Do slimmer moms make for smarter kids?
A piece of news that caught our eye this week -- researchers at UCLA have developed a device that attaches to your phone and can detect common allergens in foods. So if your kid is allergic to nuts, you could use this thing to do a quick check before handing over a snack. It’s not on the market yet, but stay tuned!
In other news:
Do slimmer moms make for smarter kids? Being overweight during pregnancy is known to have numerous ill effects on both mom and baby, but a new study found that being overweight even before you get pregnant may spell trouble. The researchers found that children born to women who went into pregnancy overweight had slightly lower scores on tests of verbal and number skills. While they caution that the study doesn’t prove a direct cause and effect between extra pounds and decreased scores, look at it as an added incentive to slim down if you’re trying to conceive.
Concussion complications: Not only are concussions on the rise among child and teenage athletes, but awareness of their seriousness is also on the minds of parents and coaches. Nearly half a million emergency room visits among kids ages 8 to 13 are for head injuries, and the incidence of concussions among kids has doubled in the past decade. And a new study has found that even after the symptoms of the concussion are gone, a child may still be experiencing brain changes caused by the injury. The information is particularly important when it comes to deciding when a child is ready to resume activities that put them at risk for a second concussion, because a still vulnerable brain may sustain more traumatic injury if a kid heads back to the playing field too soon.
Better pregnancy prediction: Many women opt for prenatal testing in early pregnancy to help determine if the child they are carrying has any genetic abnormalities. The problem is that ultrasounds, blood tests and even amniocentesis can sometimes give misleading results. Newer gene scanning tests of fetal cells reveal much more about potential birth defects and health risks than traditional prenatal screening tests. A new study found that six percent of fetuses declared normal by conventional testing actually had genetic defects that were picked up by the gene scan. A second study found that gene testing could also reveal the cause of most stillbirths, information valuable to parents who are making decisions about attempting another pregnancy.
Babies learn better when sitting: When you are trying to help your baby learn, start by sitting her upright (and if she can’t sit up on her own yet, put her in a seat that supports her). A new study found that when babies are able to sit up, they are better able to see, reach for, grasp and manipulate objects—and doing so helps them learn patterns and learn how to differentiate objects.
Overeating linked to other unhealthy behaviors: If you’re worried about your child’s eating habits, we’re sorry to have to add one more reason for concern. According to a new survey of nearly 17,000 kids and teens, those who overeat (including those with binge eating disorder) are also more likely to start using marijuana and other drugs. Researchers theorize that kids who lose control in the face of food are also at risk of acting out with other impulsive, and potentially harmful, behaviors.
Helping dads bond better: Oxytocin, a hormone released during childbirth and breastfeeding, has long been linked to helping moms forge a healthy bond with their babies. But research shows that it can help dads, too. In a recent study, 35 men were given a sniff of oxytocin in a nasal spray. Afterward, the father’s levels of the hormones increased -- and so did their infant’s. The result was that the dads became more engaged with their babies (with increased touch and other affectionate gestures) and their babies responded in kind with more social gazes and other interactions.
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