Should young women freeze and bank some of their eggs so some day they can conceive children?
With improved technology, elective egg freezing has become a viable possibility for women from 16 to 42 and holds out hope that women may prolong their fertility. A panel called “A Timeless Mother,” held on April 28 at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, discussed the “social, ethical and halachic” implications of egg freezing.
Seventeen-year-old Eliana Applebaum of Teaneck already has already won awards for three science research projects: an approach to regenerating human limbs, a way to develop a source of renewable energy, and a possible treatment for cancer.
The teen science superstar, a senior at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School in Teaneck, just scored another win. She was named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search for a project she conducted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook last summer. The project, “A New Approach to Cancer: The Effects of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) Nanoparticles on Human Cervical Adenocarcinoma (HeLa) Cell Membrane Mechanics,” explored the use of tiny bullet-like particles to kill cancer cells.
“This year nearly 30 million women between 39 and 53 will experience clinical depression and anxiety disorders associated with the onset of perimenopause,” Dr. Deborah Wagner writes.
The chances are that you know one of these women — or even that you are one of them yourself.
Wagner, 54, lives in Paramus (where she often is known by her married name, Deborah Grundleger) and is a member of the JCC of Paramus. She counsels many women in that age range, along with their families, and she has just published a book on perimenopause, “The Fifth Decade: Is It Just My Life or Is It Perimenopause?”
More than one out of eight mothers who give birth experience postpartum depression, or PPD.
But, according to Esther Kenigsberg, “Before Sparks opened I don’t remember anyone writing about it.” Kenigsberg, who lives in Boro Park, Brooklyn, and worked in schools counseling children, observed that many children were affected by postpartum depression in their families. This motivated her to found the Sparks organization — the initials come from its full mission, which is “Serving Pre- and postnatal women and families with Awareness, Relief, Knowledge and Support.”
When my daughter was in nursery school, I had the opportunity to visit the class and observe daily activities. The children came in from the playground, lined up, and were instructed to “wash” their hands by plunging them into a basin of water. One after another, the 20 pairs of hands were submerged in the same basin. I cringed when I thought of all the shared dirt and germs in that water and how that approach to washing was not hygienic. It also did not conform to the practices of Jewish ritual hand washing.
Jewish ritual hand washing is never done by immersing the hands in a basin of standing water. It involves pouring clean water from a cup over the hands, alternating from one hand to the other. Is Jewish ritual hand washing effective in reducing infection and improving health?
Joshua Randman is part of an unusual community of scientists working on a compelling problem: Can molecules of RNA of particular shapes be designed artificially? The unique aspect of this project is that the work is being done by thousands of volunteers who test new ideas by playing games on the Internet. And Joshua Randman of Fair Lawn is a unique participant — the 14-year-old graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford has worked his way up to a rank of 130 out of more than 40,000 adult players worldwide.
The project, dubbed EteRNA (pronounced eterna), which was developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford universities, is designed to enable scientists to learn more about the physical nature of RNA — a molecular cousin of DNA, and an important agent in every cell.
Diabesity, defined as a combination of diabetes and obesity, is an epidemic problem in Israel and the United States, according to two Israeli doctors.
The two physicians, Tommy Hershkovitz and Arie Ariche, participated in the International Symposium on Weight Loss at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly on June 5. The symposium, organized by Dr. Deane Penn of Alpine, brought together medical practitioners, including specialists in bariatric surgery, endocrinology, plastic surgery, oral surgery, and anesthesiology to discuss the latest medical and surgical treatments for obesity.
The mass rally of charedim at Citi Field last Sunday addressed what members of that community consider the evils of the internet and electronic devices. According to experts at an April 29 program held at Teaneck’s Congregation Keter Torah, the Internet and electronic devices can be a source of addictive behaviors that can have damaging effects on youth and adults alike.
Rabbi Yale Butler, who directs the department of community programming of Lander College, introduced a panel of three professors from Lander (part of the Touro College and University system) to discuss the topic of “Addictive Behaviors Among Our Young: Internet, Gambling, Drinking, Eating, Shopping & Texting.” Butler noted that “young people spend an inordinate amount of time unsupervised on the Internet. It’s an addictive factor in people’s lives.” The Teaneck resident added that texting and shopping are other examples of issues that can reach the level of addiction, and that have begun to plague the religious community.
A new book unveils the joy of sex for a group that has traditionally kept the subject under wraps — Orthodox Jews. “There wasn’t any source of accurate sexual information for the religious community,” said Dr. David Ribner, co-author with Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld of the book “Et Le’ehov [a time to love]: The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy.”
Ribner, who is director of the sex therapy training program at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, reported that the current consensus at sex therapy conventions is that “there’s a right for everyone to have sexual enjoyment.”
As new couples prepare to start their families, they can access genetic information at their fingertips. The Android phone has an application called Genetic Disorders, documenting 118 genetic diseases. A new iPhone “app” called GeneScreen provides the carrier frequency of 28 specific genetic disorders. It also provides an ancestry map showing which genetic disorders are more commonly found in different regions of the world. These expanded resources provide more information and more choices for couples; but these choices also lead to more ethical quandaries.
“I was in a situation where my husband and I were carriers, and we had an affected child,” said Shari Ungerleider, of Wayne. After Shari and husband Jeffrey lost their son, Evan, age 4, to Tay-Sachs in 1998, she became an advocate for Jewish genetic testing, and now serves as co-president of the New York chapter of the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, and vice president of the national organization.