Pregnant women who snore are more likely than non-snorers to have pregnancy-related high blood pressure and are at increased risk of having an infant who is considered small for gestational age, researchers report.

Overweight women may be at particularly high risk, according to Dr. Karl A. Franklin of University Hospital in Umea, Sweden, and collegues.

“Women who reported habitual snoring were heavier before pregnancy and gained more weight during pregnancy,” they report in the January issue of the journal chest.

Snoring is a common problem in pregnancy. The study of 502 women who had just given birth found that 23 per cent snored during pregnancy while just 4 per cent snored before they became pregnant.

Fourteen per cent of women who snored had high blood pressure compared with only 6 per cent of non-snorers, while preeclampsia developed in 10 per cent of snorers compared with 4 per cent of non-snorers, the researchers note. Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition characterized by elevated blood pressure, swelling in the hands, feet and face, and the presence of protein in the urine.

Examining the weight-for- gestational - age of babies born to women in the study, the authors report that fetal growth was slowed in 7.1 per cent of infants born to snoring women compared with 2.6 per cent born to non-snoring women.

Overall, habitual snoring during pregnancy was associated with double the risk for high blood pressure, and nearly 3.5 times the risk for slowed fetal growth, compared with non-snorers.

It is not clear if pregnancy-related high blood pressure leads to snoring by causing fluid build-up in the throat that narrows the airway or if snoring itself can actually lead to complications. The finding suggests that “upper airway resistance during sleep may affect the fetus and supports the previously suggested relationship between sleep apnea and intrauterine growth retardation, “ Franklin and colleagues write.


FROM THE immemorial, sages, seers and thinkers in India have found in silence a luminous pathway for spiritual enlightenment and mystic realisation. Lilting, melodious voices of silence are rarely heard by ordinary mortals given to purposeless chatter. Silence and solitude are veritable possessions of a realised soul. From yogi Vasistha of yore to sage Ramana of modern times, Indian sages and philosophers have laid emphasis on silence, dynamic and vibrant, for attaining the transcendental state of mental sublimity.

Sage Ramana of Arunachala whose life was a radiant study in divine splendour based on dynamic silence stressed on the point that silence spoke louder than the words. As both the eastern and western devotees of Ramana testify, he believed that there would be unalloyed happiness when the mind merges with the self in the crucible of silence.

According to Ramana, silence was of four types: Silence of speech, Silence of the eye, Silence of the ear and Silence of the mind. As he points out, only the last one is pure silence and is the most important.

Touching upon the nature and dimensions of silence, Ramana, observes, “Silence is like the even flame of current. Speech is like obstructing the current of lighting and other purposes. However, much a Jnani might talk, he is still the silent one. However, much he might work, he is still the quiet one. His voice is an incorporeal voice. “

Eleanor Pauline Noye graphically explains her first encounter with Ramana, “When he smiled, it was as though the gates of heavens were thrown open. I have never seen eyes more alight with divine illumination. It is not necessary for him to talk. His silent influence of love and light is more potent than words can describe.” Duncan Greenlees, a theosophist, sketches his meeting with the sage of Arunachala, “That stillness of eternal depth had somehow seeped into my heart. The stormy nature I brought into life with me met a master who could quell the waves with a silent word.”

Obviously, sage Ramana belonging to the long and glorious line of spiritually illumined souls, was a master craftsman who experimented with the ‘dynamics of the inner self’ with the unheard melody of silence.

In the symphonic silence of Ramana was the fragrance of joy and starry splendour of self-realisation. For in his close proximity, none could escape the electrifying impact of his steady silence.

Like sage Vasistha, Ramana too believed that self-realisation helped us recover our full divine consciousness - a veritable state of impersonality, timelessness, causelessness, egolessness, freedom and peace. Ramana never spoke of the ‘elusive heaven’ of ‘grace of the supernatural’.

On the other hand he was clear in his perception that it was the human mind which was the cause for joy and misery, heaven and hell, good and evil as well as god and the devil. Therefore, he laid emphasis on self-realisation through the path of self enquiry.

Says he, “Seek the seeker, find out who you are. You are blessed. But your suffering is due to your identifying yourself with your body. The source of everything is the self. Merge your mind in the self through self enquiry. Then you will be able to function in this world happily. When the ego is lost in the self, the self will shine in all its splendour and glory.”

Thus Ramana’s gospel is a practical expression of the self-the reality and ultimate bliss. Indeed his very life was a practical demonstration of the reality of the Supreme Self.



RESEARCHERS ARE planning to create the first primate with three parents, paving the way for gay couples to have children who carry both partners’ genes.

The reasearch involves creating two embryos and then fusing them to create an individual made up of two types of cell. Such animals are called chimeras. The technique has been widely applied to mice and other species but has never before been tried inprimates.

American reproductive scientists at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Centre believe that such research is necessary because of the medical insights it will give into the way different areas of an embryo develop into parts of the body. Such knowledge would be particularly useful in applying embryonic stem cell therapy, a technology that could offer a cure for killer disease ranging diabetes to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Gerald Schatten, whose team hopes the first chimeric rhesus monkeys will be born this year, said: “It is technically possible to these techniques to allow two people of the same sex to have a baby carrying both their genes. Lee Silver, professor of genetics at Princeton University, believes that the technique will generate huge demand. Creating babies containing the genetic material of two men would involve obtaining eggs, ideally from the same woman, and fertilising some with sperm from one man and some with sperm from his partner. The resulting embryos would then be treated with chemicals designed to stick them together. The resulting chimera, brought to term in a surrogate mother, would have three parents. Every cell would have half its genes from the mother, but half the remaining genes would be from one man and half from the other.


For the first time in the history of medical science, lab-grown corneas, one that resemble the real ones and which could, in the near future, restore the sight of blind people, have been developed by scientists in the United States.

The fabricated corneas, which took five years to be developed, resemble the real ones in every important way, even mimicking human corneas in how cloudy they can get when splashed with substances such as detergents, hair conditioners and cleaning agents, according to Dr. May Griffith of the University of Ottawa Eye Institute and Dr. Mitchell Watsky of the University of Tennessee in Memphis who developed them.

Rigorous tests conducted on each of the corneas also showed that they resembled human corneal tissue in structure, biochemistry and the way they conduct electrical signals. According to the researchers, the artificial corneas can also be used for research and may save millions of animals from cosmetic or medical tests, a report in New Scientist says.

The human corneas is made up of three major cell layers and the researchers harvested cells from each of the layers from human corneas.

Thereafter, the researchers infected the cells with viruses that made them keep on dividing indefinitely, a process known as “immortalisation” which provides a continuous supply of the desired cell type.

The scientists then tested each of the tissue types rigorously, to make sure they resembled human corneal tissue in structure, biochemistry and the way they conduct electrical signals.

In order to anchor the three corneal layers, Dr. Griffith and Dr. Watsky use a synthetic scaffold, made of a mesh of collagen cross-linked with gluataraldehyde. They placed cells on top, within the underneath the scaffolding. Though the fabricated corneas were developed primarily for use in rabbi transplants, the scientists plan to take their research a little further to develop ones that could be used for human transplant.

According to the Director of Otawa Eye Institute Bruce Jackson, “This might just be the solution we need to meet future demands and restore eyesight to many blind eyes.”

However, Dr. Griffith says that there is still a lot of work to be done, such as strengthening the scaffolding. “It is not mechanically strong enough. People can get poked in the eye accidentally.” She says.

Earlier efforts to recreate the cornea, the human eye’s transparent cover that protects the pupil and the iris from external elements and also helps to focus images on the retina, have been unable to mimic the human model accurately.