ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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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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