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How home environment can put kids at depression risk later

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New York, April 29 (IANS) Researchers have found that children’s rearing environment has a major impact on their risk for major depression later in life.

For the findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the research team analysed the health records of full and half-siblings with at least one biological parent with depression who were raised by either their biological parents or in carefully screened adoptive homes.

Generally, the children in adopted homes showed lower risk, but whatever the setting, episodes of major depression in the parents meant the children were more susceptible to depression themselves, the researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (US) and Lund University (Sweden) said.

They identified 666 high-risk full sibling pairs and 2,596 high-risk pairs of half-siblings each with at least one child reared at home and one adopted. High risk was defined as having at least one biological parent with major depression.

In Sweden, the adoptive parents are carefully screened and undergo a rigorous selection process to ensure their ability to “provide a supportive and generally advantaged home for their adoptive child.”

In the full sibling group, the risk for major depression among adopted siblings was 23 per cent lower than the sibling raised in the home with their birth family.

In the group of half-siblings, the risk of depression was 19 per cent lower for the adopted siblings.

For both the full and half-sibling groups, the protective effect of adoption disappeared when an adoptive parent or step-sibling had major depression.

According to the study, results demonstrate the strong impact of the rearing environment on risk for major depression and support the importance of intervention efforts to improve the rearing environment in high-risk families.

The study authors concluded that their results “further strengthen the evidence that high-quality rearing environments can meaningfully reduce rates of major depression in individuals at high familial risk.”

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Pope ”pained” by Hagia Sophia mosque decision

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the first Muslim prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24.

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Vatican City, July 13 : Pope Francis has said he”s “pained” by Turkey”s decision to convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

Speaking at a service in the Vatican, the Roman Catholic leader added that his “thoughts go to Istanbul”, the BBC reported.

Hagia Sophia was built as a Christian cathedral nearly 1,500 years ago and turned into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of 1453.

The Unesco World Heritage Site became a museum in 1934 under Turkish Republic founding father Ataturk.

But earlier this week a Turkish court annulled the site”s museum status, saying its use as anything other than a mosque was “not possible legally”.

Pope Francis confined himself to a few words on the issue: “My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the first Muslim prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24.

Shortly after the announcement, the first call to prayer was recited at the site and broadcast on all of Turkey”s main news channels. Hagia Sophia”s social media channels have also been taken down.

Islamists in Turkey have long called for it to become a mosque again but secular opposition members opposed the move.

Defending the decision, President Erdogan stressed that the country had exercised its sovereign right, and he added that the building would remain open to all Muslims, non-Muslims and foreign visitors.

The Pope is one of several religious and political leaders worldwide who have criticised the move.

The World Council of Churches has called on President Erdogan to reverse the decision. The Church in Russia, home to the world”s largest Orthodox Christian community, immediately expressed regret that the Turkish court had not taken its concerns into account when ruling on Hagia Sophia.

It has also drawn condemnation from Greece, and Unesco said its World Heritage Committee would now review the monument”s status.

One of Turkey”s most famous authors, Orhan Pamuk, told the BBC that the decision would take away the “pride” some Turks had in being a secular Muslim nation.

“There are millions of secular Turks like me who are crying against this but their voices are not heard,” said Pamuk.

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Relationship blues? Tips to reduce the Covid-19 distance

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New Delhi, July 12 : Social distancing has affected people’s personal lives greatly, and romantic relationships are bearing the brunt of it. Couples who are dating are separated by distance, the strain is bound to have an impact.

To rebuild and strengthen Covid-induced relationship distance, even virtual efforts can go a long way in showing you care.

“Relationships facing physical distancing and proximity issues need to be nurtured and prioritised. The realisation that you miss that relationship is the key factor here. Sometimes we take relationships for granted and forget how important they are. Re-establishing emotional and meaningful communication sets the right vibes for healing,” Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road told IANSlife.

Here’s what Dr Anand suggests you do:

Take some time out every day. It could be a phone call or a short video call or a message/email. Expressing your concern doesn”t have to be very verbal, just the fact that you communicated speaks of its nown accord. The internet has really shrunk the distance and family group chats, virtual dates, Zoom meetings, interesting challenges, edited song/dance mixes are doing the rounds and helping in the right places.

Writing letters or e-letters should make a comeback. Letters are more expressive and bring a mixed bag of emotions and creativity. Sharing old memories, old photographs is a good way of building up communication. For couples who are facing the lockdown distance, this time could be used to revisit past memorable events and make up for any grievances.

A surprise gift via e-commerce could bring about happiness. Nothing too grand, just something thoughtful.

To keep positivity, she suggests that day-to-day relationships should also be considered. Helping an aged neighbour with essentials or helping a lonely friend can really instill confidence in oneself. “We must remember that this pandemic is trying to isolate our minds as well and a firm resolve to fight this crisis with the strength of humanity and strong relationships is what will help heal our minds,” she signs off.

(IANSlife can be contacted at [email protected])

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Amitabh’s message on COVID-19 inspired millions: Punjab CM

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Chandigarh, July 12 : Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday wished speedy recovery to actor Amitabh Bachchan. He said that Amitabh”s message on the COVID-19 had inspired millions.

Bachchan along with his son Abhishek has tested positive for COVID-19. The actors have been admitted to the Nanavati hospital in Mumbai.

“Just learnt that Amitabh Bachchan has tested Covid-19 positive. His message of Mission Fateh has inspired millions here in Punjab,” he said on Twitter, adding he is sure he will win the fight against Covid-19.

“I wish him a speedy recovery,” the Chief Minister added.

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