On Our Radar…
Here are a few things I’d like to draw your attention to this week:
Tomorrow, the University of Washington will be hosting a webinar, Current Issues and Leadership Challenges in Maternal and Child Health. To register for the event, go here. As an MCH grad student, you can bet I’ll be attending (virtually!).
An article in yesterday’s Washington Post National reminds us of the continued concerns over a woman’s chemical exposure during pregnancy, and the potential outcomes in her offspring. The article highlights a prospective cohort study recently released in Pediatrics (Braun et al, 2011) in which urine levels of BPA (bisphenol) were recorded in pregnant women and then later on in their children. Although the study was small (n=244), it looked at urine levels of BPA at the 16th and 26th weeks of gestation in the study participants, and then later on in the children at ages 1, 2 and 3. The study found that the children (particularly girls) demonstrated altered neurobehavior (anxiety, hyperactivity, emotional control, and behavioral inhibition.) Interestingly, maternal prenatal urine BPA levels were more strongly correlated with these behavioral findings than childhood BPA urine levels.
And Dr. Braun and colleagues are not the only clinical investigators to recently release research on early childhood development and its implications upon behavior. This article in the Winnipeg free press highlights the work of a Swedish researcher, Jonas Himmelstrand, who is concerned with the nearly ubiquitous rate of childcare in Sweden which includes 92% of children from ages 18 months to five years old. The article goes on to describe the quickly growing field of neuroscience research that links social and cognitive behavior to early developmental experiences and how our early emotional experiences influence brain development and subsequent behavioral characteristics. (The basic gist described in the article: high-touch, attachment-style parenting fosters high levels of trust between child and parenting and general emotional well-being. Children in daycare from an early age may suffer from the lack of extra parental influence in their behavioral development.) This very much aligns with Lamaze’s sixth Healthy Birth Practice, and information on the third and fourth stages of birth that contributing writer Jackie Levine will expand upon in a forth-coming post. This is admittedly upsetting news for families in which both parents have to work to make ends meet—an increasing challenge in our country as well where many mothers of infants find themselves heading back to work six, eight, or twelve weeks after a baby’s birth.
And on a more positive note…here’s just a really cool article about a University of Texas Arlington Anthropology grad student who helped unearth what may be the earliest depiction of childbirth in Western art. The real kicker? The student, William Nutt, is legally blind. The artifact was discovered during an archaeological dig this past summer in Poggio Colla, northeast of Florence.
What’s on your radar? What have you recently read with interest? Please take a moment to share with your fellow readers…
Posted by: Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE, FACCE