Archive for the ‘ New Research ’ Category

Study Links Preemies With These Personality Traits

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Premature birth has been previously linked to multiple long-term complications, such as behavioral issues and learning disabilities. However, a new study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood (Fetal & Neonatal Edition) has also found that certain personality traits are more commonly found among adults who were born preterm.

A team of researchers from England compared a group of 200 individuals who were born at a very low birth weight (less than about 3 lb 5 oz) or less than 32 weeks old with 197 individuals who were born at term and at a normal birth weight. All people surveyed were 26 years old at the time of the study, and the study looked at their personality traits, likelihood of risk-taking, and broad autism phenotype.

It was found that people born prematurely or with low birth weight were less socially engaged, more easily worried, and poor communicators. This group also scored lower on risk-taking and agreeableness when compared to the group who was born at a healthy, full-term weight.

Of course, personality is also influenced by the environment one grows up in, childhood life experiences as well as genetics. Researchers acknowledged that premature birth accounted for approximately 11 percent of the study’s personality assessment.

The authors concluded that these findings could help explain the higher rate of social difficulties for adults who fall into the very premature or very low birth weight group.

“If identified early, parents could be provided with techniques to foster their child’s social skills to help compensate for socially withdrawn personality characteristics,” adds lead author Prof. Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick in a press release.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies

Image: Preemie holding hand via Shutterstock

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Are You Getting Conflicting (Confusing!) Baby-Care Advice?

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Baby careWhen it comes to caring for a baby, parents receive a great deal of advice from plenty of sources—but how much of the advice is accurate? A new study published online in the journal of Pediatrics further proves you can’t believe everything you hear.

More than 1,000 U.S. mothers of infants aged 2- to 6-months were surveyed about advice they had been given on various parenting topics—vaccines, breastfeeding, pacifiers, and infant sleep (position and location)—as well as who gave it to them (medical professional, the media, and family members).

The study concluded that although moms get the majority of their advice from doctors, this guidance is often contradictory to what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. Specifically, 10 to 15 percent of advice from doctors about breastfeeding and pacifier-use did not align with the AAP. Advice about sleeping positions (26 percent) and safe sleep locations (29 percent) also differed. Perhaps most disturbingly, 50 percent of new mothers reported receiving no counseling at all from doctors about sleep location or pacifier-use and about 20 percent did not get advice on breastfeeding or sleep position.

Related: Most Doctors Are Delaying Vaccines Because of Parents’ Request, Study Says

“I’m not so sure most parents realize how much recommendations differ from doctor to doctor and nurse to nurse, or that many of us give medical information that is just plain wrong,” stated pediatrician Clay Jones, M.D., who was not involved in the study.

Guidance that was passed along by family members (sorry grandma!) or the media was also frequently inconsistent with AAP recommendations. The bottom line? Stick to reputable sources—lead author Staci Eisenberg, M.D. recommends the AAP and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—when you’re looking for medical information online.

Related: Many Parents Are Still Confused About Antibiotics

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: Choosing the Right Doctor
Baby Care Basics: Choosing the Right Doctor
Baby Care Basics: Choosing the Right Doctor

Image: Baby at pediatrician via Shutterstock

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Are Babies in the NICU Getting Too Many Unnecessary Tests and Treatments?

Friday, July 24th, 2015

NewbornInfant mortality rates are on the decline, which is excellent news. But when it comes to newborn health, there’s still room for improvement—and new Choosing Wisely recommendations developed by neonatologists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center focus on improving the care of infants treated in neonatal intensive care units by avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments. The guidelines, which were published online in Pediatrics, were developed from a survey of more than 1,000 pediatricians, neonatologists, and pediatric medical and surgical specialists.

Of course, “advanced tests and treatments have been important factors in [the decline in infant mortality rates], but we need to use them more wisely,” senior author of the recommendations, DeWayne Pursley, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., Chair of the Department of Neonatology and Pediatrician-in-Chief at BIDMC, said in a news release.

An expert panel identified five of the most important guidelines, which include:

  • Avoid routine use of anti-reflux medications for treatment of symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or for treatment of apnea and desaturation in preterm infants.
  • Avoid use of antibiotics for longer than 48 hours in absence of bacterial infection.
  • Avoid routine use of pneumograms for pre-discharge assessment of ongoing and/or prolonged apneas of prematurity.
  • Avoid routine daily chest radiographs without an indication for intubated infants.
  • Avoid routine screening term-equivalent or discharge brain MRIs in pre-term infants.

“In general, newborn care providers do a good job communicating with families about the care of their babies, but there is always room to do better,” added author Timmy Ho, M.D., FAAP, a neonatologist at BIDMC. “Our hope is that caregivers and families will use this list as a starting point in discussions about tests and treatments and whether or not they add value to a baby’s care.”

Related: 5 Essential Health Screenings Your Baby Needs

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies

Image: Newborn via Shutterstock

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Are Kids in YOUR State Thriving? Find Out!

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Group of kids

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released the 2015 edition of its KIDS COUNT Data Book, and the findings give us a good indication of how well our country is doing as a whole—and where we need to improve.

The report has been published annually since 1990, and sheds light on the lives of children all across the United States. (This year’s edition compares trends from 2008 with data from 2013.) Each is state given an overall rank based on four categories that are also individually evaluated: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

It was found that children are facing more economic and family/community hardships than before, but have made positive developments in health and education. Here are a few of the report’s key findings:

  • 22 percent (16.1 million) of kids are being raised below the poverty line
  • 5.2 million children still lack health insurance
  • Two thirds of eighth graders are proficient in math
  • Four out of five high school students are graduating on time
  • Teen births are on the decline (There were 26 births per 1,000 teens in 2013 vs. 60 births per 1,000 teens in 1990)

As for each individual state’s overall rankings, Minnesota came in at number one, while Mississippi came in at the bottom. See where your state stacked up here.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Income's Impact on Education
Income's Impact on Education
Income's Impact on Education

Image: Group of kids via Shutterstock

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Hey Moms: Dads Gain Weight After Having Kids, Too!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Baby sleeping on dadRemember that whole “dad-bod” craze? Well, it turns out that the “postbaby body” really isn’t just a mom thing after all.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, guys gain weight after their first child—even if they don’t live with their children.

Researchers followed more than 10,000 men from adolescence through their early 30s. Each man’s BMI was measured at four different times. It was found that men who cohabitate with their children gain about 4.4 pounds after becoming a dad, while men who don’t reside with their children gain approximately 3.3 pounds. As for the guys who didn’t become dads? They actually lost 1.4 pounds during this time period.

Related: How Depressed Dads Can Lead to Troubled Toddlers

“You have new responsibilities when you have your kids and may not have time to take care of yourself the way you once did in terms of exercise,” said lead author Craig Garfield, M.D. “Your family becomes the priority.” He also notes that many dads take on the responsibility of eating any food their kids leave on their plates.

Sound familiar?

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need

Image: Baby sleeping on dad via Shutterstock

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