News Roundup March 27th

Many of California’s Smallest Babies Are Not Being Referred For Necessary Follow-up Care A new study by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine, the California Prenatal Quality Care Collaborative, and the California Department of Health Care Services has found that 20% of very-low-birth-weight babies born in California during 2010 and 2011, were not referred to the state’s high-risk infant follow-up program. This is significant because premature babies and all babies who weigh less than 3.3 pounds at birth are at risk for neurological and developmental problems in childhood. “If we cannot succeed in that first step of getting these babies referred to follow-up, we’re at a critical disconnect for what we can offer them as they grow and develop,” said Susan Hintz, MD, lead author of the study. Find out more about the study here.

Shy Babies Need Secure Parent Bond to Help Prevent Potential Teen Anxiety
A study out of the University of Waterloo emphasizes the need for babies with an inhibited or shy temperament to have a strong bond with their parents in order to prevent anxiety disorders in teenage years. This seems to be particularly true for boys, though further research is needed. “The most important message from this study is that competent responsive parents who form a secure relationship with their young children, can be an extremely important protective factor in their child’s development,” said Professor Henderson, co-author of the study.  She also notes,  “Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric problems seen in children and adolescents. We can use this information about early influences to help change the developmental pathways of at-risk children before clinically-significant problems emerge.” More information about this study can be found here.

Host of Factors Influence Baby’s Immune System
A research team at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit reported numerous factors influence the makeup of bacteria in the digestive system, which then alters the immune system and changes susceptibility to allergies. “The research is telling us that exposure to a higher and more diverse burden of environmental bacteria and specific patterns of gut bacteria appear to boost the immune system’s protection against allergies and asthma,” says lead investigator Christine Cole Johnson, chair of the public health sciences department at Henry Ford. To read more about their findings, including the fact that breast-fed babies were less likely to develop allergies to pets at the age of 1 month, click here.

Nutrients in Fish May Offer Protection From Mercury Harm to Fetus
A recent study has concluded that the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil may protect the developing brain of a fetus from potential toxic effects of mercury in pregnant women who eat a lot of fish. The authors of the study warn that pregnant women should continue to avoid fish that are known to have high levels of mercury (for example, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel). Mercury exposure causes toxicity because it induces oxidation in the human body, which often results in inflammation. The authors of the study concluded that omega 3s found in fish oil are more anti-inflammatory, thereby reducing the level of inflammation in the mother, reducing any effect the effects of mercury on an unborn child.
Read more about the study here.

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


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