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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
The best type of anesthesia for infants has been disputed in the past, with some experts believing that general anesthesia, if given to a baby during the first year of life, could increase the risk for development and learning issues. One study even linked general anesthesia in infancy to the development of ADHD.
But recently published findings concluded that regional anesthesia, an injection that blocks pain from a large area of the body while leaving the patient conscious, yields better outcomes for infants recovering from certain types of surgery.
Research from two separate studies, released by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), examined the effects of general and regional anesthesia by measuring the extent to which apnea (a temporary cessation of breathing) occurred after the most common procedure infants undergo—hernia repair surgery. Researchers from the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Australia compared rates of apnea of 722 infants, and found that regional anesthesia decreased the chance of apnea in the first half hour following surgery.
“Our research provides the strongest evidence to date on how babies should have anesthesia for hernia repair—the most common procedure among infants,” said Andrew Davidson, M.D., study author and associate professor, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. “We found that spinal anesthesia is safer than general anesthesia.”
This research is also a part of an ongoing study focused on the long-term effects of anesthesia on neurodevelopment outcomes.
Related: Brain Scans Reveal Babies Feel Pain the Same Way Adults Do
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
Image: Anesthesia via Shutterstock
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Friday, April 24th, 2015
Babies need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep each day depending on their age. But where they sleep is even more important than how much they sleep—and a new study set to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that “sitting devices” like car seats, swings, and bouncers can lead to injury and even death if babies are allowed to sleep in them.
Researchers examined the deaths of 47 young children under the age of 2, all of which occurred while in a device made for sitting or carrying. Two-thirds of the deaths occurred in car seats, while the rest occurred in slings, swings, bouncers, and strollers.
Asphyxiation (positional or strangulation) was the cause of death in 46 cases; 52 percent of the deaths were caused by strangulation from the device’s straps.
Related: How Safe Is Your Baby’s Sleep?
Sleep-related deaths are the number one cause of death in kids between 1 and 12 months old. To avoid injury or death, experts urge parents to never, under any circumstance, leave infants and young children unsupervised—sleeping or awake—while in these devices. They also advise that car seats should only be placed on a firm, stable surface and any buckles should be fastened correctly.
The best place for your baby to sleep is on her back, in a crib that has a firm mattress and is free from any loose bedding. To be sure your baby’s sleep environment is as safe as can be, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe sleep guidelines.
Related: Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Watch This!
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Sleeping infant via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Until now, some people have argued that a baby’s brain isn’t developed enough yet developed to feel pain, but recent research has showed that babies not only feel pain when they get shots. And a new study shows that babies and adults share the same pain threshold.
Through the use of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered that babies’ brains react similarly to adult brains when exposed to the same degree of pain.
Related: Yes, Babies CAN Feel Pain When Getting Shots
These findings could potentially alter current guidelines dealing with infants and pain management during painful procedures. “As recently as the 1980s, it was common practice for babies to be given neuromuscular blocks but no pain relief medication during surgery,” reports Science Daily.
As of now, this is a small-scale study; in total, researchers have only examined 20 healthy individuals: 10 infants between one and six days old, and 10 adults between 23- and 36-years-old. Of the 20 brain regions that are active when adults experience pain, 18 were also active in babies (see the MRI image here).
In fact, scans showed that babies’ brains that were given a weak “poke” had the same response as adults who were given a “poke” that was four times as strong. This suggests that babies are not only feeling pain, but they also have a significantly lower tolerance for the feeling. Of course, further research will be needed to draw a better conclusion.
However, because babies are unable to verbalize when and how badly they experience pain, this information is especially important in establishing the best ways to deal with pain relief in the future.
Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.
Image: Doctors examining brain scans via Shutterstock
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Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Not all births—especially premature births—are created equal. But in early December, a baby boy who was born 26 weeks premature amazed everyone.
The doctors at Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles delivered Silas Johnson via C-section, and—much to their surprise—he was still fully encased in his mother’s amniotic sac. This is called an en caul birth and only happens once in every 80,000 births. This type of birth is so rare because, even in C-sections, “doctors frequently pierce through the sac as they make their incision to remove the baby,” reports Time.
In some cases, an amniotic sac may be intentionally left intact to protect a premature baby during delivery, but the doctors at Cedars-Sinai had not planned for this outcome.
“It was a moment that really did, even though it’s a cliché: we caught our breath. It really felt like a moment of awe,” said William Binder, M.D., who delivered the baby. “This was really a moment that will stick in my memory for some time.” He even took a moment to snap a photo of Johnson perfectly curled up in the fetal position.
A baby born en caul will continue to receive oxygen through the placenta, but only for a short amount of time, so doctors (or a midwife) need to puncture the sac soon after birth.
Johnson is doing well and is set to head home in less than a month.
Check out more real-life birth stories!
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn
Image: Screenshot of baby Silas courtesy of a CNN video
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Parenting News, Parents News Now
Thursday, September 25th, 2014
You know those precious gaa gaa goo goo sounds your baby makes can melt your heart. But it turns out your little one loves to hear those sounds as much as you do!
A study conducted by the University of Missouri found that “infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants’ ability to hear their own babbling.”
The researchers examined a mix of babies, some with normal hearing and others that were candidates for cochlear implants, and found that the babies who had suffered hearing loss were less likely to babble as much as their peers (though “non-speech” sounds like crying and laughing were not affected by this either way).
The good news is after the babies with hearing loss received their cochlear implants, their levels of babbling reached the same as those who could hear—and in a span of just four months!
“Babies learn so much through sound in the first year of their lives,” Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the MU School of Health Professions, said in a news release. “We know learning from others is important to infants’ development, but hearing allows infants to explore their own vocalizations and learn through their own capacity to produce sounds.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that up to 3 out of every 1,000 infants are born with some sort of hearing impairment. Is your child one of them? Read on to learn more about caring for a baby with hearing loss.
Photo of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.
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