Odd ways 9/11 changed the world: happy whales and sad babies

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. But 11 years after the terrorist attacks, a number of strange byproducts of that day's events are coming to light.

For example, two independent studies have suggested that events directly connected to the 9/11 attacks had a positive effect on whales and a negative effect on unborn babies.

As first reported by the Washington Post, a study of whale behavior was already taking place in September 2001. Researchers continued collecting data and found that whale health and activity improved in the days after the attacks, when nearly all shipping activity in the U.S. ground to a sudden halt.

The evidence is now being used to study how "whales and other sea life that use sound to communicate and travel can be harmed by the noise."

A second study in the emerging field of epigenetics suggested that many of the estimated 1,700 pregnant women in New York City at the time of the attacks may have potentially have passed heir Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms to their unborn children.

The study results, which were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that some of the children tested in the year after September 11, 2001 measured low-levels of cortisol, a trait commonly associated with PTSD.

Professor Jonathan Seckl of the University of Edinburgh told the BBC, "Because the babies were about a year old at the time of testing, this suggests the trauma effect transfer may have to do with very early parent-child attachments, cortisol 'programming' in the womb or shared genetic susceptibility It may be that stress has an effect on the developing brain of a fetus."

However, the results are still being debated, as some other experts say the low-levels of cortisol may have only been present in children of mothers who were already predisposed to symptoms associated with PTSD.

These two odd news items were included in a larger list compiled by Robert Evans over at Cracked magazine. Amongst the other strange ways Evans says 9/11 affected the world: a decline in sales of the drug Ecstasy, lowered suicide rates in England, an increase in the number of car accident fatalities and more insects making it past screeners at U.S. shipping facilities.