Saturday, December 30, 2006

Male Contraception

From the "Please don't make me a daddy" file

In a study recently published online by Developmental Biology, members of Dr. John Herr's laboratory at the University of Virginia Health System report the discovery of a new protein within a sperm's tail that could prove a key target for male contraceptive drugs.

'"There's considerable interest in developing new male contraceptives," said Herr, who heads UVa's Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health. "To support this effort, our team has been searching for proteins that might serve as target sites for small-molecule drugs."

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fish Oil Supplements For Pregnant Moms Boost Kids' Hand-eye Coordination

Our OB/GYN is very strict about limiting the amount of fish that the Philosopher Mom consumes when pregnant (like she is now....). However, she has encouraged the PM to take fish oil supplements that contain various omega fatty acids. Her reason, to date has been that it appears to help with brain development and post-partum depression. A small study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood shows that these supplements boost hand-eye coordination in children whose mothers took them.

The researchers base their findings on 98 pregnant women, who were
either given 4g of fish oil supplements or 4g of olive oil supplements
daily from 20 weeks of pregnancy until the birth of their babies.

non-smokers and those who did not routinely eat more than two weekly
portions of fish were included in the study. Eighty three mothers
completed the study.

Once the children had reached two and a
half years of age, they were assessed using validated tests to measure
growth and development.

These included tests of language,
behaviour, practical reasoning and hand-eye coordination. In all, 72
children were assessed (33 in the fish oil group and 39 in the olive
oil group).

There were no significant overall differences in language skills and growth between the two groups of children

those whose mothers had taken fish oil supplements scored more highly
on measures of receptive language (comprehension), average phrase
length, and vocabulary.


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Less Sugary Drinks During Childhood May Cut Disease Risk

I"m getting sick of people jumping on the "obseity epidemic" bandwagon. The statistic that roughly 50 or 60 % of North Americans are obese is absurd. The BMI scale adopted by WHO were set up by pharmaceutical companies masquerading as an awarness group, much in the same manner as was done for anxiety a few years ago. There are relatively few cases where solid evidence exists to show that obesity causes illness. Osteoarthritis and uterine cancer are two exceptions. In most cases is appears that obesity is co-symptomatic with other illnesses such a Type 2 diabetes. This means that the cause of obesity and the cause of the illness are the same, rather than obesity being the source of the illness.

Think of it this way. Statistically, there is a link between ice cream consumption and drowning. However, this does not mean that eating ice cream casuses drowning. Rather, in the summer people eat more ice cream and spend more time doing aquatic activities (which leads to more drownings).

All this to say: watch what you and your kids eat.

Symptoms of heart disease and diabetes usually seen in adults are
increasingly being found in adolescents according to a longitudinal
study, which suggests that reducing the intake of sugar-sweetened
beverages during childhood may lessen the risk of chronic disease in
later life.

Read more

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Thursday, December 14, 2006 Launches!

So, I may be a day late, but parenting site is now live. Babble is run by the people at Nerve Publishing, who also operate the literary softcore site Like Nerve, I expect that Babble will be fun, edgy, relevant and a little pretentious. Check it out.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What Is The Role Of Donor Breast Milk?

More and more women are turning to breastmilk banks, either as donors or users for their infants. In cities where such banks do not exist, an elaborate network of underground donors springs up, with transactions facilitated by lactation consultants or breastfeeding clinics. Offers of breastmilk for sale can even be found on Craigslist. A new study just published in the British Medical Journal questions the wisdom of this.

From Science Daily.

More evidence is needed to determine whether donor breast milk is beneficial for babies in intensive care, argues a senior doctor in this week's British Medical Journal.

Mother's milk is recommended for all babies, but mothers of preterm babies and other babies in intensive care are often unable to provide enough milk for their baby's needs. Donor breast milk and formula milk are options to make up the shortfall.

But the extent to which pasteurised donor breast milk retains the biological properties of mother's milk is uncertain and its place in present day neonatal intensive care is unclear, says Neena Modi, Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Imperial College London.

What evidence is there to support the use of donor breast milk, she asks?

A recent detailed analysis showed that donor breast milk reduced the risk of necrotising enterocolitis (a serious inflammatory condition of the bowel) when compared with formula, but infant growth was slower, and benefit was seen only when breast milk or formula was the sole source of nutrition. Current practice would be to use donor milk as a supplement to mother's milk and not as sole diet.


U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rates Decline As Result Of Improved Contraceptive Use

Rationality prevails again.

Look, kids are curious about sex. Every parent knows it, because every parent was. No parent wants to think about their kid having sex, but in the age of herpes and HIV/AIDS, no parent can afford not to. The 'abstinence only' method of sex education is basically no sex ed at all and every place in the world that has stuck to this method has seen in an increase in teenage STI transimission and teenage pregnancy. Kids wait longer when they know more. Kids are safer when they know more. Telling kids not to have sex, without telling them the honest joys and risks (both emotional and physical) that it entails is like giving a two year old a loaded gun.

From Science Daily

Eighty-six percent of the recent decline in U.S. teen pregnancy rates is the result of improved contraceptive use, while a small proportion of the decline (14%) can be attributed to teens waiting longer to start having sex, according to a report by John Santelli, MD, MPH, department chair and professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health and published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The scientific findings indicate that abstinence promotion, in itself, is insufficient to help adolescents prevent unintended pregnancies.

Data from the report, "Explaining Recent Declines in Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States: The Contribution of Abstinence and Improved Contraceptive Use" suggest that the United States is following patterns seen in other developed countries where increased availability and increased use of modern contraceptives have been primarily responsible for declines in teenage pregnancy rates. The study by Dr. Santelli of the Mailman School in conjunction with researchers at the Guttmacher Institute examines information from the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative household survey that provides comprehensive coverage of female adolescents.

Between 1995 and 2002, U.S. teen pregnancy rates declined by almost one-quarter (24%). The new study examines the data to determine the relative contributions of abstinence and contraceptive use to this decline. According to the analysis, most of the decline (86%) was due to more sexually active teens using contraceptives, using more effective methods (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) and using multiple methods (e.g., the pill together with condoms) in 2002 than in 1995. When broken down by age, delays in sexual activity played a greater role for younger teens aged 15--17 (23% of the decline). Among 18--19-year-olds, the decline in the risk of teen pregnancy was entirely attributable to improved contraceptive use.

"The United States seems to be following the recent patterns in other developed countries where increased availability and use of modern contraceptives and condoms have led to remarkable declines in teen pregnancy," said Dr. Santelli. "If most of the progress in reducing teen pregnancy rates is due to improved contraceptive use, national policy needs to catch up with those realities."

The authors conclude that this study raises serious questions about the value of the federal government's funding of abstinence-only education programs that prohibit information about the benefits of condoms and contraception. They suggest that public policies and programs in the United States and elsewhere should vigorously promote provision of accurate information on contraception and on sexual behavior and relationships, support increased availability and accessibility of contraceptive services and supplies for adolescents, and promote the value of responsible and protective behaviors, including condom and contraceptive use and pregnancy planning.