THE MARCH OF GENETICS, CONT'D A woman's ability to have an orgasm is partly determined by her genes and failure to reach climax can't be blamed entirely on cultural influences, new research suggests. Experts say that's likely to be interpreted as good and bad news.

"It'll be upsetting because some women will think, 'Oh my God, maybe I just can't.' On the other hand, it takes away a kind of guilt or pressure," said Virginia Sadock, director of the human sexuality program at New York University Medical Center.

Either way, specialists say the findings don't mean women who inherit an unfortunate gene package are doomed. More patience may be required.

The study was reported last week in Biology Letters, a British academic journal.

STRESS, BLAMED AGAIN Emotional stress may be a trigger of otherwise unexplained cases of cardiac arrest, a new study suggests.

A research team found that survivors of unexplained cardiac arrest were likely to have been through a highly stressful event the day before suffering the often-fatal condition, where the heart suddenly stops beating.

Of 25 survivors interviewed, nine said they'd dealt with a severely or moderately stressful event in the 24 hours before the cardiac event. Only two of 25 in a comparison group that had a different type of serious heart event reported a recent stressful event.

In addition, 20 of the cardiac arrest patients said they'd been through significant stress in the six months prior to their heart trouble, vs. 10 patients in the comparison group. The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

-- From News Services