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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Child Health, New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now
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
Monday, December 22nd, 2014
There’s a lot to keep up on when you’re a parent (or parent-to-be), whether you’re in that exhausted-and-expecting stage, the exhausted-because-you-have-a-newborn stage, or exhausted because you’re chasing around your active kiddos. So in case you missed it, here are some of the most noteworthy and news-worthy pregnancy, parenting, health, and safety stories we covered in 2014:
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 became law
Good news from Washington (yes, really!): Thanks to the signing of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, young kids in child care will now be safer. As Parents deputy editor Diane Debrovner wrote last month, “The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the primary federal grant program that provides child-care assistance to low-income families. The new law affects child-care centers and individuals who care for children with the support of federal funding, but all children in child care are likely to benefit from the new higher standards.”
The government took a stand on circumcision
Few topics are more hot-button that the decision parents of boys must make regarding circumcision. But earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weighed in on the issue in a draft of guidelines, saying that medical evidence showed the procedure can reduce the risk of HIV, STDs, UTIs, and even some types of cancer. The CDC says circumcision should be covered by health insurers, but still doesn’t go so far as to flat-out recommend it to parents.
Too many babies are sleeping with unsafe bedding
A shocking study published in the January 2015 issue of Pediatrics looked at infant bedding use from 1993–2010 and found that more than half of babies fell asleep with potentially hazardous bedding. Another finding: Teen moms were most likely to use soft bedding, altough, as we noted, “the study also found a link between use of bedding and mothers who were younger in general, a minority, or not college educated.”
We’re making car-seat mistakes from the get-go
Is there a parent among us who hasn’t fretted about the car seat being installed correctly? Well, as it turns out, we’re right to be worried. A study presented in October at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 93 percent of parents make at least one major mistake (such as a too-loose harness, a too-low retainer clip, or using the wrong harness slot) before they’ve even driven away from the hospital. And in almost 70 percent of cases, there were mistakes with both the installation of the seat and how baby was positioned in it.
Enterovirus D86, ebola, and flu were—and remain—causes of concern
Three different health threats caught our attention this year: enterovirus D68, which by October had more than 650 confirmed cases, ebola, and influenza. And while, sadly, both enterovirus D68 and ebola caused a loss of life, it’s the flu that causes the most harm, killing an estimated 30,000 Americans each year and causing the hospitalization of roughly 20,000 kids under the age of 5.
The EEOC updated its rules regarding discrimination and pregnancy
Unfortunately, accusations of pregnancy discrimination seemed to abound in 2014, from the Supreme Court’s hearing of Peggy Young’s case to the woman who claims she was fired for needing to take pee breaks. But one bit of good news: for the first time in more than three decades, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new, tougher rules regarding pregnancy discrimination and “related issues” (think breastfeeding and parental leave.) As we reported, one thing the EEOC made clear is that “adjustments may need to be made for pregnant workers—including providing the option of light duty.” Furthermore, employers can’t force a pregnant employee to take a leave of absence when she’s capable of continuing to work.
Yet another study disputed a vaccines-autism link
As we reported last summer, a study published in the August issue of Pediatrics reviewed “a large body of scientific findings and concluded that parents should be reassured about vaccines’ safety.” The study found no causal relationship between vaccines and autism.
Scientists may have discovered the cause of 40% of pre-term births
In October, we reportde that scientists at Queen Mary University in London “identified the chemical chain of events that they believe causes the preterm premature rupture of the fetal membrane (PPROM)—the condition that accounts for 40 percent of all preterm births.” The findings were published in the journal Placenta. Next up—we hope: a treatment that would actually repair the membrane.
The pre-term birth rate in the U.S. is way down
In Novermber, the March of Dimes released its annual Premature Birth Report Card, which revealed that the pre-term birth rate in the United States fell to 11.4 percent—a 17-year low. Good news, to be sure, but the organization stressed that there’s still work to be done to ensure more babies are born healthy, and at term. To that end the U.S. received a “C” grade on the report because it missed the group’s stated goal of a 9.6 percent preterm birth rate.
The autism rate was lowered to 1 in 68
In March came a shocking new estimate from a CDC report that 1 in 68 kids are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The previous estimate, made two years ago, put the prevalence at 1 in 88. As our Red-Hot Parenting blogger Richard Rende, PhD., wrote, “The estimated prevalence of ASD has gone up tremendously in the last decade, and it is assumed that improved recognition and diagnosis is the primary factor. The implication here is that we have underestimated the true rate of ASD and as such the new data suggest an urgency in mobilizing resources to understand the causes and accelerate the delivery of interventions.”
Image of child in daycare: Shutterstock
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Child Health, New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now, Pregnancy, Safety
Monday, July 1st, 2013
Jessica Simpson and fiance Eric Johnson welcomed their second child yesterday—a baby boy named Ace Knute (pronounced Ka-nute) Johnson. The baby was born via scheduled C-section, and both mom and baby are doing fine. Simpson, 32, and Johnson, 33, are also parents to their nearly 14-month-old daughter, Maxwell Drew. More from Us Weekly:
Gender wasn’t the only difference for pregnancy number two. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on March 7, Simpson shared that “this pregnancy is the complete opposite. Like with Maxwell, I felt amazing. Like I could do everything, eat everything. Do whatever I wanted. I had a lot of energy,” she recalled. “This time around . . . I’m like exhausted. Eating Tums. That’s my snack of choice.”
After about six months of dating, Simpson and Johnson, a Yale grad and former NFL player, got engaged in fall 2010, but were forced to postpone their nuptials twice due to her unexpected, back-to-back pregnancies. But a source recently told Us they’re hoping to (finally!) tie the knot soon.
At the Weight Watchers spokeswoman’s April 14 baby shower, she “was telling friends she wanted to get married a few months after the baby is born,” the source told Us. “Jessica said, ‘Let’s have this wedding already before I get pregnant with another one!’”
Image: Pregnant Jessica Simpson, via Shutterstock
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