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February 2013



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Archive for February 27th, 2013




An appreciation for art is one of the transcendent values of life, and a great source of happiness, but like many transcendent values, it can sometimes be hard to wedge into your ordinary day.


Here are some tips for getting some visual art into your daily routine, without spending a lot of time, energy, or money.


1. Check out art books from the library. Art books are very expensive, but at the library, you can enjoy as many as you want, for free.


2. Here’s a brilliant suggestion from a reader: When she’s at a museum, she buys postcards of her favorite works of art. She keeps a big stack of these masterpiece postcards, and from time to time, puts a new bunch in the sun visor of her car. When she’s stuck in traffic, she pulls them out and looks at them.


3. Enjoy picture books. We tend to look at picture books only when we’re around very young children, but picture books can be such a source of joy. I wrote a series of posts for the New York TimesMotherlode blog about my love of picture books.


4. Don’t feel like you have to spend hours in a museum.  My family has become members of several museums, so we can visit as often as we like, and for as long or as short a time as we like, without having to pay extra. I find that I like visiting museums much more when I go often, and for a short time.


5. Treat a a store like an art gallery. Visit some outrageously exquisite store, or even a department store or hardware store, without the expectation of purchase — just to enjoy the items there. Added bonus: in a store, you can touch and handle objects. A few months ago, I spent a good five minutes running my hands over a fake-fur throw during a trip to Bloomingdale’s. Extremely satisfying.


6. Make something yourself. There’s a great pleasure in making something by hand — even something as basic as sticking cloves into an orange to make a pomander ball. During high school, I made dozens of pomander balls. Find out something you’d like to make, and set aside time and space to do it.


7. Use sites like Pinterest or Instagram. It’s funny — one way of laying claim to a beautiful object is to take a photograph of it. Taking photos of beautiful sights, or “pinning” them, is a very satisfying way to engage with the world, and then you can look back with great pleasure on all your images. Your own gallery. (You can follow me on Pinterest and Instagram, if you’re curious to see what I’m choosing.)






When Morning Sickness Lasts All Day

Feb. 26, 2013 — Severe nausea during pregnancy can be fatal, yet very little is known about this condition. Hormonal, genetic and socio-economic factors may all play a role.


Almost all women experience some nausea or vomiting when pregnant. Approximately one out of every hundred suffers from acute nausea during pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum) and may need hospital treatment to restore hydration, electrolytes and vitamins intravenously.


“At worst, women may die if they go untreated. Many women find that the condition has an adverse effect on their work and family lives,” states Ã…se Vikanes, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics.
Making up for insufficient research activity
Hyperemesis came under the spotlight earlier this winter when Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was hospitalised because of it.
But research projects on this illness have been few and far between. When Dr Vikanes completed her doctoral degree in 2010 with funding from the Research Council of Norway, her thesis was the first in this field in Norway in 70 years.
“This is a relatively common affliction among women and even so it has been difficult to win understanding for the need for research. Not too many years ago, people sincerely believed that the cause could be the woman’s subconscious rejection of the child and the child’s father. The attitude in part has been that the pregnant woman needs to pull herself together,” Ã…se Vikanes explains.
The real cause behind severe nausea during pregnancy remains unknown and looks to be complex. But there is little to support the idea that the explanation is psychological. Both hormones and genetics involved

Several studies have shown that elevated levels of oestrogen and the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), may be involved. The likelihood is that hormonal, genetic and socio-economic factors all play a part.