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Death of loved one during pregnancy may affect child's mental health, study says

Grieving the death of a loved one can affect an entire family, including babies. In fact, losing a relative during pregnancy may affect the mental health of a child later in life, according to a new report.

>> On AJC.com: Smoking while pregnant study: 1 in 14 women still smoke while pregnant

Researchers from Stanford University recently conducted a study, published in the American Economic Review, to determine the effect a family member’s death may have on children.

To do so, they examined Swedish infants born between 1973 and 2011 whose mother lost a close relative, such as a sibling, parent, maternal grandparent, the child’s father or her own older child, during her pregnancy.

>> Breast cancer patients may help boost survival chances by building muscle, study says

They followed those children through adulthood, comparing their health outcomes to kids whose maternal relatives died in the year after their birth. They gathered the data from their medical records and Sweden’s novel prescription drug registry, which contains all prescription drug purchases.

Lastly, they considered the impact the death may have had on the fetus, including fetal exposure to maternal stress from bereavement and even changes to family resources or household composition.

>> On AJC.com: Is light drinking while pregnant really dangerous?

After analyzing their results, they found that “that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood,” the researchers wrote in a statement.

Furthermore, they discovered the death of a relative up to three generations apart during pregnancy can also create consequences. 

“Our study offers complementary evidence linking early-life circumstance to adult mental health, but breaks new ground by focusing on stress,” the authors wrote, “which may be more pertinent than malnutrition in modern developed countries such as the United States and Sweden, and by tracing health outcomes throughout the time period between the fetal shock and adulthood.”

>> Read more trending news 

To combat the issue, the researchers recommend that governments implement policies to help reduce stress during pregnancy. They believe such policies should especially target poor families as they are more likely to experience stress than more advantaged ones. 

Although their findings are concerning, they hope they can better help expecting mothers have healthier pregnancies and birth healthier children. 

“Of course, you cannot prevent family members from dying, and we certainly do not want our findings to constitute yet another source of stress for expecting mothers,” the scientists said. “But our findings potentially point to the importance of generally reducing stress during pregnancy, for example through prenatal paid maternity leave and programs that provide resources and social support to poor, pregnant women.”

>> On AJC.com: Why pregnant women should be careful around cats

Breast cancer patients may help boost survival chances by building muscle, study says

Chemotherapy and radiation are common treatments for breast cancer. However, building muscle may also help boost chances of survival, according to a new report. 

>> On AJC.com: Breast cancer treatment may trigger heart problems, study says

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente recently conducted a study, published in JAMA Oncology, to determine the association between muscle quality and the disease. 

To do so, they examined 3,241 women from Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The participants were diagnosed with stages II or III breast cancer between January 2000 and December 2013. Scientists then used CT scans to observe muscle tissues.

>> Read more trending news 

After analyzing the results, they found that higher muscle mass upped survival rates, while lower muscle mass was linked with a higher risk of death.

In fact, more than one-third of the individuals with sarcopenia, a condition that causes muscle loss, “had a significantly increased risk of death compared with patients without sarcopenia,” the authors wrote in the study.

>> On AJC.com: Study: Fat linked to breast cancer even if you have healthy weight

Furthermore, building muscle may also help with other cancers.

“Our findings are likely generalizable across many other nonmetastatic cancers because the associations with muscle and improved survival for those with metastatic cancer has been observed across a variety of solid tumors,” they said.

While the scientists did not thoroughly explore why low muscle mass is connected to low breast cancer survival rates, they think inflammation may be a factor as cancer-related inflammation can decrease muscle mass and increase fat.

The researchers now hope to continue their investigations and believe their findings will lead to better treatment practices.

“We should also consider interventions to improve muscle mass, such as resistance training or protein supplementation,” they said. “In the era of precision medicine, the direct measurement of muscle and adiposity will help to guide treatment plans and interventions to optimize survival outcomes.” 

>> On AJC.com: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

Six Flags Over Georgia now allows people to carry alcoholic drinks around park

Six Flags Over Georgia now has the option to let patrons more freely walk around with adult beverages. You still must be 21 to ride aboard the booze train.

>> Read more trending news

Cobb County commissioners voted on March 27 to modify rules that before restricted drinks to the patios of certain spots, like JB’s Sports Bar And Grill.

Six Flags spokesman Gene Petriello said the Austell amusement park had requested the change.

However, Petriello said that even though the park has the option, it has not changed its policy. So, unless that changes, folks still have to keep their drinks on patios.

He said he didn’t know of any plan to let drinkers take libations mobile.

“We are pleased the Cobb County Commissioners approved our request to modify our existing alcohol license and we will continue to offer this service with the proper controls and regulations,” the park said in its official comment.

Dunkin’ Donuts hosting free 4-hour cold brew tasting event Friday

This is not about fake brews. In fact, it’s about new brews that are very real.

>> Read more trending news

Dunkin’ Donuts, as part of a special nationwide cold brew tasting event, is offering a complimentary sample Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time, the company said in a news release.

Patrons who stop by participating Dunkin’ Donuts franchises during that four-hour time frame can receive a complimentary 3.5-ounce sample while supplies last.

The cold brew is prepared with a special blend of coffee that is placed in cold water for 12 hours, the company said in its news release. The result is a “uniquely distinctive, inherently sweeter flavor,” Dunkin’ Donuts said.

Physical activity could improve your happiness, study says

It’s no secret that exercise can have positive impacts on your body. Now scientists have discovered that it might also boost your happiness, according to a new report. 

» RELATED: America is getting unhappier, UN global report finds

Researchers from the University of Michigan recently conducted an assessment, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, to determine the link between physical activity and mental attitude

>> Read more trending news 

To do so, they reviewed more than 20 studies that examined happiness and physical activity. The studies included the health information of thousands of adults, seniors, adolescents, children and cancer survivors from several countries. 

After analyzing the results, they found that the odds ratio of being happy was 52 percent higher for those who were very active. It was 29 percent higher for those who were sufficiently active and 20 percent higher for those who were insufficiently active

» RELATED: Do you live in one of the happiest cities in America? 

“Our findings suggest the physical activity frequency and volume are essential factors in the relationship between physical activity and happiness,” coauthor Weiyun Chen said in a statement. “More importantly, even a small change of physical activity makes a difference in happiness.”

They reported that happiness levels were the same whether people worked out 150-300 minutes a week or more than 300 minutes a week. In fact, they said as little as 10 minutes of physical activity weekly made a “significant difference” in a person’s mood.

They noted that they didn’t investigate whether one particular exercise was more effective that the other. However, aerobics, mixed activity classes, stretching and balance movement were all helpful. 

“Future research is suggested to explore the mechanism of how physical activity influences happiness,” they wrote, “and to determine the optimal dose and type of physical activity for gaining the benefits of happiness.”

» RELATED: When do adults reach peak happiness? Not until age 50, study says 

Add this common snack to your diet to help avoid heart attacks, study suggests

Looking for ways to improve your heart health? Munching on nuts and seeds could lower your cardiovascular disease risk, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from Loma Linda University in California recently conducted a study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, to determine which foods may contribute to heart disease risk, which can lead to high blood pressure, cardiac arrest and stroke. 

To do so, they examined data from about 81,000 people, which detailed sources of animal protein, animal fat and other dietary fats.

>> Related: You may be able to better avoid a heart attack with this common snack, study says

After analyzing the results, they found that those who consumed large amounts of meat protein were 60 percent more likely to develop heart disease. On the other hand, people who ate large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds had a 40 percent reduced chance of getting the illness.

“While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk,” lead author Gary Fraser said in a statement. “This new evidence suggests that the full picture probably also involves the biological effects of proteins in these foods ... This research is suggesting there is more heterogeneity than just the binary categorization of plant protein or animal protein.”

>> On AJC.com: You can avoid strokes and heart attacks with these two household fruits, study says

While they weren’t surprised by the results, they said their investigation left further questions. 

They now wonder if amino acids in meat proteins play a role in the condition. They also want to explore whether other proteins from particular sources affect cardiac risk factors such as blood lipids, blood pressure and obesity

That’s why they hope to continue their investigations to help create the best diets for those at risk for the heart disease.

Ancestry.com DNA test shows woman's biological father is parents' fertility doctor, lawsuit says

A woman from Washington state claims that an Ancestry.com DNA test identified her parents' fertility doctor as her biological father.

>> RELATED STORY: Can police legally obtain your DNA from 23andMe, Ancestry?

USA Today reported that Kelli Rowlette, 36, of Benton County, initially believed that Ancestry had botched her DNA test last July when Gerald Mortimer, someone she had never met, was identified as her father, according to a lawsuit she filed last week in Idaho. 

>> Parents find long-lost daughter after 24-year search

According to the lawsuit, Rowlette's now-divorced parents, Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler, lived in Idaho when they started seeing Mortimer, then a doctor with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls, in 1979, USA Today reported. Mortimer suggested the couple, who faced fertility struggles while trying to conceive, try artificial insemination using an "85 percent mixture of [Fowler's] genetic material, and 15 percent of the mixture would be from anonymous donor," the lawsuit says, according to CBS News

According to the Washington Post, although "the couple requested a donor who was in college and taller than 6 feet with brown hair and blue eyes," the lawsuit alleges that Mortimer, who didn't fit that description, used his own "genetic material" instead without telling them.

>> Read more trending news 

After Rowlette got her test results, she said she complained to her mother, who later examined the results and recognized the name of her former fertility doctor. Ashby told Fowler the news, and the pair grappled with whether to tell Rowlette who Mortimer was, the lawsuit says. Three months later, Rowlette found Mortimer named as her delivery doctor on her birth certificate, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit accuses Mortimer and his former practice of "medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract," the Washington Post reported.

Pasta could help you lose weight, study says

Do you avoid pasta when attempting to drop pounds? Don’t do away with the dish just yet, because it has been linked to weight loss, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, recently conducted a study, published in the BMJ Open journal, to determine how the Italian staple affects our health.

To do so, they took a look at 30 trials that examined about 2,500 people who ate pasta instead of other carbohydrates as a part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet.

>> Related: These are the best diets for 2018

“Unlike most ‘refined’ carbohydrates, which are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, pasta has a low glycemic index, meaning it causes smaller increases in blood sugar levels than those caused by eating foods with a high glycemic index,” the authors wrote.

>> Related: Want to lose weight? Give your breakfast an energy boost, study says

After analyzing the results, they found that those who ate 3.3 servings of pasta per week, where one serving size was one-half cup of cooked pasta, lost about one-half kilogram over a 12-year period. 

“The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat,” lead author John Sievenpiper said in a statement. "In fact analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as a low GI diet.”

>> Related: Counting calories isn't key to weight loss, study finds

The scientists did note that their investigation only focused on low-glycemic index foods and that more research is needed to determine if weight loss is possible for other healthy diets that include pasta. However, they believe their findings are strong. 

“In weighing the evidence,” Sievenpiper said, “we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern.” 

Parents find long-lost daughter after 24-year search

A couple in southwest China recently found their missing daughter after searching for 24 years.

>> Watch the video here

According to the BBC, Wang Mingqing and Liu Dengying of Chengdu lost their 3-year-old daughter, Qifeng, in 1994 after Wang left the family's fruit stand to get some change. Although the parents launched what would become a decades-long search, buying newspaper ads, posting descriptions online and scouring the city, police could not find the girl.

>> Read more trending news 

But things started to change in 2015, when Wang started working as a taxi driver to expand his search. He put a sign on his car and handed out flyers to his passengers. Chinese media outlets learned of his efforts and shared his story. 

Two years later, a police sketch artist who had heard about Wang's search drew an age-progressed picture of Qifeng. Last month, 27-year-old Kang Ying, who lives 1,700 miles away in the northeastern province of Jilin, saw the image and thought it looked a lot like her, the Global Times reported. Kang, who was adopted and grew up just 12 miles from Chengdu, tracked down Wang on social media and took a DNA test, which confirmed that she was his missing daughter.

>> Read more trending news 

The family had an emotional reunion Tuesday in Chengdu.

"The whole world told me I didn't have a mother, but I do," Kang told thecover.cnaccording to the BBC.

And Wang was finally able to give his daughter a hug again.

"Daddy loves you," he said.

Boy bullied for having different-colored eyes, cleft lip adopts cat that looks like him

A bullied Oklahoma boy and his adorable new best friend look like they could be twins — well, almost.

According to "Today," Madden Humphreys, 7, of Owasso started feeling sad after other children made fun of his cleft lip and different-colored eyes, also known as heterochromia iridium.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“He wasn’t (insecure) until other kids started pointing it out to him and then saying not nice things to him,” his mother, Christina Humphreys, told "Today." 

But Christina soon found something she knew would cheer him up — a rescue cat that looked like her son.

“Last week, a friend posted an image of the cat in our cleft moms group," she wrote in a now-viral post for Love What Matters. "This kitty was taken in by a rescue group in Minnesota. We knew immediately that this kitty was meant to be part of our family. Not only does he have a cleft lip like our 7-year-old son Madden, he also has complete heterochromia iridum, like Madden. They were destined to be best friends. Funny how a pet can make you feel less alone."

>> Read more trending news 

Although money was tight, friends helped the family fund the road trip to Minnesota. There, they adopted the cat, Moon.

“We’re usually not spontaneous people, but we knew that we were meant to love this kitty," she wrote for Love What Matters. "Moon, the kitty, and Madden are the perfect companions for each other. In a word full of bullies and hateful words, we will choose to chase love. I think it’s safe to say that this kitty is love, and was certainly meant to be part of our journey and Madden’s journey."

You can follow Madden and Moon on Instagram at @maddenandmoon.

Read more here and here.

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