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LESBIANS RAISE BRIGHTER CHILDREN STUDY SHOWS

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Study: Children of lesbians may do better


SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — Children of lesbian-mother families demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment; in fact, they score higher than their peers, U.S. researchers say.

Study leader Dr. Nanette Gartrell of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues say from 1986 to 1992, 154 prospective lesbian mothers volunteered for the study designed to follow planned lesbian families from the child’s conception until they were adults.

Information was obtained via interviews and questionnaires by 78 children when they were age 10 and 17 as well as Child Behavior Checklists that were completed by their mothers.

The study, published online ahead of print in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, found the 17-year-olds were rated significantly higher in social, academic and total competence compared with their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents.

In addition, the study found the sons and daughters of lesbian mothers scored significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, and aggressive and externalizing problem behavior compared with children of traditional families using Achenbach’s normative sample of American youth.

Within the study sample, no differences were found among the teens whose mothers were still together and those whose mothers had separated, the study says.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha

AUTISM NOW CAN BE DETECTED BY A URINE TEST

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Autism Finding Could Lead to

Simple Urine Test for the Condition

Science (June 5, 2010) — Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research published tomorrow in the print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.

Autism affects an estimated one in every 100 people in the UK. People with autism have a range of different symptoms, but they commonly experience problems with communication and social skills, such as understanding other people’s emotions and making conversation and eye contact.

People with autism are also known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and they have a different makeup of bacteria in their guts from non-autistic people.

Today’s research shows that it is possible to distinguish between autistic and non-autistic children by looking at the by-products of gut bacteria and the body’s metabolic processes in the children’s urine. The exact biological significance of gastrointestinal disorders in the development of autism is unknown.

The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in today’s study could form the basis of a non-invasive test that might help diagnose autism earlier. This would enable autistic children to receive assistance, such as advanced behavioural therapy, earlier in their development than is currently possible.

At present, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child’s social interaction, communication and imaginative skills.

Early intervention can greatly improve the progress of children with autism but it is currently difficult to establish a firm diagnosis when children are under 18 months of age, although it is likely that changes may occur much earlier than this.

The researchers suggest that their new understanding of the makeup of bacteria in autistic children’s guts could also help scientists to develop treatments to tackle autistic people’s gastrointestinal problems.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the corresponding author of the study, who is the Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: “Autism is a condition that affects a person’s social skills, so at first it might seem strange that there’s a relationship between autism and what’s happening in someone’s gut. However, your metabolism and the makeup of your gut bacteria reflect all sorts of things, including your lifestyle and your genes. Autism affects many different parts of a person’s system and our study shows that you can see how it disrupts their system by looking at their metabolism and their gut bacteria.

“We hope our findings might be the first step towards creating a simple urine test to diagnose autism at a really young age, although this is a long way off — such a test could take many years to develop and we’re just beginning to explore the possibilities. We know that giving therapy to children with autism when they are very young can make a huge difference to their progress. A urine test might enable professionals to quickly identify children with autism and help them early on,” he added.

The researchers are now keen to investigate whether metabolic differences in people with autism are related to the causes of the condition or are a consequence of its progression.

The researchers reached their conclusions by using H NMR Spectroscopy to analyse the urine of three groups of children aged between 3 and 9: 39 children who had previously been diagnosed with autism, 28 non-autistic siblings of children with autism, and 34 children who did not have autism who did not have an autistic sibling.

They found that each of the three groups had a distinct chemical fingerprint. Non-autistic children with autistic siblings had a different chemical fingerprint than those without any autistic siblings, and autistic children had a different chemical fingerprint than the other two groups.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010

LOVE IS GOOD FOR YOU IN MANY WAYS

Monday, June 7th, 2010

BETTER PERFORMANCE WHEN YOU FEEL LOVED

MADISON, Wis. (UPI) — U.S. researchers confirm calling mom reduces stress.

Biological anthropologist Leslie Seltzer and psychology professor Seth Pollak, both of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tested the stress levels of a group of girls ages 7-12 by requiring them to deliver an impromptu speech and do a series of math problems in front of strangers.

“Facing a challenge like that, being evaluated, raises stress levels for a lot of people,” Pollak said in a statement.

Once stressed, one-third of the girls were comforted with a hug by their mothers, one-third watched an emotion-neutral 75-minute video and one-third were handed a telephone with their mother on the line.

“The children who got to interact with their mothers had virtually the same hormonal response, whether they interacted in person or over the phone,” Seltzer says.

The levels of oxytocin — the “love hormone” strongly associated with emotional bonding — rose significantly and the stress-marking cortisol disappeared, the study found.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, might explain why many college students call their mothers as soon as they hand in an exam.

“I used to think, ‘How could those over-attentive, helicopter parents encourage that?’ Maybe it’s a quick and dirty way to feel better. It’s not pop psychology or psychobabble,” Pollak said.

Received and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010