Friday, February 27, 2009

Father watches childbirth 9,000 miles away

Amanda Wertz cradled her baby and told her husband, "He looks like you."
"He has a lot of hair," Andrew Wertz replied.

It was unusual only because the new parents were 7,000 miles apart. Amanda Wertz was in a bed at Holy Spirit Hospital on Monday. Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Wertz was in Iraq. They communicated by way of a videoconference arranged by Freedom Calls, a charity that gives soldiers a way to see and speak to loved ones free of charge.This was the second time Andrew Wertz, 21, had seen his first child. On Sunday, he had a bedside view of the birth. A Web cam and audio hookup next to his wife's bed enabled him to see and speak to her. He urged her to "push." Amanda Wertz could watch her husband's face on a laptop computer screen. "He was telling me that everything was going to be OK," she says.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jolie speaks about the beauty of motherhood

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie says she likes the way she looks now after becoming a mother that made her feel more beautiful and secure, putting to rest rumors about her post-natal depression and marital rifts. "Something else comes out of you when you become a parent and, as you get older, you start to see more character in your face. Now, when I look at myself, I just see somebody at peace, and I see a mom, and I see my own relatives in my face - and that's a kind of beauty that exists for everybody and doesn't disappear," the actress said.

"I know this is going to sound corny, but I first became happy with the way I look when I became a mother," Jolie said.

"There's this idea that beauty is when someone does your hair and puts a lot of make-up on you and sticks your face on the cover of a magazine. Is that beauty? You know what is beautiful? My mom (French actress Marcheline Bertrand) was beautiful to me, and I look more like my mom as I get older."


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mystery of the ‘Land of Twins’: Something in the Water?

CÂNDIDO GODÓI, Brazil — Like so many in this farming town, populated almost entirely by German-speaking immigrants, Mr. Grimm, 19, believes that something in the water — a mysterious mineral, perhaps — is responsible for the town’s unusual concentration of twins.

“It can’t all be explained by genetics,” said Mr. Grimm, himself a twin.

Geneticists would like to disagree with him, but even they have no solid explanation for the 38 pairs of twins among about 80 families living in a one-and-a-half-square-mile area. “It’s not too much of a mystery to me,” said Fabiane, whose family has five pairs of twins. “My brother married his third cousin. There are lots of cases like that, people marrying their cousins or other close family members.”

Ursula Matte, a geneticist in Porto Alegre, found that from 1990 to 1994, 10 percent of the births in São Pedro were twins, compared with 1.8 percent for the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

There was no evidence of the use of contraceptives or fertility drugs among the women, nor of any genetic mixing with people of African origin, who have higher twinning rates than caucasians, Dr. Matte said. But the rate of identical twins here, at 47 percent of all twin births, is far higher than the 30 percent that is expected in the general population, she found. Source