Monday, January 23, 2012

A most interesting finding

Contrary to expectations, babies born into difficult family situations adapt to that by developing faster. And their experience in utero primes them to do that, allegedly.

I wonder, however, are we looking at a type of chimpanzee effect here. That effect connects early maturation to lower final levels of mental ability. If the "depressed" mothers in the study were of sub-par average IQ, we would expect their infants to mature faster anyhow -- with no fetal detection involved. Control for maternal IQ would resolve that

Prescient Human Fetuses Thrive

Curt A. Sandman et al.


Fetal detection of adversity is a conserved trait that allows many species to adapt their early developmental trajectories to ensure survival. According to the fetal-programming model, exposure to stressful or hostile conditions in utero is associated with compromised development and a lifelong risk of adverse health outcomes.

In a longitudinal study, we examined the consequences of prenatal and postnatal exposure to adversity for infant development. We found increased motor and mental development during the 1st year of life among infants whose mothers experienced congruent levels of depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy, even when the levels of symptoms were relatively high and the prenatal and postnatal environments were unfavorable.

Congruence between prenatal and postnatal environments prepares the fetus for postnatal life and confers an adaptive advantage for critical survival functions during early development.


Tanning addicts snap up banned drug Melanotan II

Just another drug of abuse that probably would be better legalized so its effects can be properly tracked and users helped where needed

HEALTH experts are alarmed at a booming trade in an artificial tanning drug that promises to make you "tanned, thin and turned on".

Melanotan II, nicknamed the "Barbie Drug", is banned from commercial sale in Australia but tan-addicts are snapping up vials of the injectable drug over the internet. Initially popular with bodybuilders, the drug is now being used by models, brides-to-be, actresses and others seeking an instant tan.

One online distributor Pure Peptides, listed as being based in Australia and the US, claims it was flooded with more than 10,000 orders in the past year.

A 10mg vial of the synthetic hormone which increases the levels of melanin, the skin's darker pigment can be bought online for as little as $40.

But the Australian Medical Association warns it could cost users their lives. "People should not be messing with something that's unproven and theoretically increases the risk of skin cancers, particularly melanomas," Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd said.

The drug has also been banned in Britain, Canada and throughout Europe after reported side effects including nausea, flushing, the darkening of freckles, high-blood pressure, physical scarring, suppressed appetite, spontaneous erections and increased libido.

Dr Kidd said: "There hasn't been any proper clinical studies done on humans. They're putting dollars before lives."
Melanotan II is banned from commercial sale and the Therapeutic Goods Administration last year made it illegal for Australians to buy it from overseas for personal use without a prescription.

But the move has not stemmed the tide of sales, with the drug still freely promoted and available online to Australians.

A TGA spokeswoman said: "It continues to be unlawful for Melanotan to be imported and sold on a commercial basis. In addition, it is now unlawful to import Melanotan for personal use unless the substance is prescribed by a medical practitioner registered in Australia."

One supplier Pure Melanotan declares on its website: "All Australian orders are shipped from our local Australian distribution center via Australian Post Express, No Customs & No Duties or fees."

The TGA said they were not aware of these local warehouses but warned the supply of the drug in Australia could be an offence against state and Commonwealth legislation. The TGA said it would investigate if the drug was slipping into Australia unchecked.

But Dr Kidd warns Melanotan II is unapproved for a good reason: "You might end up accidentally killing yourself."


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