Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't Worry Be Happy

Sad Dads May Lead to Crying Infants
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

Don't automatically blame mom: A crying, colicky baby can be just as much the result of dad's state of mind, Dutch researchers report.

Other studies have found that depression among mothers can be related to excessive crying or colic, a common problem with newborns, but the researchers said that little was known about whether fathers' emotions and behavior also have an effect.

"Up to now, almost all attention went to the prenatal effects of maternal depression on child development, leading to the development of detection and treatment programs that focused on mental well-being of mothers," said lead researcher Dr. Mijke P. van den Berg, a psychiatrist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

"This study showed the importance of taking paternal factors and well-being during pregnancy into account, next to maternal," she said.

The report is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

To see how parental depression was related to excessive crying, van den Berg's team gathered data on symptoms of depression among parents of 4,426 infants who were 2 months old.

Excessive crying was defined as crying for more than three hours a day on more than three days in the past week.

Overall, just 2.5 percent of the infants in the study fit the excessive crying criteria. But, the researchers found a 30 percent higher risk for depression among parents whose infant cried excessively.

"This finding could not be attributed to co-existing depressive symptoms of the mother, which is already known to be a risk factor for excessive infant crying," van den Berg said. It could be related to genetics, a depressed father or, indirectly, through factors such as marital, family or economic stress, she said.

In fact, a dad with symptoms of depression was twice as likely to have an infant who cried excessively as was a dad who was not depressed, the study found.

"Fathers do matter, so take care for the mental well-being of fathers during pregnancy," van den Berg said.

Dr. Jon Shaw, a professor and director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller of School of Medicine, said that the study shows how depression can lead to infant's excessive crying.

"This study demonstrates in a paradoxical way the importance of fathers, in that fathers' measurable depression during pregnancy is a risk factor for excessive infant crying at 2 months of age," Shaw said.

"This seems to be related perhaps to the enduring effects of fathers' depression on the family ambience, the parental relationship, child parenting and, perhaps as the authors suggest, there may be a genetic factor involved," he said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The ABC's Composting

A composting testimony I’d like to share
by Harameeyah B. Israel
KOY - Office of Environmental Affairs

Last March, I began composing my kitchen wastes and those from Soul Veg Tallahassee. These wastes include just about everything: carrot shavings/stems, onion peelings, tomato stems, rotten fruit, fruit cores (i.e., apple, etc.), avocado skin, shredded paper, coffee grounds, paper towels, etc. The main wastes, however, were green stems from the restaurant. Since we cook greens everyday, my composter was full of greens.

In January, I started to notice an odor that got worse and worse. So in March I finally buried the compost (which had become a putrid smelling sludge--like what greens or lettuce looks like when it goes REALLY bad) in an empty garden plot in my back yard that had previously been only grass and dirt. About a month later I noticed some greens coming up--a nice size plant, as if I had planted it there myself. Needless to say I was amazed.

About a month ago (early May) I found some more things growing that looked like weeds, so I turned them over and figured when I got back from Israel I’d have a nice fertile plot to start with. When I returned from Israel (4 weeks later) I found the entire plot filled with plants! I assumed they were weeds, but when I took a closer look I saw little green bulbs. The compost became a tomato garden! I could not have done better if I’d done it on purpose.

This speaks to the importance of composting. It is a simple matter of separating biodegradable wastes from trash. Not only does this reduce the amount of waste in landfills but since the decomposition of organic material sent to landfills is a principal cause of methane gas (an important greenhouse gas), this reduction is also key in fighting against climate change. It also speaks to the idea of following a divine natural order and eliminating our negative impact on the planet.

Note: The reason my compost was smelling bad is because I had too many “greens” and not enough “browns“. I currently have a successful compost pile which consists of the same kitchen/restaurant wastes as well as shredded paper (usually my junk mail), dirt, and dead leaves. This has solved the odor problem.