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Smoking during Pregnancy

Exposure to Tobacco During Pregnancy Affects Behavior in Newborns (The Nemours Foundation) According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 12% of women who gave birth during 1999 smoked during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy passes nicotine and other dangerous substances to the fetus and increases the risk of stillbirth, birth defects, low birthweight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and cancer. Maternal smoking has also been shown to affect the developing nervous system of the fetus. Researchers from Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, examined the effects of maternal smoking on a newborn’s body functions and behavior. Shortly after delivery in the hospital, the mothers of 56 full-term infants answered questions about their use of cigarettes during pregnancy and provided saliva samples to confirm their smoking or nonsmoking status. The mothers who smoked reported the number of cigarettes they smoked in a typical day of each trimester of pregnancy. Within 48 hours after birth, all of the infants underwent examinations of neurological and behavioral function, including tests for reflexes, central nervous system function, and visual function. In general, the infants who were exposed to tobacco were more excitable, had greater muscle tension, and showed other symptoms similar to infants going through drug withdrawal. Babies who had been exposed to tobacco needed to be picked up and touched more, and also showed more signs of physical stress in the central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and visual system. The more cigarettes per day a mother smoked, the greater the effects on the newborn’s body functions and behavior. What This Mean to You: Smoking during...

To snoop or not to snoop in a child’s bedroom?

Sunday Patriot-News Front Page Story December 19, 1999 (Harrisburg, PA)– Parents must weigh issues of trust, curiosity, concern before searching, experts say. “Trust has everything to do with your child’s success and safety.” says Dr. Chris Petersen, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine at the Hershey Medical Center.  “If you initiate damage of the trust by intruding into their life without reason, then that is a mistake.  If they’ve earned the trust and respect because of a level of responsibility, that should be respected, he says.   WARNING SIGNS Dr. Chris Petersen, a psychiatrist at Hershey Medical Center, cites these symptoms of teen depression: •Social withdrawal: A desire to remain isolated or restricted to a narrow peer group for weeks or months. •Isolation from peer group: Diminishing time and interaction with a previously close group of friends. •Symptoms of depression: ‘Irritability, anger and sadness, as well as boredom in situations they would not normally consider boring. •Deteriorating grades and work habits. •Frequent fighting, becoming abusive. • Maintaining poor personal hygiene. • Abusing alcohol or drugs. •Changing sleep habits and appetite. PARENTING ADVICE •The National, Parenting Center at www.tnpc.com. RECOMMENDED READING From George Schmidt, psychologist with the East Pennsboro Area School District. Both are by Anthony Wolf: •”Get Out of My Life … but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the Mall- Parent’s Guide to the Teenager.” • “It’s Not fair, Jeremy Spencer’s Parents Let Him Stay Up All...

Orphanages are an ‘option’

Posted 12/18/2009 1:09 AMBy Wendy Koch, USA TODAY“Children who live in orphanages fare as well or better than those in family homes, reports a Duke University study that tracked more than 3,000 children in five Asian and African countries. The study is touted as one of the most comprehensive ever done on orphans. Orphaned and abandoned children ages 6-12 were evaluated over a three-year period in 83 institutions and 311 families in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Tanzania. Those in institutions had significantly better health scores, lower prevalence of recent sickness and fewer emotional problems.“ The findings were reported in USA...

Study: Mom’s nurturing can stimulate intelligence

July 19, 2000 Web posted at: 9:16 AM EDT (1316 GMT) (AP) — Be grateful for the times Mom cooed over you and rocked you to sleep. All of that fussing, it appears, may have made you smarter. Experiments on rats by Canadian researchers suggest that mothers’ nurturing stimulates neural connections in their babies’ brains and enhances learning. Those offspring subsequently scored higher in intelligence and memory tests. The researchers said the results, which appear in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience, are broadly applicable to humans, too. “It’s never nature vs. nurture. The influences are inseparable,” said Michael Meaney, a neuroendocrinologist at McGill University who led the study. “Activity of the genes is always influenced by the environment. And the most important feature of the environment for an infant is mother.” Other researchers described the findings as impressive. “The stimulation provided by these mothers is certainly a large part of what causes the brain to develop more extensively,” said neuroendocrinologist Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University in New York City. However, some scientists cautioned against comparing rat and humans mothers too closely, or attributing infants’ intelligence to relatively small differences in parenting styles. “I don’t want to put any more pressure on mothers,” said Rebecca Burwell, a psychologist at Brown University. “The rat mothers showed differences in skills, but they all were in the normal range. So it doesn’t really speak to parental abuse. Some individuals may be very sensitive to subtle variations in parenting.” In the experiment, the McGill team divided 32 female rats into two groups. One group provided a high level of care to their offspring,...
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