Saturday, August 25, 2007


One would think it obvious that children need their fathers but there are Lesbians who deny it so perhaps the study below helps a little. The study concludes that involvement of the father in family life can even make up for a dysfunctional mother. The study has unusually good sampling so the conclusions are more generalizable than most

Maternal Depressive Symptoms, Father's Involvement, and the Trajectories of Child Problem Behaviors in a US National Sample

By Jen Jen Chang et al.


Objective: To examine the effect of maternal depressive symptoms on child problem behavior trajectories and how the father's positive involvement may modify this association.

Design: Secondary data analysis using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

Setting: A nationally representative household sample of men and women from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

Participants: The study sample includes 6552 mother-child dyads interviewed biennially between January 1, 1992, and December 31, 2002; children were 0 to 10 years old at baseline.

Intervention: Past-week maternal depressive symptoms in 1992.

Main Outcome Measures: Maternal self-reports of child internalizing and externalizing behaviors were assessed repeatedly using a modified Child Behavior Checklist.

Results Linear growth curve models indicate that the adverse effects of maternal depressive symptoms on child problem behavior trajectories become negligible after controlling for the father's involvement and other covariates, including the child's age, sex, and race/ethnicity; the mother's educational level; maternal age at child birth; number of children; poverty status; urban residence; and father's residential status. Positive involvement by the father was inversely associated with child problem behavior trajectories. The effects of maternal depressive symptoms on child problem behaviors varied by the level of the father's positive involvement.

Conclusion: When the father actively compensates for limitations in the depressed mother's functioning, the child's risk of problem behaviors may be reduced.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161:697-703


The study below is not particularly striking of itself but it is refreshing to see the role of social class recognized. Race is the doubtful factor in the study. It would have been nice to see results presented separately for blacks and whites. Poor blacks, for instance, are less exceptional than poor whites so poor blacks may well have been more robust than poor whites. The effects may have been stronger if whites only had been studied. The conclusion of the study is that poor mothers are more likely to give birth to babies with damaged brains. As poor mothers are more likely to engage in risky behaviours that is not inherently surprising but genetic factors could be involved too

Neonatal Encephalopathy and Socioeconomic Status: Population-Based Case-Control Study

By Heidi K. Blume et al.

Objective: To investigate the association between maternal socioeconomic status and the risk of encephalopathy in full-term newborns.

Design: Population-based case-control study.

Setting: Washington State births from 1994 through 2002 recorded in the linked Washington State Birth Registry and Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System.

Participants Cases (n = 1060) were singleton full-term newborns with Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnoses of seizures, birth asphyxia, central nervous system dysfunction, or cerebral irritability. Control cases (n = 5330) were singleton full-term newborns selected from the same database.

Main Exposures: Socioeconomic status was defined by median income of the census tract of the mother's residence, number of years of maternal educational achievement, or maternal insurance status.

Main Outcome Measures: Odds ratios estimating the risk of encephalopathy associated with disadvantaged socioeconomic status were calculated in 3 separate analyses using multivariate adjusted logistic regression.

Results: Newborns of mothers living in neighborhoods in which residents have a low median income were at increased risk of encephalopathy compared with newborns in neighborhoods in which residents have a median income more than 3 times the poverty level (adjusted odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-2.3). There was also a trend for increasing risk of encephalopathy associated with decreasing neighborhood income (P<.001). Newborns of mothers with less than 12 years of educational achievement had a higher risk of encephalopathy compared with newborns of mothers with more than 16 years of educational achievement (adjusted odds ratio, 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-2.3). Newborns of mothers receiving public insurance also had a higher risk of encephalopathy compared with newborns of mothers who have commercial insurance (adjusted odds ratio, 1.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-1.7).

Conclusion: Disadvantaged socioeconomic status was independently associated with an increased risk of encephalopathy in full-term newborns. These findings suggest that a mother's socioeconomic status may influence the risk of encephalopathy for her full-term newborn.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161:663-668


Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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