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When it comes to the crunch women are on top

DR GINO PECORARO

IT HAS certainly been a tumultuous time in Australian politics. Those of us in the profession are grateful for at least some stability with the maintenance of the pre-coup Health Minister, but spare a thought for the thousands of public servants whose work lives have been thrown into chaos by the most recent political machinations and manoeuvres.

Organisational change of itself, and its associated job insecurity, is known to potentially have adverse effects on the health of workers.

British research undertaken at a time of rapid government department change and reorganisation (late 80's), specifically looked at the health effects of 7500 thousand public servants and reported some interesting findings based on questionnaire recorded symptoms.

Men experienced significant worsening of chronic illness, sleep disturbance, minor psychiatric symptoms and symptoms overall in the two weeks before the questionnaire was administered. Women on the other hand, reported smaller increases in symptoms but importantly, also mild beneficial changes in some health-related behaviours such as exercise.

Both groups reported an increase in body-mass index suggesting "stress eating" was occurring and some staff of both genders experienced significant rises in blood pressure. Studies such as these, add further support to the theory that women are somehow genetically programmed to better cope with stress than men. German university students in the noughties had levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in their saliva measured during mock job interviews and while performing mental arithmetic. Males in the group recorded higher levels of cortisol than their female counterparts.

Last year, American researchers analysed over 8000 tennis matches played by both men and women for errors that occurred during pivotal parts of the games. The results consistently found that all men were more likely to make mistakes under pressure but women had varied results. Even if women did demonstrate decreased performance, the change was only half that seen in men. Far from being the weaker sex it seems, women may be better able to deal with the stresses that modern working conditions induce.

Perhaps a better balance of genders in the workplace (and in our government structures) may make for teams that are more flexible and readily adaptable.

This may be another reason why corporate Australia recommends more women should be on company boards.

Associate Professor Gino Pecoraro is a Brisbane obstetrician, gynaecologist and health commentator

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Mothers over 35 account for 40% of maternal deaths in Australia: study

A new study released in the medical journal, The Lancet, has found older mothers account for a significant portion of maternal deaths in Australia.

Despite only accounting for around 23 per cent of all childbirths in the country, the study found mothers over the age of the 35 made up 40 per cent of all maternal deaths.

The number is high in comparison to other childbearing years, with women only having a 5 per cent monthly chance of conceiving once they reach 40.

The number of mothers over 35 in Australia has increased dramatically from just 5.5 per cent in 1975, the study also showed. It is the second highest figure in the world for older-age births, falling behind Spain.

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Distinguished Service Medal (RANZCOG May 2016)

A/Prof. Pecoraro was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Medal Award for his significant contribution to The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). He was felicitated on 27 May 2016 at a dinner function held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre after being unanimously elected by the RANZCOG Honours Committee.

Latest Print:

Pregnant Victoria Beckham criticised for wearing heels

A heavily pregnant Victoria Beckham has been accused of putting her unborn child at risk after wearing a pair of stilettos to a red-carpet event in Los Angeles.

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Radio Audio

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What is cord blood and what is its potential to treat diseases?

New parents are often encouraged to keep their baby's cord blood - but not every medico thinks there's value in hanging on to what was once considered waste.

A/Prof. Gino Pecoraro is an obstetrician and he's the presidnet of the Australian Medical Association in Queensland.

Locations & Directions

Brisbane 201 Wickham Terrace
Brisbane, QLD 4000.
Tel : (07) 3839-5383
Facsimile : (07) 3831-8915
Website: www.ginopecoraro.com.au