DR. AVITAL Porter and patient.
(photo credit: BINYAMIN ADAM)
Complications during pregnancy may be “passed down” to the next generation, according to a new study at Soroka University Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba that was recently presented at a conference on maternal and fetal medicine in San Diego.
Dr. Yoni Scharf, Prof. Ilana Shoham-Vardi and Prof. Eyal Scheiner showed that preeclampsia and low birth weight are independent risk factors that, if they occur in the mother can reoccur when the baby grows up and has her own babies. Preeclampsia is when a pregnant woman suffers from high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine usually in the third trimester of pregnancy. The condition can endanger both mother and baby by developing into multi-system failure involving several organs.
Too little is known about preeclampsia, said the researchers, who studied 1,500 sets of grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters. The daughters gave birth at Soroka between 1991 and 2013. If the mother was herself born weighing less than 2,500 grams, they found that the risk of her giving birth to a low birth-weight baby was 1.6 times higher than women in a control group.
They also reported that when women who had preeclampsia during a pregnancy involving a female fetus, that baby would have a risk for having preeclampsia triple that of the normal one when she gave birth herself.
Scheiner noted that women born to women who had preeclampsia should be under close medical supervision when they themselves give birth. Complications of pregnancy put a heavy burden on the medical system because of treatment needed for the mother and baby. Thus, this group is an important target for closer supervision during pregnancy, he concluded.
ONE IN FIVE SUICIDES LINKED TO UNEMPLOYMENT Unemployment can drive people to kill themselves, according to researchers at the University of Zurich. Numerous studies have demonstrated that there’s a relationship between unemployment and poor health and that the threat of losing a job and prolonged unemployment can constitute a serious situation for those affected as well as their relatives.
The debate on this fateful association was reignited by the 2008 economic crisis and the subsequent austerity policies in many countries. While many studies have merely focused on crisis years and examined single countries or one world region, now, the Swiss doctors have been able to draw a larger picture for four regions in the world from 2000 to 2011. “Every year, around one in five suicides is associated with unemployment,” said lead author and sociologist Dr. Carlos Nordt in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry.
Every year, almost a million people around the world commit suicide. To find out how many resulted from unemployment, the researchers included data from 63 countries between 2000 and 2011. Countries were divided into four regions – North and South America, northern and western Europe, southern and eastern Europe and non-Americas and non-Europe. No data was available from China or India.
“Despite country-specific particularities, we found a similarly strong association between unemployment and suicide rates in all four regions,” said Nordt. Moreover, a changing unemployment rate affected both gender as well as different age groups equally.
One in five suicides a year was associated with unemployment.
And: “After the crisis year in 2008, the number of suicides increased short-term by 5,000 cases,” says Nordt. Other studies had already estimated this figure.
What was not known, however, was that around 46,000 suicides overall were associated with unemployment that year: “Therefore, suicides associated with unemployment totaled a nine-fold higher number of deaths than excess suicides attributed to the most recent economic crisis,” explained Nordt.
The impact of a change in unemployment on suicide was stronger in countries with a lower rather than with a higher pre-crisis unemployment rate. Therefore, according to the researchers, investments in programs that integrate people in the job market and promote a healthy work climate are also essential in countries with comparably lower unemployment rates. Interestingly, the study also shows that the rise in the suicide rate preceded the unemployment rate by around six months.
RAPE TREATMENT CENTER OPENS IN SHARON A center for the treatment of rape victims has opened at Laniado Medical Center in Netanya. Although it is not the first of its kind in the country, it is necessary for the Sharon region. The center is working with the hospital’s forensic medicine department, and staff members’ testimony will be accepted by the courts. The necessary medical device, the colposcopy, for collecting evidence was donated by the Israel Rape Crisis Center.
Until the opening, rape victims had to go to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon for examination and the taking of specimens or Bnei Zion Medical in Haifa, both about an hour’s travel away. But the Laniado doctors and social workers noted that a rape victim – especially a child – will suffer less trauma if services are close to her residence.