News Roundup January 13th

Picture 2A New Study Suggests a Father’s Diet and Folate (Vitamin B9) Levels Before Conception May Be as Important to Infant Health and Development as That of the Mother A recent study from McGill University using mice with low paternal dietary folate levels showed alterations in mouse sperm epigenome associated with negative pregnancy outcomes. This study shows for the first time that the folate levels in fathers may be just as important as those in mothers, suggesting that fathers should pay as much attention to their lifestyles and diets as mothers should before conception. Read more here.

Link Between Fear of Childbirth and Postpartum Depression Women with a history of depression are known to be at a higher risk of postpartum depression. Recent research from the University of Eastern Finland has observed a link between a (diagnosed) fear of childbirth in a woman with no history of depression and postpartum depression: nearly tripling the risk. Read more about the study here.

Depression in Pregnant Mothers May Alter the Pattern of Brain Development in Their Babies/Risk Reduction through Screening and Treatment In a recent study led by Dr. Anqi Qiu from the National University of Singapore researchers found abnormal wiring of the brain’s amygdala (the area of the brain that deals with regulation of emotion and stress) in infants born to depressed mothers. “Attention to maternal health during pregnancy is an extremely high priority for society for many reasons,” added Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “The notion that maternal depression might influence the brain development of their babies is very concerning. The good news is that this risk might be reduced by systematic screening of pregnant women for depression and initiating effective treatment.” Read more here.

Longer Maternity Leave Lowers Women’s Risk of Postpartum Depression A recent study out of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health found that women who return to work sooner than six months after giving birth to a child, have an increased risk of postpartum depressive symptoms. This study is the first to look at the relationship between length of maternity leave and a woman’s postpartum depressive symptoms over the course of the entire year after childbirth. Read here.

Responding to One-On-One ‘Baby Talk’ Helps Master More Words Researchers at the University of Washington and University of Connecticut looked closely at the at the communication between parent and babies. They compared speech in groups versus one-on-one and regular speaking voices versus exaggeration and animation in baby talk styles. “What our analysis shows is that the prevalence of baby talk in one-on-one conversations with children is linked to better language development, both concurrent and future,” said Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. Read more about this research here.

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


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