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March 21, 2006

Argentina's Bent for Plastic Surgery

Why are Argentine women obsessed with plastic surgery? In this article from the Guardian, the author talks to a pre-eminent Argentine cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Juri, to find out why.

'Because the Argentine woman is very sophisticated and engages in a great deal of social activity; because here in Buenos Aires we do not consider ourselves Latin Americans but Europeans, and so we must look and dress the part; because the philosophy of looking after yourself is fixed in the minds of Argentine girls from a very early age; because there is enormous competitiveness among "las Argentinas"; and because good looks open the doors to love and money.'

Then the author talks to an Argentine psychoanalyst, Sonia Abadi, who offers a more Freudian-era explanation.

'Can it have something to do with prostitution?' is the first thing she says when I ask her why she believes it is that Argentine women drive men wild like no others. Prostitution? I exclaim, taken aback, but am immediately reminded of Juri's point about the competitiveness of women, and their idea of beauty as the means to find love and money. 'Yes, prostitution,' she says, defiantly, provocatively, with a knowing smile . 'There's a big tradition of it in this country, and quite a recent one too.' [...] 'If Argentina remains to this day a deeply "machista" country,' Abadi says, 'it is because of the idea entrenched in the male psyche of woman as whore.'

Read the article: High-flying, adored, and siliconized

Posted by joegrohens at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2006

Yes, Virginia, there is a dance phenotype

AVPR1a and SLC6A4 Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Creative Dance Performance

Hey everybody, the white lab coats have finally cracked what dancing is all about. (Yeah, yeah; even with posting this humorous introduction, yet still do I proclaim my dorkitude.)

Dancing, integrally related to music, likely has its origins close to the birth of Homo sapiens. The authors hypothesized that there are differences in aptitude, propensity, and need for dancing that may be based on differences in common genetic polymorphisms. Identifying such differences may lead to an understanding of the neurobiological basis of dancing.

Variants of the serotonin transporter and the arginine vasopressin receptor 1a genes were examined in performing dancers, elite athletes, and nonathletes/nondancers. The serotonin transporter regulates the level of serotonin, a brain transmitter that contributes to spiritual experience. The vasopressin receptor has been shown in many animal studies to modulate social communication and affiliative behaviors. Notably, dancers scored high on the Tellegen Absorption Scale, a correlate of spirituality, and the Reward Dependence factor in Cloninger's Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, a measure of empathy, social communication, and need for social contact. Significant differences were observed in allele frequencies for both genes when dancers were compared to athletes as well as to nondancers/nonathletes. These two genes were also associated with scores on the Tellegen Absorption Scale and Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire Reward Dependence, suggesting that the association between these genes and dance is mediated by personality factors reflecting the social communication, courtship, and spiritual facets of the dancing phenotype.

From: PLoS Genetics: "AVPR1a and SLC6A4 Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Creative Dance Performance"

Link via Jackie Wong

Posted by joegrohens at 10:27 PM | Comments (1)