Lots of news concerning pregnancy and early childhood health to catch up on today:
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows evidence of a connection between the reactivation of the virus (Epstein-Barr) that causes mononucleosis and the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young children, especially those under one year old. The research was headed by Dr. Matti Lehtinen from the National Public Health Institute, Oulu, Finland.
Research by Vivette Glover of Imperial College London indicates a possible effect of maternal stress while pregnant on the mental and emotional development of her child. The mechanism is not known yet but may involved increased levels of cortisol in the mother and in the amniotic fluid.
Reduced intake of folic acid, a form of the water-soluble vitamin B, has long been linked to a higher chance of a child to be born with neural tube disorders like spina bifida. It can be found naturally in green leafy vegetables. There is now some evidence that folic acid supplements taken in early pregnancy can also decrease the chance of cleft lip by about 40%. This research appeared in the British Medical Journal.
Also in the British Medical Journal is a study showing that up to 3 cups of caffeinated coffee (considered to be a moderate amount) a day while pregnant doesn’t raise the risk of premature births or underweight babies. Eight or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day however may increase the chance of stillbirth. In this study over 1000 pregnant women were put into a group to drink a moderate amount of coffee either with or without caffeine and no difference was found between the average birth weights.
According to a report in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine women who are treated for some illnesses and disorders during pregnancy have children who have a greater chance of having wheezing problems. These include pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), preeclampsia, maternal diabetes and antibiotics given during delivery for urinary tract infections and respiratory infections.
An interesting story in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology presents some evidence that babies who are born with low sodium levels tend to prefer saltier foods later on. Micah Leshem and his team at the University of Haifa in Israel observed 41 kids who had been born premature and found that those who were born with sodium deficiencies tended to choose salty over sweet foods when given a choice. Kids who had been born premature were chosen for the study because they have a greater chance of being born with lower sodium levels.
I still have lots more to write about – but I am out of time again! I’ll continue first chance I get.
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