Couple cuddling

A woman may gain more from hugs than a man

Women’s heart health may benefit more from hugs than men’s, a study suggests.A team from the University of North Carolina studied the effects of hugging on both partners in 38 couples.

The study showed hugs increased levels of oxytocin, a “bonding” hormone, and reduced blood pressure – which cuts the risk of heart disease.

But, writing in the Psychosomatic Medicine, the researchers said women recorded greater reductions in blood pressure than men after their hugs.

Cooking and eating under siege

Gaza is burning. The bombs are falling day and night, ripping through buildings, eviscerating entire families. As the horrors unfold, can we imagine what life is like at this moment in a home, in a kitchen, at the dinner table in Gaza?

It is Ramadan, after all, as we were made painfully aware over the weekend when an Israeli F-16 strike killed all 25 members of the Abu Jamaa family, including 17 children, three pregnant women and a grandmother, as they sat down for iftar, the evening meal. And even if it weren’t, families — that is, women — still have to go about getting food on the table, tending to the mundane routines of life that keep them sane. How do you feed your family under bombardment when nowhere, not even your dinner table, is safe and when there is no access to markets and farms?

Even more important, after the smoke clears how do families continue with their lives under a longstanding siege that aims to deprive them of any sense of normalcy, freedom and productivity? What role do women, especially, play in this daily business of survival?