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Study Suggests Women Wait to Have Children

Found this today in AOL News/Huffington Post:

Those bright eyes and chubby cheeks may be hard to resist, but researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have good reason to believe you should.

In a study published online in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, researchers found that the interval between starting menstruation and first giving birth is inversely associated with the risk of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a subtype of the disease that does not depend on hormones such as estrogen to grow and spread, and therefore does not respond to hormone-blocking drugs such as Tamoxifen. To put it plainly, women who wait at least 15 years after their first menstrual period to give birth to their first child may reduce their risk of the aggressive form of breast cancer by up to 60 percent, the report states.

It’s a finding that researchers say African-American women want to consider especially, since they experience disproportionately high rates of triple-negative disease.

In fact, study author Christopher I. Li, M.D. says that his findings may actually explain why black women tend to develop triple-negative breast cancer more often than other groups. African-American women are more likely to start having children at a younger age and are less likely to breast-feed, Li said, pointing to several previous studies that have suggested that breast-feeding provides a protective effect against triple-negative disease.

Previous studies have also countered Li’s latest claim, however, showing that waiting to have children may actually increase your breast cancer risk. But, like Li, researchers note that the type of breast cancer key.

The risk of the most common subtype of breast cancer, ER positive, for example, has proven to be lower among women who’ve had a full-term pregnancy and have breast-fed. The reason, researchers believe, is that the hormones associated with pregnancy induce certain changes in the cellular structure of the breast that make the tissue less susceptible to this type of cancer.

And while prevention trumps having to fight off triple negative disease, researchers honed in on two successful ways to do it this year. In October, scientists pinpointed a new compound created from a rich source in vegetables, including broccoli and brussel sprouts, to combat TNBC, while researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York discovered that a certain form of smallpox vaccine was able to kill 90 percent of cancer cells in four days of treatment.

December 19, 2012 Posted by | Cultural, Education, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Women's Issues | 1 Comment

John the Baptist Illuminated


Today’s Gospel reading in The Lectionary is the very first chapter of Mark, featuring John the Baptist. As I read it, I had a memory flash of sitting in the Anglican Church in Kuwait, hearing a reading on John the Baptist’s Feast Day, a new reading I had never heard before, and it was beautiful, read in the rich, plummy tones of British English by their Ambassador. At the end, he said it was from the Quran.

John the Baptist in the Quran?

I was so ignorant about so many things. I still have so much to learn.

Here is today’s reading from Mark:

Mark 1:1-8

1The beginning of the good news* of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.*

2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,*
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,*
who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight” ’,
4John the baptizer appeared* in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with* water; but he will baptize you with* the Holy Spirit.’

This is from an Islamic website, Soundvision, one which uses many sources to illuminate the teachings of the Quran and the Bible:

The birth of Prophet John is miraculous because he is the offspring of a barren mother and an elderly father. His father, it should be noted, was also a Prophet named Zecheriah.

“‘Zecheriah, We bring you the good news of the birth of a son whose name shall be John, one whose namesake We never created before.’ He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a boy when my wife is barren and I have reached an extremely old age?’ He answered: ‘So shall it be.’ Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me’, and then added: ‘For beyond doubt, I created you earlier when you were nothing’ (Quran 19:7-9).

“Zecheriah exclaimed: ‘My Lord! How shall I have a son when old age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?’ He said: ‘Thus shall it be; Allah does what He wills'”(Quran 3:40).

With the birth of John, Allah granted Zecheriah his desire for an heir.

“And We bestowed favor upon Zecheriah, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Lord! Leave me not solitary [without any issue]. You are the best Inheritor.’ So We accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him John, and We made his wife fit (to bear a child). Verily they hastened in doing good works and called upon Us with longing and fear, and humbled themselves to Us” (Quran 21:89-90).

The beautiful qualities of John

Allah did not just miraculously grant Zecheriah a son. He made this child a blessing for his parents and beautiful in character. Prophet John is described in the Quran as chaste and righteous.

“Then Zecheriah prayed to his Lord: ‘O Lord! Grant me from Yourself out of Your grace the gift of a goodly offspring, for indeed You alone heed all Prayers. As he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him: ‘Allah gives you good tidings of John, who shall confirm a command of Allah, shall be outstanding among men, utterly chaste, and a Prophet from among the righteous” (Quran 3:38-39).

“‘O John! Hold fast the Book with all your strength. We had bestowed wisdom upon him while he was still a child; and We also endowed him with tenderness and purity; and he was exceedingly pious and cherishing to his parents. Never was he insolent or rebellious. Peace be upon him, the day he was born, and the day he will die, and the day he will be raised up alive. (Quran 19: 12-15).

Part of a line of honored Prophets

Finally, as mentioned above, Prophet John is one of the Prophets Muslims must believe in. He is one of the 25 mentioned in the Quran.

“And We bestowed upon Abraham (offspring) Isaac and Jacob and each of them did We guide to the right way as We had earlier guided Noah to the right way; and (of his descendants We guided) David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward those who do good. (And of his descendants We guided) Zecheriah, John, Jesus and Elias: each one of them was of the righteous.” (Quran 6:84-85).

December 19, 2012 Posted by | Advent, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Faith, Interconnected, Kuwait, Lectionary Readings, Spiritual, Values | 4 Comments