Friday, May 16th, 2014
A Massachusetts woman is being hailed as a hero after she jumped from her burning apartment building and saved her 18-month-old son’s life. The Huffington Post has more:
[Christina] Simoes first noticed smoke while lying in bed with her son, Cameron. Then she saw the flames less than 10 feet away. Realizing they were trapped in the apartment, she ran to the window and jumped three stories with the toddler, according to ABC News. She cushioned him from the fall by holding him tightly in her arms.
“I just knew we were either going to die or we were going to get out of there,” Simoes told ABC.
Once they hit the ground, she told her son to run as debris fell around them.
While Cameron remained unscathed, his mom suffered a serious vertebrae injury and is currently unable to walk. She told CBS that she might not be able to walk again.
Still, she didn’t regret the decision to jump. “All I was thinking about was getting him out of there. He mattered way more than I did,” she said.
Simoes needed surgery and faced 10 days in the hospital before entering rehab.
But with the story of her selfless act spreading, she may receive help with the medical bills. Jessica Mortensen, a friend of Simoes, created a GoFundMe crowd-sourcing page to pay expenses for the brave mom.
Image: Smoke and fire, via Shutterstock
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Friday, March 28th, 2014
Women who have given birth four or more times are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease according to a new study. Compared to women who’ve had fewer pregnancies, in the study of more than 1,500 women, moms with more children showed increased evidence of plaque in the heart and thickening of arteries. More from American College of Cardiology:
Women who give birth to four or more children are much more likely to have evidence of plaque in their heart or thickening of their arteries – early signs of cardiovascular disease – compared with those having fewer pregnancies, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
While earlier studies have shown an association between several aspects of pregnancy – physiological changes, complications, number of pregnancies – and future heart disease risk, many questions remain about how pregnancy might affect cardiovascular risk. To better understand the potential link, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center set out to determine whether the number of live births is associated with early signs of cardiovascular disease.
“This is not a recommendation for women to only have two or three children,” said Monika Sanghavi, M.D., chief cardiology fellow, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and lead investigator of the study. This is the first study to look at two markers of subclinical atherosclerosis – a gradual narrowing and hardening of the arteries that can eventually block blood flow and lead to stroke and heart attack.
“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that the changes associated with pregnancy may provide insight into a woman’s future cardiovascular risk and deserves further attention.”
The study included 1,644 women from the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic population-based cohort, who had both self-reported information about the number of live births and relevant imaging study data available. The average age at the time of analysis was 45 years and slightly more than half of the women (55 percent) were African-American. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores were measured using computed tomography imaging and aortic wall thickness (AWT) by magnetic resonance imaging to determine whether or not women had evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis in the heart and artery walls. CAC was positive if it was greater than 10 and AWT was abnormal if it was greater than the 75th percentile for age and gender. These tests were done as part of standard subject participation in the Dallas Heart Study.
Using women who had two or three live births as a reference, women who had given birth to four or more children had an approximately two-fold increased risk of having abnormal CAC or AWT. This association remained even after adjusting for socioeconomic status, education, race and factors known to heighten the risk of cardiovascular disease. Women who had more babies were more likely to be older, Hispanic, have high blood pressure, higher body mass index and lower socioeconomic status.
Curiously, women who had zero or just one live birth were also more likely to show evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis – revealing a U-shaped relationship.
Authors say it is unclear why this might be the case. But Sanghavi and others speculate they may have captured some women in this group who have an underlying condition that prevents them from carrying a first or second pregnancy to term, which may also predispose them to cardiovascular disease or risk factors. For example, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome can have menstrual irregularities and trouble getting pregnant, but they may also have other health changes such as excess body weight, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Pregnancy itself sparks a cascade of changes that can place more strain on a woman’s cardiovascular system. For example, the volume of blood being pumped through the heart increases by 50 percent. In addition, other physiological and metabolic changes occur (e.g., increased insulin resistance and higher cholesterol levels).
“Pregnancy has been called ‘nature’s stress test,’ and for good reason,” Sanghavi said. “It may also help identify women who are at increased risk [for heart disease], even though right now they may not have any risk factors.”…
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Image: Big happy family – a mother and seven children drawing a heart together at home via Shutterstock.
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New Research, Parenting News, Safety
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
A survey of more than 3,000 mothers conducted by The Today Show has revealed that 31 percent of moms use the word “hate” in describing their body image. The survey was conducted online, and is not a scientific finding, but it is an interesting window into how mothers see themselves and their bodies. More from Today.com:
Almost two-thirds of women say they worry their partner doesn’t like their body, according to our online, unscientific poll. Two-thirds of moms also say images of Hollywood moms looking super-fit after having a baby make them feel worse about themselves.
“We live in a culture of judgment, and a culture that really expects women to be perfect and have perfect bodies no matter what else you have going on in your life,” says Michelle Noehren, creator of the CT Working Moms blog and the mom of a toddler who bared her not-so-perfect tummy in a moms’ photoshoot that went viral last year. As the heaviest member of the group, she got grateful responses from many women – but she also bore the brunt of nasty criticism.
Some days, she’s her own worst critic.
“I think to myself, ‘I still can’t fit into any of the clothes that I had before pregnancy’,” she said. “Sometimes I just wish I could put those pants on and wear them to work and feel comfortable again. My husband tells me I’m beautiful all the time, but sometimes I worry that I’m not as attractive to him as I used to be.”
Image: Woman looking in mirror, via Shutterstock
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Friday, September 9th, 2011
Babies undergoing a painful medical procedure show less pain when they’re in mom’s arms instead of dad’s, a new study shows.
Reuters Health reports that researchers observed 62 premature babies in neonatal intensive care as they had blood drawn from their heels for tests. The mothers and fathers alternated holding their babies for each blood test. Researchers videotaped the babies’ faces, and then analyzed the tape for signs of pain, “such as squeezed eyes and a furrowed nose and lip,” Reuters said.
Babies exhibited fewer pain signs when their mothers held them. Researchers suspect the difference could be related to anatomy. “The difference in the male physique, especially the chest, may be perceived by the infant to be not that of a natural caregiver,” the scientists said.
Still, the difference between mom and dad was small, and the study may be more important for showing the benefits for preemies of skin-to-skin contact with their parents. Also called “kangaroo care,” this involves nestling an undressed baby against the parent’s bare skin, and then covering the parent and baby with a blanket.
From Reuters Health:
“There’s a big difference between when a baby gets (blood drawn) alone in an incubator and when the mom or dad holds the baby for this procedure,” said Dr. Larry Gray, a pediatrician at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the new study. “The first take-home is, boy, this really works.”
Previous studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact has a number of positive health benefits for the baby, including relieving pain. And that could be especially important in preemies that need extra medical procedures and are more fragile than full-term babies, experts say.
“Here’s a little 3-pound baby who says, ‘I’d much rather have weighed 6 pounds or 7 pounds at birth, and now I have to keep myself warm, I have to beat my little heart,’” Gray said. With kangaroo care, “the parent provides the warmth, and the breathing regulation, and all of those hidden things,” he told Reuters Health.
(image via: http://kidhaven.com)
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