Friday, March 21st, 2014
We all know things like hair and eye color, even intelligence, can be passed down from mom and dad to baby. But can anxiety? A new study says yes, and more specifically, your fear of math can rub off on your little one while he or she is in the womb. What? Who knew?
According to a study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, whose findings are published in the online version of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, genetic factors explain about 40 percent of the individual differences in math anxiety. The rest is chocked up to experiences at school, home and around friends.
The study, which examined how 216 identical twins and 298 same-sex fraternal twins differ on measures of math anxiety, provides a new view on why some children—and adults—may develop a real fear of math that makes it more difficult for them to solve math problems and succeed in school.
Science Daily reports that math anxiety taps into genetic predispositions in two ways: “People’s cognitive performance on math and their tendency toward anxiety,” said Zhe Wang, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Ohio State University.
Stephen Petrill, professor of psychology at Ohio State, and the principal investigator of the study, says, “Genetic factors may exacerbate or reduce the risk of doing poorly at math. If you have these genetic risk factors for math anxiety and then you have negative experiences in math classes, it may make learning that much harder.“
Hmmm…so in addition to prenatal appointments, and readying the nursery, do pregnant mamas-to-be need to be boning up on their math skills, so their newborns will eventually be math geniuses rather than math worriers?
TELL US: Do you think a parents’ anxiety, and specifically academic anxieties, can be passed down from generation to generation?
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Image of child doing geometry courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Anxiety, Fraternal Twins, genetic study, Genetic Traits, Genetics, Identical Twins, Intelligence, Math Anxiety, math skills, pregnancy, pregnant, Twins | Categories:
Monday, July 15th, 2013
Forget alcohol, what most pregnant women miss most is sushi! But now news comes that you might not have to skip the raw fish, plus eating fish while pregnant can help lower your anxiety levels.
The benefits of eating fish while pregnant far outweigh the risks. Researchers from Children of the 90s at the University of Bristol and the Federal University of Rio de Janiero, Brazil, found that women who never ate seafood had a 53 percent greater likelihood of having high levels of anxiety at 32 weeks of pregnancy when compared to women who ate seafood regularly. The results suggest that two meals of white fish and one meal of oily fish each week would be enough to ward off anxiety.
Excessive anxiety is not good for the mother’s long-term health and can result in her baby being born prematurely and having a low birth weight. Previous research from Children of the 90s has shown the beneficial effects of eating oily fish during pregnancy on a child’s IQ and eyesight. This new study shows the importance of oily fish for a mother’s mental health and the health and development of her baby.
Even though the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still recommends not eating sushi while pregnant, there is no scientific evidence linking pregnant women eating sushi with health risks to babies or complications with pregnancies. In fact, Dr. Amos Grunebaum, Director of Obstetrics and Chief of Labor & Delivery at Cornell Medical center says it’s totally fine. And in Japan (where they should know a thing or two about sushi), eating raw fish is considered part of good neonatal nutrition as long as the fish isn’t high in mercury levels (salmon is a safe pick!).
The main worry about pregnant women eating sushi seems to come from the fear of parasites. However, farmed salmon (which is most likely to be used in sushi as opposed to wild salmon) is rarely susceptible to parasites, and fish is almost always flash frozen to transport, which kills the parasites anyway (and if you’re eating cooked fish, the high temperatures will also kill the parasites).
According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, most seafood-related illnesses are due to shellfish—not fish. The risk of falling ill from seafood other than shellfish is 1 in 2 million compared to 1 in 25,000 from chicken.
It’s still advised to speak to your doctor about your pregnancy diet, but the widespread panic about pregnant women eating sushi seems completely overblown—and eating it could actually help your baby’s brain development. Couldn’t you go for a little mahi mahi right about now?
TELL US: Have you given up sushi while pregnant? Will this new research make you change your mind?
Image of sushi courtesy of Shutterstock.
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