Male fetal loss in the U.S. following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
ABSTRACT The secondary sex ratio (i.e., the odds of a male birth) reportedly declines following natural disasters, pollution events, and economic collapse. It remains unclear whether this decline results from an excess of male fetal loss or reduced male conceptions. The literature also does not converge as to whether the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 induced "communal bereavement", or the widespread feeling of distress among persons who never met those directly involved in the attacks. We test the communal bereavement hypothesis among gravid women by examining whether male fetal deaths rose above expected levels in the US following September 11, 2001.
We apply interrupted time-series methods to all fetal deaths at or greater than the 20th week of gestation in the US from 1996 to 2002. Time-series methods control for trends, seasonality, and other forms of autocorrelation that could induce spurious associations.
Results support the hypothesis in that the fetal death sex ratio (i.e., the odds of a male fetal death) increased above its expected value in September 2001. Additional analysis of the secondary sex ratio indirectly supports that the terrorist attacks may have threatened the gestation of male more than female fetuses.
Societal responses to events such as September 11, 2001 do not appear confined only to persons who have ever met the deceased. The fetal death sex ratio in the US population may serve as a sentinel indicator of the degree to which pregnant women react to population stressors.
SourceAvailable from: Mina Ha[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Objectives Limited evidence is available regarding the association between prenatal job strain and infant neurodevelopment. Most studies used stress indicators other than job strain to explain the relationship between prenatal maternal stress and child development. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between maternal job strain during pregnancy and neurodevelopment in infancy. Methods Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study, an on-going prospective birth cohort study, has been conducted in South Korea since 2006. Job strain during pregnancy was measured using Korean version of Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). Infant neurodevelopment was assessed using Korean Bayley Scale of Infant Development II (K-BSID-II) at 6 and 12 months of age. A total of 343 mother-child pairs that completed JCQ and K-BSID-II more than once were included. Mental Developmental Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI) defined in the K-BSID-II were used as outcome variables. Results Compared to infants from mothers with low job strain, significant (p < 0.05) decreases in PDI were found in infants from mothers with active and passive job at 6 months of age. After stratification by infant sex, boys in the high strain group had a lower MDI score than boys in the low job strain group at 12 months. On the other hand, girls in the high strain and active groups had higher MDI scores than girls in the low job strain group at 12 months. PDI at 12 months also showed different results by sex. Boys in the high strain and passive job groups had lower PDI scores than boys in the low job strain group. However, such difference was not observed in girls. Conclusions The findings of this study suggest that prenatal job strain affects infant neurodevelopment in a gender-dependent manner.12/2015; 27(1). DOI:10.1186/s40557-015-0059-y
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background and objectives. Despite growing interest in the role of maternal psychosocial stress as a determinant of preterm birth, no existing work has examined the relation between maternal stress and post-term birth (≥42 weeks). We hypothesize that prolonging gestation past term may represent an adaptive strategy to a suboptimal environment. Methodology. We examined the relationship between exposure to the September 2001 terrorist attacks and odds of post-term birth in California. We calculated the expected odds of post-term birth among conception cohorts of singleton gestations in California between October 1996 and November 2005. We used time series analysis to test for higher than expected odds of post-term birth among the 10 cohorts exposed to the attacks of September 2001 (those conceived from December 2000 to September 2001). Results. The observed odds of post-term delivery among gestations at 33-36 weeks in September 2001 were higher than statistically expected for all race/ethnic and sex groups. Conclusions and implications. Our finding that odds of post-term birth were higher than expected among pregnancies exposed to the September 2001 terrorist attacks in late gestation provides initial support for the hypothesis that exposure to a psychosocial stress during pregnancy may result in prolonged gestation. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Foundation for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health.01/2015; 2015(1). DOI:10.1093/emph/eov001
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Theoretical and empirical literature asserts that the sex ratio (i.e. M/F) at birth gauges the strength of selection in utero and cohort quality of males that survive to birth. We report the first individual-level test in humans, using detailed life-history data, of the ‘culled cohort’ hypothesis that males born to low annual sex ratio cohorts show lower than expected infant mortality and greater than expected lifetime reproductive success. We applied time-series and structural equation methods to a unique multi-generational dataset of a natural fertility population in nineteenth century Finland. We find that, consistent with culled cohorts, a 1 s.d. decline in the annual cohort sex ratio precedes an 8% decrease in the risk of male infant mortality. Males born to lower cohort sex ratios also successfully raised 4% more offspring to reproductive age than did males born to higher cohort sex ratios. The offspring result, however, falls just outside conventional levels of statistical significance. In historical Finland, the cohort sex ratio gauges selection against males in utero and predicts male infant mortality. The reproductive success findings, however, provide weak support for an evolutionarily adaptive explanation of male culling in utero.Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing papers of a Biological character. Royal Society (Great Britain) 12/2014; 282(20140835). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.0835