Childbirth customs in Orthodox Jewish traditions.
OBJECTIVE: To describe cultural beliefs of Orthodox Jewish families regarding childbirth in order to help family physicians enhance the quality and sensitivity of their care. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: These findings were based on a review of the literature searched in MEDLINE (1966 to present), HEALTHSTAR (1975 to present), EMBASE (1988 to present), and Social Science Abstracts (1984 to present). Interviews with several members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Edmonton, Alta, and Vancouver, BC, were conducted to determine the accuracy of the information presented and the relevance of the paper to the current state of health care delivery from the recipients' point of view. MAIN MESSAGE: Customs and practices surrounding childbirth in the Orthodox Jewish tradition differ in several practical respects from expectations and practices within the Canadian health care system. The information presented was deemed relevant and accurate by those interviewed, and the subject matter was considered to be important for improving communication between patients and physicians. Improved communication and recognition of these differences can improve the quality of health care provided to these patients. CONCLUSIONS: Misunderstandings rooted in different cultural views of childbirth and the events surrounding it can adversely affect health care provided to women in the Orthodox Jewish community in Canada. A basic understanding of the cultural foundations of potential misunderstandings will help Canadian physicians provide effective health care to Orthodox Jewish women. (+info)
To clone or not to clone--a Jewish perspective.
Many new reproductive methods such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation, freezing of human embryos, and surrogate motherhood were at first widely condemned but are now seen in Western society as not just ethically and morally acceptable, but beneficial in that they allow otherwise infertile couples to have children. The idea of human cloning was also quickly condemned but debate is now emerging. This article examines cloning from a Jewish perspective and finds evidence to support the view that there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of human cloning. A hypothesis is also advanced suggesting that even if a body was cloned, the brain, which is the essence of humanity, would remain unique. This author suggests that the debate should be changed from "Is cloning wrong?" to "When is cloning wrong?". (+info)
Suicide, religion, and socioeconomic conditions. An ecological study in 26 countries, 1990.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Relative risks are frequently assumed to be stable across populations but this may not apply in psychiatric epidemiology where sociocultural context may modify them. Such ecological effect modification will give curved associations between aggregated risk factor and outcome. This was examined in connection with the ecological association between suicide rates and an aggregate index of religiosity. DESIGN: Ecological study of associations between suicide rates and an index of religiosity, adjusted for socioeconomic variation. The effect of stratification of the study sample according to levels of religiosity, was examined. SETTING: 26 European and American countries. SUBJECTS: Interview data from 37,688 people aggregated by country. OUTCOME MEASURES: Age and sex specific (1986-1990) suicide rates. MAIN RESULT: Adjusted for socioeconomic variation, negative associations of male suicide rates with religiosity were apparent in the 13 least religious countries only (test for interaction F (1, 25) = 5.6; p = 0.026). Associations between religiosity and female suicide rates did not vary across countries. CONCLUSION: The bent ecological association was apparent only after adjustment for socioeconomic variation suggesting that, rather than confounding, ecological modification of individual level links between religion and male (but not female) suicide risk is the responsible mechanism. This concurs with micro-level findings suggesting that suicide acceptance depends not only on personal but also on contextual levels of religious belief, and that men are more sensitive to this phenomenon than women. In psychiatric epidemiology, relative risks vary with the exposure's prevalence. This has important implications for research and prevention. (+info)
Y chromosomes traveling south: the cohen modal haplotype and the origins of the Lemba--the "Black Jews of Southern Africa".
The Lemba are a traditionally endogamous group speaking a variety of Bantu languages who live in a number of locations in southern Africa. They claim descent from Jews who came to Africa from "Sena." "Sena" is variously identified by them as Sanaa in Yemen, Judea, Egypt, or Ethiopia. A previous study using Y-chromosome markers suggested both a Bantu and a Semitic contribution to the Lemba gene pool, a suggestion that is not inconsistent with Lemba oral tradition. To provide a more detailed picture of the Lemba paternal genetic heritage, we analyzed 399 Y chromosomes for six microsatellites and six biallelic markers in six populations (Lemba, Bantu, Yemeni-Hadramaut, Yemeni-Sena, Sephardic Jews, and Ashkenazic Jews). The high resolution afforded by the markers shows that Lemba Y chromosomes are clearly divided into Semitic and Bantu clades. Interestingly, one of the Lemba clans carries, at a very high frequency, a particular Y-chromosome type termed the "Cohen modal haplotype," which is known to be characteristic of the paternally inherited Jewish priesthood and is thought, more generally, to be a potential signature haplotype of Judaic origin. The Bantu Y-chromosome samples are predominantly (>80%) YAP+ and include a modal haplotype at high frequency. Assuming a rapid expansion of the eastern Bantu, we used variation in microsatellite alleles in YAP+ sY81-G Bantu Y chromosomes to calculate a rough date, 3,000-5,000 years before the present, for the start of their expansion. (+info)
Acute otitis media caused by antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in southern Israel: implication for immunizing with conjugate vaccines.
The potential coverage of antibiotic-resistant pneumococci causing acute otitis media (AOM) by 7-, 9-, and 11-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccines was studied in southern Israel. A total of 876 cases of pneumococcal AOM were studied in the context of various clinical conditions. Of the isolates, 68% were resistant to >/=1 drug, 61% were resistant to penicillin, and 13% were resistant to >/=3 antibiotic classes. Antibiotic resistance and coverage by the various candidates were age and population dependent and were higher among those with a complicated clinical course, as indicated by recent antibiotic use and recurrence of AOM. The results suggest that, if efficacious, the conjugate pneumococcal vaccines can substantially reduce the occurrence of pneumococcal AOM in general and complicated pneumococcal AOM in particular. (+info)
Talismans and amulets in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: legendary powers in contemporary medicine.
BACKGROUND: For centuries talismans and amulets have been used in many cultures for their legendary healing powers. METHODS: We asked the parents of every child (Jews and Arabs) admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit over a 2 month period to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic data on the patient and the family, the use of talismans or other folk medicine practices, and the perception of the effects of these practices on the patient's well-being. A different questionnaire was completed by the ICU staff members on their attitude toward the use of amulets. RESULTS: Thirty percent of the families used amulets and talismans in the ICU, irrespective of the socioeconomic status of the family or the severity of the patient's illness. Amulets and talismans were used significantly more by religious Jews, by families with a higher parental educational level, and where the hospitalized child was very young. The estimated frequency of amulet use by the children's families, as perceived by the staff, was significantly higher than actual use reported by the parents. In Jewish families the actual use of amulets was found to be 30% compared to the 60% rate estimated by the medical staff; while in Moslem families the actual use was zero compared to the staff's estimation of about 36%. Of the 19 staff members, 14 reported that the use of amulets seemed to reduce the parents' anxiety, while 2 claimed that amulet use sometimes interfered with the staff's ability to carry out medical treatment. CONCLUSIONS: The use of talismans in a technologically advanced western society is more frequent than may have been thought. Medical and paramedical personnel dealing with very ill patients should be aware of the emotional and psychological implications of such beliefs and practices on patients and their families. (+info)
Poison exposure in children before Passover.
BACKGROUND: Extensive cleaning of homes in Israel before Passover may result in increased exposure of children to cleaning substances. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the potential danger of Passover cleaning to children, and to study the risk factors in order to identify areas for prevention. METHODS: All cases of poison exposure in Jewish and Arab children under the age of 15 years reported to the Israel Poison Information Center during 1990-95 (n = 5,583) were analyzed for the 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after Passover. Poison exposures in Jewish children < 15 years old were studied in seven pediatric emergency rooms for the 2 weeks before and 6 weeks after Passover (n = 123). RESULTS: The IPIC data showed a highly significant 38% increase in the average weekly poison exposure rate for the 2 weeks before Passover compared with the remaining 10 weeks. Data recorded by the pediatric emergency rooms showed a twofold increase in cleaning substance poisoning during the 2 weeks before Passover compared with the following 6 weeks. The rise in exposures to cleaning substances was observed among children from secular, religious and ultra-orthodox families. In these exposures, the substance was found in open containers in 70% of cases. CONCLUSIONS: The extensive cleaning of homes among Jewish families in preparation for Passover poses the danger to young children of cleaning substance poisoning. Increasing public awareness, closer observation of children, and keeping these substances in closed containers should increase children's safety during this annual cleaning. (+info)
Demographic characteristics and primary health care utilization patterns of strictly orthodox Jewish and non-Jewish patients.
BACKGROUND: The importance of providing health care services that are acceptable to different cultural groups is widely acknowledged. Strictly orthodox Jewish communities have particular health care needs that reflect their religious teaching and beliefs. OBJECTIVE: To describe the demographic characteristics and health care usage patterns of the strictly orthodox Jewish population of Gateshead. METHODS: Registration and claims data were used in combination with encounter data from computerized and manual practice records. Jewish patients were identified and comparisons made between Jewish and non-Jewish populations registered at the same practices. RESULTS: The orthodox Jewish population was predominantly young (69% aged under 20). The birth rate in orthodox Jewish women aged 20-44 was much higher (294 per 1000) than non-Jewish women. Rates of uptake of cervical screening and childhood immunizations were significantly lower in the orthodox Jewish population. Uptake of breast screening and attendance at diabetic clinics did not differ significantly. The average number of consultations and home visits per annum was higher in Jewish than in non-Jewish patients. CONCLUSIONS: The demographic and health care utilization patterns of orthodox Jewish and non-Jewish patients in Gateshead are different. There are implications for the provision of primary care services, particularly with regard to preventative health care. (+info)