News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms December 1, 2008
News to know:
FDA sets safe level for infant formula chemical
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials set a safety threshold for the industrial chemical melamine that is greater than the amount of contamination found so far in U.S.-made infant formula.
The setting of the standard comes days after The Associated Press reported that FDA tests had found traces of melamine in the infant formula of one major U.S. manufacturer and cyanuric acid, a chemical relative, in the formula of a second major maker.
The FDA set a threshold of 1 part per million of melamine in formula, provided a related chemical isn't present. They insisted the formulas are safe.
New prenatal tests may show inherited diseases
Scientists may have found a way to diagnose in fetuses such "monogenic" diseases, which are caused by a single error in a single gene in the human DNA. Doctors may soon be able to diagnose inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia in fetuses by simply testing a blood sample taken from the mother. This is possible because fetal DNA circulates in maternal blood.
Study: Brains of autistic slower to react to sounds
The brains of autistic children react to sounds a fraction of a second slower than those of normal children,researchers found. This may help explain the communication problems associated with autism.
Researchers studied 30 autistic children age 6 to 15 listen to a battery of sounds and syllables while monitoring the tiny magnetic fields produced by the brain's electrical impulses. Autistic children's brains were anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent slower to react than normal children's brains.
Low birth weight ups risk of infant skin tumors
The incidence of reddish skin tumors, known as infantile hemangiomas, has grown in recent years. Research published in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests low birth weight is the leading risk factor driving the increase.
Infantile hemangiomas are non-cancerous tumors that can grow rapidly during infancy, but usually resolve by 9 years of age. Hemangiomas are the most common tumors in infants and, aside from cosmetic concerns, most have no medical significance. However, some may cause medical problems or permanent scarring.
Study: Childhood sleep terrors inherited
Night terrors, which send children into sudden inconsolable screaming, are at least partially inherited, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics.
In a study of390 sets of twins researchers found identical twins were much more likely to both experience night terrors than fraternal twins. Identical twins have nearly identical genetic makeups, while fraternal twins do not.
Researchers also said environmental factors could be part of the cause of night terrors since the twins were being raised together in similar settings.