Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending October 1, 2017

Not Quite Straight A’s

Bill and Melinda Gates, who through their foundation have instigated and enabled invaluable public health initiatives, just undertook a huge statistical analysis to give the world a report card on global health. Overall we have made progress, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Infant and child mortality are way down; contraception is more widely available than it was, but many women who desire it still can’t get it. Read more here.

This is important for you because thinking about global health can provide a welcome dose of perspective – and because the Gates’ are such inspiring role models in using their resources to help others and change the world for the better.

If You Want Your Kid to Have Grit – Show Them Grit

Grit – formerly known as perseverance – is the trendiest quality that kids need to have to succeed. It has been deemed more important than intelligence, ambition, or other much lauded traits. A recent study out of MIT suggests that babies as young as one will learn to struggle through obstacles rather than giving up if they see you doing it too. Read more here.

This is important for you because although it may be tempting to shield our children from our own challenges, showing them how we deal with such challenges may serve them better.

Vaccinate Your Children…

There have been spikes in measles cases in the US and the UK because some parents fear vaccination. They mistakenly think that it causes autism, based on a single small study that has been discredited and retracted – both because it’s conclusions did not hold up and because the doctor who performed it experimented on children without their or their parents’ knowledge or consent. The cause(s) of autism remain unknown, and it is certainly scary; but measles, which is less familiar, can be fatal and therefore should be scarier still. Read more here.

This is important for you because you need to vaccinate your children.

…And Yourself

Despite the fact that a new study has suggested that there might be an association between getting the flu vaccine and a risk of miscarriage, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists maintains that a flu shot is an essential part of prenatal care. This newest study is small and preliminary, and contradicts previous studies indicating that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women. Read more here.

This is important for you because in addition to vaccinating your children, you need to vaccinate yourself. Talk to your doctor to get the facts if you are concerned.

Twins Are SO COOL

Identical twins share all of their genes, so differ only in the environments to which they are exposed. Scientists love identical twins because they provide an ideal way – really, the only way – to separate out the relative influences that genetics and environment have on a particular trait. Luckily for these scientists, twins gather annually in Twinsburg, Ohio (not kidding!) to be poked, prodded, and otherwise tested by those who wish to study them. Read more here.

This is important for you because – well, if you’re having twins it’s cool.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Religious Exemptions from Vaccine Requirements: A Danger to Public Health. This excerpt sums it up well: “Religious or not, people who reject immunization are making use of whatever religious or philosophical objection they can dream up, and it really has no correlation with their religious beliefs.” 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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