Mom-to-Be’s Mental State May Affect Child’s Development

11/17/11

A fetus is sensitive to, and can be affected by, the expectant mother’s mental state, a new study suggests.

University of California, Irvine, researchers recruited pregnant women and tested them for depression before and after they gave birth. The women’s babies were tested after birth to assess how well they were developing.

Consistency in the mother’s mental state appeared to be important to a baby’s well-being. Development was best in babies with mothers who were either depression-free or had depression before and after giving birth.

Source: US News and World Report

Available at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/11/17/mom-to-bes-mental-state-may-affect-childs-development

A Mother’s Fight for Newborn Hearts

11/17/11

As a pediatric cardiologist, I had grown increasingly concerned over the years about the many seemingly healthy newborns who left the hospital, only to return a few hours or days later in shock as a result of undetected heart problems. Two years ago, I wrote about the problem on the Well blog in an article, “Screening Babies for Broken Hearts,” in which I described a simple, cheap and painless screening test to check newborns for potentially lethal heart defects.

I hoped that others would take notice and that the test, called pulse oximetry, would eventually be adopted for regular use. But what followed was a remarkable lesson about the power of parent advocacy, especially when it is paired with good science.

Source: The New York Times

Available at: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/17/a-mothers-fight-for-newborn-hearts/?ref=health

Fluoride In Drinking Water? No Thanks, Says Florida County

11/15/11

The federal Centers for Disease Control calls fluoridated water one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. But many people still aren’t convinced.

In Florida, opponents recently persuaded Pinellas County commissioners to stop adding fluoride to the water supply — a practice the county began in 2003. By the end of the year, Pinellas will once again be the largest county in Florida without fluoridated water.

That vote came as a surprise to those who thought the question of whether to fluoridate water has long been settled. Not so, says county commissioner Norm Roche, a fluoridation opponent.

Source: NPR

Available at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/11/15/142363404/fluoride-in-drinking-water-no-thanks-says-florida-county

Why Brain Injuries Are More Common In Preemies : Shots – Health Blog : NPR

11/17/11

Scientists say they are beginning to understand why brain injuries are so common in very premature infants — and they are coming up with strategies to prevent or repair these injuries.

The advances could eventually help reduce the number of premature babies who develop cerebral palsy, epilepsy or behavioral disorders such as ADHD, researchers told the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.

Each year more than 60,000 babies are born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. And because of advances in neonatal medicine over the past several decades, most of those babies will survive. But researchers have had less success finding ways to prevent brain damage in these infants.

Source: NPR

Available at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/11/17/142421335/why-brain-injuries-are-more-common-in-preemies

Rules Raise Bar for Head Start Centers

11/14/11

For the first time in the more than four-decade history of the Head Start program, early-education centers will have to prove they prepare disadvantaged children for kindergarten in order to hold on to their grants.

Long-awaited final rules, published Nov. 9, require the nation’s 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start programs, including migrant and tribal programs, to meet higher quality benchmarks every five years.

Source: Education Week

Available at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/11/16/12headstart.h31.html?tkn=TYYFy1Zg8h9eUQ4NPxu%2FIUpNQ15gwZX%2FWL9B&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

Obama administration to announce effort to expand health-care workforce

11/14/11

The Obama administration will announce Monday as much as $1 billion in funding to hire, train and deploy health-care workers, part of the White House’s broader “We Can’t Wait” agenda to bolster the economy after President Obama’s jobs bill stalled in Congress.

Grants can go to doctors, community groups, local government and other organizations that work with patients in federal health-care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The funds are for experimenting with different ways to expand the health-care workforce while reducing the cost of delivering care. There will be an emphasis on speed, with new programs expected to be running within six months of funding.

Source: The Washington Post

Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-administration-to-announce-effort-to-expand-health-care-workforce/2011/11/11/gIQAxXfpIN_story.html?hpid=z2

Should Babies Co-Sleep With Their Parents?

11/10/11

Co-sleeping is back in the news.

Last week in Toledo, Ohio, a 2-month-old boy died after spending the night in his mother’s bed. The mother had fallen asleep while breastfeeding her son; when she awoke, he was no longer breathing. He could not be revived.

As a mother, I felt a terrible sadness in reading about this little boy’s death. I cannot begin to comprehend this family’s loss.

The death is reported as “a co-sleeping accident.” In its wake, the director of Toledo’s Children Services warned parents that co-sleeping is “dangerous.” In Cincinnati, police officers and citizen-on-patrol members teamed up to spread similar warnings. (It isn’t clear to me whether the Cincinnati effort was motivated by the Toledo baby’s death.)

Source: NPR

Available at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/11/10/142136849/should-babies-co-sleep-with-their-parents?sc=fb&cc=fp

Health Law Survives Test in Court of Appeals

11/8/11

A federal appeals court in Washington upheld the Obama administration’s health care law on Tuesday in a decision written by a prominent conservative jurist.

The decision came as the Supreme Court is about to consider whether to take up challenges to the Affordable Care Act, a milestone legislative initiative of the administration.

Of four appellate court rulings on the health care law so far, this is the third to deal with the law on the merits, and the second that upholds it.

Source: The New York Times

Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/health/policy/appeals-court-upholds-health-care-law.html?_r=1&ref=health

Burdening Children in Need With a Flawed Policy

11/4/11

Every fall, thousands of upper-middle-class parents here awake in night sweats, overcome by the anxiety of trying to get their children into costly and prestigious preschools. To say this, of course, is to say something as obvious as “pork chops cost more at Dean & DeLuca than they do at Key Food.” Two years ago an entire documentary film, “Nursery University,” was devoted to the subject. Over the years, the media have lavished so much attention on the difficulties endured by the well-off in the competition for elite education that many of us have retained only vague notions of the real challenges faced in the world of early child care and learning.

As it happens, this fall represents a period even more unnerving than usual for the city’s subsidized child care centers, the 600 sites maintained by 250 social-service agencies and community organizations, under contracts with the Administration for Children’s Services to provide care and education for poor children up to age 4.

Source: The New York Times

Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/nyregion/burdening-children-in-need-with-a-flawed-policy.html?_r=1&ref=education

A New Linkage Offers Possibilities in the Anti-Obesity Campaign

11/3/11

Our self-images are bound with the products we buy, the money we possess and, I now gather, the portions of food we eat.

“Super Size Me: Product Size as a Signal of Status” is fascinating Northwestern University research that links obesity with consumers’ status, especially a person’s low rank in the social hierarchy. Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign is even tougher than she imagines.

Source: The New York Times

Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/us/a-new-linkage-offers-possibilities-in-the-anti-obesity-campaign.html?_r=1&ref=health