A pioneering Spanish study into air pollution has found that it can affect the growth of fetuses (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The research was undertaken in the Catalan town of Sabadell, involving 562 pregnant women and carried out by Barcelona’s Centre for Research into Atmospheric Epidemiology over a period of six years. It has shown, for the first time in Spain, that the exposure of pregnant women to air pollution can negatively affect the development of their baby. The researchers used three scans taken at different points during each pregnancy and gathered information about the existing pollution in the different areas of Sabadell where the women lived, while taking factors such as smoking, previous pregnancies and social-economic level into account. Their work revealed that as nitrogen dioxide (associated with the combustion of petrol derivatives) increased in the air, the cranial perimeter of the fetus lessened, while the size of the abdomen was also affected. In addition, the overall weight of fetuses was less in those areas that had the most pollution, on average 81.6 grammes less. One of the theories as to why this should happen is that the pollution affects the development of the placenta, thereby altering the feeding and oxygenation of the fetus. The findings of the study are published in the latest edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.
Barcelona has notably increased the number of its city streets named after women in the past decade (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Of the 317 new roads created in the Catalan capital since 2000, 86 were named after women to commemorate illustrious females from the past. This is revealed in a new dictionary that looks at the names of 4,427 public ways in the city (as at September 2009), and includes details about the origins of their names. The author of the dictionary, Jesús Portavella, worked on a previous edition of the list, published in 1996 and this time he has made various improvements to the work, with a more balanced amount of information about each street and the correction of historical errors that were attributed to the names of city highways and byways.
José Tomás, the Spanish bullfighter who was seriously gored two weeks ago in Mexico, has arrived home (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Tomás landed in a private plane at the airport of Gibraltar yesterday afternoon following a 10-hour flight from Mexico and was taken to his home in Estepona in Malaga, where he will continue his recuperation; this will be overseen by his brother Antonio, who is a trained physiotherapist and footballer. The torero is said to have looked well, although a bit thinner and still having to use a wheelchair. Tomás was released from the Hospital de Aguascalientes last Saturday, the town in which the incident took place on April 24th when a bull stuck its horn into his left leg, causing serious damage to various arteries and veins as well as muscle. It is not yet known how long Tomás’s recovery process will take—although it has been confirmed that he won’t make appearances planned for the end of this month, it’s possible that in June he could take part in bullfights in Madrid and Granada.
Also in the news: Rajoy stays firm on his refusal to renew members of Constitutional Court in meeting with Montilla (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Barça’s basketball team travel to Paris for Euroleague Final Four weekend (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Spanish stock exchange continues to lose points (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).