Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

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For the week ending June 25, 2017.

“Ba, ba, ba, da, da, da”

A baby’s new babbles are super cute. Infants start out making random sounds –  but the more feedback and interaction they get from adults, the faster they are able to form real words. Researchers at Princeton have just determined that the same holds true for monkeys. Although their vocalizations are not nearly as complex as ours, baby monkeys also learn more quickly through back and forth “conversations” with adults. Read more here.

This is important for you because no matter how silly you may feel – talk to your baby! It’s important!

First Nation babies at risk

In Quebec, First Nation (i.e. Native American) and Inuit babies are hospitalized 100 per cent more often during their first year than other babies. This is likely because their mothers are in poorer health to begin with; they tend to be relatively young, and do not have access to health care or education. Read more here.

This is important for you because health care discrepancies are unjust, and we must be aware of them.

 

How and why their boys can swim

A mathematical biologist in England has just figured out what makes sperm tails so bendy, and enables them to propel the cell in such a particular way. It has been known since the 1960’s that there are a bunch of coiled spring like molecules where the sperm’s tail meets the body, but this new work elucidates more fully how they work together to coordinate the cell’s motion. Some pathogens have similar tails that might work in a similar way; hopefully this research can be expanded to fight against them. Read more here.

This is important for you because – it’s cool.

JAMA Pediatrics tackles prenatal alcohol exposure

JAMA Pediatrics recently published a series of related articles on drinking during pregnancy, including a study on prenatal alcohol exposure and child craniofacial shape; an editorial on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; and an exhortation on their Patient Page reminding pregnant women that “no amount of alcohol use is safe at any time during pregnancy.” Read the latter here.

This is important for you because “no amount of alcohol use is safe at any time during pregnancy.”

The most popular article on The Pulse this week – by far! – was Signs that Confirm You are in Labor. Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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