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Children born to older moms are taller, smarter and healthier

Gorkha Post

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LONDON — A new study by the British researchers has claimed that women who delay pregnancy and give birth at old age get healthier, taller and highly educated child than the mothers who give birth at the early age.

The findings, published in the journal Population and Development Review, indicate that due to urbanisation of countries — educational opportunities are increasing and people are getting healthier and, in other words, it pays off to be born later.

The team from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, found that mothers who delayed childbearing to older ages as 40 or older, had children who were taller, had better grades in high school.

The team analysed over 1.5 million participants born between 1960 and 1991 to examine the relationship between maternal age at the time of birth and height, physical fitness, grades in high school and educational attainment of the children.

They compared siblings who share the same biological mother and father. For instance, a woman born in 1950 who had a child at age 20 would have given birth in 1970. If that same woman had a child at 40, she would have given birth in 1990.

The child born in 1990, had a much higher probability of going to a college or university than somebody born 20 years earlier. “Those 20 years make a huge difference,” said lead study author Mikko Myrskyla.

Despite the risks associated with childbearing at older ages, which are attributable to ageing of the reproductive system, these risks are either counterbalanced or outweighed by the positive changes to the environment in the period during which the mother delayed her childbearing, the authors stated.

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“By comparing siblings who grew up in the same family it was possible for us to pinpoint the importance of maternal age at the time of birth independent of the influence of other factors that might bias the results,” said co-author Kieron Barclay from London School of Economics.

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Depression linked to low levels of amino acid

Raghu Kshitiz

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Depression linked to low levels of amino acid. Representationla image

KATHMANDU — Reduced levels of an amino acid found in blood samples have been linked to major depressive disorder, according to a new study at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital.

People suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) have reduced arginine levels, which is an amino acid, the body uses to produce, such as nitric oxide.

Researchers studied 99 adults aged 20-71 with diagnosed MDD and 253 non-depressed control adults in a report published Wednesday in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Nitric oxide, in turn, is a nervous system and immune defence mediator, and it also plays a role in vascular regulation. The global arginine bioavailability ratio (GABR) is an indicator of the body’s arginine levels, and the ratio has previously been used to measure the body’s capacity to produce nitric oxide.

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The body uses the amino acid arginine to produce nitric oxide, which is a mediator for the nervous system and immune defender, and plays a role in vascular regulation. Reduced arginine bioavailability is also known to be an independent risk factor of cardiovascular diseases.

“It is possible that depression-induced inflammatory responses lead to reduced arginine levels,” doctoral student Toni Ali-Sisto, the lead author of the study, said in a release.

“This may result in insufficient production of nitric oxide for the needs of the nervous system and circulation. However, we don’t know yet what exactly causes reduced arginine bioavailability in people with depression.”

Researchers analyzed three amino acids — arginine, citrulline and ornithine — from participants’ fasting glucose samples. In addition, symmetric and asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations were also measured from the serum. This data was used to calculate their global arginine bioavailability ratio.

No significant differences were found in the symmetric and asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations between the two groups.

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“Although our study shows that people with depression have reduced arginine bioavailability, this doesn’t mean that taking an arginine supplement would protect against depression. That’s an area for further research,” Ali-Sisto says.

And there were no significant differences between people who remained depressed and those who had recovered.

With Agency Inputs

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