Twenty-eight Turkish refugees living in Denmark were examined by the authors in the period 1984-85. Fourteen of the persons alleged having been tortured in Turkey during the period 1980-83. The remaining 14 persons reported that they had not been tortured and thus acted as controls. All the testimonies were found valid according to a method previously used by us. The most common forms of violence reported were blows and electrical torture. Blindfolding, solitary confinement and threats were also frequent. At the time of examination the main mental complaints were sleep disturbances with nightmares and impaired memory. Emotional lability and concentration disturbances were also frequent. Physically the torture victims suffered from headache, various cardio-pulmonary and muscular pains, dyspepsia and reading disturbances. All reported that they had been healthy before torture. The clinical examination revealed only a few signs related to torture, although examples of minimal scars, fractured or missing teeth, discrete neurological disorders and mental depression were found. The 14 controls had significantly fewer complaints, and almost no abnormalities were found during the clinical examination. The present study clearly demonstrates the traumatic effects of torture.
As part of a cross-sectional study, carried out among Turkish mother-infant pairs, the mothers of 269 infants living in Istanbul and 30 living in Stockholm were asked their opinions as to the advantages and/or disadvantages of breastfeeding. The answers were categorized according to the attributes mentioned, quantified and related to the socio-economic status of the area of residence, maternal education, origin, current infant feeding practice and contraceptive method. In Istanbul, 63% of the responses stressed some advantage and 31% some disadvantage of breastfeeding. The contraceptive effect was considered the major advantage and the possibility of milk insufficiency the major disadvantage. In Stockholm, the nutritional value of breastfeeding was considered the most important advantage. No disadvantage was mentioned in Stockholm, despite the fact that breastfeeding durations among the immigrant group was shorter than that of the group in Istanbul. The implications of the responses are analyzed. It is hypothesized that mother-centered advantages, such as the birth-spacing effect of breastfeeding, may be more important motivators for continuing breastfeeding among women living under less-advantaged social conditions, and that, if this is true for some groups of mothers, the infant-centered emphasis in the breastfeeding promotional messages may need modification to include the interests of the mothers, as well.