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Orlando City at Toronto FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match – The Mane Land

Jul 19th, 2021
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Orlando City returns from Canada with a point after a tough 1-1 draw with Toronto FC. Despite the week of rest, the Lions struggled to get much going but managed to hang in there and grind out a result to avoid a third straight loss. While its disappointing that Orlando hasnt won a game this July, the team deserves some credit for battling back after falling behind late in the match.

Lets dive right into how each of your favorite Lions rated in this road match.

GK, Pedro Gallese, 6.5 It was nice to have Gallese back between the sticks. The Peruvian goalkeeper looked as calm as ever in his return after the Copa America, making two saves. On Torontos goal, Gallese had a good read on where Jozy Altidore was going to place his header but couldnt react in time to stop the powerful header from point-blank range. He was accurate on 90% of his passes, with two of his three long balls finding their mark.

D, Joao Moutinho, 6 Maybe the best news from Moutinhos performance is that he played all 90 minutes. Given his injury history and Oscar Parejas efforts to ease Moutinho back into the swing of things, it was a great sign to see him go the distance on the road. He also turned in a great performance, leading the team with 86 touches and 74 passes. Of those, 82% were successful, which is pretty good considering the distance of some of his attempts. He was left out to dry on Torontos goal and was unable to best Altidore in an aerial duel in front of goal. Defensively, Moutinho just had an interception. On offense, he had no shots or crosses.

D, Robin Jansson, 6 Jansson was caught in a bad position by a great cross from Justin Morrow that went right over his head for Altidore to head it home, but could have done more to help Moutinho with the big striker on that play. As one of the only Lions on the field capable of beating Altidore in the air, Jansson needed to be a bit more aware of the danger. The Beefy Swede responded perfectly just a minute later though, sending a long ball deep that Toronto defender Auro Jr. couldnt cleanly deal with. The ball was dangerous enough with Benji Michel hustling after it that Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono committed a penalty trying to snuff it out. Defensively, Jansson made two interceptions and won two of his three defensive aerial duels. He ended the game with 47 touches and completed 86% of his 43 passing attempts.

D, Rodrigo Schlegel, 6 With Antonio Carlos still out, Schlegel stepped in as center back and made two clearances and a tackle. Although he only had 44 touches and 38 passes, he was successful on 89% of those passing attempts, including a key pass as Orlando tried to create opportunities with long balls downfield. He didnt have any shots or make much of an impact on set pieces. While he was defensively sound, he did pick up a yellow card and committed a team-high five fouls, including two in dangerous areas for the opposition.

D, Kyle Smith, 6.5 (MotM) Playing at right back, Smith did a great job defending Designated Player Yeferson Soteldo, who was the most dangerous player on the pitch. The two dueled throughout the match and Soteldo certainly got the better of him on occasion with some fancy footwork, but Smith put a stop to many plays that couldve ended up causing trouble. On Torontos goal, he made a good effort to stop Morrows cross but was a step behind due to Soteldos presence. Still, Smith led the team with four tackles and had a clearance as he put out fires on his preferred right side of defense. Offensively, Smith sent one of his two shots into orbit and the other went straight at Bono for an easy save. He was only successful on two of his five crosses, but he did lead the team with two key passes. It was certainly a busy night for Smith as he had 72 touches and was accurate on 75% of 48 passes. After a rough time last week against the Chicago Fire, Smith rebounded with a good performance and stopped Torontos best player from running rampant.

MF, Junior Urso, 4.5 It was a rough night for Urso. Although he completed 83% of his 41 passes, he was dispossessed a team-high three times and was only successful on two of his four attempted dribbles. While he had 55 touches, Urso also had no shots, key passes, or crosses. The midfielder spent a majority of the match chasing down Soteldo and Alejandro Pozuelo and finished the game with a tackle and two clearances. Urso has started every game this season and the schedule is only going to get more congested in the coming weeks.

MF, Sebas Mendez, N/A The Ecuadorian was forced off in the 14th minute due to an ankle injury. Smith accidentally stepped on Mendez ankle when both of them went for the ball. Mendez had to be helped off the field and was unable to put any weight on that right foot. Hopefully the injury doesnt end up being too serious. In a short shift, Mendez finished with nine touches, a tackle, a clearance, and was accurate on five of his seven passes (71%).

MF, Benji Michel, 6 The Homegrown Player was bullied off the ball by Torontos defense during most of the game, but did find success when using his speed to beat defenders. In the 73rd minute, Michel turned on the jets to chase down a long ball into the box. Before Michel could make a play on the ball, Bono slammed into him and the referee awarded a penalty after checking with the Video Assistant Referee and reviewing the play on the monitor. Michel didnt have any shots or key passes in the match and only had 25 touches, but he influenced the game nonetheless. He was successful on 79% of his 14 passes and didnt attempt any crosses.

MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 6 The Uruguayan pulled the strings on offense in a midfield that was crowded by Toronto players all game long. Pereyra had one key pass in the match, sending a nice, low ball to Nani right in front of goal, but the ensuing shot was deflected. In 81 minutes of action, Pereyra had 68 touches, two tackles, a clearance, and completed an impressive 88% of his 60 passes. It wasnt his best game by any stretch, but he did a decent job hustling on defense and finding open players.

MF, Nani, 6.5 The captain has now scored in four of his last five starts. His goal against Toronto came from a penalty that wound up in the back of the net despite Bono getting a hand to it. Had it been stopped, it would have been retaken, as Bono was well off his line. Nani led the team with six shots, putting three of them on target. Toronto really didnt give Nani much room to breathe and he was dispossessed twice, caught offside twice, and only successful on one of his four attempted dribbles. On offense he led the team with six shots, putting three of them on target, and made a key pass. None of his four crosses ended up finding their target and he finished with 34 passes at an 85% passing rate. Defensively, Nani had a tackle, an interception, and a clearance.

F, Tesho Akindele, 4.5 While Akindele did well winning the ball up field and in hold-up play, he wasnt much of a threat offensively. The Canadian striker had no shots or key passes and was substituted off at halftime. He had 16 touches and attempted 15 passes at an 80% success rate. With Daryl Dike at the Concacaf Gold Cup and Alexandre Pato still recovering, Akindele needed to be more efficient in this one.

MF, Andres Perea (13), 6.5 Brought on in place of Mendez early in the match, Perea did a good job on both sides of the ball. He made a few important defensive plays by intercepting a dangerous pass from Soteldo and later executing a crucial tackle on Soteldo in the box from a tough position without conceding a penalty. Perea nearly stole all three points in the 89th minute but just couldnt get enough on his header on a tough ball and tougher defending that may have needed some video review. His only other shot in the match was on target, but didnt give Bono much trouble. Perea was successful on both of his attempted dribbles, was dispossessed twice, and led the team with five interceptions. He made 60 touches and was superb when passing, with 91% of his 43 passes ending up successful.

F, Chris Mueller (45), 5.5 Coming on for Akindele at halftime, Mueller brought some needed energy to the team. His hustle nearly resulted in a goal in the 58th minute as he hunted down a loose ball in the midfield. After a series of nice passing with Michel, Mueller had a chance to shoot but Morrow broke up the play and the ball nearly snuck into the goal but hit the post. Mueller cooled off a bit but worked well in the midfield and made a few good runs. Like Akindele, he didnt take a shot but he did at least make a key pass. Mueller was accurate on 74% of his 23 passes and had 28 touches.

MF, Uri Rosell (80), N/A After Orlandos equalizer, Rosell was brought on to replace Pereyra and helped shift the midfield into a more defensive mindset. He didnt play enough to earn a grade, but Rosell had two interceptions to help see the game out. The Spaniard had seven touches and completed both of his passes.

MF, Alexander Alvarado (90), N/A It was another late cameo for Alvarado, who had no touches, passes, or defensive stats in this one.

MF, Joey DeZart (90), N/A Like Alvarado, DeZart came on late to give the team some fresher legs. He committed a foul but it was deep in Torontos half after he tried slowing the game down. DeZart was successful on one of his two passes and had three touches.

Thats how I saw things play out in Canada. Make sure to weigh in how you feel about the grades in the comments and to vote for you who you think deserved the title of Man of the Match.

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Orlando City at Toronto FC: Player Grades and Man of the Match - The Mane Land



T Review: Hormone of the Hour – The Wall Street Journal

Jul 19th, 2021
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In the late 1990s Carole Hooven, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, was researching chimpanzee hormone levels in Uganda when she observed that Imoso, the troops mayor, let loose on females, particularly Outamba, kicking and drubbing her with his fists until she bled. Although primatologists had long documented bellicosity in chimps, our closest cousins, Ms. Hooven was still shocked, kindling a desire to plumb the organic underpinnings of this behavior.

In her clear-eyed, crisply written T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us (Holt, 352 pages, $27.99), Ms. Hooven does that, and so much more. In the intervening decades the ground has shifted: the Human Genome Project compiled our vast DNA alphabet, the Supreme Court federalized same-sex marriage, and victims of sexual assault, in a crescendo of rage and shame, forced a public reckoning. She deftly threads the needle of social ferment with her own imperatives as a scientist, exploring the molecule of masculinity, coded by SRY, a runt of a gene found on the Y chromosome, but one that packs a wallop.

T does what all superb popular science must do: It entertains as it educates. Ms. Hooven depicts endocrinologys origin in the 19th century, when Arnold Berthold, a German academic, sewed testes into the abdomens of castrated cockerels. The physiologist Charles-douard Brown-Squard went a step further, injecting himself with the extracts of crushed testes harvested from guinea pigs and dogs. Ms. Hooven also weaves in other historical figures, among them the eunuchs of Chinas Qing dynasty and the castrati of Baroque Italian choirs.

The discovery of testosterone in the early 20th century brings the narrative into a sharper scientific focus. Ms. Hooven surveys the data on T, distilled from a broad literaturefor example, the hormone exists in both sexes but is 10 to 20 times greater in men. She conveys her arguments in folksy metaphors, comparing gene action in fetal development to a recipe for chocolate-chip cookies: The gene for Jennys androgen receptor had a tiny typo, but the results were more consequential than misprinting three eggs. Its as if two cups flour were misspelled two cups fluor. Fluor is a mineral containing the element fluorine, and is worse than useless for baking.

T roams widely, as Ms. Hooven details the rutting rituals of red deer on Rum, a craggy island off the coast of Scotland. High-T stags triumph in the clash of antlers, passing along their genes. By contrast Ms. Hooven delves into the career of the serendipitously named John Wingfield, a British biologist who studied song sparrows. These birds testosterone spikes as they woo females with their warbles; after the brood hatches, the fathers are involved in the care of their chicks, dialing down their T. When Wingfield increased testosterone in a group of males that had been busy gathering food for the nest, the results were dramatic. High-T dads went out singing at all hours along the perimeter of their territories, telling the neighbors to screw off and trying to score new females. Chicks fathered by these hormonally revived playboys were more likely to starve.

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T Review: Hormone of the Hour - The Wall Street Journal



Testosterone Therapy Could Improve Cardiovascular Health in Men with Hypogonadism – Endocrinology Network

Jul 19th, 2021
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Data from a 10-year study including more than 800 men suggests testosterone therapy could reduce risk of heart attack and stroke among men with testosterone deficiency.

Presented at the Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology (EAU21), results of the study indicate men with testosterone deficiency receiving testosterone therapy had a lower risk of mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events than their counterparts who did not undergo testosterone therapy.

"Given that all these men would normally have been expected to suffer a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 to 10 years, with no other intervention, it was a real surprise to see no cardiovascular events at all in the group on testosterone therapy. It's clear that this treatment can significantly reduce the risks in this particular group, said study presented Omar Aboumarzouk, of the Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar, in a statement.

A cumulative registry study designed to assess the long-term safety and efficacy of testosterone therapy in hypogonadal men, the EAU21 study included 805 participants, including 412 receiving 1000 mg of parenteral testosterone every 12 weeks for up to 12 years and 393 who opted against receiving testosterone therapy who served as controls. All patients included in the study were at increased risk of cardiovascular disease due to family history, blood pressure, lipid profile, diabetes status, or body weight.

Upon analysis, results indicated those in the testosterone therapy group had a 10-year mean risk of 22.7% compared to 23.5% among those in the control arm (P=.11). Over a median follow-up of 8 years, 16 deaths occurred in the testosterone therapy group. Investigators pointed out there were no observed incidences of myocardial infarction or stroke among these patients. Over a median follow-up time of 9 years, a total of 74 deaths occurred among those in the control arm. Investigators pointed out 70 incidences of myocardial infarction and 59 cases of stroke were observed among these patients.

Additionally, further analysis suggested use of testosterone therapy was associated with improvements in multiple classical cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity, glycemic control, lipid profile, and CRP.

In the aforementioned statement, Maarten Albersen, Member of the EAU Scientific Office, from Leuven University in Belgium, commended study authors for their studys addition to the existing knowledge base but cautioned more research into the effects of testosterone on cardiovascular health is needed before drawing a definitive conclusion.

These were men with a medium risk of heart attack or stroke, and those receiving testosterone were younger and had a slightly lower risk at the start of the study. The study was long enough to see differences in the rate of cardiovascular events, pointed out Albersen. However, the numbers involved and the fact that the trial was not randomised mean it's still difficult to draw any hard conclusions. A new trial is now underway, aiming to recruit 6000 participants, and this should provide definitive answers on the cardiovascular risks or even benefits of hormone therapy in men with low testosterone."

This study, Less mortality and less Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACE) under long-term Testosterone Therapy (TTh): 15-year data from a prospective controlled registry study, was presented at the Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology.

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Beyond condoms: Do new options mean men will take more responsibility for birth control? – Euronews

Jul 19th, 2021
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Male contraception has been limited to the same two options for more than a century: wearing condoms or having a vasectomy. It can hardly be called a choice, especially as vasectomies are generally a permanent procedure.

In comparison, when it comes to reversible forms of birth control, women are able to choose between a dozen methods ranging from the pill to hormonal injections, an implant, a patch, an intrauterine device (IUD), a diaphragm, a vaginal ring, female condoms or spermicide.

Granted, the scenario that contraception seeks to avoid is a woman getting pregnant, and it sounds mathematically easier to prevent an ovary from releasing an egg or two, or creating a barrier around them than to try to disable the millions of sperm trying to swim to them.

But as women increasingly speak out about the hassle of staying on top of their reproductive cycles, a significant proportion of men are showing interest in helping to relieve their female partner of the burden of birth control.

A 2018 YouGov poll found that 79 per cent of the 1,600 British men surveyed thought contraception should be a shared responsibility.

"Men are starting to be more vocal about wanting it. Women are getting more vocal about wanting men to want it. So people are starting to pay attention," said Heather Vahdat, executive director of Male Contraceptive Initiative, which helps fund research in this field.

So, what options might men have in the future?

Heres a look at some of the most promising methods in the pipeline.

Now heres a way in which men could literally shoulder more of the burden of birth control: by applying a testosterone gel daily on their upper arms and back.

The gel, called Nestorone, contains both testosterone and a progestin, a synthetic form of the female sex hormone progesterone. The progestin blocks natural testosterone production in the testes, reducing sperm production to low or nonexistent levels. The replacement testosterone aims to maintain normal sex drive and other hormone-driven functions.

The effectiveness of the gel is being evaluated around the world in Phase 2 clinical trials funded by the US National Institutes of Health that aim to enroll 400 couples in total and are expected to conclude next year.

Professor Richard Anderson from the University of Edinburgh - where 30 men have already completed the trial - says the results so far are very encouraging.

"It worked really surprisingly well. We havent had any pregnancies. The guy's sperm counts stayed really reliably suppressed," Anderson told Euronews Next.

Rgine Sitruk-Ware, a distinguished scientist at the Population Councils Centre for Biomedical Research leading the Nestorone study, said the shoulder gel appears to have a key advantage: reliability.

"When it's used daily, it remains on the surface of the skin and then delivers steadily," she explained. "And we see it at an effective dose for up to three days, which means that if there is one day off, and the person has forgotten to apply it, theres a kind of forgiveness".

But hold your breath. The Population Council doesnt expect it to reach the market for another five years.

Thats because clinical trials must not only demonstrate that the product works in preventing pregnancies, but also that its fully reversible, meaning that couples whove used it and subsequently want a child do manage to get pregnant.

Researchers have also been working on a male birth control pill containing dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU.

The molecule can alternatively be administered in long-lasting injections. It suppresses two hormones needed to create viable sperm: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH).

The tricky part is that suppressing these causes testosterone levels to drop as well, which often comes with unwanted side effects, such as lowered libido, acne, and mood swings.

Such side effects may sound familiar to the millions of women who take a birth control pill, but theyve gotten in the way of bringing male birth control to market.

A promising study commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) into a two-hormone injection designed to lower sperm count was halted after safety reviewers judged it had too many side effects, particularly mood changes.

Interestingly though, 75 per cent of the 320 men enrolled in the trial said they wanted to continue using the shot.

Researchers have since been working on ways to tinker with other hormones to trick the body into thinking that testosterone levels are adequate and limit side effects.

As women become increasingly reticent to hormonal forms of birth control, those advocating research into new male contraceptives say non-hormonal methods could be a smart bet.

Enter so-called "vas-occlusive techniques" - or reversible vasectomy.

It works by implanting a gel into the vas deferens (the duct inside the penis through which sperm leaves the body) that allows fluid to flow but stops sperm from travelling. Its being developed as a one-time outpatient procedure that can last several years, either until the gel naturally starts dissolving or until the man decides to have it removed to allow his sperm to roam freely again.

For over four decades, scientists in India have been looking into a vas-occlusive synthetic gel called RISUG ("reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance") that's currently the only male contraceptive in Phase 3 clinical trials.

Studies have shown it to be effective, but only animal trials have so far fully demonstrated the products potential to be reversed. A water-based gel called ADAM developed by the company Contraline in the United States is also expected to start first-in-human trials this year.

"Its not as daunting as it may seem," said Vahdat, whose non-profit organisation Male Contraceptive Initiative is helping fund the study into ADAM.

"Its like a male IUD: a long-acting reversible contraceptive for men. You set it and forget it".

Whether they sound promising or unsettling, these new options are still years away from becoming a reality for men worldwide.

So why is it taking so long? "It really has been funding," said Vahdat.

Case in point: her non-profit, MCI, is the second-largest funder of research into male birth control after the National Institutes of Health, with just $1.5 million (1.3 million) in grants each year - a drop in the ocean of drug research.

MCI and the Population Council say the pharmaceutical industrys traditional risk-benefit model has caused companies to leave this field virtually untouched.

"If you think of taking a healthy patient, disabling a function (reproduction) and promising it can be restored, thats more risky in terms of return than treating a disease," Vahdat explained.

From a regulatory perspective, its also somewhat of an ethical headache to give someone a medication with potential side effects if the end goal - preventing pregnancy - does not affect their body but their partners.

Those calling for more male birth control options say that way of thinking needs to be turned on its head.

"We propose a model of shared risk that is ethical because you are preventing the risk of pregnancy in a female partner, and we're considering the sum total of risk between male and female partner," Logan Nickels, research director at MCI, said.

While this idea has yet to win over health regulators and companies, it may be catching on more quickly among the general population.

In France, a new male birth control product has been making headlines in recent months: a thermal ring called Andro-Switch designed to bring the testes closer to the body to naturally raise their temperature.

The pitch: if worn at least 15 hours a day for a few months, it lowers sperm production enough to cause temporary and reversible infertility.

"I think that a lot of people are understanding that instead of a fifth hormone-releasing IUD on the market, maybe we can have one male contraceptive," Nickels said.

Recent studies suggest many men would consider hormonal birth control if it were available.

In the US alone, 77 per cent of sexually active men aged 18 to 44 surveyed in 2017 were "very or somewhat" interested in trying out a male form of birth control other than condoms or vasectomy.

"A few decades ago, people were simply grateful there were contraceptive methods. Now people realise its also a burden, and its more about sharing responsibility," Anderson, of the University of Edinburghs Centre for Reproductive Health, said.

"A number of men do want to step up to the mark".

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Beyond condoms: Do new options mean men will take more responsibility for birth control? - Euronews



Why do the Olympics still exclude athletes based on sex? – Quartz Africa

Jul 19th, 2021
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Like the proverbial whack-a-mole, the Olympic sex test keeps coming backwith disastrous effects for women athletes across the globeno matter how many times athletes and human rights advocates think they have abolished it.

The test was introduced in the 1930s to weed out abnormal women athletes from the Olympics. The first test was a physical examination.

During the 1960s, when women began to object to the tests nude parades, the official response was not abolition, but replacement by hormone analysis.

Feminists, athletes, geneticists, ethicists, and national governments protested, but it took until the 1990s when the International Amateur Athletic Federation (now known as World Athletics) and the International Olympic Committee ended the test.

That turned out to be short lived. In the fine print of those decisions, the governing bodies reserved the right to resume the testing of suspicious women.

After the triumph of South African middle distance runner Caster Semenya at the 2009 world championships in Berlin, World Athletics, and the IOC instituted a hyperandrogenism test which set a limit of 10 nanomoles on the amount of natural testosterone a woman could possess to remain eligible.

In 2014, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand was singled out for the test and suspended just as she was finalizing her preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. With the help of scholars Payoshni Mitra and Katrina Karkazis, the Sport Authority of India, and Toronto lawyers Jim Bunting and Carlos Sayao, Chand appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sometimes called the supreme court of international sport. She won.

The CAS overturned Chands suspension and the very policy itself on the grounds that the scientific evidence submitted by the athletics body was unconvincing. The IOC called off the test and both Chand and Semenya competed in the Rio Olympics, with Semenya again winning the 800 meters.

However, the optimism that the CAS would prove an effective protector of gender rights proved short-lived. In 2018, World Athletics imposed a revised threshold of five nanomoles of natural testosterone on the five events in which Semenya runsranging from 400 meters to the mileand promptly suspended her. She, too, appealed to CAS, on the grounds that her human rights as a woman had been violated.

Semenya submitted extensive evidence that the test had driven many other women from the sport, stolen their livelihoods, subjected them to ridicule and harassment, and in a few frightening cases, forced them to undergo unnecessary, irreversible medical intervention, including surgery. Most of the affected athletes came from the Global South.

She was unsuccessful. While the CAS acknowledged the new regulation was discriminatory, it claimed that human rights were beyond the scope of its mandate.

Semenya has since appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, but no decision has been announced.

The ruling by World Athletics means Semenya could compete in the 5,000 meters event without undergoing treatment to reduce her natural testosterone. While she is the current 5,000 meter champion in South Africa, she was unable to meet the Olympic qualifying standard. This means she wont compete in Tokyo.

The persistence of the test, despite the condemnation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, the World Medical Association, and many scientific and academic bodies, painfully exposes the empty human rights rhetoric of the IOC. There is no scientific, legal, or ethical basis for such tests.

As the longtime athletics official and IOC member Arne Lundqvist acknowledged at the CAS: There has been a long history of ignorance.

The way that such policies have been developed flies in the face of the international standard for arms-length vetting, evidence, and consultation with those affected.

It is a stain on the Tokyo Olympics that Semenya, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion, one of the most charismatic athletes in the world, has been barred from defending her 800-meter title simply on the basis of unfounded stereotypes.

To empower unaccountable sports bodies, advised by self-selected physicians, to exclude some women on the basis of their personal perceptions of womanhood is both wrong-headed and unfair. The sex test should be abolished once and for all, and gender self-identification should become the basis for eligibility in womens events at the Games.

How can the sex test be abolished? The most obvious solution is to follow Semenyas lead and win womens rights under the banner of human rights. Human Rights Watch has proposed that the IOC adopt the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which require a formal legal mechanism to hear and rule on complaints, and others have done the same.

While the Olympic Charter proclaims that the practice of sport is a human right, the IOC has failed to provide any mechanism to enforce human rights, claiming that as a private organization it enjoys the autonomy of sport from governments and human rights regimes. A growing body of scholarship disputes that claim.

The IOC does seem to be moving in the right direction, floating the notion of responsible autonomy and requiring that workers and citizens rights be protected in the staging of the 2024 Olympics in Paris and the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

But it seems reluctant to impose any human rights requirements or protections upon Tokyo or the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. It continues to restrict athletes rights to free speech in the recently announced revisions to Rule 50 that governs conduct at the Games.

I wish there was another way, but to end the sex test once and for all, we must first win the battle for Olympic human rights.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Why do the Olympics still exclude athletes based on sex? - Quartz Africa



Why the Olympics needs to drop its nonsensical testosterone rules – Crikey

Jul 19th, 2021
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The Olympic Games are upon us, and reliably they will focus some attention on divisive social issues. Theyre supposed to be about friendship, but arguably their real value has always been in their ability to draw the highest number of eyeballs to the visible demonstration of the things that divide us.

Ever since Ben Johnson broke the world record for the 100 metres at the 1988 Seoul Olympics a race in which six of the eight finalists failed drug tests at some point in their careers the Games have been synonymous with cheating.Performance enhancement, super-suits, backward glances at East German world records: humanity at its best and worst simultaneously.

The ethics of cheating are straightforward enough, assuming the existence of a level genetic playing field.That assumption or rather the sub-assumption of binary genders is becoming increasingly shaky, causing conniptions across the sporting globe.

In the lead-up to Tokyo, it looked like Namibia might be banking medals via two 18-year-old rising stars named Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi. Together theyd run four of the five fastest times in the 400 metres this year.

Mboma and Masilingi are female by birth.They had no idea, until the news broke, that their natural testosterone levels exceed the normal range, such that under World Athletics rules they cannot compete in womens races unless they take medication to reduce their levels.Both women declined to do that, so theyre out of the Olympics.

A person who will be competing in the womens competition is Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand.She is the first openly transgender Olympic athlete ever.The reason she can do so is that, under IOC guidelines, she has a testosterone level below the set benchmark.

Some people would say that thats all a bit off by means of an arbitrary dividing line two real women are excluded while a former man gets to compete?Put aside this offensive stereotyping and think about it in non-discriminatory terms, however, and the outlines of a deeper problem begin to emerge.

What has driven Olympic regulators to the point where theyre using the brutally simplistic measurement of a single, naturally-occurring hormone to decide who gets to play, while ignoring the other multiple complexities of gender and transgender status?

The famous case of runner Caster Semenya is instructive.She was banned from competing in athletics in 2018, and her discrimination claim to the Court of Arbitration in Sport failed.The court upheld a rule requiring athletes with disorders of sex development (previously called intersex) to reduce their testosterone levels if they want to compete as women.

Essentially what it ruled was that discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender identity is allowable if it is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of attaining a legitimate objective that objective being the level playing field.

Its not just the Olympics, of course.World Rugby has banned trans women from playing in womens competitions, citing that their physique, muscle mass and strength pose a risk to cis-women.Theres science to support that stance: research has suggested that biologically-born men enjoy on average a 30% physical advantage over women in weightlifting, for example, which is only reduced by about 5% if you subtract the testosterone difference from the equation.

Other sports have tried to move in a more inclusive direction, with results as repulsive as those the Olympics are producing.The trans AFLW player Hannah Mouncey decided to withdraw from the AFLW draft, stating as her reason the psychological effects that the process of testing was having on her.

As trans cyclist Kristen Worley wrote in her book Woman Enough, she was constantly labelled either a freak or a cheat, but the worst was the intrusion: They felt utterly entitled to ask me embarrassing, intimate questions about the details of my surgeries, and talk openly about my body in front of me, as if I wasnt there.

Thats the human cost of trying, theoretically ethically, to maintain fairness. But it ignores a very obvious question: what is it we are seeking to maintain?

Simply, what sporting codes are defending is a binary construct which no longer holds.There never was such a thing as the level playing field, of course, but the real issue is the insistence on maintaining a division of people into two mutually exclusive groups: male and female.

For all the squealing of the loud majority that humanity is binary, were just not.Semenya was born the way she is, as were Mboma and Masilingi. Mouncey and Hubbard were born, biologically, the way they dont identify. They are people and theyre entitled to compete no less than anyone else.

Where the binary construct is forcing us is to a new definition of man and woman, determined not by genitals but a hormone level.Above the line, male; below, female.That makes as much sense as your instincts are telling you it does.

Where it should lead us is to a place where another arm of rugby has been tentatively pointing; in some junior rugby union competitions, players are being graded by weight rather than age, acknowledging major differences in physical maturity between little boys and girls, partly random and partly to do with genetics.

That creates its own set of problems, such as body shaming.There is in fact no easy answer, ethically.What should be clear is that theres definitely no answer scientifically.

Where we urgently need to veer away from, however, is this business of measuring who can be female on a scale.Its all kinds of wrong.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Share them with us by writing to [emailprotected], and dont forget to include your full name if youd like your letter to be considered for publication.

Michael Bradley is the managing partner at Marque Lawyers and Crikey legal correspondent. Emma Johnsen is a senior associate at Marque.

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Why the Olympics needs to drop its nonsensical testosterone rules - Crikey



Australian Tokyo Olympics team boss Ian Chesterman backs Ian Thorpe investigation – ESPN

Jul 19th, 2021
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The Australian Tokyo Olympics team boss has backed an independent investigation into the leaking of Ian Thorpe's drug test results more than a decade ago.

Chef de mission Ian Chesterman has called for the "absolute pursuit of truth" into the 2007 controversy involving the five-time gold medal-winning Australian Olympic swimming great.

The issue has resurfaced in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games, with world swimming's new boss quoted as saying he would support an investigation into how Thorpe's test results were leaked to the press.

"Ian Thorpe is an amazing Australia athlete and a great Australian Olympian," Chesterman said on Sunday.

"I fully believe that there should be an absolute pursuit of truth in this situation and I certainly hope we get to that point sooner rather than later."

In 2007, a French newspaper was given details of a drug sample Thorpe had returned the previous year, that showed abnormal levels of naturally occurring substances testosterone and luteinising hormone.

Australian doping officials and swimming's world governing body FINA subsequently cleared Thorpe of any wrongdoing.

But Thorpe later said his reputation would be "forever tarnished" by the leak.

Chesterman's endorsement of Thorpe came as the Australian team continued to assemble in Tokyo.

There are now 243 of the 487 Australian competitors in Japan, with 194 in the Tokyo athletes' village and the others at training camps and sub-sites elsewhere in Japan.

A delayed flight from Cairns brought 147 athletes and they were greeted at the Australian team headquarters at 3am on Sunday.

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Australian Tokyo Olympics team boss Ian Chesterman backs Ian Thorpe investigation - ESPN



Local nutritionist talks dieting without ditching favorites –

Jul 19th, 2021
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The One One One Diet Meal Makeover

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH Is the author of the #1 Amazon bestselling book, The One One One Diet: The Simple 1:1:1 Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. She joined us to share more about The 1:1:1 Formula and how to give your meals a 1:1:1 Makeover.

Rania has used The 1:1:1 Formula for over 15 years in her practice. She has helped clients lose anywhere from 15-150 pounds without counting calories, points, macros, or grams.

The 1:1:1 Diet works for any eating lifestyle- vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian. No foods are off limits. In fact, Rania reminds her clients- it is not always about eating less, it is about eating differently. Rania teaches you HOW to eat- giving you the tools to learn how to eat the foods you love and still lose weight.

The book gives you the step-by-step on how to get started which includes a food log, food lists, and a breakdown of portions. The book also features 75 delicious recipes to help you get creative in the kitchen.

You can visitwww.EssentialNutritionForYou.comto learn more on how you can work with Rania on your weight loss and wellness goals. If you are looking for more 1:1:1 meal ideas and recipe, follow Rania onInstagram.

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Local nutritionist talks dieting without ditching favorites -



Studying Activity of "Deprivation Neurons" Could Help to Explain Why Dieting Is So Hard – Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Jul 19th, 2021
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Research in engineered mice by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has revealed new insights into the complex interplay among neurons that govern hunger, behavior and learning, which could ultimately help to shed light on what happens in some eating disorders.

Our discovery provides the answer to this important question of how we learn to seek and consume food and how hunger enhances the learning of tasks oriented towards acquiring food, said research lead Bradford B. Lowell, MD, PhD, of the Division of Endocrinology at BIDMC, who is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. With additional work, our discovery could ultimately shed light into what goes wrong in disorders of hunger such as obesity and anorexia nervosa.

Lowell and colleagues report on their findings in Nature, in a paper titled, Food cue regulation of AgRP hunger neurons guides learning.

The BIDMC team has been at the forefront of research to identify the small population of agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expressing neurons that are found in the hypothalamus. These neurons are activated by fasting, which causes the sensation of hunger, as an aversive state that motivates the seeking and consumption of food, the authors explained. Eating returns AGRP neuron activity towards baseline on three distinct timescales: rapidly and transiently following sensory detection of food cues, slowly and longer-lasting in response to nutrients in the gut, and even more slowly and permanently with restoration of energy balance. However, the team continued, precisely how the AGRP cells and the unpleasant feeling of hunger they cause actually motivate an animal to find food and eat hasnt been understood.

To try and answer this longstanding question, the BIDMC team turned to their engineered mouse model to investigate AgRP neuronal activity. The mouse modelon which more than 100 scientific papers have been publishedallows researchers to switch AgRP neurons on and off, determine what activates or inactivates them, and map their connections to other regions of the brain.

Using this model, we and others discovered some time ago that these neurons are turned on by fasting, causing hunger, and that artificially turning them on in a recently fed mouse that otherwise would not eat, causes huge amounts of food to be eaten, as if the mouse had not eaten in days, commented first author Janet Berrios, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at BIDMC. In fact, just the presence of food or a cue linked to the presence of food will instantaneously inhibit the neurons activity, easing the unpleasant hunger sensation. If food isnt eaten in a short period of time, however, neuronal activity rebounds, restoring hunger to its previous levels.

For their newly reported study the team trained the engineered mice to recognize a food cue by associating a light with access to food, just as a dog can be trained to associate the sound of a cupboard opening with getting a biscuit. The team was then able to observe how various levels of hunger and the presence of the food cues affected the AgRP neurons.

As they expected, they observed that fasting activated the AgRP neurons, and food cues in the environment workvia a network of neurons elsewhere in the brainto inhibit AgRP activity. But remarkably, when the team blocked off this network, it caused the mice to have great difficulty learning a task in which sensory cues related to food were used to guide acquisition of food. Interference with this circuit impairs food cue inhibition of AGRP neurons and, notably, greatly impairs learning of a sensory cue-initiated food-acquisition task, the team noted. This is specific for food, as learning of an identical water-acquisition task is unaffected.

From this, the researchers suggest that fasting or deprivation known to activate the AgRP neurons and the feeling of hunger causes an unpleasant, or aversive, feeling. When food cues in the environment inhibit AgRP activity, it also tamps down the aversive feeling, which in turn serves as a reward powerful enough to enhance learning.

Calorific deficiency activates AGRP neurons and this causes the aversive feeling of hunger, they wrote. Environmental cues that are instructive for food acquisition then engage a particular neuronal circuit that transiently reduces the AGRP neuronal activity. As AGRP neurons have been proposed to transmit a negative-valence teaching signal, these appetitive falls in aversive AGRP neuron activity, over time, increase the incentive salience of food cues, thereby facilitating the learning of food acquisitions tasks, the team proposed.

Its as if these rewarding, sensory cue-linked drops in unpleasant AgRP neuron activity push the mouse towards environmental cues and tasks associated with obtaining food, said Lowell, who noted that thirst likely works the same way, although through a different specialized set of neurons. An obvious implication of this idea is that it explains why dieting is so difficultdieters are perpetually stuck with this aversive feeling. So, in short, it appears that we eat and drink because weve learned that this reduces the activity of these deprivation neurons, and hence the linked bad feelings.

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Studying Activity of "Deprivation Neurons" Could Help to Explain Why Dieting Is So Hard - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News



Debunking nutrition and dieting myths – Manila Bulletin

Jul 19th, 2021
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A plethora of nutrition information available in a click has left dieters confused to the point of frustration. Despite adherence to a restrictive diet regimen, taking expensive supplements and working out excessively, many still find themselves falling short of reaching their weight loss goals. Where did they go wrong? What else should they do?

If you are one of those people who are in an endless pursuit of the proper way to lose weight, here are some nutrition and dieting myths that you need to know.

I can eat anything as long as I stay within the amount of calories required daily.

While it is important to keep your food intake within your total caloric requirement a day to facilitate weight loss, the quality and composition of your diet is equally important. Think about consuming a 1,200 kcal daily intake composed of highly processed, high fat, high sugar content food compared to the same amount of calories taken from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. Which one do you think will likely make you feel fuller? Naturally a well-balanced diet will have more quantity and nutrients unlike the first option which is not only caloric dense (small portion with high caloric content) but also devoid of nutrients. These nutrients help decrease inflammatory reactions in the body that wreaks havoc with the bodys metabolism and ability to burn and store body fat.

It is also important to always keep hydrated with water throughout the day. Water is zero calorie and it keeps you fuller, helps decrease cravings too!

The body doesnt need carbohydrates to function.

It is true that the body can utilize energy from protein and fat sources. The brains primary or preferred form of fuel is glucose, which comes from carbohydrates.

Carbs are often accused of being the culprit in weight gain. Is it truly guilty for making us overweight? Lets get closer to home. Rice is often blamed and the first one being taken out when going on a diet. It is not the rices fault that we are fat. It is the way that we eat rice. The amount consumed, as well as, our eating behavior made us gain weight. The most important thing is to avoid or at least cut down on refined carbs like sugary food, pastries, breads, cookies and the like. Choose carbohydrate sources from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Furthermore, restricting carb intake in general will be detrimental to thyroid health. This small gland is responsible for the bodys metabolism. Carb restriction and very low caloric intake will prevent the thyroid hormones from converting into its active form, resulting in an underactive thyroid and difficulty losing weight or weight gain.

Having the right amount of carbohydrates in the diet will also help with sparing protein from being used up as energy so it can do its job of building muscle mass and boosting the immune system, a very important aspect of ones health, especially during the pandemic.

Its all about calories in and calories out when it comes to losing weight.

Maintaining a calorie deficit will make you lose weight. You need to consume less calories and burn more through physical activity and exercise. There are, however, other factors that influence weight loss. Rest and recovery in the form of sleep and other relaxation activities help the body repair and balance hormones. Physical (excessive exercise), mental, and emotional stress will result in hormonal imbalances and alterations in the gut microbiome (good bacteria in the intestines). Thus, influencing fat metabolism and storage as well as weight. It is also important to correct nutritional imbalances through food, functional food, and as needed, targeted supplementation. Always consult a registered nutritionist dietitian for proper assessment and recommendation of modified functional food and supplementation.

When it comes to losing weight, anything drastic and highly restrictive is a red flag. If you want to be successful in your weight loss journey, go for a holistic approach that includes proper diet, regular physical activity, behavior modification with rest and relaxation. You did not gain weight overnight, you will not lose weight overnight. Aim for sustainable weight loss and beware of quack nutritionists that recommend baseless diet programs and nutrition advice.


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Debunking nutrition and dieting myths - Manila Bulletin


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