Friday, October 22, 2010

The More Kids, the Lower Moms' Suicide Risk

Supporting the theory that parenthood offers a buffer against suicidal behavior, a new study finds that the more children a woman has, the lower her suicide risk.

There is a long-standing theory that the historically lower suicide rates seen among married versus unmarried women reflects a "protective effect" of motherhood, rather than advantages of marriage per se.

These latest findings give some support to that theory, researcher Dr. Chun-Yuh Yang, of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan, told Reuters Health by email.

Looking at 30 years' worth of data on 1.3 million Taiwanese mothers, Yang found that women with two children were 39 percent less likely than those with one child to commit suicide.

That risk was 60 percent lower among women with three or more children, Yang reports in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The findings are based on birth and mortality records for Taiwanese women who had their first child between 1978 and 1987. Yang followed death rates for the study group through 2007.

Suicide was uncommon regardless of the number of children the women had. Among women with one child, there were 11 suicides per 100,000 women per year; that rate was seven per 100,000 among women with two children, and just under six per 100,000 among mothers with three or more children.

When Yang factored in a number of other variables — including the women's age at first birth, marital status and education level — the number of children a woman had remained linked to suicide risk.

It's possible, Yang said, that women with a large brood of children benefit from greater emotional or material support when times are tough.

Women who have several children also spend a larger share of their lives caring for young children compared with mothers who have one child; mothers who feel "needed," Yang noted, may be less vulnerable to suicide.

However, the researcher said, it is also likely that women who are already more vulnerable to suicide — because of serious depression or other psychiatric illnesses — tend to have fewer children.

This is probably an "important explanation" for the findings, according to Yang.

One previous study, Yang noted, found that women with no children showed a higher suicide risk than mothers in general. Again, that could signal some sort of protective effect of motherhood, or the fact that women with psychiatric disorders are less likely to have children.

Although the current study included only Taiwanese women, Yang said the findings are likely relevant to other countries as well. Studies done in Norway, Denmark and Finland have found a similar relationship between a woman's number of children and her risk of suicide.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, online March 22, 2010.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Morning sickness 'increases the chance that child will have high IQ'

The same hormones which make expectant mothers feel ill could help their baby's development, doctors believe.

Children were more likely to do better in intelligence tests if their mothers had experienced nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

The findings, published online in The Journal of Paediatrics and reported by New Scientist magazine, show that the severity of the sickness is a significant predictor of higher scores.

Dr Irena Nulman, from The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, said: "Our findings suggest an association between morning sickness and improved neurodevelopment in the offspring."

She said that more research was needed to understand the range of effects caused by the common condition.

"Morning sickness is a widespread and puzzling physiological phenomenon that has yet to be sufficiently studied," she said.

Scientists believe that the sickness could be a by-product of changes in the levels of certain hormones, known as HCG (human chronic gonadotropin) and thyroxine, during pregnancy.

These fluctuations help the body to ensure that a woman's placenta grows properly, delivering vital nutrients to her baby.

The study followed 121 women who fell pregnant between 1998 and 2003.

The IQ levels of their children were tested between the ages of three and seven.

Other factors such as mother's IQ, her level of alcohol consumption and socioeconomic status, which can affect a child's IQ, were taken into account during the study.

While previous studies suggested an early protective benefit of morning sickness, the long-term effects, including on intelligence, had not been directly investigated before.

Dr Irena Nulman, of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, said: "Our findings suggest an association between morning sickness and improved neurodevelopment in the offspring.

"Morning sickness is a widespread and puzzling physiological phenomenon that has yet to be sufficiently studied."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wild Horses in Corolla

We drove all the way to the end of the beach where the fence is. Then we turned around and turned right into the second road into the dunes. The first picture is what we saw as soon as we came down off the first dune. Corolla is a gorgeous place, and we need to show respect for the environment, wild horses and the residents. There are laws you need to research and follow regarding viewing the horses, driving on the beach and staying off the dunes.
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Storm Ending (pict)

The magnificent show was over, so I left.

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We were blessed with great weather most of our stay, but on Thursday, a storm blew in.

I love watching storms. I could not tear myself away from this amazing force!

I've lived near the ocean my entire life, but I have never watched a storm from start to finish before this. I fell in love with the ocean in an entirely new way!

Amanda and Clint watching from our front row seats.
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A Pelican and more (picts)

A pelican on the sound. Caleb loves pelicans!

Wash Woods on Corolla Beach, an ancient maritime forest

Amanda on Corolla Beach

Brandon and Amanda joking around together.
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The Sound


Hannah copying her big brother, Brandon

Hannah bringing her finds back to Clint and I.

Amanda swimming with Emily on her back.
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Roanoke Sound


beach house


Miss Hannah
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Sisters...and a Brother

Emily was sitting in this chair when Hannah decided to join her. She put her arm around Emily and I grabbed the camera!


Hannah holding onto Clint

Amanda, Joshua and Caleb have had a good natured wrestling match going on for years. When it rains a lot at our house and floods the field, the boys will try to take her down in it. Joshua thought he could take her on by himself, but it didn't work out quite like he thought it would. One year, he'll catch up with her!
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horseshoe crab

royal terns

beached bouy
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Nags Head, NC

Hannah and Emily giggling over the ocean waves tickling their feet
Caleb in the background

Caleb with Bethany in the background

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