Author: Sasha Hart

Neglected children have less gray matter

Researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital have noticed that psychologically and physically neglected children have less gray matter. The study’s results show that there is a decrease in white matter as well, but this can “catch up” if the circumstances improve. A team of researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital, led by Doctors Margaret Sheridan and Charles Nelson, have studied the brains of children that were institutionalized and, in time, were placed into quality homes. The children were part of a project called Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP). The research included MRI scans of three groups of children, with ages from 8 to 11: • One group of 29 kids who have been reared in an institution • One group of 25 kids who were placed in quality homes • One group of 20 kids who have never been in an institution The MRI brain scans showed that the kids who spent time in an institution have smaller amounts of gray matter, even if, in time, they have been placed in quality homes. Of them, those who have never been placed in foster care showed a reduced amount of white matter, too. By comparison, the kids placed in quality homes, showed an increase in white matter, once they entered a family. “Increasingly we are finding evidence that exposure to childhood adversity has a negative effect on brain development”, says...

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Celebrities bank their babies’ cord blood

A number of celebrities have decided to bank their babies’ cord blood in hope of protecting them from future serious illnesses. Giuliana and Bill Rancic, Ana Ortiz, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, Alex Rodriguez, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are just a few of those celebrities believing that cord blood banking can guarantee for their kids a future in which spinal injuries, cartilage or brain injuries will not mean the end of a happy normal life. TV personalities Giuliana and Bill Rancic have recently announced that they are planning on stocking their future baby’s cord blood. The couple, who is expecting a first child, via surrogate, has received a blood banking kit during the baby shower. And they have recently been named ambassadors for the Cord Blood Registry. But Giuliana and Bill are not the only celebrities taking cord blood banking into consideration. “Ugly Betty” actress Ana Ortiz received a kit during her baby shower last year. And over the past two years, actress Tori Spelling and reality show star Kourtney Kardashian have been spotted carrying such kits, even though they never talked about it. Other celebrities involved in raising awareness on blood cord banking are New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez, NASCAR pilot Jimmie Johnson and Australian “Big Brother” Chrissy Swain. According to the cord blood banks, storing your baby’s umbilical cord can lead to a lifetime of...

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Cat ladies, more likely to commit suicide

A recent study reveals that cat ladies are more likely to commit suicide. The researchers blame the drive of ending one’s life on a toxin found in cat excrements. The cliché of ending-up gathering around you a huge number of felines as a result of lack of human companionship at a certain age, has always been linked to depression and loneliness. However, a new study conducted in Denmark, shows that having too many cat pets increases the risk of suicide. How is that possible? At a first glance, you may think that a lonely person, who gathers so many cats can be struck at some point in their lives by how lonely they have become. The greater the number of cats, the emptier their existence. But it’s not the psychological impact that’s responsible for the suicide risk. The Danish experts have discovered the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found in cat excrements and also in unwashed fresh food and uncooked meat. According to the researchers, the levels of Toxoplasma gondii can influence the violence of the suicidal act. The higher the parasite concentration in the blood, the higher the risk of jumping off buildings, stabbing or shooting oneself. People with severe infection have one and a half more chances of falling into despair and take their own lives. Teodor T. Postolache, a professor of psychiatry of Romanian origin,...

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How to minimize panic attacks

Specialists say that the majority of people experience panic attacks, at least once in their lifetime, so we thought an article on how to minimize them would come in handy. Panic attacks are actually very common. They are experienced by all ages and both sexes. They are periods of intense fear, without a specific trigger, during which the person has a series of symptoms: • Sense of limited air intake • Raised heart beat • Sweaty palms • Fear of dying • Fear of losing contact with reality • An overall feeling of “unreal” Of all the symptoms, the feeling of all being not real and loosely connected is the one triggering a vicious circle. The symptoms are caused by the fear, that intensifies when observing the symptoms and so on. Another bad part about the experience is that you have the feeling it will never end. The first panic attack is usually the most severe. It can last from a few minutes to a few hours, though the specialists have noted cases lasting days in a row. The length of the panic episode depends on the person’s ability to diminish the stress factors at both external and internal level. Here are some ways to diminish the panic attacks, in both duration and cyclicity: 1. Learn how to breathe. You don’t have to breathe deeply. The perfect way to...

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Best foods during pregnancy

The best foods during pregnancy are the ones that ensure the necessary nutrients for the mother and her baby, while preventing unhealthy weight gain. The calorie intake goes up during the pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean the woman should eat double the amount of food. Diet recommendations consist in a balanced intake of carbs, fiber and protein. And let’s not forget calcium! Here are the best foods during pregnancy: 1. Fruit and vegetable – up to five servings per day. Fresh and frozen are the best ways to consume them, as they retain the highest amount of vitamins. Juice is less recommended, as it raises the sugar level in the blood and leads, among other effects, to an increase in appetite. 2. Carbs from rice, pasta, whole bread and potatoes 3. Animal-source protein from white meat (fish, chicken) and eggs 4. Vegetable-source protein from quinoa, tofu, soy, beans, seeds, nuts. They are rich in amino acids and iron. 5. Fiber from wholegrain foods – bread, rice, pasta, carrots and more. Studies have shown that the consumption of fiber during pregnancy reduces the risk of constipation and hemorrhoids. 6. Calcium from dairy foods (milk, cheese, yogurt), soy-based products, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, okra and mustard greens....

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