Study Finds Odor of Newborn Activates Neurological Reward Circuit in Mothers
A new study from University of Researchers has found that the smell of a new baby turns on the neurological reward circuit in mothers. In the study, two groups of women - recent mothers and women who had never given birth - were presented with the odors of the newborn babies of others while being subjected to brain imaging tests. The baby odor was collected from their pajamas. The study found brain imaging showed greater activation in the dopaminergic system of the caudate nucleus of mothers compared to the women who had never given birth.
Johannes Frasnelli, a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Montreal's Department of Psychology, said in a release, "The olfactory—thus non-verbal and non-visual-chemical signals for communication between mother and child are intense. What we have shown for the first time is that the odour of newborns, which is part of these signals, activates the neurological reward circuit in mothers. These circuits may especially be activated when you eat while being very hungry, but also in a craving addict receiving his drug. It is in fact the sating of desire."
Babies have been given away live on a talk show in Pakistan. The baby give away is highly controversial. The abandoned babies are given to childless couples. One of the babies given away had been left in a dumpster and attacked by animals. A welfare organization rescues the abandoned babies and claims the adopting families are vetted. ITN reports that many Pakistanis are outraged that babies are being used to potentially boost ratings for a show. Take a look:
CBS Newsreports that a new study, published in Pediatrics, has revealed flat spots (positional plagiocephaly) on the heads of 47% of babies studied. The flat spots are linked to a 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all babies be put to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This does help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS have plunged by 50% since 1992. However, it is also leading to an rise in Flat Head Syndrome according to the researchers. This is because a baby's skull is soft and still growing. Most of the babies in the study had mild flattening.
CBS News says parents can make sure babies get more "tummy time" when they are awake to help reduce the likelihood of flat spots. It also helps the baby strengthen neck, shoulder and arm muscles. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons has a list with more plagiocephaly prevention tips here. Take a look:
Study Finds Flu During Pregnancy May Increase Bipolar Risk for Baby
BBC Newsreports that a new study conducted by researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center has linked flu during pregnancy to a higher risk of the baby being bipolar. The study of 814 expectant women was published here in JAMA Psychiatry. It found that an influenza infection during pregnancy made it four times more likely a child would be bipolar. The study did not distinguish between mild and severe flu cases.
BBC News cites Professor Alan Brown as estimating that an influenza infection during pregnancy could lead to a 3-4% chance of bipolar disorder in children. Any increase in risk is disturbing because flu is a common illness that is difficult to avoid. Getting a flu shot can help.
The BBC story also says prior studies have shown a link between flu and schizophrenia.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals Launches Heart to Heart Video Contest
Ferring Pharmaceuticals has launched its 2013 Heart to Heart Video Contest. The contest carries a prize of $15,000 towards a child's education. Patients who have struggled with infertility are encouraged to share their story of becoming a parent. The videos will be accepted through May 31, 2013. The website for the contest is hearttoheartcontest.com.
Joy Lewin of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement, "With the Heart to Heart Video Contest, we want to celebrate with our patients who have finally realized their dream of creating a family and offer motivation and support for those who continue to face challenges in becoming pregnant."
Sesame Street has launched the Potty With Elmo App for the iPhone and iPad. Elmo helps little Baby David learn to use the potty in the app. The app includes potty flushing sounds, potty songs, reward chart and puzzles. The app costs $2.99 and can be found here on iTunes. Take a look:
Mayo Clinic Releases New Guide Book for New Parents
The Mayo Clinic has released a new book for new parents, called Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Year. The book covers the essentials of what parents should expect during their baby's first year of life. It includes full-color photographs and answers to every new parent's questions about common skin rashes, growth and development, immunizations, common illnesses and concerns, how to bond and comfort the baby, and other important topics.
The book costs $22.95 and can be purchased here on Amazon.com.
Teen birthrates are dropping according to a new study from the CDC. The image above shows the birth rate for women aged 15-19, by state using 2010 data.
The highest teen birthrates are in the southern states. The CDC says, "Teen birthrates are highest in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and New Mexico,. There are slightly lower concentrations in the neighboring states of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arizona. New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have the lowest rates of teen births."
You can see the complete CDC study here. You can find the data tables used in the study here.
4moms Origami Power-Folding Stroller Unveiled at CES
CNN's Katie Linendoll reveals a stroller that breaks down with a touch of a button. The 4moms Origami stroller can also expand with the touch of a button. 4moms says the stroller is also a "cell phone-charging, mileage-counting, LCD-sporting stroller, with generators in the rear wheels that charge it as you walk." The first clip is from CNN and the second clip is a promotional video from 4moms. Take a look:
Embrace Baby Warmer Could Save the Lives of Many Babies in Poor Countries
ABC Newsreports that four Stanford students have designed a low-cost device, the Embrace infant warmer, which could help save thousands of lives. The Embrace functions as a low tech incubator. Embrace resembles a miniature sleeping bag. It contains a compartment in the back where a plastic pouch filled with wax and water is kept. When this pouch is heated it can keep a baby comfortable and warm. You can read more about how Embrace works here. It is a very clever device.
The students plan to bring Embrace to India, which has the highest number of premature and LBW babies in the world. Take a look:
New Census Report Shows White Babies Now the Minority in U.S.
The demographics of the U.S. continue to change. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau says white babies are now the minority. New census figures show minority babies now outnumber white babies. There is much diversity on America's playgrounds. Take a look:
The Department of Agriculture has released its annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families. The report found that a middle-income family with a child born in 2010 can expect to spend about $226,920 ($286,860 if projected inflation costs are factored in) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next 17 years. This is a 2% increase from 2009 according to the USDA.
The estimates do not include costs associated with pregnancy or the cost of a college education. Costs of college tuition have also been rising over the past several years.
The full report can be found here. The USDA also provides a Cost of Raising a Child Calculator, which is available here.
Little Molly thinks it is hysterical when Bennie the dog jumps and bites bubbles. The poster of the YouTube video writes:
On a lazy day I decided to try blowing bubbles for my daughter, Molly. At first, she didn't think they were "all that," but then Bennie, the dog, showed Molly how much fun bubbles can be. Molly thought Bennie's bubble popping was the funniest thing she has seen in her 9-1/2 months!