Sunday, August 1, 2010

The some-more kids the reduce moms self-murder risk

Amy Norton Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:19pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Supporting the theory that parenthood offers a buffer against suicidal behavior, a new study finds that the more children a woman has, the lower her suicide risk.


There is a long-standing theory that the historically lower suicide rates seen among married versus unmarried women reflects a "protective effect" of motherhood, rather than advantages of marriage per se.

These latest findings give some support to that theory, researcher Dr. Chun-Yuh Yang, of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan, told Reuters Health by email.

Looking at 30 years" worth of data on 1.3 million Taiwanese mothers, Yang found that women with two children were 39 percent less likely than those with one child to commit suicide.

That risk was 60 percent lower among women with three or more children, Yang reports in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The findings are based on birth and mortality records for Taiwanese women who had their first child between 1978 and 1987. Yang followed death rates for the study group through 2007.

Suicide was uncommon regardless of the number of children the women had. Among women with one child, there were 11 suicides per 100,000 women per year; that rate was seven per 100,000 among women with two children, and just under six per 100,000 among mothers with three or more children.

When Yang factored in a number of other variables -- including the women"s age at first birth, marital status and education level -- the number of children a woman had remained linked to suicide risk.

It"s possible, Yang said, that women with a large brood of children benefit from greater emotional or material support when times are tough. Women who have several children also spend a larger share of their lives caring for young children compared with mothers who have one child; mothers who feel "needed," Yang noted, may be less vulnerable to suicide.

However, the researcher said, it is also likely that women who are already more vulnerable to suicide -- because of serious depression or other psychiatric illnesses -- tend to have fewer children. This is probably an "important explanation" for the findings, according to Yang.

One previous study, Yang noted, found that women with no children showed a higher suicide risk than mothers in general. Again, that could signal some sort of protective effect of motherhood, or the fact that women with psychiatric disorders are less likely to have children.

Although the current study included only Taiwanese women, Yang said the findings are likely relevant to other countries as well. Studies done in Norway, Denmark and Finland have found a similar relationship between a woman"s number of children and her risk of suicide.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, online March 22, 2010.


French PM signals finish to CO taxation plan

Sophie Louet PARIS Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:10pm EDT Related News French PM signals end to carbon tax plan -lawmakerTue, Mar 23 2010French PM blasts U.S. over aerial tanker competitionWed, Mar 10 2010

PARIS (Reuters) - France will delay implementing a domestic tax on carbon dioxide emissions until it can get an agreement with its European partners, Prime Minister Francois Fillon signaled on Tuesday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy last year hailed the new tax as a vital weapon in the fight against global warming when it was first approved by parliament.

But it was struck down by France"s highest court just 48 hours before it was due to come into force, on the basis there were too many loopholes for the big industrial polluters.

A revised version was due to take effect in July but, with no sign of an immediate accord with other European countries, it now appears to have been put back indefinitely.

Speaking in parliament, Fillon said sustainable development policies could not be allowed to put French industry at risk.

"We have to amplify measures that help reinforce the competitiveness of our economy," he said.

"In that spirit, I would like to indicate that the decisions we are going to take regarding sustainable development have to be better coordinated with all European countries so as not to widen our gap in competitiveness with our neighbor Germany."

The prime minister"s office released a statement saying the carbon tax would be implemented but adding that all decisions relating to sustainable development had to be analyzed with a view to their impact on industry.

"That goes for the carbon tax. We want decisions to be taken jointly with other European countries," the statement said, adding that France would push the European Commission for a swift harmonization of environmental taxes throughout the bloc.


Junior Environment Minister Chantal Jouanno broke with normal cabinet practice and condemned the move.

"I despair at this retreat. I despair that environmental skepticism has won out," she said, according to aides.

The expected delay to the carbon tax, which was deeply unpopular with industry, farmers and motorists, follows the severe defeat suffered by Sarkozy"s center-right UMP party in last weekend"s regional elections.

The president has moved quickly to quell growing unhappiness in the ranks of his own party, bringing in three new ministers with the aim of heading off potential malcontents, and there had been growing speculation the carbon tax could be halted.

It had been expected to raise 1.5 billion euros ($2.15 billion) this year and the government had rushed to try to find its way around the court ruling, eager for new funds as the deficit is set to shoot over 8 percent of GDP.

Environmentalists condemned the turnaround, saying it called into question the environmentalist credentials which Sarkozy claimed with a burst of Green initiatives after he came to power in 2007.

"Between the pro-environmental frenzy of your first months in office and the denial that marks your policies now, only three years have passed. What can we expect in future?" Climate Action Network, which includes Greenpeace and WWF, said.

But parliamentarians were concerned that any new tax was bound to penalise French industry unless EU competitors were forced down the same road. There is no concerted effort in the EU to introduce such a tax.

"We are relieved for industry as a whole which would not have been able to bear this new handicap to competitiveness," said Laurence Parisot, head of the French business federation Medef. "We were able to get our argument through."

(Reporting by Sophie Louet; writing by Crispian Balmer; editing by Andrew Roche)

Manchester United aim Ingolfur Sigurdsson enjoys successful hearing with Arsenal

Ingolfur Sigurdsson

Not Gunner join Man United: Ingolfur Sigurdsson

Manchester United target Ingolfur Sigurdsson could be making his way to Arsenal are the 17-year-old impressed during a trial with the north London club.

The Icelandic winger, who plays for KR Reykjavik, spent a week at the Gunners Hertfordshire training facility but has now returned to Iceland. The technically-gifted midfielder scored in appearance for the Under 16s on Saturday.

Sigurdsson joined Reykjavik from Dutch outift Heerenveen and made three times senior appearances last season.

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