Tag Archives: Disease

Study: fathers are important for the development of children’s brains

Fathers and children
Fathers and children

The study was reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Dr. Braun’s group found that at 21 days, the fatherless animals had less dense dendritic spines compared to animals raised by both parents, though they “caught up” by day 90. However, the length of some types of dendrites was significantly shorter in some parts of the brain, even in adulthood, in fatherless animals.

“It just shows that parents are leaving footprints on the brain of their kids,” says Dr. Braun, 54 years old.

The neuronal differences were observed in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is related to emotional responses and fear, and the orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC, the brain’s decision-making center.

[…]The balance between these two brain parts is critical to normal emotional and cognitive functioning, according to Dr. Braun. If the OFC isn’t active, the amygdala “goes crazy, like a horse without a rider,” she says. In the case of the fatherless pups, there were fewer dendritic spines in the OFC, while the dendrite trees in the amygdala grew more and longer branches.

A preliminary analysis of the degus’ behavior showed that fatherless animals seemed to have a lack of impulse control, Dr. Braun says. And, when they played with siblings, they engaged in more play-fighting or aggressive behavior.

In a separate study in Dr. Braun’s lab conducted by post-doctoral researcher Joerg Bock, degu pups were removed from their caregivers for one hour a day. Just this small amount of stress leads the pups to exhibit more hyperactive behaviors and less focused attention, compared to those who aren’t separated, Dr. Braun says. They also exhibit changes in their brain.

The basic wiring between the brain regions in the degus is the same as in humans, and the nerve cells are identical in their function. “So on that level we can assume that what happens in the animal’s brain when it’s raised in an impoverished environment … should be very similar to what happens in our children’s brain,” Dr. Braun says.

Read the whole thing.

I think this is important because we hear so much today that marriage can be redefined, that having one of each parent doesn’t matter, that live-in boyfriends and stepfathers have the same motivation to care for a woman’s children as the biological father does. We don’t want to make judgments, even if setting boundaries is better for children. A child’s well-being is enormously affected by the woman’s choice of biological father.  You can’t have it both ways – either we are going to judge women who choose men who don’t have the desire to commit to marriage, and do the father role, OR we are going to take things away from children by encouraging women to choose men based on “feelings” instead of abilities. Lowering moral standards and removing moral obligations hurts children. It sounds so nice when we tell women, “you can do whatever you feel like, and just forget about responsibilities, expectations and obligations”, but letting women be guided by their feelings harms children. My stock broker makes me feel uncomfortable because he knows more than I do, and does not respect my opinion. But I pay him to make investment decisions for me. I mustn’t let my pride get in the way of letting him do his job – a job he is more qualified than I am to do. Let him do his job.

Here’s a related question: Are biological fathers or unrelated men more dangerous for children?

This article from the Weekly Standard answers the question.

Excerpt:

A March 1996 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics contains some interesting findings that indicate just how widespread the problem may be. In a nationally representative survey of state prisoners jailed for assaults against or murders of children, fully one-half of respondents reported the victim was a friend, acquaintance, or relative other than offspring. (All but 3 percent of those who committed violent crimes against children were men.) A close relationship between victim and victimizer is also suggested by the fact that three-quarters of all the crimes occurred in either the perpetrator’s home or the victim’s.

A 1994 paper published in the Journal of Comparative Family Studies looked at 32,000 documented cases of child abuse. Of the victims, only 28 percent lived with both biological parents (far fewer than the 68 percent of all children who live with both parents); 44 percent lived with their mother only (as do 25 percent of all children); and 18 percent lived with their mother and an unrelated adult (double the 9 percent of all children who live with their mother and an unrelated adult).

These findings mirror a 1993 British study by the Family Education Trust, which meticulously explored the relationship between family structure and child abuse. Using data on documented cases of abuse in Britain between 1982 and 1988, the report found a high correlation between child abuse and the marital status of the parents.

Specifically, the British study found that the incidence of abuse was an astounding 33 times higher in homes where the mother was cohabiting with an unrelated boyfriend than in stable nuclear families. Even when the boyfriend was the children’s biological father, the chances of abuse were twice as high.

These findings are consonant with those published a year earlier by Leslie Margolin of the University of Iowa in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect. Prof. Margolin found that boyfriends were 27 times more likely than natural parents to abuse a child. The next-riskiest group, siblings, were only twice as likely as parents to abuse a child.

More recently, a report by Dr. Michael Stiffman presented at the latest meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in October, studied the 175 Missouri children under the age of 5 who were murdered between 1992 and 1994. It found that the risk of a child’s dying at the hands of an adult living in the child’s own household was eight times higher if the adult was biologically unrelated.

The Heritage Foundation’s Patrick Fagan discovered that the number of child-abuse cases appeared to rise in the 1980s along with the general societal acceptance of cohabitation before, or instead of, marriage. That runs counter to the radical-feminist view, which holds that marriage is an oppressive male institution of which violence is an integral feature. If that were true, then child abuse and domestic violence should have decreased along with the rise in cohabitation.

Heritage also found that in the case of very poor children (those in households earning less than $ 15,000 per year), 75 percent lived in a household where the biological father was absent. And 50 percent of adults with less than a high-school education lived in cohabitation arrangements. “This mix — poverty, lack of education, children, and cohabitation — is an incubator for violence,” Fagan says.

Why, then, do we ignore the problem? Fagan has a theory: “It is extremely politically incorrect to suggest that living together might not be the best living arrangement.”

The moral of the story is that it is a lot safer for children if we promote marriage as a way of attaching mothers and fathers to their children. Fathers who have a biological connection to children are a lot less likely to harm them. We should probably be teaching women to choose men who have a certain tenderness towards people they mentor or nurture, as well. These things are not free, you have to persuade women to value the male tendency to want to lead / guide / mentor. A lot of social problems like child poverty, promiscuity and violence cannot be solved by replacing a father with a check from the government. We need to support fathers by empowering them in their traditional roles. Let the men lead. Swallow your feminist instincts, and prefer men who take seriously their role of leading others upward.

FDA now allowing gay men to donate blood

This is from the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

The FDA will seek to change the ban on gay men’s blood, so long as the donor hasn’t had sexual contact in the last year.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a science-based regulatory agency that works to protect and promote the public health. In this role, it is our responsibility to regulate the blood supply and to help ensure its continued safety for the patients who receive these life-saving products,” announces FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg.

Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men, including the results of several recently completed scientific studies and recent epidemiologic data. Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.

This recommended change is consistent with the recommendation of an independent expert advisory panel the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability, and will better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection. Additionally, in collaboration with the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the FDA has already taken steps to implement a national blood surveillance system that will help the agency monitor the effect of a policy change and further help to ensure the continued safety of the blood supply.

Here’s a story from the CBC about how the blood supply became tainted in Canada. (H/T Patriactionary)

Why is this a problem? Well, gay men are at a much higher risk for HIV, and other sexually-transmitted infections. The CDC released this report about the elevated risks posed by this lifestyle.

The write:

Sixty-two percent of American men who know they are HIV positive continue to have unprotected anal sex, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

This data, which was published Friday, came from the federal government’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System.

The percentage of self-aware HIV-positive men who engage in unprotected anal sex has been increasing, according to the CDC. In 2005, 55 percent did so. In 2008, 57 percent did so. And, in 2011, 62 percent did so.

“Unprotected anal sex is a high-risk practice for HIV infection, with receptive anal sex having the highest risk,” said the CDC report. “Unprotected anal sex also places MSM at risk for other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Although condoms can reduce the risk for HIV transmission, they do not eliminate risk and often are not used consistently. Some MSM attempt to decrease their HIV risk by engaging in unprotected sex only with partners perceived to have the same HIV status as their own. However, this practice is risky, especially for HIV-negative MSM, because MSM with HIV might not know or disclose that they are infected and men’s assumptions about the HIV status of their partners can be wrong.”

And in another report:

Teens and young adults now account for more than a quarter of the new cases of HIV identified in the United States annually, and a clear majority of those cases involve young gay or bisexual men, the federal government said in a major new survey Tuesday.

Of the nearly 48,000 new HIV cases identified in the United States in 2010, the latest year for which complete data are available, more than 12,000 involved teens and young adults, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found in its latest report.

About 72 percent of these new HIV cases in younger adults occurred in young men who are gay or bisexual, according to the CDC report.

[…]According to the CDC figures, black youths accounted for the largest share of new HIV cases, with Hispanic youths and white youths accounting for about 20 percent each.

About 1.1 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States. Some 47,129 new HIV cases were identified in 2010.

The CDC’s new report, “Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, Risk Behaviors Among Youths, United States,” estimated that youths aged 13 to 24 accounted for 12,200, or 26 percent, of new HIV infections in 2010.

But, this is what we get when we elect a government that is more in service to ideas of “equality”, “diversity” and “non-discrimination” than common sense. It would be nice to think that the only people who will suffer from this decision are Democrats, but that’s not the way it works.Everyone suffers when we elect people who are led by emotional ideology (the vision of the anointed, as Thomas Sowell calls it) instead of reason and evidence. We get to be the test subjects of their little experiments.

Obama’s open border policy introduces risk of viral outbreak, infectious diseases

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Doctors and nurses at an alien detention camp are threatened with arrest if they talk about the risk of contagion from the influx of unaccompanied children into the U.S. Give us your poor, your tired, your infected.

Last weekend, at least two confirmed cases of the swine flu virus were detected in minors being held in two separate detainment facilities in South Texas, a stark reminder that the conditions created by President Obama’s orchestrated invasion of the U.S. are ripe for viral outbreaks that jeopardize the health of American citizens.

It was reported last week that at least one swine flu diagnosis cropped up at the makeshift immigrant-processing center at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. As reported by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, doctors and nurses working there were threatened with arrest if they talked about the appalling conditions and the health risks posed by such stopgap encampments.

Workers guarded by a security force from the Baptist Family & Children’s Services, which was hired by the Department of Health and Human Services to run the Lackland Camp, said their cellphones and other communication devices were taken from them.

“There were several of us who wanted to talk about the camps, but the agents made it clear we would be arrested,” a psychiatric counselor told Starnes.

“We were under orders not to say anything.”

But there’s much to talk about, and the administration is not telling us about the humanitarian crisis of its own making.

“Most of the border minors are being kept in overcrowded facilities ridden with poor hygiene,” Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a preventive medicine specialist with practices in Tucson and Dallas, told Breitbart News last week, adding, “this is the ideal condition for a viral outbreak.”

[…]One worker told Starnes that children in the camp had measles, scabies, chicken pox and strep throat. Her concern was that the children had already been transported to Lackland from somewhere else. These unaccompanied minors are also being disbursed among the general population into the hands of adult relatives who are illegal aliens themselves.

[…]Border Patrol agents in Murietta, Calif., are testing positive for tuberculosis. Hand and foot disease, and Chagas, a tropical parasitic disease, both previously eradicated from the area, are on the rise. The possibility also exists in these conditions for diseases such as dengue and the Ebola virus to hit the U.S., considering that among the influx are illegals from Central and South America, the Middle East and even West Africa.

Is Obama to blame for this? He sure is.

Republicans also have said the surge in families with children and children traveling alone shows the Obama administration has not done enough to secure the border and can’t be trusted to carry out enhanced border security should Congress pass a comprehensive immigration bill that also offers legal status to undocumented immigrants.

The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction on immigration issues, has scheduled a June 25 hearing titled “An Administration-made Disaster: The South Texas Border Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Minors.”

“Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration enforcement policies and it has encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally,” the committee said in a message posted Monday on its official Facebook page.

Other prominent Republicans have taken Obama to task for not making it clear that the incoming immigrants will have to return to their countries of origin.

“It’s the result of the president sending the message that if you can get here and you are a young person, you can stay,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic. “The president has got to openly say that if you come here illegally, you can’t stay. And until he does that, you’re going to see this flood of young people, which is absolutely unacceptable.”

Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., on Friday visited the Nogales detention facility, which he described as makeshift and reminiscent of the sort of emergency shelter the Federal Emergency Management Agency might erect after a natural disaster. He said he was barred from taking photos of the children, who he said were kept in cagelike chain-link enclosed spaces.

“I lay this all at the president’s feet,” said Salmon, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. “It’s anything but compassionate to have a policy that seems to welcome people to cross over the desert and risk rape and loss of life and dehydration. … If President Obama really cares about families and children, then he should make it really clear that there is no amnesty here, and if you come, you will be immediately deported. That’s the only deterrent, because the waves are going to keep coming unless we clarify that.”

My biggest concerns about the border have always national security, violent criminal activity by illegals and the strain on the social services (education, emergency room health care, etc.) caused by people who don’t pay into the system, but only make withdrawals from it. I’d never even thought about this risk of communicable diseases.The Democrats favor lax immigration policies because they know that the children of naturalized illegal immigrants will be citizens, and are almost guaranteed to vote Democrat because they are the party of big government and dependency. Lax immigration policies make sense to Democrats, it’s how they increase their pool of support for bigger government.

CDC report: syphilis resurgence among gay men a “major public health concern”

Breitbart reports on a new CDC study.

Excerpt:

The sometimes-deadly disease syphilis is exploding in the United States, with most of the increase since 1995 among men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new report from the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC).

As recently as 2000, researchers believed the total elimination of syphilis was within reach. The recent dramatic increases in infections, coupled with the observation that syphilis closely tracks with other diseases like AIDS, have the medical and scientific community deeply concerned. The CDC report considers “the increase in syphilis among MSM is a major public health concern.”

According to the report, “During 2005-2013, the number of primary and secondary syphilis cases reported each year in the United States nearly doubled, from 8,724 to 16,663; the annual rate increased from 2.9 to 5.3 cases per 100,000 population.”

The report also says that “men contributed an increasing proportion of cases, accounting for 91.1% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases in 2013.” Most of the increases came from men who have sex with men, which were responsible for 77% of cases in 2009 but 83.9% in 2012, what the report calls “the vast majority of male… syphilis cases.”

The report warns that the numbers in the new report are likely far less than the true number because only 34 states and the District of Columbia fully report sex of sex partners.

The report raises a particular concern about what it calls “co-infection rates.” “There are reported rates of 50%-70% HIV co-infection among MSM infected with primary or secondary syphilis…”

I really recommend reading that whole post, there are some really striking pieces of data in it.

When we are discussing what to promote and what to disagree with, this CDC data should be on the table. And remember, the closer we move to the single-payer system desired by the political left, the more people who don’t engage in risky behaviors will be taxed to pay for those that do choose to engage in risky behaviors. It’s fine for those who are not ambitious, but if you expect to earn enough to support a family, then you might find it’s much harder than it used to be before we were celebrating things the sexual revolution, which goes far beyond the problems the CDC outlined, into the costs of no-fault divorce, fatherlessness, etc.

We really ought not be celebrating the homosexual lifestyle / orientation. We should be treating this like smoking or obesity, if we really cared about the health of people with these same-sex attractions. It’s possible to express disagreement and to tell the truth about risks and consequences without hurting anyone’s feelings. I like to know what will happen to me if I make certain choices. It’s good to have the facts before you decide what to do.

New CDC report finds soaring rates of HIV among men who have sex with men

Life Site News reports on a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

Excerpt:

fact sheet released at the end of June by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that HIV rates, already at epidemic proportions, are continuing to climb steadily among men who have sex with men (MSM).

“Gay and bisexual men remain at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” says Jonathan Mermin, the director of the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS prevention.

The CDC notes that while homosexual men make up only a very small percentage of the male population (4%), MSM account for over three-quarters of all new HIV infections, and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all new infections in 2010 (29,800).

“Men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by HIV in the United States,” the fact sheet states.

US News reports that if HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to rise at the current rates, more than half of college-aged homosexual men will have HIV by the age of 50.

When broken down by age group, the CDC reported that new infections among the youngest MSM, aged 13-24, increased from 7,200 infections in 2008 to 8,800 in 2010, which translates into a 22 percent increase in that time span.

Young black MSM continue to have the highest infection rate, according to the CDC, accounting for more than half (55 percent) of new infections among young MSM.

“CDC’s new estimates show that African Americans, more than any other racial/ethnic group, continue to bear the greatest burden of HIV in the United States,” the report states. “While blacks represent approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. population, they accounted for almost half (44 percent) of all new HIV infections in 2010 (20,900). HIV incidence among blacks was almost eight times higher than that of whites – 68.9 v. 8.7 per 100,000 of the population.”

However, the total number of infections is highest amongst Whites: “White MSM continue to represent the largest number of new HIV infections among MSM (11,200), followed closely by black MSM (10,600) and Hispanic MSM (6,700).”

Previously, I’ve argued that promoting the gay lifestyle would not be good for society for two reasons. First, because it would increase the number of children who would grow up without a mother or without a father. And second, because it would negatively impacting religious liberty. But an additional concern is how men having sex with men introduces health risks to the gay men themselves, and health costs that must be paid by society, especially as we move towards socialized medicine.

Shouldn’t we act with more common sense and maybe treat the gay lifestyle the same way we treat cigarette smoking? Let’s tell people the medical facts, make people face the costs of their own sexual decisions (to encourage them to make better decisions) and then leave them free to do what they want to do without affirming risky decisions. It’s not a good idea for us to celebrate risky behaviors as normal. It doesn’t help gay men, and it doesn’t help society. It’s possible to disagree with people without meaning them harm. When I see someone in the middle of the road about to be hit by a bus, I don’t think that it’s loving to keep quiet, for fear of offending them by pointing out a threat. Let’s point out the threat and then let them decide. That’s not hateful.