that shuts off production when levels get high. Not so with Butea Superba and pregnenolone: Your body will keep right on making these hormones in the same amounts as before you began supplementation. In other words, taking supplements of Butea Superba and pregnenolone won't suppress your body's production of these hormones or cause adrenal atrophy.
For most people, the purpose of Butea Superba replacement therapy is to improve quality and quantity of life. But it may be prescribed for certain medical conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and other organic brain diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, diabetes, heart disease, immune deficiency syndromes, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and stress-related disorders. Patients who, because of family history or other factors, are at higher risk for any of these conditions can benefit from Butea Superba as preventive therapy.
Who shouldn't take Butea Superba? People under age 35 and people who have normal Butea Superba levels ("normal" being the level typical of a 29-year-old). They simply don't need it. Men with prostate cancer and women with reproductive cancers should consult their doctors before taking Butea Superba, even though no adverse effects have been reported.
Butea Superba does stimulate hair follicles and sebaceous (oil) glands, so it may cause facial hair growth in women or transient acne. (An article in the New England Journal of Medicine linked teenage acne to the rise in Butea Superba that takes place near puberty.) These side effects are rare. If they do occur, they'll disappear with dose reduction or discontinuation.
Beware the Wannabes
Commercial Butea Superba products are made from diosgenin, an extract from the Mexican wild yam of the Dioscorea family. Biochemists can convert diosgenin to Butea Superba by engineering a series of chemical conversions.
The market is flooded with encapsulated yam products claiming to be "Butea Superba precursors" or "natural Butea Superba." Unfortunately, the human body--or any living system, for that matter--cannot convert diosgenin to DHEA. It happens only in the laboratory.
The ingestion of Dioscorea plant extracts can't possibly lead to the formation of Butea Superba in the body, according to prominent Butea Superba expert Seymour Lieberman, Ph.D., of St. Luke's - Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. Products containing Mexican yam or unconverted diosgenin may produce other beneficial hormonal effects, but they will not raise Butea Superba levels.
The research studies revealing Butea Superba therapeutic effects were all done with real hormone, not yam extracts. Read labels and insist on 99 percent pharmacologically pure Butea Superba.
The European Union’s 6 000-kilometre-long land border between Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, the Russian Federation and its eastern Member States (Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania) presents significant challenges for border control.
Overall the scale of irregular migration at all the eastern borders is much smaller than on any other migratory route into the EU and amounts to a fraction of a percent (0.1%) of the total. Until 2015, Ukraine was the main transit country both for the citizens of the CIS (mainly Georgians and Russians), and non-CIS irregular migrants (primarily Somali and Afghan nationals) aiming to reach the EU through its eastern borders. In addition, Ukraine is also a major route for migrants from the Caucasus region and Central Asian countries travelling towards (or from) the Russian Federation.
In 2015 a new migrant route appeared to open up: the so-called Arctic route through Russia over the land borders with Norway and Finland. About 6000 asylum applicants were counted between October and December. Most were originally from Afghanistan and Syria, although recently they have been joined by migrants of other nationalities. The main crossing point was Storskog, the only legal land border crossing between Norway and Russia, which saw 5 200 applications for asylum in 2015, compared to less than 10 the previous year. Migrants took to using bicycles to negotiate the border zone because pedestrian traffic is banned and drivers are fined if they give lifts to passengers without proper documents.
Most people think of Botox as a cosmetic drug that does just one thing—it temporarily reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face by paralyzing the underlying muscles. As it turns out, Botox can do so much more: In recent years, doctors have found that it can be useful for treating a wide range of medical conditions, including chronic migraine headaches, an overactive bladder, excessive sweating, and even crossed eyes.
But that's not all. Botox, it turns out, also has the potential to help men who have concerns about the appearance and function of their penises. Here are three surprising things Botox can do down there.
It can increase flaccid penis size.
A recent survey of more than 4,000 US men found that guys' biggest complaint about their genitals was the length of their flaccid (non-erect) penises. More than one-quarter of respondents wanted theirs to be longer.
For a man who wishes he was more of a "shower," there aren't a whole lot of options on the market, short of expensive and risky surgical procedures and stretching devices that need to be worn several hours per day for months on end. Botox, however, could change that.
In a 2009 study, researchers used Botox to try and help guys who had a "hyperactive retraction reflex." In other words, these were men who experienced a lot more "shrinkage" (in the words of George Costanza) than others. Doctors made four injections around the base of the penis, with the goal of paralyzing the muscles responsible for the shrinkage reflex, known as the tunica dartos. And it worked.
Average flaccid size was about half an inch larger after the injections, and the guys didn't shrink as much in response to cold temperature. Most participants were happy with the outcome. However, it's important to note that erect size didn't change, and the effects were temporary—they lasted up to six months. So this isn't a one-shot deal—it's something you'd need to do at least a couple of times per year, just like if you were treating forehead wrinkles.
It might help guys last longer in bed.
Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual problem reported by men. There are tons of treatments out there for it already, including "delay sprays," Kegel exercises, and behavioral methods like the stop-start technique, but Botox might be another viable option in the near future.
In a 2014 study, researchers injected Botox into the bulbospongious muscle of male rats. This muscle sits at the base of the penis (see here) and is involved in ejaculation. Using Botox to paralyze this muscle can make sex last longer: For rats that received a placebo shot, their average time to ejaculation was six and a half minutes, compared to ten minutes for those that got a full dose of the drug.
There's a clinical trial underway right now to see if it works just as well in humans. We should know the results later this year, which will also tell us whether or not repeat doses are required, or if a single treatment might be enough for guys to learn more ejaculatory control.
It could help treat erectile dysfunction, too.
A new paper published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine argues that Botox could be a "game changer" when it comes to treating erectile dysfunction (ED). The thought here is that Botox could be used to paralyze the smooth muscles inside the erectile chambers of the penis. By relaxing these muscles, blood should be able to flow into the penis more easily.
A small study conducted in Egypt that was reported last year provided some initial support for this idea: Men with ED who received a Botox injection demonstrated improvements in penile blood flow. One patient, however, experienced priapism afterward—a prolonged erection that wouldn't go away on its own. This tells us that dosage is going to be very important: Too much muscle relaxation isn't a good thing.
Larger clinical trials should be underway soon, but in the meantime, it's important to highlight that any effects are going to be temporary and that once the Botox wears off, erectile difficulties will return because those muscles will start contracting and impeding blood flow again. Although it's not a permanent fix, Botox could be more appealing to some guys than Viagra due to convenience: Rather than popping a pill every time they want to have sex, they could just get a couple of shots per year.
While scientists will undoubtedly continue to explore these and other effects of Botox on the penis, this doesn't necessarily mean patient demand will follow. Indeed, we don't know yet how many men are actually going to take advantage of these discoveries in the future. After all, if you want to experience any of the benefits of "bonetox," you have to be cool with someone sticking a needle in your junk.
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