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Babies’ Brains Gear Up to Speak Way Before First Word

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Even if your baby isn’t speaking yet, her brain is developing speech skills—and you’re helping the process along whenever you talk around her. It turns out that babies age 7- to 12-months have stimulation in the brain whenever other people in the room are talking, according to a new study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. The infants were monitored using a brain scanning technique.

Most babies are only babbling at that age and don’t start talking until after they turn one. However, areas of their brains are already planning and coordinating for those first words. They’re preparing how to talk back even if they aren’t actually saying anything coherent. More from HealthDay News:

“Hearing us talk exercises the action areas of infants’ brains, going beyond what we thought happens when we talk to them. Infants’ brains are preparing them to act on the world by practicing how to speak before they actually say a word,” Patricia Kuhl, author of the study and co-director of the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a university news release.

Use our milestone tracker to record Baby’s first words, first steps, and much more!

Baby's First Year
Baby's First Year
Baby's First Year

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Breast Cancer Drug Shown to Help With Common Infertility Disorder

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are having a hard time conceiving may consider switching to a new fertility drug after a large study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study, which included 750 infertile women, found that letrozole (Femara), a breast cancer drug, may be more effective at helping women with PCOS get pregnant than the currently preferred medication, clomiphine (Clomid). Letrozole produces better results in ovulation, conception, and birth rates. Clomiphine, the most-used treatment today, has an increased probability of multiple births. More from HealthDay:

Researchers found that almost 28 percent of the women taking letrozole had babies after five cycles, compared with about 19 percent of those taking clomiphene.

Also, women taking letrozole had fewer twin pregnancies, compared with those taking clomiphene — about 3 percent versus 7 percent, the study found.

“Clomiphine may be trumped,” [lead researcher Dr. Richard Legro, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State University's College of Medicine in Hershey, Penn.] said. “To see a 40 percent improvement in birth rate is a huge difference.”

For now, doctors such as Dr. Avner Hershlag, an infertility specialist at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., are prescribing both letrozole and clomiphene to their patients. The choice of which prescription to use for a patient is based on several factors, such as insurance coverage and cost.

Roughly 5 to 10 percent of reproductive-age women in America have PCOS, making it the most common cause of female infertility. Symptoms include high levels of the male hormone androgen, irregular periods, and small cysts on the ovaries.

Trying to conceive? Our ovulation calculator can help.

Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes
Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes
Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes

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Pregnant Women Who Exercise Have Less-Chubby Babies

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

A new University of Colorado School of Public Health study found that pregnant women who exercise regularly in their third trimester have babies who are born with less fat. Researchers say that this could be a good thing, since babies who have extra fat at birth could continue to be heavier when they are older kids and beyond.

Experts already state that healthy pregnant women should be exercising moderately for their well-being as well as their baby’s. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that healthy moms-to-be engage in moderate activity, such as brisk walking, for 30 minutes most days of the week. Exercise can reduce the amount of blood sugar that gets to the fetus, which in turn reduces the chance of having a larger-than-normal baby, according to Dr. Joseph Fernandez, an ob-gyn with Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas. This study adds to the evidence that exercise is beneficial for both Mom and Baby, he said.

However, the study is not entirely conclusive. More from HealthDay:

The researchers did find that the most-active mothers had an increased risk of having a “small-for-gestational-age” newborn — which means smaller than the norm for babies born during a given week of pregnancy.

But Dabelea attributed that to the lower level of body fat, rather than impaired growth and development in the womb.

Another ob/gyn who reviewed the study said the higher likelihood of small-for-gestational-age newborns is “a little concerning.” But there’s no way of knowing whether there could be negative effects in the long run.

It is well-established that leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial before and during pregnancy. ”It’s important to start optimizing your health before you become pregnant,” Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief of ambulatory care and women’s health programs at North Shore-LIJ Health System, said. “Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, take prenatal vitamins, quit smoking.”

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy? Find out with our weight gain calculator.

Pregnancy Workouts: Easy Beginner Exercises
Pregnancy Workouts: Easy Beginner Exercises
Pregnancy Workouts: Easy Beginner Exercises

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2 Kids Injured After Bounce House Blows Away

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

A bounce house that had two children inside blew across a field in Colorado on Saturday. A young girl was thrown about eight feet into the air and a boy was trapped in the bounce house. This happened just weeks after a similar incident occurred in upstate New York. More from TIME:

Witness Desiree Hunter described watching the structure tumble across the field “like a bag in the wind” in Littleton, Colo., KUSA reports.

The incident marks the second time in the past month that a bounce house has caused injuries after getting picked up by a gust of wind. Two young boys were injured in upstate New York in mid-May when they fell 15 feet out of an inflatable attraction that reached a height of 50 feet in the air.

Local officials said the girl was released on site while the boy, who was trapped in the bounce house as it traveled 200 to 300 feet, was taken into an ambulance. Police do not believe he suffered serious injuries.

Airbound, the company that manufactured the bounce house, did not respond to KUSA’s request for comment.

Similar incidents in the past few year have prompted Jim Barber, a National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials spokesman, to call bounce houses “probably the most dangerous amusement devices they have” in 2011.

Sign up for our recall alerts and shop outdoor games

Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do

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New Study: Give Kids Vegetables Early and Often

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Infants who are offered a vegetable early in life are more likely to eat it than older children who are first exposed to the vegetable later on, according to research from the University of Leeds. Picky eaters are able to eat more of a vegetable each time they are offered it. Moreover, the study revealed that vegetables do not have to be hidden in other foods for kids to eat them. More from ScienceDaily:

In the study, which was funded by the EU, the research team gave artichoke puree to 332 children from three countries aged from weaning age to 38 months. During the experiment each child was given between five and 10 servings of at least 100g of the artichoke puree in one of three versions: basic; sweetened, with added sugar; or added energy, where vegetable oil was mixed into the puree.

There was also little difference in the amounts eaten over time between those who were fed basic puree and those who ate the sweetened puree, which suggests that making vegetables sweeter does not make a significant difference to the amount children eat.

Younger children consumed more artichoke than older children. This is because after 24 months children become reluctant to try new things and start to reject foods — even those they previously liked. Among the children, four distinct groups emerged. Most children (40%) were “learners” who increased intake over time. Of the group, 21% consumed more than 75% of what was offered each time and they were called “plate-clearers.” Those who ate less than 10g even by the fifth helping were classified as “non-eaters,” amounting to 16% of the cohort, and the remainder were classified as “others” (23%) since their pattern of intake varied over time. Non-eaters, who tended to be older pre-school children, were the most fussy, the research found.

Globe artichoke was chosen as the sample vegetable because, as part of the research, parents were surveyed and artichoke was one of the least-offered vegetables. NHS guidelines are to start weaning children onto solid foods at six months.

The research has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

 Make homemade baby food or shop kids’ placemats

Picky Eaters: 3 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating
Picky Eaters: 3 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating
Picky Eaters: 3 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating

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