In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Month of conception can affect child's health at birth

By Melissa Pandika

JewishWorldReview.com |

LOS ANGELES — (MCT) It's still an old wives' tale that a woman can plan her child's sex by timing the month when she conceives, but a new study has found that babies conceived at certain times of the year may be predisposed to adverse health outcomes, such as premature birth.

Princeton University health economists Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt observed a shorter gestation time for infants conceived during the first half of the year, with a "sharp trough" in May, possibly reflecting the spike in seasonal flu cases the following January and February, when their mothers were nearing full term. The researchers saw the highest average weight for infants conceived in the summer, which may be due to seasonal patterns in pregnancy weight gain, Currie said.

Pregnancy length and birth weight "are the most commonly examined measures of infant health at birth, and have been associated with child and adult health outcomes," Currie and Schwandt wrote in a report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For almost a century, researchers have investigated the relationship between season of birth and such adult factors as body weight, IQ, mental health, earned income and life expectancy. But these studies didn't control for maternal characteristics, such as socioeconomic background, that might be confused with the effects of seasonality, Currie said. For that reason, they couldn't definitively conclude that observed differences were caused by birth season alone.

Currie and Schwandt addressed this limitation by comparing siblings conceived by the same mother at different times throughout the year, allowing them to control for differences among mothers, including education level, smoking, race and marital status. Drawing from publicly available federal birth data, they compared siblings born to 647,050 mothers in New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, representing more than 1.4 million births in all.

The authors looked at conception month rather than birth month because the latter may obscure gestation length, an indicator of whether a mother carried her infant to term. For example, although most babies born in July were likely conceived nine months earlier — in November — it's possible that some were conceived in December or later and born prematurely.

The study reported that average gestation time dropped relatively steadily each month between January and May, when it measured almost a week shorter than that of infants conceived in January. Average gestation lengths returned to January levels in June, where they remained for the rest of the year. Infants conceived in May had about a 13 percent higher rate of prematurity than those conceived in other months of the year.


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Since earlier research had linked flu infections to preterm births, Currie and Schwandt merged their birth data with influenza monitoring data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1997 onward to find out whether the virus may be to blame for the shorter pregnancy times.

Sure enough, Currie and Schwandt saw that mothers who conceived in the first five months of the year, especially May, were more likely to suffer flu symptoms during the month they gave birth, reflecting the start of the flu season in late August. Babies conceived in May were scheduled to be born in mid-February but tended to suffer a shortened gestation, with deliveries happening in late January and early February, at the height of flu season.

Previous studies suggest that inflammation caused by flu may trigger the cascade of events that cause labor, Currie explained.

She and Schwandt also found that, on average, infants conceived in the summer tended to weigh approximately 8 to 9 grams more than other infants.

This corresponded to a peak in average pregnancy weight gain during the same time period. Currie said this could be due to the increased availability of produce during the summer. "We think people may be eating better in the summer," she said.

The finding undermines the hypothesis that nutrition is unlikely to drive seasonal birth outcomes in developed countries, where the food supply fluctuates little over the year.

"Even in a population that's well-nourished, there are seasonal differences in weight that are related to seasonal changes in nutrition and have a noticeable impact on birth weight," Currie said.

Although Currie acknowledged that the administrative data set she and Schwandt used didn't reveal details about the mothers' diets or their flu vaccination status, its volume strengthened the credibility of the study results. "I think we do a pretty definitive job that there really is a seasonal effect," she said.

Currie added that the study could inform public policy, for example, by encouraging pregnant women to get flu shots. Many women fear taking medication during pregnancy, she said.

"Pregnant women shouldn't be afraid to get the flu vaccine," she said.

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© 2013, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.