A study reported in the journal Pediatrics has shown that ethyl mercury (used as a preservative in vaccines) only has a half life of about 4 days compared to the more toxic 44 days of methyl mercury.
As a result, even the small amount of ethyl mercury that is used would be gone from an infant's body before it could reach a toxic level from buildup.
The full article includes details about why this became a concern even though the World Health Organization has continually sanctioned the use of ethyl mercury in the preservative thimerosal.
This preservative was removed from childhood vaccines in the United States (except for some influenza vaccines) due to previous concerns about the possibility of mercury from the vaccines causing autism. This latest study shows that such a link almost certainly does not exist, due to the rapid breakdown and excretion of the ethyl mercury.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Lorraine Allard, 33 year old mother of 4 in the UK, passed away on January 18th.
She was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer 4 months into her pregnancy, and refused treatment rather than terminate her pregnancy.
Her son Liam was just 1 lb, 11 oz when he was born 15 weeks premature last November, and is due to go home to his father and 3 sisters in March.
Parenting.com has provided (via CNN) some relationship and parenting advice as it relates to some of the more common "rules" that we've all heard over the years, including:
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams of caffeine (10 oz of coffee) may double their risk of a miscarriage.
The lead author recommends that pregnant women give up caffeine for at least the first 3-4 months of pregnancy.
On the flip-side, a Columbia University Medical Center professor seems somewhat dubious of the conclusions that the researchers are drawing from the data presented.
Read the full article in the NY Times for all of the details and decide for yourself.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Searching for some information updates, the Newborn News Corner came across a good resource for parents seeking some of the "basics" in baby care and information, including:
A Guide for First-Time Parents
The Senses and Your Newborn
There are plenty of other resources on the site as well, including some basics for breastfeeding.
The basic goal of communication is to achieve mutual understanding. A newborn baby doesn't have too many communication tools to work with, and so babies frequently resort to their default method: crying.
When your baby is crying, more often than not there's a purpose behind it that you, as the caregiver, are expected to determine.
The Mayo Clinic has compiled a list of possibilities to consider for why your infant might be crying.
Also included in this segment is information on taking care of yourself, as well as details on colic.
Since it takes anywhere up to 3 to 6 months for a newborn baby to start sleeping through the night, new parents are very tired, very stressed out individuals!
The Mayo Clinic has compiled a list of tips to help new parents get some of the rest that they so desperately need!
Their suggestions aren't intended to help your baby sleep through the night - that is going to take time - but are instead ways to help a new parent maximize sleep and rest opportunities. Every little bit is going to count!
Most of us are used to seeing babies that are cute and adorable. Even most movies and tv shows seem to want us to believe that newborns arrive in the same beautiful condition we see them in later.
The Mayo Clinic has compiled a slideshow with information on what you should actually expect when your baby is born. This is particularly relevant for first time expectant parents!
CNN posted a story last week about a small boom in baby births in the US in 2006 (the latest year for which data was fully available).
Citing a variety of statistics and speculation as to the causes, the story is interesting simply because this is the highest fertility rate of children per woman since 1971.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Associated Press is reporting that the FDA has issued a warning to parents of children under 2 years of age to not use decongestants, antihistamines and antitussives (cough suppressants) for babies with colds.
Instead of using these over the counter remedies, the FDA is recommending the traditional mainstays for babies - lots of fluids, rest, a humidifier when sleeping, and maybe saline drops to loosen stuffy noses.
Since colds are caused by viruses the cold remedies that we all use are only capable of having an impact on the symptoms and do nothing to treat the viral cause, which must be dealt with by our immune systems.
The FDA has concluded that there is insufficient evidence that these types of cold remedy drugs have any effect even on the symptoms for infants, and there is a small chance of serious side effects.
That there is no measurable benefit weighed against the slim possibility of serious tragedy seems to have been what led the FDA to issue this warning against using OTC (over the counter) cold remedies in children less than 2 years old.
Monday, January 14, 2008
The Mayo Clinic has posted some advice on ways to help shape your baby's head during those formative first months.
While flat spots and overall head shape are primarily a concern about looks and general aesthetic appeal, it is also important to watch for a rare condition where plates in your baby's head fuse too soon and cause problems during later growth as the brain is expanding.
Called craniosynostosis, this condition requires surgical separation of the fused bones so that the brain can continue to develop.
The seven clinical signs are:
- history of difficult feeding
- history of convulsions
- movement only when stimulated
- breathing rate of 60 breaths per minute or more
- severe chest indrawing
- over 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit)
- under 35.5 Celsius (95.9 degrees Fahrenheit)
iVillage.com has a slideshow feature sharing some rather interesting "pregnancy dreams"
A few highlights include giving birth to a gingerbread man, to a goat, and to a balloon animal!
It may not be the most informative piece of 'news' out there, but it's certainly an amusing one! And at the end you're encouraged to share your own.
Medline Plus now offers Spanish translations of various disease and health-related subjects, including a section devoted to "Niños y adolescentes"
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The article raises some good points about the recent concerns regarding the chemicals that are used to make plastic, including the plastics used in baby bottles and cups.
There isn't yet any definitive evidence about any health related effects, but the National Institutes of Health originally raised a concern last year that more research into the subject is needed.
Even apart from the health aspect, there has always been an argument against plastics for environmental reasons.
The flip side of the discussion is that glass can shatter. Even beyond that, however, is the extra cost of trying to use glass or special plastics.
As usual, until definitive evidence is found it's going to be a decision for each parent or caregiver to make for themselves.
Monday, January 07, 2008
iVillage has a great feature on how to make your own baby food at home once your little one has moved beyond breast-feeding or formula!
Annabel Karmel's Recipes include:
- Lovely lentils
- Fillets of plaice with carrots, cheese and tomato
- Annabel's Bolognese sauce
- Pasta stars with carrot and tomato
- Apple and pear
- Yoghurt with apricot and banana
The January 2008 volume of Pediatrics includes some changes to previous recommendations about helping your baby to avoid later food allergies by abstaining from those foods during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Instead of across the board recommendations for pregnant or nursing women the American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its advice, and has issued a statement that their initial concerns 7 years ago have not been backed up by sufficient data. They are now targeting those infants only with elevated risk of developing eczema, asthma, and food allergies.
They are still promoting exclusive breast-feeding for the first 4 months of a newborn's life, however, as it has been shown to reduce the odds of those 3 conditions.
While the article is written for a scientific journal, and is therefore rather heavy reading, the most important section is the Summary, where "atopic disease" effectively means heriditary condition, particularly as related to eczema, asthma, & food allergies.