New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

The “grandmother hypothesis” represents the idea that a grandmother has beneficial effects on the reproductive success of her children and the survival of her grandchildren. Therefore, it is predicted that women who have the genes for living longer would then have grandchildren who also carry these genes. Recently, two more studies that further explore the notion of the grandmother effect were published in Current Biology. The first analyzes data of birth, death, and marriages in certain Catholic parishes from 1608 in an area that is present-day Quebec. The findings point to the fact that families who stayed geographically near their grandmas not only created larger family sizes and shifted child mortality rates, but positively promoted mothers to have children at younger ages. The second study was led by Dr. Chapman of the University of Turku in Finland and analyzed data from pre-industrial Finland. Dr. Chapman concluded that specifically, when a grandma is in her 50-70’s, she is most capable of...
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How Climate Change May Affect the Gender of Newborns

How Climate Change May Affect the Gender of Newborns

Author and founder of the M&K Health Institute in Hyogo, Japan, Dr. Misao Fukuda, led a study with results that stated, “temperature fluctuation may play a role in the recent decrease in the sex ratios of births.” Since the mid-20th century, climate change has been a direct result of human activity and has caused a warming trend of the planet. Extreme weather has a connection to human stress which is likely to impact the birth sex ratio. Climate change very well may affect the number of male newborns; more male newborns are predicted to be born in areas with rising high temperatures. Scientist Steven Orzack of the Fresh Pond Research Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts claims that sex ratio is equal at conception, but there are external factors throughout birth and childhood which cause the ratio to differ. Specifically, senior researcher in the Section of Ecology, Department of Biology at the University of Turku in Finland, Samuli Helle, discovered evidence that...
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Analyzing High Abortion Rates in Pakistan

Analyzing High Abortion Rates in Pakistan

     The country of Pakistan has one of the highest rates of abortions in the world; it is noted there are 50 abortions for every one thousand women. However, this procedure is “legal only in very limited circumstances” according to the Guttmacher Institute. Pakistan states an abortion can occur if there is a “need” for it such as if a woman’s health is in danger. But, otherwise, the term “need” is very vaguely defined—culturally, abortions are not accepted or promoted in Pakistan. As a deeply conservative and Muslim country, most hospitals and doctors refuse to perform abortions for religious and moral reasons and beliefs. As a result, a huge underground abortion industry thrives. This contributes to the statistic that ⅓ of all women who undergo abortions in Pakistan suffer complications largely because those who are performing the operations are likely not properly qualified. The high amount of abortions comes from the fact that there is a large unmet need...
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World Health Organization Releases New App

World Health Organization Releases New App

The World Health Organization has recently launched its new app entitled “Medical Eligibility Criteria For Contraceptive Use.” The purpose of the app is to allow anyone with a smartphone to be able to access recommendations for the best and proper contraceptive methods according to one's medical conditions. The WHO released the fifth edition of the medical eligibility criteria (MEC) in 2015 as a 276 page document as “part of the process for improving the quality of care in family planning” for “guidance on the safety of various contraceptive methods for use in the context of specific health conditions and characteristics.” The app condenses this information into an easily accessible and user-friendly interface. MED takes into account a woman’s medical condition and history in order to note which contraceptive methods would adversely affect the woman and to note if the condition could interfere by making the contraceptive method less effective. It truly emphasizes safety as a priority to promote female reproductive...
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Ovarian Cancer Needs more Attention and Awareness

Ovarian Cancer Needs more Attention and Awareness

Ovarian cancer is the 7th most common cancer in the world. Nearly 300,000 women are predicted to develop ovarian cancer this year and less than half of these women diagnosed are expected to survive after 5 years. However, there is very little awareness of ovarian cancer and its effects. A survey conducted by the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition gathered information from 1,531 women across 44 countries. The women who participated were from high, middle, and low income countries and were asked to answer online questions about their experiences with ovarian cancer. The study points to the fact that over two thirds of women who participated had never even heard of ovarian cancer or knew nothing about it before they were diagnosed. Additionally, less than half of these women attempted to find care or answers for their symptoms within the first month they appeared, and one in every ten women did not seek medical help for 6 months. This data is important...
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Immigrant Women Facing Maternal Health Struggles

Immigrant Women Facing Maternal Health Struggles

In a recent CNN piece, obstetrician Dr. Cristina Gamboa reveals her insights on trends in regards to her pregnant immigrant patients at the community health center Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville, California. She has noted that patients who are Mexican Immigrants seem to be suffering from increases in stress during their pregnancy. These increases have led to high blood pressure which can be further characterized as the condition preeclampsia. Stress can be a result of a multitude of factors, but Dr. Gamboa analyzes that America’s current political climate could be a root cause. It is considered a crime for someone to enter and stay in the United States without permission. Approximately 25% of unauthorized immigrants reside in California and 26.9% of the population in Watsonville are non-US citizens. Although there are no scientific studies connecting a woman’s immigration status and maternal health, Dr. Gamboa believes research is needed. There is, however, evidence pointing to a lack of general health...
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A Seminar Focused on The Finance Behind Global Health Initiatives

A Seminar Focused on The Finance Behind Global Health Initiatives

The Seminar Series: Stories From Africa, Financing Health in Sub-Saharan Africa took place at Duke University on Thursday, October 18. Led by Gavin Yamey, the seminar featured a panel of speakers: Sarah Bermeo, Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke Sanford School of Public Policy; Charles Muiruri Program Director at Duke Global Health Institute and Co-founder Association of Research Administrators in Africa; Kaci Kennedy, Associate Research, Duke Center for Policy Impact in Global Health; Godfrey Kisigo, Masters Student DGHO, Physician at Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute, Tanzania; and Osondu Ogbuoji, Deputy Director, Duke Center for Policy Impact in Global Health. The seminar opened with an introduction to global health from a very optimistic perspective. Global health is a cutting edge field that focuses largely on improving the future for humanity. Initiatives in global health are making large and wide impacts, for example, in fields such as child wellness. However, there are also still huge numbers of people suffering from illnesses and burdens that...
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Sharp Rise in C-Section Births Around the Globe

Sharp Rise in C-Section Births Around the Globe

A study recently published in The Lancet journal reveals that from 2000 to 2015 there has been approximately a double in the number of cesarean section (C-section) births in the world. C-section births occur when a surgery is performed to open a woman’s lower abdomen and remove the baby. These procedures can either be planned in advance or they can happen suddenly if problems occur during birthing. There are risks to C-section births for the woman, such as infection and postpartum heavy bleeding, and the baby, such as trouble breathing and injury. Additionally, C-sections create a more complicated labor recovery for the mother and pose a threat to future labor complications. The figures from the study state that in 2000 C-sections accounted for 12.1% of all births and in 2015 they accounted for 21.1% of all births. There is evidence published by the World Health Organization stating that there is "no justification for any region to have a caesarean section...
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Contemporary Birth Control Pills Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Contemporary Birth Control Pills Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer causes thousands of deaths every year- more than any cancer of the female reproductive system. In 2012, 238,719 women worldwide were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 151,917 died from the cancer. A new study led by Lisa Iversen, a research fellow with the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, hypothesizes that modern day birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestogen may lessen the risk of ovarian cancer in women. A similar study was performed decades ago that applied to older contraceptives, although there was no evidence for a similar relationship and effects regarding modern day birth control. Iversen’s study included 2 million women aged 15-49 and found the women who had never used hormonal contraception had the highest risk of ovarian cancer compared to those women who had at some point used birth control. Researchers estimated that hormonal birth control prevented around 21% of women in the study...
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New Research About Relationship Between Breastfeeding and Lower Obesity Risk for Babies

New Research About Relationship Between Breastfeeding and Lower Obesity Risk for Babies

A recent Canadian study points to a new benefit of breastfeeding in opposed to breast milk in a bottle or formula. Breastfeeding is linked to a smaller risk for obesity of babies as they have lower BMIs and gain weight more slowly. Having a high BMI early on in life can be linked to being overweight down the road; therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy BMI beginning as an infant. The CDC’s latest report stated that 1 in every 5 children in the United States are obese and this new research could truly impact efforts to changing this statistic. Some other benefits to breastfeeding include reduced risks of asthma, ear and respiratory infection, and type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization promotes women to exclusively breastfeed until the child is 6 months of age. However, in the United States women may struggle to the time commitment of breastfeeding. Dr Alison Volpe Holmes notes, "the United States is a...
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