Your Baby

Preemies Health Problems Sometimes Inherited

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An interesting new study says that not all health problems linked to premature births may be the result of a too early delivery. Only some of the physical and mental health problems previously connected with preterm birth are actually caused by it, the study says, other health issues may simply be inherited.

Researchers analyzed the medical records of 3.3 million children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2008, and confirmed the strong link between preterm birth (generally classified as before 37 weeks' gestation) and the risk of infant and young adult death, autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, the study authors also concluded that many other problems that have been linked with preterm birth -- such as severe mental illness, learning problems, suicide and poverty -- may instead be more closely related to other factors that people share with other family members.

"The study confirms the degree to which preterm birth is a major public health concern and strongly supports the need for social services that reduce the incidence of preterm birth," study lead author Brian D'Onofrio, an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, said in a university news release.

"Yet, the findings also suggest the need to extend services to all siblings in families with an offspring born preterm. In terms of policy, it means that the entire family, including all of the siblings, is at risk," he added.

Previous studies have compared preterm infants to non-related full-term infants. This study however, compared preterm infants with full-term siblings and cousins, an approach that shed new light on the issue.

"Our study is part of a growing interest in research and public health initiatives focusing on very early risk," he added. "When you look at early risk factors, they don't just predict one type of problem; they frequently predict lots of problems with long-term implications."

The study was published in the September issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

 

Nearly half a million babies in the U.S. are born premature each year.

There are a number of risk factors associated with spontaneous preterm birth but more than half of preterm births happen in pregnancies where there are no identifiable risk factors. While there is no way to predict if you will have a preterm birth, there are some common risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a preterm birth. They include:

- You have had a previous preterm delivery

- You’re pregnant with twins or other multiples

- You are younger than 17 and older than 35

- You were underweight before your pregnancy and have not gained enough weight during pregnancy

- You are African American

- You’ve had vaginal bleeding in the first or second trimester. Vaginal bleeding in more than one trimester means the risk is even higher.

- You’ve had moderate to severe anemia early in your pregnancy

- You smoke, abuse alcohol or use drugs, especially cocaine, during pregnancy

- You’ve had little to no prenatal care

- You are pregnant with a single baby that is the result of fertility treatments.

Spontaneous births can also be caused by medical conditions such as infection, having a problem with the placenta, structural abnormalities of the uterus or cervix or having abdominal surgery while pregnant to name a few.

The best thing that a mother-to-be can do for herself and her unborn baby is to start prenatal care as soon as she discovers she is pregnant. There are no guarantees that you will have a full term delivery with no complications, but you can increase the odds to your favor by getting good prenatal care, sticking to a healthy diet, exercising and keeping your body free of drugs, alcohol and cigarette smoke.

Make it a point to learn about yours and your spouse’s medical family history. There may be clues that your OB/GYN should be aware of as he or she provides your prenatal care.

Sources: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/09/25/preemies-woes-sometimes-due-to-heredity-study-says

http://www.babycenter.com/0_preterm-labor-and-birth_1055.bc

 

Your Baby

Danger! Lidocaine and Teething Babies

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If you’ve ever received a prescription for lidocaine, you might be tempted to try it on your teething baby to ease the pain. Lidocaine solution is sometimes used to reduce a child’s gag reflex during dental procedures and to treat mouth and throat ulcers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to parents about using a lidocaine solution as a pain reliever on babies’ gums, saying it can lead to death and serious injuries in infants and toddlers.

"When too much viscous lidocaine is given to infants and young children or they accidentally swallow too much, it can result in seizures, severe brain injury, and problems with the heart," the statement said.

Overdoses or accidental swallowing have led to infants and children being hospitalized or dying, the FDA said.

While the number is not high, some parents or caregivers have tried it as a gum pain reliever during teething. There have been 22 reports this year of serious complications, including deaths, in children ages 5 months to 3 to 5 years who were given lidocaine or accidently swallowed it.

The agency will require a boxed warning on the label for prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2 percent solution to highlight that it should not be used for teething pain, the FDA said in a statement.

Instead of lidocaine, the FDA urges parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatricians' (AAP) recommendations for treating teething pain. They call for using a teething ring, or gently massaging the child's gums with your finger.

Other products containing benzocaine are sometimes used for oral pain relief. The FDA recommends against using these products for children under 2 years of age except under a physician’s supervision. Like viscous lidocaine, benzocaine is a local anesthetic.

The AAP offers these tips for helping your child through the discomfort of teething.

  • Give her firm objects to chew on—teething rings or hard, unsweetened teething crackers. Frozen teething toys should not be used; extreme cold can injure your baby’s mouth and cause more discomfort.
  • If your baby is clearly uncomfortable, talk to your pediatrician about a possible course of action. Your pediatrician may suggest that you give a small dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

The first thing a parent wants to do when they see their baby in pain is to find a way to relieve the discomfort. Teething is one of those times that can be trying for everyone involved. Babies can start teething as early as 3 months.

Pain relievers that are used on a baby’s gums aren’t typically very helpful; a teething baby drools so much that the medication is quickly washed away. In addition, pediatricians warn that such medications can numb the back of the throat and interfere with your baby’s ability to swallow.

Rubbing your baby’s gums or providing a safe teething ring can help ease your infant’s pain until those pesky teeth break through and the gums heal.

Sources: Ian Simpson, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/26/us-usa-fda-teething-idUSKBN0F129120140626

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Teething-Pain.aspx

Your Baby

Sunscreen Safety Tips

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Most children get 50% to 80% of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18, so it’s important that parents and caregivers teach them how to use sunscreen safely. With the right precautions, you can help reduce your child’s chance of developing skin cancer later in life. Most parents and caregivers understand the importance of applying sunscreen to their children to protect them against sunburn. However, a couple of questions may still linger such as, what is a safe age for a child to start using sunscreen, and what ingredients should I look for?

Most children get 50% to 80% of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18, so it’s important that parents and caregivers teach them how to use sunscreen safely. With the right precautions, you can help reduce your child’s chance of developing skin cancer later in life. The sun produces 3 types of ultraviolet rays. When these rays reach the skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin, and eye damage. The three types of ultraviolet rays are: UVA, UVB, UVC. - UVA rays cause skin aging and wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer, such as melanoma. Because UVA rays pass effortlessly through the ozone layer (the protective layer of atmosphere, or shield, surrounding the earth), they make up the majority of our sun exposure. Beware of tanning beds because they use UVA rays as well as UVB rays. A UVA tan does not help protect the skin from further sun damage; it merely produces color and a false sense of protection from the sun. - UVB rays are also dangerous, causing sunburns, cataracts (clouding of the eye lens), and effects on the immune system. They also contribute to skin cancer. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20. Most UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, but enough of these rays pass through to cause serious damage. - UVC rays are the most dangerous, but fortunately, these rays are blocked by the ozone layer and don't reach the earth. When Can I Start Applying Sunscreen To My Child? For Babies younger than 6 months: Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands, if protective clothing and shade are not available. Because infants have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, their skin burns more easily than that of older kids. But sunscreen should not be applied to babies under 6 months of age, so they absolutely must be kept out of the sun whenever possible. If your infant must be in the sun, dress him or her in clothing that covers the body, including hats with wide brims to shadow the face. Use an umbrella to create shade. For babies older than 6 months: Apply to all areas of the body, but be careful around the eyes. If your baby rubs sunscreen into her eyes, wipe the eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth. If the sunscreen irritates her skin, try a different brand or try a sunscreen stick or sunscreen or sun-block with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. If a rash develops, talk with your child’s doctor. To avoid possible skin allergy, don't use sunscreens with PABA. For kids age 6 months and older, select an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent both sunburn and tanning. Choose a sunscreen that states on the label that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays (referred to as "broad-spectrum" sunscreen.) If your child has sensitive skin, look for a product with the active ingredient titanium dioxide (a chemical-free block). For sunscreen to be affective it must be applied correctly and you must use a high enough SPF to do block the rays for a longer periods of time. 1. Apply sunscreen about 15 to 30 minutes before kids go outside so that a good layer of protection can form. Don't forget about lips, hands, ears, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck. Lift up bathing suit straps and apply sunscreen underneath them (in case the straps shift as a child moves). 2. Don't try to stretch out a bottle of sunscreen; apply it generously. 3. Reapply sunscreen often, approximately every 2 hours, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Reapply after a child has been sweating or swimming. 4. Apply a waterproof sunscreen if kids will be around water or swimming. Water reflects and intensifies the sun's rays, so kids need protection that lasts. Waterproof sunscreens may last up to 80 minutes in the water, and some are also sweat- and rub-proof. But regardless of the waterproof label, be sure to reapply sunscreen when kids come out of the water. 5. Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days. Also, UV rays can bounce back from water, sand, snow, and concrete so make sure you’re protected. Keep in mind that every child needs extra sun protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all kids — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Although dark skin has more protective melanin and tans more easily than it burns, remember that tanning is also a sign of sun damage. Dark-skinned kids also can develop painful sunburns. The skin is not the only part of the body that is affected by too much sun exposure. The sun can also damage the eyes. Even 1 day in the sun can result in a burned cornea (the outermost, clear membrane layer of the eye). Cumulative exposure can lead to cataracts (clouding of the eye lens, which leads to blurred vision) later in life. The best way to protect eyes is to wear sunglasses. Not all sunglasses provide the same level of ultraviolet protection; darkened plastic or glass lenses without special UV filters just trick the eyes into a false sense of safety. Purchase sunglasses with labels ensuring that they provide 100% UV protection. But not all kids enjoy wearing sunglasses, especially the first few times. To encourage them to wear them, let kids select a style they like — many manufacturers make fun, multicolored frames or ones embossed with cartoon characters. And don't forget that kids want to be like grown-ups. If you wear sunglasses regularly, your kids may be willing to follow your example. Providing sunglasses early in childhood will encourage the habit of wearing them in the future. Some Medications May Increase Sun Sensitivity Some medications increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, even kids with skin that tends not to burn easily can develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications. Fair-skinned kids, of course, are even more vulnerable. Ask your pediatrician or pharmacist if any prescription (especially antibiotics and acne medications) and over-the-counter medications your child is taking can increase sun sensitivity. If so, always take extra sun precautions. The best protection is simply covering up or staying indoors; even sunscreen can't always protect skin from sun sensitivity caused by medications. Choosing a Sunscreen Use a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label - that means it will screen out both UVB and UVA rays. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection the sunscreen has. Look for the new UVA “star” rating system on the label. One star is low UVA protection. Two stars is medium protection. Three stars is high protection. Four stars is the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter sunscreen product. For sensitive areas of the body, such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears, and the shoulders, choose a sunscreen or sun-block with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. While these products usually stay visible on the skin even after you rub them in, some now come in fun colors that kids enjoy. Treating Sunburn The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends these tips for treating children with sunburns. Your baby's skin: soft, sweet-smelling, vulnerable.  You notice that when you're diapering:  irritation develops easily; a soothing cream clears it up like magic. Young skin heals faster than older skin, but it is also less able to protect itself from injury, including injury from the sun. Babies under six months of age should never be exposed to the sun.  Babies older than six months should be protected from the sun, and wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes.  However, if your child is sunburned: 1.     For a baby under one year old, sunburn should be treated as an emergency.  Call your doctor immediately. 2.     For a child one year or older, call your doctor if there is severe pain, blistering, lethargy, or fever over 101 F (38.3 C). 3.     Sunburn can cause dehydration.  Give your child water or juice to replace body fluids, especially if your child is not urinating regularly. 4.     Give Acetominophen if your child's temperature is above 101 F. 5.     Baths in clear, tepid water may cool the skin. 6.     Light moisturizing lotion may sooth the skin, but do not rub it in.  If touching the skin is painful, don't use lotion. 7.     Dabbing on plain calamine lotion may help, but don't use one with an added antihistamine. 8.     Do not apply alcohol, which can overcool the skin. 9.     Do not use any medicated cream — hydrocortisone, benzocaine — unless your baby's doctor tells you to. 10.   Keep your child out of the sun entirely until the sunburn heals. Familiarize yourself with the rules of sun protection, and make sure that no matter where you child goes — daycare, play dates, nursery school, your child is protected from sunburn.

Your Baby

Vitamin D In Pregnancy & Baby’s Brain Development

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Another study suggests higher levels of vitamin D during pregnancy may play an important role in a baby's future health. In the latest study, Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to poorer mental and motor skills in babies. 

Researchers in Spain measured the level of vitamin D in the blood of almost 2,000 women in their first or second trimester of pregnancy and evaluated the mental and motor abilities of their babies at about 14 months of age. The investigators found that children of vitamin D deficient mothers scored lower than those whose mothers had adequate levels of the vitamin.

"These differences in the mental and psychomotor development scores do not likely make any difference at the individual level, but might have an important impact at the population level," said study lead author Dr. Eva Morales, a medical epidemiologist in the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona.

One concern is that lower scores in motor and mental tests could lead to lower IQs.

Previous studies have linked a deficiency in vitamin D during pregnancy to babies born with a greater risk for developing language problems, higher body fat, bone weakness, lung infections and schizophrenia.

Vitamin D deficiency in moms-to-be has also been associated with a higher risk for developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is rarely fatal, but can lead to premature births.

How much vitamin D should a pregnant woman be getting? There’s not a clear-cut answer.

The Institute of Medicine, an independent U.S. group that advises the public, recommends pregnant women get 600 international units (IU) a day of vitamin D and no more than 4,000 IU/day. However, the Endocrine Society says that 600 units does not prevent deficiency and that at least 1,500 to 2,000 units a day may be required.

Bruce Hollis, director of pediatric nutritional sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, said the recommended 600 units per day is probably sufficient to promote good skeletal health in fetuses, but it "basically does nothing" to prevent other diseases.

Hollis recommends that women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant get 4,000 units a day of vitamin D.

In the current study, Morales and her colleagues measured vitamin D levels in 1,820 pregnant women living in four areas of Spain. Most were in their second trimester.

The researchers found that 20 percent of the women were vitamin D-deficient and another 32 percent had insufficient levels of the vitamin.

Morales and her colleagues found that the babies of mothers whose prenatal vitamin D level was deficient scored on average 2.6 points lower on a mental test and 2.3 points lower on a psychomotor test at about 14 months of age than babies of women whose prenatal vitamin D level was adequate.

Differences of between four and five points in these types of neuropsychological tests could reduce the number of children with above-average intelligence (IQ scores above 110 points) by over 50 percent, Morales noted.

The authors took into consideration other factors that could influence babies' mental and motor development, including birth weight, maternal age, social class and mother's education level, and whether or not the mother drank alcohol or smoked during pregnancy.

The study found a link between vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and babies' brain development, but it did not prove the existence of a cause-and-effect relationship.

Vitamin D may have additional benefits for mothers-to-be. Other research conducted by Hollis and his team found that pregnant women taking vitamin D could lower their risk of pregnancy-related diabetes and high blood pressure.

Early studies suggesting that high levels of vitamin D could lead to birth defects were bogus, Hollis said.

Women can receive up to 50,000 units a day before worrying about having too much vitamin D, Hollis said. Excessive vitamin D can lead to spikes in blood levels of calcium, which can, in turn, lead to kidney and nerve damage and abnormal heart rhythm.

Scientists are in agreement that vitamin D is important during pregnancy for the mother as well as the baby, but since there is still some uncertainty about the correct dosage, discuss what vitamin D level is right for you with your obstetrician. 

The study was published online in September and will be available in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: http://healthyliving.msn.com/pregnancy-parenting/kids-health/vitamin-d-in-pregnancy-critical-for-brain-development-study-says

Your Baby

Alert! Children's Cold And Allergy Medicine Recalled

Popular over-the-counter medicine recall including Children's Tylenol and Children's MotrinParents take note: a voluntary recall has been issued for more than 40 over-the-counter medicines for children.  The drugs include Tylenol and Motrin.  Reason for the recall?  They may not meet quality standards.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare issued a statement saying “this recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events, however, as a precautionary measure, parents and caregivers should not administer these products to their children.” The brand affected by the recall include: Tylenol Infants’ Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Children’s Tylenol Plus Suspensions Motrin Infant Drops, Children's Motrin Suspensions, Children's Zyrtec Liquids in bottles and Children's Benadryl Allergy Liquids in bottles. For more information you can go to McNeil's product recall website.

Your Baby

Early Spankings Make For Aggressive Toddlers

New research shows that children who are spanked as one-year-olds are more likely to behave aggressively and perform worse on cognitive tests as toddlers than children who are spared the punishment.

New research shows that children who are spanked as one-year-olds are more likely to behave aggressively and perform worse on cognitive tests as toddlers than children who are spared the punishment.The study, done by researchers at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy, shows that they negative effects of spanking were “modest” but it adds to growing research that finds spanking isn’t good for children. "Age one is a key time for establishing the quality of the parenting and the relationship between parent and the child," said study author Lisa J. Berlin. "Spanking at age one reflects a negative dynamic, and increases children's aggression at age two." Berlin and her colleagues looked at data on 2,500 children of various racial backgrounds from low-income families. The data included parents' reports about their children's behavior, their use of spanking, as well as home visits by trained observers to document parent-child interactions at ages one, two and three. About one-third of mothers of one-year-olds reported they or someone in their household had spanked their child in the last week, while about half of the mothers of two- and three-year-olds reported that their child had been spanked. The average number of spankings for one-year-olds was 2.6 per week, while the average for two-year-olds was nearly three. The study found that children who were spanked at age one had more aggressive behaviors at age two and performed worse on measures of thinking abilities at age three. Researchers also looked at the effects of verbal punishment, defined as yelling, scolding or making derogatory comments. Verbal punishment was not associated with negative effects if the mother was otherwise attentive, loving and supportive. Researchers controlled for family characteristics such as race, ethnicity, mother's age, education, family income and the child's gender. Previous research has shown spanking is more common among low-income households than high-income households. Researchers chose a sample of low-income families because some child behavior experts have argued that when spanking is "cultural normative" -- that is, it's expected for parents to use physical discipline -- the detrimental effects of spanking may be lessened. "We did not find that," Berlin said. "Even in a sample of low-income people where presumably it's more normative to spank your kids, we found negative effects." Of all the debates over child-rearing, spanking "definitely touches a nerve," Berlin said. "It's a parenting practice that has been around for a long time, and that's also in transition," Berlin said. "In general, the use of spanking is going down. But there is also a contingent of people who really believe in it, who say that's how they were raised and it's a tradition they want to continue.”
Your Baby

Delayed Cord Clamping May Improve Infant’s Health

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According to a new study, delaying umbilical cord cutting by 2 minutes after birth may result in better development in a newborn’s first days of life.

When to cut the umbilical cord has been debated and changed over a long period of time. Before studies began in the mid-1950s, cord clamping within 1 minute of birth was defined as "early clamping," and "late clamping" was defined as more than 5 minutes after birth. And the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have stated, "the ideal timing for umbilical cord clamping has yet to be established."

To provide further evidence in the debate of early versus late cord clamping, researchers led by Professor Julio José Ochoa Herrera of the University of Granada, assessed newborn outcomes for infants born to 64 healthy pregnant women to determine the impact of clamping timing on oxidative stress and the inflammatory signal produced during delivery.

All of these women had a normal pregnancy and spontaneous vaginal delivery. However, half of the women's newborns had their umbilical cord cut 10 seconds after delivery and half had it cut after 2 minutes.

Results showed that with late cord clamping there was an increase in antioxidant volume and moderation of inflammatory effects in newborns.

Other studies have shown that delaying clamping allows more time for blood to move from the placenta through the cord, improving iron and hemoglobin levels in newborns.

If delaying cord clamping is beneficial for newborns, then why do many doctors perform a quick cut? Apparently there are several reasons.

According to ACOG, a previous series of studies into blood volume changes after birth concluded that in healthy term infants, more than 90% of blood volume was attained within the first few breaths he or she took after birth.

As a result of these findings, as well as a lack of other recommendations regarding optimal timing, the amount of time between birth and umbilical cord clamping was widely shortened; in most cases, cord clamping occurs within 15-20 seconds after birth.

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes waiting longer is better. WHO supports late cord clamping (1-3 minutes) because it "allows blood flow between the placenta and neonate to continue, which may improve iron status in the infant for up to 6 months after birth."

ACOG states on their website that “Concerns exist regarding universally adopting delayed umbilical cord clamping. Delay in umbilical cord clamping may jeopardize timely resuscitation efforts, if needed, especially in preterm infants. However, because the placenta continues to perform gas exchange after delivery, sick and preterm infants are likely to benefit most from additional blood volume derived from a delay in umbilical cord clamping.”

WHO states clearly that that early cord clamping - less than 1 minute after birth - is not advised unless the newborn is asphyxiated and needs to be moved for resuscitation.

Simply holding a wet, crying and wiggling baby for 2 minutes may also prove difficult for physicians whose hands are gloved. The better option may be to place the baby on the mother’s stomach, wait the 2 minutes and then cut the cord.

More and more studies are finding that in certain circumstances, waiting a couple of minutes longer to cut the umbilical cord may be best for baby.

According to this study, there’s really no reason why newborns from a normal pregnancy and vaginal delivery should not be allowed at least 2 minutes before the cord is clamped after birth.

Mothers and fathers-to-be should discuss cord cutting timing with their doctor before the baby is born. If your preference is to allow more time before cutting the cord when your baby arrives, let your physician know ahead of time.  He or she can then advise you on when early clamping may be necessary and when it can wait a couple of extra minutes.

Scientists from the University of Granada and the San Cecilio Clinical Hospital in Spain conducted the research. The results were published in the journal Pediatrics. Source: Marie Ellis, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287041.php

http://www.acog.org

Your Baby

Infant Antibiotic Use and Asthma

1:45 to read

Antibiotics are a common treatment for bacterial infections in children and adults however; some infants who receive antibiotics in their first year of life may be twice as likely to develop asthma, as they grow older.

The drugs themselves may not be the culprits though.

A child’s impaired immune system and genetic variations could explain why some kids face a higher likelihood of developing asthma.

The study, reported online May 15 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, also didn't find any link between early use of antibiotics and development of allergic diseases.

The study’s authors noted that this contradicts a theory that antibiotics increase the risks of allergic asthma by disrupting a child’s immune system.

Antibiotics are often given to children for ear and respiratory infections. While the study found an association between infants who receive antibiotic treatment and asthma later in life, it was not designed to prove an actual cause and effect link.

In the new study, British researchers analyzed statistics from a study that tracked more than 1,000 children from birth to 11 years of age.

Information on antibiotic prescription, wheeze and asthma exacerbations were taken from medical records. Skin reaction tests that show whether a child is hypersensitive to allergens were done at ages 3, 5, 8, and 11 years. 

At age 11, blood was collected from children who had received at least one course of antibiotics or no antibiotics in the first year of life to compare their immune-system cell response to viruses and bacteria. Genetic testing was also done to look at the links between common genetic variations on chromosome 17, known as 17q21, and antibiotic prescription.

The study’s findings are believed to be the first to show that children with wheezing who were treated with an antibiotic in the first year of life were more than twice as likely as untreated children to experience severe wheeze or asthma exacerbations and be hospitalized for asthma. 

"We speculate that hidden factors which increase the likelihood of both antibiotic prescription in early life and subsequent asthma are an increased susceptibility to viral infections due to impaired antiviral immunity and genetic variants," lead author Adnan Custovic, of the University of Manchester, said in a journal news release.

"However, further studies will be needed to confirm that the impaired immunity was present at the time of the early childhood respiratory symptoms and predated antibiotic prescribing rather than as a consequence of the antibiotics," Custovic added.

The study was published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Source: Randy Dotinga, http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20140515/study-probes-link-between-early-antibiotic-use-asthma

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/article/?id=12094

Your Baby

Babies Can Tell the Difference and Sameness of Objects

1:45

How old are we when we begin to learn to tell when objects are alike or different?  Scientists involved in a new study say that with a little training, babies as young as seven months can discern whether objects are similar or not.

Previous studies have shown that toddlers have this ability, but researchers at Northwestern University, wanted to see if children could actually determine the difference at an even earlier age.  The scientists were the first to discover that infants can actually make this remarkable determination – long before they have the language skills to express abstract ideas.

“This suggests that a skill key to human intelligence is present very early in human development, and that language skills are not necessary for learning abstract relations,” said study author, Alissa Ferry, a brain development researcher.

To accomplish this, the scientists started out to see if seven--month-old infants could comprehend sameness and difference between two objects by showing them either two Elmo dolls or an Elmo doll and a toy camel until their observation time ran out.

They then had the infants look longer at pairs that were either the “same” or “different,” including test pairs composed of new items. The team saw infants who had learned the “same” relation looked longer at test pairs showing the “different” relation and vice versa. The team said this indicates the infants had figured out the abstract relation and recognized when the relation changed.

“We found that infants are capable of learning these relations,” Ferry said. “Additionally, infants exhibit the same patterns of learning as older children and adults — relational learning benefits from seeing multiple examples of the relation and is impeded when attention is drawn to the individual objects composing the relation.”

The researchers also believe that because the infants could learn the difference and the sameness of objects before they could speak, that this is a separate skill that humans need and develop early in their existence.

“The infants in our study were able to form an abstract same or different relation after seeing only 6-9 examples,” said study author Dedre Gentner, a professor of psychology at Northwestern. “It appears that relational learning is something that humans, even very young humans, are much better at than other primates.”

Source: Brett Smith, http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113398144/infants-can-compare-and-contrast-objects-study-052715/

 

 

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