Thursday, September 20, 2012

Children of older mothers do better

Probably because those who have children early tend to be a bit dim to start with  -- and dimness is hereditary

The British study said children born to women over 40 benefited from improved health and language development up to the age of five. It also found increasing maternal age was associated with children having fewer hospital admissions and accidents, a higher likelihood of having their immunisations by the time they were nine months old and fewer social and emotional difficulties.

Older mothers tend to be more educated, have higher incomes and be married - all factors associated with greater child wellbeing, said the study from University College London's Institute of Child Health, which looked at data covering more than 78,000 children, and was published in the British Medical Journal.

In Australia, 4 per cent of the almost 300,000 women who gave birth in 2009 were aged 40-plus. Gino Pecoraro, a spokesman for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said older mothers tended to be more established, educated, mature and financially settled, helping with language development and the potentially improved supervision of children.

"At least, for a change, the headlines are pointing out something good about being older as it is usually all so dismal," said Hannah Dahlen, the associate professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney and national spokeswoman for the Australian College of Midwives.

Ms Dahlen gave birth to her daughter a few weeks before her 40th birthday.

"It is well known that this phenomenon exists with children born to older mothers but most of the association is due to higher education and social advantage," she said.

"The higher educated a mother in particular is the more financially stable she is and the more likely you will see children with better linguistic skills."


No health risk from mobile phones or wi-fi, claim Norwegian researchers (but they still say you should use a hands free kit)

The critics will never give up

Using a mobile or wi-fi doesn’t cause cancer and poses no damage to health, according to a new study.

Previous studies have found low-level electromagnetic field exposure from mobiles and other transmitting devices could cause harmful heating of tissue, male infertility and cancer.

But after assessing health hazards from low-level electromagnetic fields generated by radio transmitters, researchers found there is no scientific evidence exposure to these poses a health risk.

These electromagnetic fields are found around mobile phones, wireless phones and networks, mobile phone base stations, broadcasting transmitters and other communications equipment.

Previous work has focused on the risk of cancer in the head and neck, but the Norwegian Expert Committee found no scientific evidence of an association between mobile phone use and fast growing brain tumours.

So far, the effect on slow growing tumours has been studied in people who have used mobiles for up to 20 years, but the study shows no association.

However, only limited data exists for other types of cancer - such as leukaemia and lymphoma - but there is no evidence of an increased risk from mobile use, and cancer registries have not observed an increase in these tumours since mobiles were introduced.

The Committee found no evidence low level electromagnetic field exposure from mobiles and other transmitters increase the risk of cancer, impair male fertility, cause other reproductive damage or lead to other diseases and adverse health effects - such as changes to the endocrine and immune systems.

They also discovered mobile phones and other equipment are not associated with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, but admit the symptoms - headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin problems and pain and ache in muscles - are not imaginary.

Professor Jan Alexander said: 'We have no grounds to say that the symptoms are imaginary.  'But a large number of studies suggest that these symptoms must have other causes than the physical effects of low-level electromagnetic fields around mobile phones, wireless transmitters and other wireless equipment.

'Research provides no evidence to support that interventions help, such as reducing the use of mobile phones or wireless networks.

'Our opinion is that patients with these health problems must be taken seriously by the health service and should be treated as other patients.

'There is a need for greater expertise in the health service for this group of patients.'

However, the researchers warn some caution should be taken by users, and exposure should not be higher than necessary to achieve the intended purpose.

The report - available from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health - says authorities should inform people that hands-free kits will significantly reduce exposure from mobile phones.


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