Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study shows connection between birth weights and armed conflict

19.01.2012
Psychological stress is likely cause

A new study shows pregnant women exposed to armed conflict have a higher risk of giving birth to underweight babies, a result that could change the way aid is delivered to developing countries.

"From a development side we need to ask, `Who is the population we should be focusing on?'" said Hani Mansour, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who conducted the study with Daniel Rees, Ph.D., a CU Denver professor of economics. "Our results provide another reason why pregnant women deserve special attention when armed conflict breaks out."

The study, the first to examine the relationship between prenatal exposure to armed conflict and birth weight, will be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Development Economics. The manuscript is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387811001209?v=s5.

The research focused on a major uprising in the Israeli-occupied territories.

The Second Intifada, which began in September 2000, had claimed the lives of more than 4,000 Palestinians by 2005. Mansour and Rees drew on data from the Palestinian Demographic and Health Survey, which was collected by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics approximately four years after the start of the uprising. These data were matched with data on Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank collected by B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.

"We find that an additional conflict-related fatality nine to six months before birth is associated with an increase in the probability of having a low-birth weight child," Mansour said. "Psychological stress is a plausible explanation for this relationship, although we cannot rule out malnutrition."

The professors examined a sample of 1,224 births to women living in the West Bank. Conflict exposure in utero was measured by the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in the district where the mother lived.

The authors controlled for a variety of potentially confounding variables including education of the mother and father, mother's age when she gave birth, father's occupation, birth order, gender of the baby, number of prenatal care visits, whether a curfew was in place, and self-reported anemia.

Because they control for anemia, the professors believe that psychological stress, as opposed to malnutrition, is the likely mechanism behind low birth weight. In addition, they note that previous studies have shown that exposure to earthquakes and terrorist attacks in the early stages of pregnancy can lead to low birth weight.

Rees and Mansour said they had no political agenda going into their research. They chose to study the impact of the Second Intifada "because of the quality of the data and the fact that mobility was very low in the West Bank during this period."

The authors noted that, "armed conflict is often associated with migration, which would complicate this type of analysis." According to Mansour, who was born in Haifa, Israel, "fully 94 percent of the mothers in our sample had not moved to a new community since the start of the Intifada."

Rees and Mansour plan to follow up by examining whether intrauterine exposure to armed conflict affects longer-term outcomes in educational attainment and test scores.

The authors said their findings had implications well beyond the West Bank and should be considered by policymakers around the world.

"At a minimum our results are consistent with those of medical studies showing a positive association between self-reported stress and low birth weight, and suggest a heretofore unexplored rationale for intervention when armed conflict occurs," they said.

The University of Colorado Denver offers more than 120 degrees and programs in 13 schools and colleges and serves more than 28,000 students. CU Denver is located on the Denver Campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO.

David Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdenver.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>