Category: Parenting

In this section you will find everything pertaining to the subject of parenting and how to power up the brain health of your child. Whether you are wondering about proper nutrition during pregnancy or how to nurture the microbiome of your toddle, this Parenting section explores all the latest science and information on improving the brain health of your child and stimulating brain development!

Some posts to get you started:
Improved Attention From Your Child? Feed Them This
Formula Feeding and Infant Obesity: Role of the Gut Microbiome

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Breastfeeding and Infant Weight Gain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a remarkable 40% of Americans aged 20 or over are obese. If we include those who are overweight, the percentage jumps to an astounding 72%! That means that more than two thirds of Americans age 20+ are overweight or actually obese. These statistics are sobering, especially in light of the recently announced report indicating that, for the second year in a row, life expectancy for both American women and men has declined.

When should efforts begin that might be effective in reducing these astounding rates of overweight and obesity? The CDC also reveals that 21% of children (ages 12-19) are obese, with 18.5% obesity in children ages 6 to 11. Perhaps most heart-wrenching is the fact that 14% of 2-5 year olds are obese as well. These statistics would certainly support dietary education and intervention programs very early on.

But, how early should we be starting these educational efforts that can positively impact the incidence of overweight and obesity in Americans? Continue reading

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ADHD Drugs Associated with a Dramatic Increased Risk for Parkinson’s

Estimates indicate that approximately 11% of school-aged children in United States have attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Further, approximately 2/3 of these children are currently being medicated for this diagnosis. The most common medications are essentially stimulants like amphetamines or methylphenidates, including drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

The areas of the brain that are potentially damaged or disrupted by these medications include the basal ganglia, brain structures that are involved in coordinated movement. The other area that is potentially involved is the cerebellum, which also plays a role in movement. Continue reading

Formula Feeding and Infant Obesity: Role of the Gut Microbiome

Formula Feeding and Infant Obesity: Role of the Gut Microbiome

The advantages of breastfeeding, in comparison to formula feeding, are quite numerous. Breast-fed infants, for example, have remarkably lower risk for various allergic conditions, and there has certainly been some indication that risk of being obese or overweight may be reduced in infants who are breastfed versus those who receive infant formula.

In a new study just published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers followed a fairly large group of children, some of whom were breastfed while others were given infant formula, and determined that those receiving infant formula had a dramatically increased risk for being overweight.

Watch now, to learn more about this interesting study.

Continue reading

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Is There a Link Between Medication Use During Infancy and Allergies in Early Childhood?

As we all know, allergic diseases, particularly in childhood, are becoming more and more common. It’s not just that we are becoming more aware of allergic diseases, think of the frequent announcements on airplanes about peanut allergies, or food allergy questions by the waiter at dinner. No, the reality of the situation is that, by and large, allergies are simply far more common than they used to be.

So, why is this happening? Let’s take a step back and recognize that the intestines, oddly enough, actually play an important role in determining our immune responsiveness. Specifically, we now understand that the gut lining itself actually plays an important role in regulating immune function. Permeability, or leakiness, of the gut lining is associated with alteration in immune function as well as changes to the set point of inflammation. Continue reading

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The Importance of Fish Oil and Probiotics in Pregnancy

Food allergies, and a specific skin condition called eczema, are rapidly increasing in the youth population. Now, in what may be the largest study of its kind ever performed, researchers are studying a woman’s diet during pregnancy, as well as duration of breast-feeding post-birth, to assess a child’s susceptibility to allergies, as well as risk for conditions like eczema and autoimmune disorders. British investigators, evaluating over 1.5 million people, have come up with some very compelling information.

The research is what’s called a meta-analysis, meaning that it is review of previous studies (over 400 in this case) involving over 1.5 million people, and dating as far back as 1946. The researchers discovered that there was a weak, but nonetheless demonstrable, relationship between breast-feeding and reduced risk of eczema during infancy, as well as reduced risk for type I diabetes. In addition, probiotics seemed to reduce the risk of allergic reactions to cow’s milk.

The data, however, was much more supportive of the relationship between taking a probiotic supplement while 36 – 38 weeks pregnant, and during the first 3 to 6 months of breast-feeding, and risk for childhood eczema. In fact, in those women taking probiotics, risk for eczema in their child was reduced by 22%. The scientist noted that most of the probiotics contained a bacterium called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Continue reading

C-Section & Obesity: Are Vaginal Microbes Needed for Normal Metabolic Development?

C-Section & Obesity: Are Vaginal Microbes Needed for Normal Metabolic Development?

For some time, we’ve been discussing the long-term health implications of method of birth on a child’s future health. Specifically, we’ve been looking at what being born via c-section, instead of a vaginal birth, means for your risks for health complications, including obesity. A new paper, published in the journal science advances and co-authored by the great Dr. Maria Dominquez-Bello, looks at the statistics relating to weight gain in rodents born via c-section or vaginally. Their finding is not very much unlike what you would expect.

Improved Attention From Your Child? Feed Them This.

Improved Attention From Your Child? Feed Them This.

With more than 6.5 million American children being diagnosed with ADHD, and close to 70% of them being medicated, it sure makes sense that we should consider how lifestyle factors, including diet, may affect a child’s ability to pay attention in school.

Certainly, DHA is important, as research has demonstrated significant improvement in focus in children with higher levels of this omega-3 fat. Continue reading