News Roundup December 3rd

Father looking at newborn shutterstock_74803552New Research Study on Depression During Pregnancy Shows Preference for Therapy Over Medication

Researchers in a preliminary study from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler Hospital, and Women & Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island interviewed 61 pregnant women, about half of whom were clinically depressed, to assess their experiences and preferences regarding treatment. This study was designed to uncover the motivations for women’s non-drug treatment preferences and anxieties concerning antidepressant drugs during this time.  Despite the fact that 70 percent of the depressed women received some form of depression treatment during pregnancy, they often reported conflict over their decision and were much more likely to prefer alternative treatments to anti-depressant medications. Authors of this study believe that increasing awareness and support for non-drug treatments for depression during pregnancy are important, as well as further studies of all possible options, including medications. Read more here

Study Finds Association Between Exposure to Phthalates (a common chemical found in lotions, perfumes and deodorants) and Early Delivery

This study, led by Kelly Ferguson of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, published online Nov. 18 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, found a link to a higher risk for a preterm birth with higher levels in some phthalate metabolite concentrations in urine during pregnancy. Ferguson’s team believes that their work validates “prior laboratory and epidemiologic [population-based] evidence,” and “provide strong support for taking action in the prevention or reduction of phthalate exposure during pregnancy.” These common chemicals known as phthalates have been tied to disrupted thyroid hormone levels, breast cancer and endometriosis and can be found in such common products such as lotions, perfumes and deodorants. Tainted food and water can also be a source of exposure to phthalates. This study could not prove a cause-and-effect link though finding an association between higher phthalate levels and early delivery. Study is available online here.

Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality

This current fact sheet from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) provides information about:

  • How young children are at risk –definitions and explanations of risk factors
  • The percentages of young children in each state experiencing risks related to poor educational outcomes
  • Trends in federal and state investments in early care and education programs
  • State policies related to both access and quality
  • Federal and State Investments and Participation in Early Care and Education
  • State Pre-Kindergarten enrollment & spending
  • Policies that Affect Access to Early Care and Education Programs
  • Policies That Support Quality Early Care and Education

The findings of this report make visible the complexities of the policies and federal and state investments that impact the access to quality early care and education for low-income families, adding that the policies and investments are currently too weak to provide adequate help for the large numbers of children whose healthy development and school success are at risk. Both NCCP and CLASP have a rich set of resources and tools available to provide information and expert guidance concerning ways to strengthen early care and invite readers to contact them. Read the key findings here.

California’s Best Practices for Young Dual Language Learners: Research Overview Papers

This important research project of the California State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care was developed with the support of the California Department of Education and the leadership of WestEd Project Directors Peter Mangione, Ann-Marie Wiese, and Project Manager Katie Monahan, in collaboration with Linda Espinosa, the Lead Researcher for the project. It was made possible through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds granted to California under the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, with the California Department of Education as the lead agency and prepared under the direction of the Child Development Division, California Department of Education (CDE), for the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Neuroscience Research. This report is a compilation of the most current research available related to young dual language learning and how to support this learning and development in California’s preschools. Research focuses on different aspects of young dual language development including:

  • Neuroscience
  • Cognitive science
  • Developmental psychology
  • Assessment
  • Educational research
  • Family engagement
  • Special needs

The forthcoming publication, California Preschool Guidelines was informed by insights from this research. The paper is available online here.

This News Roundup was compiled and co-authored by Jean Kurnik, M.A.

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