Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dad's attention may boost baby's IQ

Infants with 'hands-on' fathers did better at thinking skills tests at age two than their counterparts.

Giving birth and breastfeeding mean that biologically the mother is the prime nurturer of a child. However, this doesn't mean that fathers shouldn't be involved...

If you're a new father, spending plenty of time with your baby could boost their mental development, a new study suggests.

British researchers looked at how 128 fathers interacted with their infants at three months of age. When the kids turned two, the researchers measured their mental development.

The study was published in Infant Mental Health Journal.

Gender not important

Infants whose fathers were more engaged and active when playing with them in their first few months of life did better on thinking skills tests at age two than other infants.

Many factors have a major influence on a child's development, and this study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. But these findings suggest that father-child interactions at a young age are an influencing factor, the researchers said.

According to a Health24 article the foetus in the womb also benefits from experience as an essential component of prenatal brain development. A prenatal child's specific experiences determine which connections are strengthened and expanded, and which connections are eliminated.

The researchers didn't see any differences based on the gender of the baby. Dad's interactions had a positive influence on thinking skills for both boys and girls.

Better cognitive development

"Even as early as three months, these father-child interactions can positively predict cognitive development almost two years later, so there's something probably quite meaningful for later development, and that really hasn't been shown much before," study leader Paul Ramchandani said in an Imperial College London news release. He is a professor at the school's department of medicine.

Study co-author Vaheshta Sethna said, "We also found that children interacting with sensitive, calm and less anxious fathers during a book session at the age of two showed better cognitive development, including attention, problem-solving, language and social skills." She's with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London.

"Our findings highlight the importance of supporting fathers to interact more positively with their children in early infancy," Sethna said.

She added that sharing positive emotions and reading activities seem to be linked to bigger boosts in the child's thinking skills.

Here's why dehydration is really bad for you

We’re all guilty of skimping on water throughout the day but it turns out it’s affecting your whole body.

Usually people who are dehydrated can fix that situation up pretty fast by simply downing a bottle of water - however severe dehydration is much, much worse.

Not only has does your heart have to work overtime and you lose essential salts from your body, but it also puts you in a seriously bad mood and leave you gasping for water.

These are the dangers of being dehydrated.

Speaking recently to US Weekly, David Gandy said two days before he has a big shoot he will “deplete all the salt” from his body and then the day before, he “dehydrates” himself.

While some may say that he’s a healthy man who knows his body, experts believe it could leave him with some serious side effect.

Speaking to Allure, nutritionist Keri Gans, R.D.N., said Gandy would more than likely have experienced a rough time throughout his routine.

"Dehydration particularly can cause side effects such as dizziness, increased thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, and a headache,” Gans said.

“You can also experience decreased urine output which may put you at risk for a heart attack.”

Prevention magazine spoke with University of Connecticut professor Lawrence E. Armstrong, PhD, who claimed water intake is all about balance.

"The entire amount of water in a woman's body may be 38 to 45 liters, and for a man, 42 to 48," he said.

"Dehydration means that for a period of time, you have lost part of that water. It's a matter of whole-body balance."

According to The Victorian government’s Better Health Channel, adults lose about 2.5 to 3 litres of water a day – with even more being lost through exercise.

They recommend a woman to drink about eight cups of water a day and men to drink 10 cups.

“Not drinking enough water can increase the risk of kidney stones and, in women, urinary tract infections,” the website states.

“It can also lower your physical and mental performance, and salivary gland function, and lead to dehydration.”

However they also warn against drinking too much water, claiming it could cause hyponatraemia (water intoxication).

“If large amounts of plain water are consumed in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot excrete enough fluid. Hyponatraemia can lead to headaches, blurred vision, cramps (and eventually convulsions), swelling of the brain, coma and possibly death,” the website states.

They claim hyponatraemia mostly occurs in diseases or infants who are fed formula which is too diluted.

The Dark Side of Anaesthesia: Multiple Exposure May Affect Your Child's Memory

While anaesthesia is a common drug which is used in the medical world, repeated exposure is bound to have certain health implications, ultimately it is nothing but chemical. Children as such are at greater risk as compared to adults. According to a recent study by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, it has found that repeated exposure to a common anaesthesia drug early in life results in visual recognition memory impairment, which emerges after the first year of life and may persist long-term. The research is among the first to address the question of whether repeated postnatal anaesthesia exposure, in and of itself, results in memory impairment in a highly translationally relevant rhesus monkey model.The study found that rhesus monkeys at birth are at a stage of neurodevelopment that is more similar to that of human infants than are neonatal rodents; with respect to brain growth, a six-week-old rhesus monkey corresponds to a human 6 to 12 months of age. Unlike previous research, the study was conducted in the absence of a surgical procedure, co-morbidities that may necessitate surgical intervention, or the psychological stress associated with illness.

"The major strength of this study is its ability to separate anaesthesia exposure from surgical procedures, which is a potential complication in the studies conducted in children," said researcher Mark Baxter. "Our results confirm that multiple anaesthesia exposures alone result in memory impairment in a highly translational animal model. Interestingly, the anesthesia-exposed group had normal visual memory at six months of age. Visual memory impairment didn't emerge until the second year of life, corresponding roughly to the age of three to six years old in humans."

The researchers exposed 10 non-human primate subjects to a common paediatric aesthetic called sevoflurane for four hours, the length of time required for a significant surgical procedure in humans. They were exposed to the aesthetic at postnatal day 7 and then again two and four weeks later, because human data indicate that repeated anesthesia results in a greater risk of cognitive disability relative to a single aesthetic exposure.

They found the anaesthesia-exposed infants displayed no memory impairment when tested at 6-10 months, but demonstrated significant memory impairment (reduced time looking at the novel image) after the first year of life compared with the control group.

This primate model may be used by researchers for future studies to develop a new aesthetic agent or prophylactic treatment to counteract the impact of anaesthesia on behaviour in children. The findings also suggest that additional work is required to identify the mechanisms by which anesthetics may cause long-term changes in central nervous system function that impact behaviour.

Gene find could lead to treatment for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease

A study conducted in the US has hit upon a new strategy to identify genes that underlie specific brain processes, and may eventually help scientists develop treatments for patients with memory impairments.

The doctors found that a different group of genes is used in memory processing than the genes involved when the brain is in a resting state.

More than 100 genes linked to memory have been identified, paving the way for treatments for conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

A study at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute includes the results of a new strategy to identify genes that underlie specific brain processes. This strategy may eventually help scientists develop treatments for patients with memory impairments.

“Our results have provided a lot of new entry points into understanding human memory,” said researcher Genevieve Konopka. “Many of these genes were not previously linked to memory, but now any number of labs could study them and understand their basic function in the brain. Are they important for brain development; are they more important for aspects of behaviour in adults?”

The findings can help scientists better understand and treat a range of conditions involving memory impairment.

The study stems from previous research by Konopka that linked specific genes to resting-state brain behaviour. She wanted to use that same assessment to evaluate brain activity during active information processing.

To do so, she collaborated with Bradley Lega, a neurosurgeon with the O’Donnell Brain Institute conducting memory research on epilepsy patients while helping to locate the source of their seizures. Lega maps the brain waves of these patients to understand what patterns are critical for successful memory formation.

Combining their techniques, the doctors found that a different group of genes is used in memory processing than the genes involved when the brain is in a resting state. A number of them had not previously been linked to any brain process, Konopka said.

Lega is hopeful the findings can help scientists better understand and treat a range of conditions involving memory impairment, from epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease.