It's not your every day fast food experience, patrons at a Taco Bell in Hazel Dell, Washington, were confronted by a homeless woman who reportedly tried to auction her 3-day-old baby.
According to court documents, 36-year-old Heidi L. Knowles, who allegedly hails from Vancouver, offered to sell her son for between $500 and $5,000.
Needless to say, she was arrested that evening for attempted child selling-buying, a Class C felony, as well as several outstanding warrants. She already has a criminal record as long as her arm, including domestic violence, assault and drug possession charges.
There was some speculation that Knowles, who was found living in a motel on Highway 99 until she found a shelter, was under the influence of drugs at the time, and that she may also have been suffering from postpartum depression. Well, no shit, Sherlock.
Incredibly, the baby appeared to be in good health. With no mention of the father, Child Protective Services took custody of the baby, and Knowles was barred from having further contact with her son, who was born on July 11.
According to the journal, Translational Psychiatry, an expecting mother's stress levels may impact her baby's development in utero, making it more susceptible to mental illness and behavioural problems later in life.
"This paper confirms that the early foundation years start at minus nine months," claims Dr. Carmine Pariante, an expert in the psychology of stress at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
German researchers discovered that if the mother-to-be is highly stressed, a receptor in her fetus appears to undergo a biological change, which may compromise the child's future ability to cope with stress.
Although the study was small (25 women and children), and the moms studied were subjected to unusually high stress levels (all had violent partners), the preliminary findings certainly call for a broader study.
There is no discounting that socio-environmental factors play a role in a child's ability to handle stress. However, this study does suggest that the child's "earliest environment" -- the womb -- is crucial to its development.
Researchers pointed to an in utero change in the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) which helps regulate the body's hormonal response to stress, a change they believe is triggered by the mom-to-be's "poor state of emotional wellbeing" during her pregnancy.
When the babies were followed up one to two decades later as adolescents, they had changes in the genetics of their GR that other teenagers did not.
As the babies grew up with this altered GR, they were decidedly more hypersensitive to stress than other teens. Individually, they reacted impulsively, often struggling to manage their emotions.
Make sense, or does it sound like yet more junk science?
Though no incidents have been reported, Baléa Kids Hair Putty in Tropical Fruit Punch Scent has been recalled due to the potential for microbial contamination, a bacteria called burkholderia cepacia may result in serious illness for kids with compromised immune systems or chronic lung issues, such as cystic fibrosis.
Packaged in a 150 ml clear jar with a green label and a red cartoon porcupine and "Tropical Fruit Punch" on the front, the putty is sold at Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix.
The product code is UPC 057800741640. Please note only lot code C117, which can be found directly underneath the bar code, is affected by this recall. All other lot codes of this product are deemed safe for sale and use.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and return it to any Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix store for a refund or gift card.
For more information, please contact Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix at 1-800-746-7737.
From April 2011 until July 8, 2011, an estimated 3,500 units were sold in Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix stores across Canada.
Image Credit: www.healthandsafetywatch.com"