The Trump travel ban on Muslim-majority countries may be associated with preterm births among women, study says

The 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on seven Muslim-majority countries may be associated with an increase in preterm births among women from those countries residing in the United States, according to a new study.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.


© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats to

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The 2017 travel ban may be associated with preterm births among women from the targeted countries, study says

The 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on seven Muslim-majority countries may be associated with an increase in preterm births among women from those countries residing in the United States, according to a new study.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.


© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

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Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats

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Study finds which Disney princess has the most expensive jewelry

When you wish upon a star, hopefully you’ll get jewels as lavish as these.

In a new study called “Kingdom of Jewels,” U.K.-based financial advisory company Money.co.uk worked in collaboration with David Allen of Purely Diamonds to conclude how much the jewelry of each Disney princess would cost in real-life cash. The study took a look at each piece owned by every princess starting with the 1937 film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

So, who has the most expensive bling of them all?

That honor goes to Queen Elsa from the 2013 hit film “Frozen,” whose scepter, tiara and orb were theorized to be made of gold and 20-carat sapphires in order to calculate the combined value. Based upon these estimations, the total cost of all three came out to $800,000.

Queen Elsa’s sister, Anna, comes in at second. Her tiara and necklace come out to a combined total of $230,000.

We’re sure both Elsa and Anna wouldn’t let those items go any time soon.

Other Disney princesses included on the list were Cinderella—whose earrings and glass slippers amounted to $55,000 altogether—as well as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” whose seashell bra and earrings were estimated to cost $750.

CInderella's jewels

Cinderella’s glass slippers and pearl earrings were estimated at a combined value of $55,000. (graphic courtesy of Money.co.uk)

Even Snow White’s red velvet headband was pricier than anything found at Urban Outfitters, coming to a total of $85.

Another princess added to the list actually took the crown over Elsa’s jewelry, although she’s technically not an original Disney princess (the rights to her film were purchased by the company in 2019). The tiara of Anastasia—the animated character based on the historical lost Romanov—was estimated to have a total value of over $5 million.

The rest of us, it would seem, are stuck with Kay Jewelers.

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Are Media Study: Beauty Influencers Remain Strong With Gen Zs But Sampling Is King

Influencers are a key factor in helping Generation Z make beauty purchases, but their influential power drops when it comes to all other women, Are Media’s first BEAUTYVOICES consumer survey has revealed.

Sampling beauty products is the most successful form of marketing likely to drive purchase for all women aged 18 to 74, followed by online reviews at 39 percent and magazine reviews and features (30 per cent). However, social media posts from influencers and beauty ads on social platforms influence less than a quarter (24 per cent) of all women.

When it comes to Gen Z, influencers play a more important role in the path to purchase for 18 to 24-year-olds. Four in ten (43 per cent) said YouTube videos are a key influencing platform, followed by social posts and ads (38 per cent) and influencer reviews (35 per cent).

Are Media’s BEAUTYVOICES survey questioned 3,867 women on their views around what beauty means to women, their consumption habits, marketing and advertising preferences.

Alicia Melville, head of beauty at Are Media said: “Beauty remains a key priority for Australian women of all ages and BEAUTYVOICES has been designed to provide our partners with the most current data on how women feel, what they are interested in and how they want to be engaged with.

“While influencers continue to play an important role in driving Gen Z women to make beauty purchases, the research shows that sampling and reviews are more likely to lead to buying decisions for women over 24.”

When it comes to Instagram posts, on average the best performing images likely to drive women to purchase a beauty product are packaging shots and flat lays as opposed to those which included influencers or advertising talent holding the product.

Despite a general shift towards online shopping as a result of Covid-19, just one in ten women (13 per cnet) said they made beauty purchases online, compared to 59 per cent opting to buy in-store.

Almost eight in ten women (78 per cent) said the more money they plan to spend on a beauty product, the more research they do and nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) said they were most likely to buy a product if they had sampled it first.

Are Media has recently announced its flagship beauty platforms, beautyheaven and BEAUTYcrew will be completely relaunched in 2021 to include the latest innovations in beauty technology and enhanced rewards program.

The BEAUTYVOICES survey found that 80 per cent of beautyheaven and 73 per cent of BEAUTYcrew readers had purchased a product after reading reviews on these sites.

 

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Researchers develop lung-on-chip model to study the body’s response to early TB

Scientists have developed a lung-on-chip model to study how the body responds to early tuberculosis (TB) infection, according to findings published today in eLife.

TB is a disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) and most often affects the lungs. The model reveals that respiratory system cells, called alveolar epithelial cells, play an essential role in controlling early TB infection.

They do this by producing a substance called surfactant – a mixture of molecules (lipids and proteins) that reduce the surface tension where air and liquid meet in the lung.

These findings add to our understanding of what happens during early TB infection, and may explain in part why those who smoke or have compromised surfactant functionality have a higher risk of contracting primary or recurrent infection.

TB is one of the world’s top infectious killers and affects people of all ages. While it mostly affects adults, there are currently no effective vaccines available to this group.

This is partly due to challenges with studying the early stages of infection, which take place when just one or two M. tuberculosis bacteria are deposited deep inside the lung.

“We created the lung-on-chip model as a way of studying some of these early events,”

Previous studies have shown that components of surfactant produced by alveolar epithelial cells can impair bacterial growth, but that the alveolar epithelial cells themselves can allow intracellular bacterial growth. The roles of these cells in early infection are therefore not completely understood.”


Vivek Thacker, Study Lead Author and Postdoctoral Researcher, McKinney Lab, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

“We used our model to observe where the sites of first contact are, how M. tuberculosis grows in alveolar epithelial cells compared to bacteria-killing cells called macrophages, and how the production of surfactant affects growth, all while maintaining these cells at the air-liquid interface found in the lung.”

The team used their lung-on-chip model to recreate a deficiency in surfactant produced by alveolar epithelial cells and then see how the lung cells respond to early TB infection.

The technology is optically transparent, meaning they could use an imaging technique called time-lapse microscopy to follow the growth of single M. tuberculosis bacteria in either macrophages or alveolar epithelial cells over multiple days.

Their studies revealed that a lack of surfactant results in uncontrolled and rapid bacterial growth in both macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells. On the other hand, the presence of surfactant significantly reduces this growth in both cells and, in some cases, prevents it altogether.

“Our work shines a light on the early events that take place during TB infection and provides a model for scientists to build on for future research into other respiratory infections,” says senior author John McKinney, Head of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Microtechnology at EPFL.

“It also paves the way for experiments that increase the complexity of our model to help understand why some TB lesions progress

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Study: Heart failure risk in older women increases with more sedentary time

Nov. 24 (UPI) — Older women have a greater risk of heart failure if they spend more time sitting than those who sit less — even if they have a regular fitness routine — a new study found.

Researchers analyzed records for nearly 80,100 postmenopausal women, who were 63 years of age on average, from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, for the study published Tuesday.

The initiative allowed women to self-report time spent sitting or lying down in waking hours and or moving.

Women who spent less than 6.5 hours a day sitting or lying down in waking hours, had 15% less risk of heart failure hospitalization than women reporting up to 9.5 sedentary hours, and 42% less risk than women reporting more than 9.5 hours sedentary hours, the data showed.

Analysts gathered data from an average of nine years of follow-up on the women, during which 1,402 women were hospitalized.

For women who sat less than 4.5 hours, risk was 14% less than women who sat up to 9.5 hours, and 54% less than women who sat more than 9.5 hours a day.

The link between sedentary time and heart failure risk remained even in some women who were meeting recommended activity levels but sat more than others — and after factoring in other risk factors, such as blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and previous heart attack — researchers noted.

“Our message is simple: sit less and move more,” said study lead author Michael J. LaMonte said in a press release.

“Historically, we have emphasized promoting a physically active lifestyle for heart health … However, our study clearly shows that we also need to increase efforts to reduce daily sedentary time and encourage adults to frequently interrupt their sedentary time,” said LaMonte, a research associate at the University at Buffalo in New York.

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