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9/11 stress 'tied to increased male baby miscarriages'

Posted On: May 25, 2010

Washington, May 25 (ANI): A new study has linked the psychological stress caused by the 9/11 attacks to miscarriages in women - especially for male babies.

Tim Bruckner, assistant professor of public health at UC Irvine, and colleagues at UC Berkeley found that the foetal death rate for males spiked in September 2001 and that significantly fewer boys were born than expected in December of that year.

"The theory of 'communal bereavement' holds that societies may react adversely to unsettling national events, despite having no direct connection to persons involved in these events," Bruckner said. "Our results appear to demonstrate this, as the shocks of 9/11 may have threatened the lives of male foetuses across the U.S."

After reviewing all foetal deaths occurring at or beyond the 20th week of gestation, across 50 states between January 1996 and December 2002, they found male foetal losses rose 3 percent above expected levels in September 2001.

"Across many species, stressful times reportedly reduce the male birth rate," said Bruckner, in explaining this phenomenon. "This is commonly thought to reflect some mechanism conserved by natural selection to improve the mother's overall reproductive success."

The findings are published online in the open access journal BMC Public Health. (ANI)

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