25 research outputs found

    Sylvia Plath’s fig tree: discourse formation and the production and consumption of women’s identity

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    Investigating the formation of women\u27s identities within Sylvia Plath\u27s work, this paper seeks to understand the position of women within society during Plath\u27s lifetime and in the wake of her death. Comparing genres of both public, private, and semi-public writing, I hinge my argument on Plath\u27s famous fig tree passage to understand three distinct feminine identities and the inherent consumption and production that accompanies women\u27s identity formation

    Does Despair Really Kill? A Roadmap for an Evidence-Based Answer

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    Two seemingly associated demographic trends have generated considerable interest: income stagnation and rising premature mortality from suicides, drug poisoning, and alcoholic liver disease among US non-Hispanic Whites with low education. Economists interpret these population-level trends to indicate that despair induced by financial stressors is a shared pathway to these causes of death. Although we now have the catchy term "deaths of despair," we have yet to study its central empirical claim: that conceptually defined and empirically assessed "despair" is indeed a common pathway to several causes of death. At the level of the person, despair consists of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and biological domains. Despair can also permeate social relationships, networks, institutions, and communities. Extant longitudinal data sets feature repeated measures of despair-before, during, and after the Great Recession-offering resources to test the role that despair induced by economic decline plays in premature morbidity and mortality. Such tests must also focus on protective factors that could shield individuals. is more than a phrase; it constitutes a hypothesis that deserves conceptual mapping and empirical study with longitudinal, multilevel data

    Efficacy of Maternal Choline Supplementation During Pregnancy in Mitigating Adverse Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Growth and Cognitive Function: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

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    Background: We recently demonstrated the acceptability and feasibility of a randomized, doubleblind choline supplementation intervention for heavy drinking women during pregnancy. In this study, we report our results relating to the efficacy of this intervention in mitigating adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on infant growth and cognitive function. Methods: Sixty-nine Cape Coloured (mixed ancestry) heavy drinkers in Cape Town, South Africa, recruited in mid-pregnancy, were randomly assigned to receive a daily oral dose of either 2 g of choline or placebo from time of enrollment until delivery. Each dose consisted of an individually wrapped packet of powder that, when mixed with water, produced a sweet tasting grape-flavored drink. The primary outcome, eyeblink conditioning (EBC), was assessed at 6.5 months. Somatic growth was measured at birth, 6.5, and 12 months, recognition memory and processing speed on the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence, at 6.5 and 12 months. Results: Infants born to choline-treated mothers were more likely to meet criterion for conditioning on EBC than the placebo group. Moreover, within the choline arm, degree of maternal adherence to the supplementation protocol strongly predicted EBC performance. Both groups were small at birth, but choline-treated infants showed considerable catch-up growth in weight and head circumference at 6.5 and 12 months. At 12 months, the infants in the choline treatment arm had higher novelty preference scores, indicating better visual recognition memory. Conclusions: This exploratory study is the first to provide evidence that a high dose of choline administered early in pregnancy can mitigate adverse effects of heavy PAE on EBC, postnatal growth, and cognition in human infants. These findings are consistent with studies of alcohol-exposed animals that have demonstrated beneficial effects of choline supplementation on classical conditioning, learning, and memory

    Phenotypic characterization of individuals with 30-40 CAG repeats in the Huntington disease (HD) gene reveals HD cases with 36 repeats and apparently normal elderly individuals with 36-39 repeats.

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    International audienceAbnormal CAG expansions in the IT-15 gene are associated with Huntington disease (HD). In the diagnostic setting it is necessary to define the limits of the CAG size ranges on normal and HD-associated chromosomes. Most large analyses that defined the limits of the normal and pathological size ranges employed PCR assays, which included the CAG repeats and a CCG repeat tract that was thought to be invariant. Many of these experiments found an overlap between the normal and disease size ranges. Subsequent findings that the CCG repeats vary by 8 trinucleotide lengths suggested that the limits of the normal and disease size ranges should be reevaluated with assays that exclude the CCG polymorphism. Since patients with between 30 and 40 repeats are rare, a consortium was assembled to collect such individuals. All 178 samples were reanalyzed in Cambridge by using assays specific for the CAG repeats. We have optimized methods for reliable sizing of CAG repeats and show cases that demonstrate the dangers of using PCR assays that include both the CAG and CCG polymorphisms. Seven HD patients had 36 repeats, which confirms that this allele is associated with disease. Individuals without apparent symptoms or signs of HD were found at 36 repeats (aged 74, 78, 79, and 87 years), 37 repeats (aged 69 years), 38 repeats (aged 69 and 90 years), and 39 repeats (aged 67, 90, and 95 years). The detailed case histories of an exceptional case from this series will be presented: a 95-year-old man with 39 repeats who did not have classical features of HD. The apparently healthy survival into old age of some individuals with 36-39 repeats suggests that the HD mutation may not always be fully penetrant