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Researchers in Japan link pollution in busy thoroughfares to prematurity

Living near busy roads reason for premature delivery

 Are you pregnant? Do you live near any busy road? Then be careful of a premature delivery. At least that’s what a new research in Japan says.

A study conducted by a team from the Okayama Graduate School of Medicine found that expectant mothers living near busy roads could give premature births, reported Daily Mail of London.

The conclusion was arrived at in a study of more than 14,000 babies born between 1997 and 2008 in Shizuoka, more than 100 kilometres from Tokyo.

The report quoted the study author Dr Takashi Yorifuji as blaming air and noise pollution from vehicular traffic in such areas as the reason for the early deliveries.

The researchers found that 15 per cent of women living within 650 feet of a major road gave birth before 37 weeks. The figure reduced to 10 per cent for those living further away, the report said adding that a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks.

While taking into factors such as job, age and smoking habits into consideration, the team found a 50 per cent increase in premature births among women living near busy roads.

“Air pollution is considered to be a potentially important risk factor of preterm births,” Dr Yorifuji said.

“We found a higher risk in housewives than outside workers, and housewives would probably spend more time at home during their pregnancy, and reflect more accurate exposure,” he added.

Women living in such locales were found have double the risk of high blood pressure an d even early rupture of membranes surrounding the foetu. Both are potential causes of premature delivery.

Suicide risk increases after heart attack: study

Image for illustrative purpose only. (SUPPLIED)

People are more likely to commit suicide in the wake of a heart attack, with the risk rising tripling in the month right after and remaining elevated for at least five years, a study said.

This appears true for both men and women, regardless of socioeconomic status.

The findings come as little surprise, said study author Karen Kjaer Larsen of Aarhus University in Denmark, suggesting that cardiac rehabilitation programmes take this into consideration.

"We know that many patients with myocardial infarction suffer from anxiety and depression," she told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "Our study shows that the mental pain due to MI for some people is so strong that they commit suicide."

The study, which appeared in "Circulation," looked at population data from Denmark collected between 1981 amd 2006, identifying almost 20,000 people who had committed suicide and comparing them to nearly 200,000 similar people who hadn't.

They found that more than four percent of people who committed suicide had a history of heart attack, versus less than three percent of the controls.

The risk of suicide was highest the month after patients left the hospital. Risks were also particularly high in patients with a history of psychiatric illness, indicated by a previous admission to a psychiatric hospital, ward or outpatient clinic.

"Before patients with MI are discharged from hospital we need to make sure that they have a safety net and know where to go or who to call if they suddenly feel sad and cannot cope with the situation," Larsen added.

The study did not report on the actual risk of suicide among those who had suffered heart attacks.

Previous research has shown that people are more likely to commit suicide after being diagnosed with other serious conditions, including stroke, epilepsy and diabetes.

Other medical professionals agreed with the findings.

"Any sort of major life stressor - and an MI certainly falls in that category - is capable of precipitating a depressive reaction, especially in people who are predisposed, whether by genetics, past exposure to major stressors or both, to develop depression," said Redford Williams at Duke University Medical Center, who wrote an editorial about the Danish study.

Williams said he supported recommendations of the American Heart Association that all heart attack patients be screened for depression, but warned that it's not yet clear whether treating depression will help the patient's heart or mental state.

He added that study is needed to test whether antidepressants and other interventions help these patients.


Angry man pays parking fine with 3,500 pennies


Image for illustrative purpose only. (SUPPLIED)

A plumber got so fed-up with receiving parking fines while on call-outs he paid the latest one in pennies, reports Metro.

The plumber claims he stopped only for a moment as part of his job, but received a £35 penalty for leaving his van on double yellow lines.

The man claims he is being "victimised" by traffic wardens when he is on emergency plumbing calls. He was so frustrated he took 3,500 pennies to council's offices in a black bucket and tipped them out on the desk.


'Can't talk now Dad, I'm ovulating': study

Image for illustrative purpose only. (SUPPLIED)

Women instinctively shun their fathers when they are most fertile, even as they seek out the companionship of their mothers, a new study has shown.

The reasons, say the researchers, is evolution. Females in other species have also been observed to give a wide birth to male kin during periods of maximum fertility.

"The behaviour has long been explained as a means of avoiding inbreeding and the negative consequences associated with it," explained lead author Debra Lieberman, a professor at the University of Miami.

"But until we conducted our study, nobody knew whether a similar pattern occurred in women."

Lieberman and colleagues examined cell phone records of 48 women in their reproductive years, noting the date and duration of all calls with their fathers and, separately, their mothers over the course of a billing period.

They found that women called their dads less frequently during the days when the were ovulating, and would hang up sooner if the calls came the other way.

Overall, daughters were half as likely to ring up papa during high fertility days compared to the period of menstruation. What's more, the conversations that did occur lasted about half as long.

The researchers checked to be sure that the women were not giving their dads the slip in order to meet male suitors.

Nor were they simply trying to evade parental control: even when hormones were working overtime, the women were far more, rather than less, likely to give mom a ring.

Women have hard-wired mechanisms that protect against the risk of less healthy children, which tend to occur when close genetic relatives mate, the researchers concluded.

"It makes sense that women would reduce their interactions with male genetic relatives, who are undesirable mates," Lieberman said.

At the same time, when women are in their most fertile phase they are attracted to men with "masculine" qualities such as husky voices and competitive personalities, previous research has shown.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science.


Granny DJ takes New York by storm

69-year-old Ruth Flowers during a performance. (SUPPLIED)

Ruth Flowers, a Bristolian granny who DJs as Mamy Rock, is one step closer to world domination after performing in New York this week, reports UK-based daily Metro.

The 69-year-old grandmother had taken to the decks after a birthday disco for her grandson, and was planning to conquer the French party scene, the newspaper reported ealier this year.

The unconventional DJ has performed at the Cannes Film Festival in front of Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.

The rocking grandmother has been performing at events across Europe, and has recorded a single, ’69' as well, says the newspaper.

She has set her sights on conquering the US and may be a reality show after that. Great going!


'Kill' feral cats to control their colonies: report

Image for illustrative purpose only. (SUPPLIED)

A report that recommends killing feral cats as a way to control the animals, including a primer on how to shoot a cat, is stirring emotions among bird and cat lovers.

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln's study found that neutering or spaying is ineffective at eliminating feral cat colonies, though useful in reducing colonies' expansion.

One official from the American Bird Conservancy calls the report "a must read" for communities with a feral cat problem.

But critics note the wild cats help control rodent populations, and say habitat destruction, herbicides and other issues are a bigger threat to birds.

They also question the report's finding that feral cats' killing of birds costs the $17 billion, when accounting for how much bird watchers, hunters and others spend on the hobbies.  



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