Miscarriage Greater For Thin Women
On Monday, December 4, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) reported the findings of a study that examined the relationship between biological, behavioral and lifestyle risk factors and the probability of miscarriage. The study indicates that underweight women who possess a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18 are seventy-two percent more likely to suffer a miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy than women with a BMI above 18. The study also indicated that the percentage of miscarriages are halved by taking vitamin supplements early on in pregnancy, or by eating certain foods such as fruits and vegetables.
The study also showed that single women were more likely to miscarry than married women or those living with a partner. Furthermore, if a pregnant woman changed partners, and the new man is not the father of the baby, the odds of miscarriage increase by sixty percent. Women who had previously terminated their pregnancies are also at higher risk. Planned pregnancies also decrease the chances of miscarriage. As Noreen Maconochie, senior lecturer in Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at the LSHTM, noted, "[these] findings related to low pre-pregnancy weight, previous termination, stress and change of partner are noteworthy."
Saving Children’s Hearts Across Israeli-Palestinian Divide
Save a Child’s Heart is a private Israeli program, funded in part by the European Union, under which doctors at a hospital near Tel Aviv treat congenital heart defects in children from the Palestinian territories, including Gaza and the West Bank, and also from Iraq, Jordan, and Africa. Begun in 1995 by a US-born cardiologist, the program has helped over 1,000 children so far and has treated higher numbers of Palestinian children in recent years. With worsening conditions in their own hospitals and low levels of health care in their territories, Palestinians rely on Israel and Egypt for medical care and other humanitarian aid. This need has risen since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the cutting of foreign aid following the election of Hamas members into the Palestinian government.
Israel eases security screening when it comes to people seeking medical care, especially for children. However, since the suicide bombing at a Gaza checkpoint by a woman seeking medical care, security measures have been stepped up. For example, in cases where adult parents pose a security problem, another relative is required to escort the child in need of care. The director of the program, Simon Fisher, believes that medicine is a common denominator that can help bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians. He says, “They are our neighbors whether we like it or not, whether we have a political issue or not. We live side by side, share the same destiny of the Middle East.”
“Compelling” Evidence for Life on the Red Planet
Recently, Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft belonging to NASA had discovered gullies and trenches in the planet’s crust that are believed by scientists to be “carved by fast-moving water coursing down cliffs and steep crater walls.” This finding constitutes compelling, though far from definitive, evidence that Mars may have suitable conditions for organic life.
Although scientists are wary to accept this one explanation for the gullies and have hypothesized that other compounds, like dust, may have left the tracks, the evidence discovered by NASA since it first landed its Mars rovers in 2004 paints a different picture. The alterations in the planet’s ancient rocks suggest that currents of liquid water flowed once on the Red Planet.
Some scientists say its possible that the water that flowed on the surface could have seeped through the planet’s crust and now exists as a “reservoir” beneath the surface, housing variations of microbial life. "We're now realizing Mars is more active than we previously thought," said Arizona State University scientist Phil Christensen.
Maryland Rules Women Cannot Withdraw Consent in Cases of Rape
According to a recent Maryland law, a woman who gives consent prior to intercourse and then withdraws her consent cannot claim she was raped. This decision came when the Maryland Court overturned a rape conviction. The trial judge said Maryland's law was unclear and wouldn't provide an answer. The Special Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial judge, because according to the ruling, Maryland's rape law is "not ambiguous." The woman cannot accuse her partner of rape if he continues the sexual act. Women's rights groups are outraged by the ruling and believe anyone should have the right to say no at anytime and if the act continues, then it should be considered a crime. Maryland is one of two states that have ruled that women may not withdraw consent, while seven other states have ruled that women may withdraw consent at any time.
The Raping of Darfur
In response to the ongoing and increasingly catastrophic events in Darfur, "Global Day for Darfur" will see planned protests in 40 countries with women-led protests outside the Sudanese embassies. Female leaders worldwide have contributed their signatures to a call for peacekeeping missions in Darfur to protect the female population, who have been targeted directly with rape - possibly the most aggressive weapon in the arsenal. According to the Sudanese government, the Darfur crisis is a “Western invention.” and the government officials are quick to point out that rape is “impossible” as the people of Darfur are Muslims. Individual stories are trickling out of Darfur and into newspapers worldwide - but where is the response? Aside from protests which, according to the Sudan government, will "have no direct impact", there is still no strong UN response to the conflict and injustices in Darfur. There are only 7000 African Union peacekeepers attempting to protect civilians, but there have been an estimated 200,000 deaths and two million individuals have had to flee their homes.