Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

Another, post-Ig-Nobel-Prize, multi-self-donational fertility doctor, reportedly

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Fertility doctor impregnated several patients, affidavit says” says the headline on an Associated Press report. If reported affidavit is correct, this case reepeats, on a smaller scale, the achievement that won an Ig Nobel Prize for Dr. Cecil Jacobson.

The 1992 Ig Nobel Prize for biology was awarded to Dr. Cecil Jacobson, relentlessly generous sperm donor, and prolific patriarch of sperm banking, for devising a simple, single-handed method of quality control. Dr. Jacobson reportedly used his own sperm — he perhaps modestly did not inform anyone as to the source of that sperm — to impregnate many of his patients, resulting in an estimated 75 Jacobson-fathered kids. For details of Dr. Jacobson’s activities, read the book The Babymaker: Fertility Fraud and the Fall of Dr. Cecil Jacobson, by Rick Nelson]


clineThe AP report about the more recent, post-Jacobsonian case includes this passage: “A retired Indianapolis fertility doctor used his own sperm at least 50 times instead of donated sperm that his patients were expecting, impregnating at least eight women decades ago, court documents say. Dr. Donald Cline [pictured here, at right], 77, pleaded not guilty Monday to two felony obstruction of justice charges for misleading authorities who were investigating complaints from two of the now-adult children against him. Cline is accused of being the biological father of at least eight people, the youngest of which would be about 30. The accusations against him were first reported by WXIN-TV in May.”

Further details are reported by the Indianapolis Star: “According to the probable cause affidavit, Cline told one of his biological daughters that he felt pressured to use his own sperm when he did not have access to donor sperm. In one discussion, he said he donated sperm nine or 10 times. In another discussion, he said it was more like 50 times. He told the siblings he was just trying to help people have babies and that now that he has found God, he recognizes that what he did was wrong because he hurt people.”


Tiffany Love’s Monetary Incentives Guide to “the Love Molecule”

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Love, money, and a lovably-nicknamed molecule are all in the mix — hey, they ARE the mix — in this newly published study:

tiffanyloveOxytocin modulates hemodynamic responses to monetary incentives in humans,” Brian J. Mickey, Joseph Heffernan, Curtis Heisel, Marta Peciña, David T. Hsu, Jon-Kar Zubieta, Tiffany M. Love [pictured here], Psychopharmacology, epub 2016. The authors explain:

Oxytocin [popularly called ‘the love molecule’] is a neuropeptide widely recognized for its role in regulating social and reproductive behavior…. Our findings demonstrate that intranasal administration of oxytocin modulates human midbrain and medial prefrontal function during motivated behavior. These findings suggest that endogenous oxytocin is a neurochemical mediator of reward behaviors in humans.”

Like many published  studies, this one possibly gives you, the reader, a lovable picture of what its authors are sure might be part of the story of what happens or does not happen in nature.

The Fate of Class Clowns: “Class Clowning is a Zero Sum Game” [study]

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Not all the world loves a class clown. In particular, not all teachers love class clowns. This new study explores the love and lack of love, and the consequences thereof:

The association between class clown dimensions, school experiences and accomplishment,” Tracey Platt, Lisa Wagner, Willibald Ruch [pictured here], Learning and Individual Differences, epub September 2, 2016. (Thanks to Neil Martin for bringing this to our attention.


The authors, at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and the University of Wolverhampton, U.K., explains:

“Recent research (Ruch, Platt, & Hofmann, 2014) identified four dimensions of class clown behavior (identifying as a class clown, comic talent, disruptive rule-breaker, and subversive joker). This study investigates… a sample of 157 secondary school children (mean age: 15.4 years)…. While class clowns experience positive emotions at school, their negative relationship with teachers might impair their school satisfaction and achievement….

“For someone with humor as a signature strength, engaging in class clowning is a zero sum game. The benefit of having more fun is counteracted by the class clowns’ perceived lower positive relationship with the teacher.”

Miani’s ‘Interactions between oxytocin and copulatory posture’

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

This week’s Project of the Week concerns posture and nearly everyone’s favorite chemical, oxytocin:

Interactions between oxytocin and copulatory posture

Aarhus University

Background: During sexual intimacy, humans have a strong preference for the missionary position. This allows for eye contact, kiss, nipple stimulation, and other patterns of intimacy that increase oxytocin. Previous studies have shown that coitus is more satiating than masturbation and that intranasal oxytocin enhanced intensity of orgasm in men and improved interactions with partners in women. However, knowledge about this mechanism is still limited. It is then believed that sexual intimacy fostered by the missionary position might increase oxytocin and thus play a role in sexual satiation and affiliation. These results would be interpreted in an evolutionary perspective.

Objective: To assess whether a) basal levels of oxytocin predict copulatory posture, and whether b) copulatory posture modulates oxytocin.

Methods: In a naturalistic setting, healthy nulliparous heterosexual couples perform three tasks: masturbation, doggy-style, and missionary sexual intercourse. Saliva samples are collected 10 minutes before the task, after the orgasm, and following 40 minutes of rest. Subjects provide also a blood sample and fill out a questionnaire on their sexual habits and about the experiment.

Does an apple a day improve a woman’s sex life? [podcast #79]

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The question “Does an apple a day improve a woman’s sex life?” anchors this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

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This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by Yale/MIT/Harvard biomedical researcher Chris Cotsapis — tells about:

  • Does an apple a day improve a woman’s sex life? — “Apple Consumption is Related to Better Sexual Quality of Life in Young Women,” Tommaso Cai, Mauro Gacci, Fulvio Mattivi, Nicola Mondaini, Serena Migno, Vieri Boddi, Paolo Gacci, Beatrice Detti, Paolo Gontero, Stefano Chiodini, Liliana Mereu, Saverio Tateo, Sandra Mazzoli, Gianni Malossini, and Riccardo Bartoletti, Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, vol. 290, February 2014, pp. 1-6. The researchers are based in Italy. The study also involves
  • Apples.

Red_Apple The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.

The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).