Monday, February 2, 2009

Who Knew? "Not too much, and not none at all."

Given my new found hobby of reading cancer literature and contemplating the nature of the thymus, I stumbled upon this piece of knowledge that was just too good to pass up. It is from WebMD. So it is bad for you when you are young but good for you when you are old. I am sure that this will be duly explained by evolutionary psychologists (as it is a field that is usually not humble about advancing explanations). But until then, one might ask about the reliability of the responses to the question "So how often do you masturbate?"

Masturbation Frequency Linked to Prostate Risk in 20s, Protection in 50s
By Daniel J. DeNoon

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 27, 2009 -- Frequent masturbation in young men is linked to higher risk of early prostate cancer, but it lowers prostate cancer risk for men in their 50s, a study shows.
"Frequent masturbation during men's 20s and 30s increased their risk of prostate cancer," Dimitropoulou tells WebMD. "But men in their 50s who masturbated frequently had decreased risk."
Of course, masturbation frequency is relative.
For men in their 20s, "frequent masturbation" was two to seven times per week. Compared to same-age men who reported masturbating less than once per month, 20-something frequent masturbators had a 79% higher risk of prostate cancer by age 60.
For men in their 50s, "frequent masturbation" was one or more times per week. Compared to same-age men who reported never masturbating, 50-something frequent masturbators had a 70% lower risk of prostate cancer.
What's going on? The study wasn't designed to answer that question. But Dimitropoulou and colleagues have some theories. .........
Meanwhile, Dimitropoulou, now at England's University of Cambridge, advises moderation for both younger and older men.
"It is kind of logical that a moderate level of masturbatory activity has to be maintained," she says. "Not too much, and not none at all."

The graphics are from From Searchlights on Health: The Science of Eugenics by B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols, 1920. Gutenberg