Battle of the sexes begins in the womb

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{image-battle of sexes_09042008.jpg}Washington, Apr 9: The battle of the sexes begins in the womb itself as a male twin compromises the health of his twin sister before birth, research found.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University analysed the incidence of complications like respiratory distress syndrome in pre-term twins and found that girls who share the womb with a boy twin and were born premature lost the respiratory health advantage normally seen in other premature girls.''The male disadvantage, the study suggests, seems to be transferred from the boy to the girl in utero,'' the Science Daily quoted Prof Brian Reichman, a lecturer in pediatrics at the university as saying.''The effects are occurring already in the uterus,'' he added. The research ''Beware of the Weaker Sex: Don't Get Too Close to Your Twin Brother'' discovered that as compared to premature twin boys, their female counterparts had a 60 per cent advantage as they tended not to develop respiratory distress syndrome and chronic lung diseases sometimes found in premature infants. This advantage was lost in infant girls with a male twin.

The study is expected to help pediatricians better understand the health risks and outcome of premature babies.

A Pediatrics commentary on the research by Dr David K Stevenson of Stanford University and Dr Jon E Tyson of University of Texas Medical School summed up the findings, saying, ''For the time being, there remains some biological truth to the old nursery rhyme that boys are made of 'snakes, snails and puppy dogs' tails,' and 'girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.'''


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