London: Traumatic events, such as the
9/11 terror attacks, could lead to miscarriage in women, a new
study has claimed.
Researchers have found that the psychological stress
of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks caused many American
women with no links to the victims to lose their male babies,
`The Daily Telegraph` reported.
This is because the communal bereavement -- like the
mass grieving after the death of Princess Diana -- can bring
on high levels of stress, say the researchers.
The study found the foetal death rate for boys spiked
in September 2001 and "significantly fewer boys than expected"
were born two months later.
Lead researcher Tim Bruckner of University of
California said: "The theory of `communal bereavement` holds
that societies may react adversely to unsettling national
events, despite having no direct connection to persons
involved in these events.
"Our results appear to demonstrate this, as the shocks
of 9/11 may have threatened the lives of male foetuses across
For the study, the researchers compared foetal death
rates between 1996 to December 2002 to calculate the rate of
male fatalities, using data from 50 US States. In September
the numbers peaked, they found.
"Across many species stressful times reportedly reduce
the male birth rate. This is commonly thought to reflect some
mechanism conserved by natural selection to improve the
mother`s overall reproductive success," Bruckner said.
The findings have been published in the `BMC Public