ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Winter Is Tough on Feet
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior

MONDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Genetics and random environmental factors each play a major role in determining both gay and heterosexual behavior, say British and Swedish researchers.

"This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single 'gay gene' or a single environmental variable which could be used to 'select out' homosexuality -- the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here -- heterosexual behavior is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors," study co-author Dr. Qazi Rahman, a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, said in a prepared statement.

Environmental factors are specific to an individual and may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb, the researchers noted.

The researchers studied more than 3,800 same-gender twin pairs, ages 20 to 47, in Sweden. The twins were asked about the total numbers of opposite sex and same sex partners they had ever had.

"Overall, genetics accounted for around 35 percent of the differences between men in homosexual behavior and other individual-specific environmental factors (that is, not societal attitudes, family or parenting which are shared be twins) accounted for around 64 percent. In other words, men become gay or straight because of different developmental pathways, not just one pathway," Rahman said.

Among the female twins, genetics explained about 18 percent of the variation in sexual orientation, non-shared environmental factors 64 percent, and family environment 16 percent.

It's important to note that heredity and shared environment had roughly the same influence in women, while shared environment had virtually no impact on men's sexual behavior, the researchers said.

The study, which was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, shows that while genetic factors are important, non-shared environmental factors are dominant in determining sexual orientation.

"This study is not without its limitations -- we used a behavioral measure of sexual orientation which might be okay to use for men (men's psychological orientation, sexual behavior, and sexual responses are highly related) but less so for women (who show a clearer separation between these elements of sexuality)," Rahman noted. "Despite this, our study provides the most unbiased estimates presented so far of genetic and non-genetic contributions to sexual orientation."

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about sexual orientation.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of London, news release, June 28, 2008

Last Updated: June 30, 2008

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