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Most Dangerous Time to Give Birth?

Of course, most women don’t plan when they are going to give birth. And they don’t have a say in when the nurses’ or doctors’ shifts start and end. But for health professionals and hospitals, the study results, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and coming from the University of Texas at Austin can be a wake-up call.

Researchers assessed 24,506 unscheduled delivers in the United Kingdom from 2008 to 2013. The obstetricians worked on the same labor and delivery ward for all of these deliveries and they worked 12 hours shifts during this five year period.

Researchers found that the most dangerous time to give birth is during the 9th hour of the 12 hour shift. This is when the risk of maternal blood loss and lower blood oxygen levels in the womb are highest.

As lead author Dr. James Scott explained,

“There are all sorts of studies about the timing of deliveries, but what nobody had looked at before is whether there is there some kind of proxy for how fatigued the doctors are.”

Interestingly, the findings did not see a difference between day and night deliveries, weekday versus weekend deliveries, vaginal versus Caesarean or junior versus senior doctor status.

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Can One Gene Determine Your Sleep Patterns?

If you’re a parent (or really just a human yourself) then you know that some people sleep better than others. Parents can see that one child loves to sleep and was always a good sleeper as a baby, while another has to be coaxed to sleep each night. Now, scientists think they can explain why.

According to investigators at the Washington State University, some people are born with a gene that helps them to sleep better at night. Apparently, mice with the FABP7 gene intact slept better than did those mice for whom the gene wasn’t intact.

The researchers then looked at 300 Japanese men who underwent a seven-day sleep study that included looking at their DNA. Of the 300, 29 of the men had a variant of the gene that is responsible for producing FABP7 and they tended to have irregular sleep patterns. They got the same amount of sleep as the other participants, but they woke often during the night.

The researchers also looked at fruit flies and found that those flies with a mutant FABP7 slept less restfully.

As Dr. Gerstner said, “This suggests that there’s some underlying mechanism in astrocytes throughout all these species that regulates consolidated sleep. It’s the first time we’ve really gained insight into a particular cell’s and molecular pathway’s role in complex behavior across such diverse species.”


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Is BMI Really the Best Indicator?

If you’re focused on your BMI number, researchers at the University of Alberta will tell you that you’re barking up the wrong tree. The researchers say that this information, and the obsessive focus on BMI, doesn’t just hurt people and how they see themselves – it can create the wrong treatment plans from doctors.

Now, while this is a popular way for tracking population trends, Dr. Arya Sharma explains that it has limitations for individuals. Many professional athletes quality as being overweight because of their muscle mass.

As Dr. Sharma explains,

“BMI is a clothing size…It tells me how big you are. It doesn’t tell me how sick you are. BMI is not a good criteria to be diagnosing a disease.”

Dr. Scott Kahan, the director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness told Live Science that, “What any obesity specialist should do is use BMI as a first step, and then go beyond BMI as needed.”

Dr. Sharma emphasizes that doctors need to move from a BMI-based diagnosis of obesity and health issues to one that is more holistic and health-based.

Dr. Sharma and his colleagues have developed a more appropriate scale, according to them, called the Edmonton Obesity Staging System. With this program, doctors check on the physical health of the patient (looking for diabetes and joint problems for examples), at the mental health of the patient (depression, anxiety, etc) and at the functional health (doing day-to-day activities).

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Upcoming Training with the American Society of Hematology

The American Society of Hematology, where Dr. Kenneth Nahum is a member, recently announced the names of the 23 hematologists who will be participating in the upcoming 2017 ASH Clinical Research Training Institute in Latin America. The program is taking place in Uruguay from April 5-6 and is designed to prepare current hematology fellows and junior faculty members who work in Latin America for their upcoming careers in clinical research.

The education sessions during the two day event will include topics about how to develop clinical research questions, how to write an abstract for publication, how to understand the fundamentals of clinical trial design and much more.

As ASH President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD said, “ASH is pleased to support clinical research in hematology by providing an opportunity for fellows and faculty members to focus on everything they need to know to implement successful programs. Science and patient care know no borders, which is why it is important for ASH to offer programs like this not only in the United States, but internationally as well.”

Members of the American Society of Hematology like Dr. Kenneth Nahum certainly benefit from their services and information. The ASH is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists and they are dedicated to furthering doctor understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of blood disorders. The 2017 ASH Clinical Research Training Institute is one example of the many programs they create to further their mission.

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April’s Fools Ideas

With April Fool’s Day around the corner, we’d all like to have some tricks in our pockets. Now, keep in mind that you should use only tasteful tricks that won’t harm anyone or hurt their feelings. The point here is to spread humor and fun on this day! Enjoy these ideas below.

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Do You Live in One of the Happiest Places in the World?

Where are the happiest places in the world to live? Norway has jumped to first place this year, with Denmark in second, Iceland in third and Switzerland in fourth. After this are Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. This comes according to the latest World Happiness Report that was released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN.

The US came in 14th, Germany was in 16th and the UK hit the 19th spot. Japan was in the 51st spot while China was in the 79th place.

What were the key measurements that made up the report? Real gross domestic product per capita was one measurement, another was generosity. Other measurements included a healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and having someone to count on. As explained by Jeffrey Sachs, the report’s co-editor and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University,

“The World Happiness Report continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people — their well-being. As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations. It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let’s hold our leaders to this fact.”

The report also focused on happiness in the workplace. As Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, co-author of the report chapter on happiness at work explained, “There is a clear distinction in happiness between white and blue collar jobs with managers or professionals evaluating the quality of their lives at a much higher level than those in manual labor jobs even controlling for any possible confounding factors.”

Interestingly, the report found that the single biggest cause of misery in rich countries was mental illness.

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Enjoying the Work/Life Balance

We can all learn something from Peter Muller and the recent decisions that he’s made. As one of Wall Street’s best quant traders, Peter Muller should be working hard. After working incredibly hard for years, Muller decided in 1999 that he needed a break and he went on a sabbatical.

As he told Business Insider, “I became enormously successful, but I wasn’t as happy or fulfilled.” He travelled the world and used his incredible musical talent as a pianist.

When he returned, he managed to find that work/life balance that is elusive to so many. He told Morgan Stanley that he needed room in his life for music as well as business. As he said,

“I took a big step back. And I figured, I’m going to pursue music… I recorded a couple of albums, and I became executive chairman of the group that I built. And I realized that I needed both [music and work] – they both feed and influence the other.”

He’s been performing with his band at least once a month for the last nine years. And while he has a “crazy, busy life” he manages to perform at least once a month and to give the money to charity.

Here is a sample of his work:

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Ties Between Pregnancy Weight and Cerebral Palsy?

Scientists are warning about a new risk that overweight pregnant people might be taking for their unborn baby. Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at children born in Sweden from 1997-2011 and found that overweight moms put their babies at higher risk for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects one in every 400 births in the US and the UK. Out of the children who were born as part of this study, 3029 children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy out of 1.4 million.

Professor Villamor said, ‘The number of women with a BMI of 35 or more globally doubled from approximately 50 to 100 million from 2000 through 2010. In the US, approximately half of all pregnant women have overweight or obesity at the first prenatal visit. Considering the high prevalence of obesity and the continued rise of its most severe forms, the finding that maternal overweight and obesity are related to rates of cerebral palsy in a dose-response manner may have serious public health implications.”

Researchers have also shown that children are more likely to put on weight if their parents were overweight before they were born.

These are certainly considerations that women should take into account as they think about their health and reproductive future.

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