Tag Archives | Parenting

‘Three-Parent’ IVF Babies On Their Way


Oocyte with surrounding granulosa cells.

Jessica Hamzelou writes for New Scientist:

A review of technologies that create three-parent embryos to avoid mitochondrial disease has found no evidence that the methods are unsafe, calling for further research. Medical charities have followed up the report with a call to the UK’s health secretary to prepare to regulate the technology in clinics.

A fertilised egg has 98 per cent of its DNA held in its nucleus. Half of this will be from the mother and half from the father. The remaining 2 per cent is what’s known as mitochondrial DNA – DNA in the cells’ “powerhouses” that are found outside of the egg’s nucleus, and are inherited solely from the mother.

Gene mutations in a woman’s mitochondrial DNA can cause mitochondrial disease in her children. The effects can range from mild, almost symptomless disease to serious and often fatal conditions. Researchers are aiming to avoid these serious conditions using donor eggs with mutation-free mitochondria.

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Killing the Unborn … With Radiation

UnicornVia Washington’s Blog:

Preface: I am not against all nuclear power, solely the unsafe type we have today.

The harmful affect of radiation on fetuses has been known for decades.

As nuclear expert Robert Alvarez — a senior U.S. Department of Energy official during the Clinton administration — and journalists Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon wrote in 1982 in a book called Killing Our Own:

In recent years controversy has arisen over the particular vulnerability of infants in utero and small children to the ill-effects of radiation. Exposure of the fetus to radiation during all stages of pregnancy increases the chances of developing leukemia and childhood cancers. Because their cells are dividing so rapidly, and because there are relatively so few of them involved in the vital functions of the body in the early stages, embryos are most vulnerable to radiation in the first trimester particularly in the first two weeks after conception.

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What’s Your Hobby? Knitted Breasts Created By 91-Year-Old

KnittingVia Newslite:
You might expect your granny to knit you a woolly jumper, but one pensioner has been defying expectations by using her needles to craft amazing knitted breasts. Coral Charles-Dunne, 91, from Birmingham, has knitted dozens of the unusual educational tools as part of a project to inform expectant and new mums about breastfeeding. She says spends about two hours creating each of the woolly boobs and makes them in a range of sizes, knitting for up to six hours per day. The knitted breasts are then used by expectant moms to learn techniques for breast feeding … their partners probably use them to create an unusual game of football.
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21st Century Youths: A Nation of Wimps

Hara Estroff Marano writes for Psychology Today:

Maybe it’s the cyclist in the park, trim under his sleek metallic blue helmet, cruising along the dirt path… at three miles an hour. On his tricycle.

Or perhaps it’s today’s playground, all-rubber-cushioned surface where kids used to skin their knees. And… wait a minute… those aren’t little kids playing. Their mommies—and especially their daddies—are in there with them, coplaying or play-by-play coaching. Few take it half-easy on the perimeter benches, as parents used to do, letting the kids figure things out for themselves.


Then there are the sanitizing gels, with which over a third of parents now send their kids to school, according to a recent survey. Presumably, parents now worry that school bathrooms are not good enough for their children.

Consider the teacher new to an upscale suburban town. Shuffling through the sheaf of reports certifying the educational “accommodations” he was required to make for many of his history students, he was struck by the exhaustive, well-written—and obviously costly—one on behalf of a girl who was already proving among the most competent of his ninth-graders.

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One Out Of Ten People Weren’t Fathered By The Man They Believe Is Dad

DadThe following is the second chapter from my disinformation book, 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know: Volume 2, published in 2004. For more on me go to The Memory Hole or follow me @RussKick on Twitter.

Geneticists, disease researchers, and evolutionary psychologists have known it for a while, but the statistic hasn’t gotten much air outside of the ivory tower. Consistently, they find that one in ten of us wasn’t fathered by the man we think is our biological dad.

Naturally, adoptees and stepchildren realize their paternal situation. What we’re talking about here is people who have taken it as a given, for their entire lives, that dear old Dad is the one who contributed his sperm to the process. Even Dad himself may be under this impression. And Mom, knowing it’s not a sure thing, just keeps quiet.

Genetic testing companies report that almost one-third of the time, samples sent to them show that the man is not father to the child.… Read the rest

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Iraq Toys With Polygamy As Solution For War Widows

PolygamyRoula Ayoubi reports for BBC News:

Years of conflict in Iraq have left the country with more than one million war widows and a shortage of young unmarried men — pressures that may be bringing about the return of polygamy. Iraqi woman and child Politicians have suggested financial incentives for men who marry widows

Hanan lost eight members of her family in the war, including her husband, and was left to bring up three children alone.

The experience has not broken her. She continues to work as a hairdresser in her noisy and lively home on Haifa Street in Baghdad. But she still needs a “man-shelter”, she says — and this is why she ended up married to a married man.

“When he proposed to me, he said he was divorced,” she says. “But after we got married, he got back together with his first wife, because he has children with her.”

He now stays with Hanan once a week.

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Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter

Annie& Daddy WarbucksInteresting article from Jonah Lehrer in the Wall Street Journal:

How much do the decisions of parents matter? Most parents believe that even the most mundane acts of parenting — from their choice of day care to their policy on videogames — can profoundly influence the success of their children. Kids are like wet clay, in this view, and we are the sculptors.

Yet in tests measuring many traits, from intelligence to self-control, the power of the home environment pales in comparison to the power of genes and peer groups. We may think we’re sculptors, but the clay is mostly set.

A new paper suggests that both metaphors can be true. Which one is relevant depends, it turns out, on the economic status of families.

For a paper in Psychological Science, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia looked at 750 pairs of American twins who were given a test of mental ability at the age of 10 months and then again at the age of 2.

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Gov’t D.A.R.E. Program Causes Kid to Narc on Parents & Send Them to Jail

D.A.R.E.Jeff Rivenbark reports on WBTV:
MATTHEWS, NC — Two parents are facing drug charges after their child took their drugs to school and told a school officer his parents were breaking the law. The 11-year-old student is in 5th grade at a an elementary school in Matthews. Police say he brought his parents' marijuana cigarettes to school when he reported them. Matthews Police say he reported his parents after a lesson about marijuana was delivered by a police officer who is part of the D.A.R.E. program, which teaches kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. "Even if it's happening in their own home with their own parents, they understand that's a dangerous situation because of what we're teaching them," said Matthews Officer Stason Tyrrell. That's what they're told to do, to make us aware."
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Are Parents Less Loving Towards Fat Children?

obese-kidIn a nation suffering from a childhood obesity epidemic, this is bad news for the youth of the future: whether or not they intend to be, parents are meaner to their overweight children. TIME writes:

It’s no secret that overweight kids are typically not the most popular kids on the block. Nor is it news that kids can be mean, forming groups of “haves” and “have-nots,” gossiping, ostracizing their chunky classmates.

You’d think that home would be a safe haven for them, but a new study in the journal Obesity reveals that even parents can come down hard on their heftier offspring.

Researchers at the University of North Texas in Denton have found that parents may be less likely to chip in and help their overweight kid buy a car. “No one is going to be surprised that society discriminates against the overweight, but I think it is surprising that it can come from your parents,” researcher Adriel Boals told Reuters.

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