Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
A new study suggests that pregnant women who drink sweet sodas regularly may be more likely to deliver their babies too early, Reuters reports.
Researchers studied more than 60,000 pregnant women in Norway and found that those who drank one sugar-sweetened soda a day were up to 25 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who avoided sugary drinks. And pregnant women who drank artificially sweetened sodas daily were 11 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who skipped sweet drinks. But it’s not clear if sodas themselves deserve the blame.
[T]he new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cannot prove that sugary drinks cause preterm births. Lifestyle and other factors that go along with high sugar consumption may also play a role. Nutrition, maternal age, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic health problems like diabetes, and genetic conditions, have all been implicated in preterm birth.
The authors note in their report that women who drank the most sweetened drinks were also more likely to smoke, eat more calories, and have a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight relative to height – than those who drank fewer sugary drinks.
The researchers said they aren’t ready to recommend that pregnant women give up all sweetened soft drinks, but they do recommend that moms-to-be watch their sugar intake and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Image: Soft drink via Shutterstock.
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Monday, August 27th, 2012
Actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt have welcomed a baby boy, People.com reports.
Faris, 35, and “Parks and Recreation” star Pratt, 33, named their son Jack. The baby was born prematurely; Faris had been due this fall.
“He arrived earlier than expected and will be spending some time in the NICU. The happy parents thank you for your warm wishes and ask that you honor their privacy during this time,” their rep told People.com.
Faris, who recently starred in the film “The Dictator,” wed Pratt in 2009.
Image: Chris Pratt and Anna Faris via s_bukley / Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
CNN.com is reporting on the inspiring story of a newborn baby whose life-threatening intestinal obstruction was corrected not through major, invasive surgery, but through an innovative technique using magnets:
A thin, hard membrane was blocking a section of [newborn, 4-pound] Patrick’s intestines — the result of a rare birth defect called rectal atresia that occurs in one out of every 5,000 babies.
“We need to remove it,” the doctor told the couple.
[Dr. Eric] Scaife described to Patrick’s worried parents a long, technically difficult surgery. Patrick would be cut open through his abdomen and vertically along his tailbone. Once inside, Scaife would remove the membrane and then piece together two sections of intestines.
He had his concerns. It was a big operation on a little baby. The surgery might cause scarring, or it might injure nerves in Patrick’s pelvis that could lead to incontinence.
If Patrick was Scaife’s son, what would he do? Divricean asked the surgeon.
Scaife told her he’d think on it and give them an answer the next week.
“Hopefully, they’ll come up with something that will save Patrick or will give us a better option at least,” Divricean thought as she waited for the week to pass.
A week later, Scaife had an idea.
Instead of removing Patrick’s blockage, he wanted to break through it — with two powerful magnets.
In the hands of children, strong magnets have proven dangerous, even deadly. When swallowed, they’ve passed into the intestines, and their attraction to each other has forged a hole in tissues.
It occurred to Scaife that in the skilled hands of a surgeon, magnets might be a useful tool instead of a hazard. If he placed a magnet on either side of Patrick’s blockage, their attraction might make a hole and destroy the membrane, allowing stool to pass.
Scaife’s idea was untested and unproven — but if it worked, Patrick wouldn’t need surgery.
Read on for the whole story.
Image: Surgeon, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Babies who are born at 37 or 38 weeks–considered to be “full term” but on the early end of the 37-41-week spectrum–may face increased risk of academic performance issues in school, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. The Huffington Post has more:
The study involved 128,000 New York City public school children and included a sizable number of kids from disadvantaged families. But the authors said similar results likely would be found in other children, too.
Of the children born at 37 weeks, 2.3 percent had severely poor reading skills and 1.1 percent had at least moderate problems in math. That compares to 1.8 percent and 0.9 percent for the children born at 41 weeks.
Children born at 38 weeks faced only slightly lower risks than those born at 37 weeks.
Compared with 41-weekers, children born at 37 weeks faced a 33 percent increased chance of having severe reading difficulty in third grade, and a 19 percent greater chance of having moderate problems in math.
“These outcomes are critical and predict future academic achievement,” said Naomi Breslau, a Michigan State University professor and sociologist. Her own research has linked lower IQs in 6-year-olds born weighing the same as the average birth weights at 37 and 38 weeks’ gestation, compared with those born heavier.
Image: Girl in school, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, June 4th, 2012
A study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry has found that premature babies who are born at fewer than 32 weeks of gestation have a higher risk of suffering from mental illnesses later in life, including psychosis, bipolar disorder, and depression. From Reuters:
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Scientists in Britain and Sweden found that people born very prematurely – at less than 32 weeks’ gestation – were three times more likely than those born at term to be hospitalized with a psychiatric illness at aged 16 and older.
The researchers think the increased risk may be down to small but important differences in brain development in babies born before the a full 40 week gestation period.
The risk varied depending on the condition – psychosis was 2.5 times more likely for premature babies, severe depression 3 times more likely, and bipolar disorder 7.4 times more likely for those born before 32 weeks.
The study, to be published in the Archives of General Psychiatry journal, also found smaller but significant increased psychiatric risks for babies born only moderately early, at between 32 and 36 weeks.