In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Monday, November 03, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Moms November 3, 2008

News to know:

Even a little caffeine may harm fetus, study finds

Pregnant women who consume as little as one cup of coffee a day are at a higher risk of giving birth to underweight babies, according to findings published in the British Medical Journal.

The study linked any source of caffeine, including that from tea, cola, chocolate and some prescription drugs, to relatively slower fetal growth. Underweight babies are more likely to develop a range of health conditions when they grow older, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems.

Number of medicated kids jumps, study finds

More U.S. children are being given drugs to fight chronic conditions such as asthma and hyperactivity, according to a study published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

From 2002 to 2005, prescriptions for medicines:

  • to treat asthma rose by more than 46 percent,
  • to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder increased by more than 40 percent
  • to treat type-2 diabetes doubled

Researchers said the increases could mean chronic conditions are on the rise.
But they said the trend might reflect other factors such as changes in the way doctors prescribe drugs and better screening that identifies more chronic conditions.

Intense care my be too intense for preemies

Some of the intense care given to the smallest premature infants may be a little too intense, according to two recent studies.

Researchers questioned both the use of light treatment for jaundice and the practice of giving insulin to premature newborns. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that babies weighing less than 2 pounds were slightly more likely to die if they were given early light therapy for rising levels of bilirubin. Another study suggested that early insulin therapy offers little clinical benefit in very-low-birth-weight infants, putting them at risk of dangerous hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

Violent video games linked to child aggression

A new study suggests virtual violence in video games may make kids more aggressive in real life.

The study included three groups of kids: 181 Japanese students ages 12 to 15; 1,050 Japanese students aged 13 to 18; and 364 U.S. kids ages 9 to 12. In every group, children who were exposed to more video game violence became more aggressive over time than their peers who had less exposure. This was true even after the researchers took into account how aggressive the children were at the beginning of the study -- a strong predictor of future bad behavior.

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