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Health & Wellness

Brain changes seen in pregnancy, may help preparing for baby

NEW YORK — Pregnancy affects not only a woman’s body: It changes parts of her brain too, a new study says.

When researchers compared brain scans of women before and after pregnancy, they spotted some differences in 11 locations. They also found hints that the alterations help women prepare for motherhood.

Does a doctor’s gender affect your chance of survival?

CHICAGO — What if your doctor’s gender could influence your chance of surviving a visit to the hospital?

A big study of older patients hospitalized for common illnesses raises that provocative possibility — and also lots of questions. Patients who got most of their care from women doctors were more likely to leave the hospital alive than those treated by men.

Birth defects seen in 6 per cent of US pregnancies with Zika

NEW YORK — A U.S. study of Zika-infected pregnancies found that 6 per cent of them ended in birth defects. The rate was nearly twice as high for women infected early in pregnancy.

It’s the first published research on outcomes in the United States, and the authors say the findings echo what’s been reported in Brazil and other countries with Zika outbreaks.

US life expectancy falls, as many kinds of death increase

NEW YORK — A decades-long trend of rising life expectancy in the U.S. could be ending: It declined last year and it is no better than it was four years ago.

In most of the years since World War II, life expectancy in the U.S. has inched up, thanks to medical advances, public health campaigns and better nutrition and education.

Surgeon General calls youth vaping a public health threat

WASHINGTON — The U.S. surgeon general is calling e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth.

In a report being released Thursday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged a need for more research into the health effects of “vaping,” but said e-cigarettes aren’t harmless and too many teens are using them.

Family pushes for cyberbullying laws after teen’s suicide

TEXAS CITY, Texas — Family members of a Houston-area high school student who killed herself are rallying for tighter laws against cyberbullying.

Brandy Vela’s family says cyberbullying pushed the 18-year-old over the edge, leading her to shoot herself in the chest Tuesday afternoon at the family’s Texas City home as family members watched.

Zika-caused birth defect may become clear only after birth

NEW YORK — Researchers say a severe birth defect caused by Zika infection may not be apparent at birth but develop months afterward, further confirmation that the virus can cause unseen damage to developing babies.

The findings come from a study of 13 Brazilian babies whose heads all appeared normal at birth but then grew much more slowly than normal.