Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Receiving a flu shot during pregnancy may reduce the chances that a woman will give worth a baby with low birthweight, a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found. US News and World Report explains the study:
The study included 340 pregnant women in Bangladesh who were divided into two groups — 170 who received the flu vaccine and 170 who received a different vaccine that does not protect against the flu. All of the women were in their third trimester.
When the seasonal influenza virus was circulating in the population, the flu vaccine group had fewer babies who were small for their gestational age than the other group — about 26 percent versus 45 percent.
The percentage of small-for-gestational-age births was similar in both groups when the influenza virus was dormant, according to the study published Feb. 21 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
When the influenza virus was circulating, the mean birth weight was 7 pounds in the flu vaccine group and 6.6 pounds in the group that didn’t get flu shots, the investigators found.
“Our data suggest that the prevention of infection with seasonal influenza in pregnant women by vaccination can influence fetal growth,” Dr. Mark Steinhoff, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and colleagues wrote in their report.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock.
Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Hunger and malnourishment are on the rise among children in five American cities, but mostly in Boston, a new hospital study reports. The Boston Medical Center (BMC) has seen a marked increase in underweight and undernourished children, The Boston Globe reports:
Before the economy soured in 2007, 12 percent of youngsters age 3 and under whose families were randomly surveyed in the hospital’s emergency department were significantly underweight. In 2010, that percentage jumped to 18 percent, and the tide does not appear to be abating, said Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor of pediatrics and public health at BMC.
“Food is costing more, and dollars don’t stretch as far,’’ Sandel said. “It’s hard to maintain a diet that is healthy.’’
Pediatricians at hospitals in four other cities – Baltimore; Little Rock, Ark.; Minneapolis; and Philadelphia – also reported increases in the ranks of malnourished, hungry youngsters in their emergency rooms since 2008. But Boston’s increases were more dramatic, said Sandel, a lead investigator with Children’s HealthWatch, a network of researchers who track children’s health. Researchers said higher housing and heating costs in Massachusetts probably exacerbated the state’s surge.
The emergency room survey found a similarly striking increase in the percentage of families with children who reported they did not have enough food each month, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2010.
The article reported that BMC has also noted a 58 percent increase in the past 5 years in the number of severely underweight babies referred to the hospital’s intensive infant nutrition program called The Grow Clinic. The clinic’s current patient load is similar to typical figures from developing countries.