Childbearing linked to long life
Women who have children live longer than those who don’t, according to a longitudinal study of 1500 women. The findings are based on a community study of older Australians in Dubbo, NSW. Analysing hospitalisation and death records for 16 years, the study found the all-cause mortality rate was highest in women with no children, progressively falling until women had 3 or more children. Women with six or more children had a risk of death of 40 per cent lower than in women without children. The findings confirm results of studies in Norway and Israel, but contrast with a previous study conducted in England and Wales and which suggested that both women without children and those with five or more children had increased mortality. Professor Leon Simons from the University of NSW said the underlying mechanisms were still unclear but could have implications for improving maternal health if further investigated.
From the archives: Canberra’s first hospital
Historical photographs of the former Royal Canberra Hospital have been released as part of the territory’s annual public unveiling of ACT government archives. The RCH opened in 1914 on the Acton Peninsula as the Canberra Community Hospital but was controversially closed down in November 1991. Canberra’s first hospital was infamously demolished six years later in a bungled implosion. The hospital was renamed in 1979 and is now the site of the National Museum of Australia. The photo archives form part of the Newman/ Warren Nursing Heritage Collection (1920-1991), supplied by two women who worked as nurses at the hospital, Janet Newman and Jennie Warren. The photos held with Archives ACT depict busy nurses and midwives who worked over the decades as well as the first male students to begin training at the hospital. The opening of the state archives older than 20 years occur every Canberra Day in March. See Nursing Review (May print issue) for published photos or contact Archives ACT. Visit: www.archives.act.gov.au
Study to probe clinical perfectionism
Curtin University researchers are embarking on a study to investigate the impact of clinical perfectionism and possible treatments for the psychological condition. Clinical perfectionism is characterised by a constant need to reach sometimes unattainably high standards and is often accompanied by self-criticism, stress, exhaustion and feelings of worthlessness. According to Dr Sarah Egan, senior lecturer in the school of psychology and speech pathology, clinical perfectionism can result when individuals allow their strive for perfection to become a problem in their daily lives and interaction with others. “People with clinical perfectionism set their standards very high and often perceive themselves as not reaching those standards. They’re very self-critical and often set unrealistically high standards measured in absolutes,” she said. Egan said clinical perfectionism can lead to a range other psychological problems including anxiety, depression and anxiety disorders and treating perfectionism could help to decrease these symptoms. The study will see participants treated through either face-to-face cognitive therapy or via a printed self-help version of the therapy. The study is currently seeking volunteers to participate, contact Kimberley Hoiles on 08 9266 3436.
Niceness may be genetic: US study
The milk of human kindness may be evoked by something besides a parent’s example. Research by psychologists at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, has found that at least part of the reason some people are kind and generous is because their genes nudge them toward it. Assistant professor Michel Poulin at Buffalo, said particular genes combined with people’s perceptions of the world to predict generosity. Study participants who found the world threatening were less likely to help others – unless they had versions of the receptor genes for two hormones that are generally associated with niceness, oxytocin and vasopressin. These “nicer” versions of the genes, said Poulin, “allow you to overcome feelings of the world being threatening and help other people in spite of those fears.” The study, ‘The Neurogenics of Niceness,’ was published in Psychological Science. “We are not saying we’ve found the niceness gene,” he said. “But we have found a gene that makes a contribution. What is interesting is that it only makes a contribution in the presence of certain feelings people have about the world around them.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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