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Friday, May 17, 2024

Science Scene

Study finds boys trouble from the beginning

It turns out there may be some truth to the old wivestale that male babies cause more difficult pregnancies.

Researchers at the Tel Aviv University conducted a study of 66,000 births and found that pregnancies involving males had a higher rate of complication. They found an increased instance of problems like premature birth or Caesarian delivery.

Previous studies have had similar results. A 2002 study of over 90,000 births in 1988 and 1989 concluded that male births were 1.5 times as likely as female births to arrest in descent, which occurs when the fetus stops moving down during the pushing stage of labor.

A possible reason for the increased problems with male births could be that male fetuses have larger heads than females. Scientists have speculated that it could also be the result of higher levels of androgen in male pregnancies.

(Source: nytimes.com)


Infant mortality still a problem in U.S.

The United States has a higher infant mortality rate than 28 countries, including Cuba, Singapore, Japan and Hungary. In 1960, the U.S. had a higher rate than only 11 other countries.

While the U.S.s rate has been decreasing slightly, 28,000 babies under the age of 1 still die every year. This is usually due to preterm delivery, which saw an increase of 10 percent between 2000 and 2006.

There are significant differences in rates by race and ethnicity. American Indian, Puerto Rican, non-Hispanic black and Alaska Native women suffer from the highest rates of infant mortality. Central and South Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Mexicans and Cubans have the lowest rates.

(Source: nytimes.com)


Rare dolphin population found off Bangladesh

Six thousand rare Irrawaddy dolphins were discovered in the waters off of Bangladesh, according to Wildlife Conservation Society.

The dolphins were found in the freshwater of Bangladesh’s Sundarbans mangrove forest and in the Bay of Bengal. Previously, the largest known population of the species was in the hundreds.

While conservationists don’t know exactly how many Irrawaddy dolphins remain, they are listed as a vulnerable species in the International Union of Conservation of Nature red list. This newly discovered population is already under threat from climate change and fishing nets.

The Irrawaddy dolphin is related to the killer whale and can grow up to 8 feet long. They generally are found in large rivers, estuaries and lagoons in South and Southeast Asia.

(Source: Associated Press)

ALYSOUN BONDE compiles Science Scene and can be reached at campus@theaggie.org. 



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