Posts Tagged childbirth

Breastfeeding Possible Deterrent to Autism

Posted by on Friday, 8 November, 2013

In an article appearing in Medical Hypotheses on September 20, a New York-based physician-researcher from the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine has called for the testing of umbilical cord blood for levels of a growth protein that could help predict an infant’s propensity to later develop autism.

Based on an analysis of findings in prior published studies, Touro researcher Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, proposes that depressed levels of a protein called insulin-like growth factor (IGF) could potentially serve as a biomarker that could anticipate autism occurrence.

His research points to numerous prior studies that powerfully link IGF with a number of growth and neural functions. Dr. Steinman — who has also conducted extensive research into fertility and twinning — further points to breastfeeding as a relatively abundant source of the protein. He says that IGF delivered via breastfeeding would compensate for any inborn deficiency of the growth factor in newborns.

If the IGF-autism hypothesis is validated by further study, Dr. Steinman says, an increase in the duration of breastfeeding could come to be associated with a decreased incidence of autism.

Full story of breastfeeding and autism at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education


Bipolar and Pregnant

Posted by on Tuesday, 5 November, 2013

New Northwestern Medicine® research offers one of the first in-depth studies of how physiological changes during pregnancy reduce the effects of a commonly used drug to treat bipolar disorder, making women more vulnerable to recurring episodes. The new findings will help psychiatrists and physicians prevent bipolar manic and depressive symptoms during pregnancy, which are risky for the health of the mother and her unborn child.

When a woman with bipolar disorder becomes pregnant, she and her physician often don’t realize her medication needs adjusting to prevent the symptoms from coming back — a higher risk during pregnancy. There also is little information and research to guide dosing for psychiatric medications during pregnancy.

Approximately 4.4 million women in the U.S. have bipolar disorder with women of childbearing age having the highest prevalence.

The new study shows the blood concentration of the commonly used drug lamotrigine decreases in pregnant women. About half of the women in the study had worsening depressive symptoms as their lamotrigine blood levels dropped. The drug levels fall because women have increased metabolism during pregnancy.

Full story of being bipolar and pregnant at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education


Cocaine Exposure in the Womb: The Brain Structure Is Intact, Development Is Off Track

Posted by on Thursday, 26 September, 2013

Prenatal cocaine exposure affects both behavior and brain. Animal studies have shown that exposure to cocaine during in utero development causes numerous disruptions in normal brain development and negatively affects behavior from birth and into adulthood.

For ethical reasons, similar studies in humans have been more limited but some research has shown that children exposed prenatally to cocaine have impairments in attention, control, stress, emotion regulation, and memory. Research also suggests that such children may be more predisposed to initiate substance use.

Since adolescence is the typical period in life when substance use begins, researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Rajita Sinha, conducted a study to evaluate the gray matter differences and likelihood of substance use in adolescents who were cocaine-exposed prenatally versus those who were not.

To do this, they recruited 42 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17, exposed in utero, who are part of a long-term cohort that have been followed since birth. They also studied 21 non-cocaine-exposed adolescents for comparison. All of the participants underwent structural neuroimaging scans and answered questions about their use of all kinds of illegal drugs, in addition to submitting urine samples for toxicology analyses.

Full story of cocaine during pregnancy at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education


Mom’s mental health affects baby’s language development

Posted by on Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

By Rachael Rettner

Moms Mental Health Affects BabyBoth having depression and taking antidepressants during pregnancy may affect an infant’s language development, new research suggests.

Study results reveal that a crucial language development period, during which infants learn to tune in to the sounds of their native language, is sped up when women take antidepressants, and prolonged when a woman has depression.

However, the researchers are not sure whether such speeding up or slowing down is beneficial or harmful in the long run, and it may not have any effect on a baby’s ultimate ability to acquire language, said Janet Werker, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.

Werker discussed her findings here at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting.

Babies are born with the ability to learn any language, and can distinguish between sounds of a variety of different tongues. However, by the age of 6 to 10 months, they begin to take more notice of the sounds of their native language, and are less able to discriminate between sounds of other languages.

Full story of mental health affects at Fox News


Pregnant and Displaced: Double the Danger

Posted by on Tuesday, 31 January, 2012

By Sarah Costa

Pregnancy and Displaced“There were no means of transport, so they prepared a bicycle. She lost a lot of blood and when she arrived at the district hospital, she wasn’t paid much attention. Around 6 a.m., both the mother and baby died. I witnessed it. The woman was 38 years-old.” These are the words of a man from the Kisumu district in Kenya, describing a pregnant woman in his community who had died while giving birth during the post-election violence that rocked the country in early 2008.

This kind of scenario plays out every day, around the world; more than 350,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, where the lack of access to quality health care and information results in high fertility rates and closely spaced births, increasing women’s and girls’ risk of death and disability. Indeed, pregnancy can be a matter of life or death for women and girls in these places; and, their infants’ lives are in jeopardy as well.

Full story at Huffington Post