WBEZ | babies http://www.wbez.org/tags/babies-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Babies with Genes from Three People Could be Ethical, Panel Says http://www.wbez.org/news/babies-genes-three-people-could-be-ethical-panel-says-114697 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mito.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res465425864" previewtitle="Scientists have the ability to use DNA from three adults to make one embryo. But should they?"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Scientists have the ability to use DNA from three adults to make one embryo. But should they?" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/03/mitochondrial-dna_smaller_custom-fb176511e729ec1b8f5859b663af5ea602c4ab81-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 518px; width: 620px;" title="Scientists have the ability to use DNA from three adults to make one embryo. But should they? (A. Dudzinski/Science Source)" /></div><div><div><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: This post was updated Feb. 3, 2016, at 12:25 pm to include a statement from the Food and Drug Administration and a comment from Mark Sauer.</em></p></div></div></div><p>Would it be ethical for scientists to try to create babies that have genetic material from three different people? An influential panel of experts has concluded the answer could be yes.</p><p>The 12-member panel, assembled by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, released a 164-page&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21871/mitochondrial-replacement-techniques-ethical-social-and-policy-considerations">report</a>&nbsp;Wednesday outlining a plan for how scientists could ethically pursue the controversial research.</p><p>&quot;The committee concludes that it is ethically permissible&quot; to conduct such experiments, the report says, but then goes on to detail a long list of conditions that would have to be met first.</p><p>For example, scientists would have to perform extensive preliminary research in the laboratory and with animals to try to make sure it is safe. And then researchers should initially try to make only male babies, because they would be incapable of passing their unusual amalgamation of DNA on to future generations.</p><p>&quot;Minimizing risk to future children should be of highest priority,&quot; the committee writes.</p><p>The report was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/10/09/229167219/proposed-treatment-to-fix-genetic-diseases-raising-ethics-issues">requested&nbsp;</a>by the Food and Drug Administration in response to applications by two groups of scientists in New York and Oregon to conduct the experiments. Their goal is to help women have healthy babies even though they come from families plagued by genetic disorders.</p><p>A statement issued by the FDA immediately after the report&#39;s release raised questions about whether the FDA would permit the research to move forward.</p><p>The FDA email praised the &quot;thoughtful work&quot; of the panel and said the agency would be &quot;reviewing&quot; the recommendations. But it noted that the latest federal budget &quot;prevents the FDA from using funds to review applications in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include&quot; changes that could be passed down to future generations. As a result, the email says, any such research &quot;cannot be performed in the United States&quot; at this time.</p><p>The researchers pursuing these experiments welcomed the panel&#39;s conclusions.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a great step in the right direction,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.columbiaobgyn.org/doctor/mark-v-sauer#.VrFk2bIrLIU">Mark Sauer</a>, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University who is a member of one of the teams, said of the National Academies report in an interview before the FDA issued its statement</p><p>Sauer called the report more of a &quot;yellow light&quot; than a &quot;green light,&quot; because of the long list of caveats and cautions. But that is &quot;better than a red light,&quot; he says.</p><p>&quot;Most importantly to us is that it allows the work to continue to hopefully produce children without these disorders,&quot; Sauer says.</p><p>But Sauer said he was disappointed when he learned of the FDA&#39;s response.</p><p>&quot;Politics as usual often gets in way of progress,&quot; Sauer said in a subsequent email. While the FDA statement would cause &quot;undue delays&quot; in his research, he added that he hoped it wouldn&#39;t permanently &quot;necessarily halt the efforts.&quot;</p><p>Critics of the research, meanwhile, say the number of women who could benefit from the experiments is so small that it&#39;s not worth crossing a line that&#39;s long been considered off-limits &mdash; making genetic changes that could be passed down for generations.</p><p>&quot;The possibility of what you could call &#39;mission creep&#39; is very real,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=2081">Marcy Darnovsky</a>, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, a watchdog group based in Berkeley, Calif. &quot;People are talking about going forward not just with this but with the kind of genetic engineering that will produce outright genetically modified human beings.&quot;</p><p>Once that happens, Darnovsky says, &quot;I think you get into a situation of where some people are genetically enhanced and other people are the regular old variety of human being. And I don&#39;t think that&#39;s a world we want to live in.&quot;</p><p>The goal of the research is to help women carrying diseases known as&nbsp;<a href="http://mitochondrialdiseases.org/mitochondrial-disease/">mitochondrial disorders</a>, which are only passed down by women through defects in the genetic material in their eggs.</p><p>Specifically, the defects are in a type of genetic material known as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.umdf.org/site/pp.aspx?c=8qKOJ0MvF7LUG&amp;b=7934627">mitochondrial DNA</a>.</p><p>Unlike the DNA that most people are familiar with &mdash; the 23 pairs of human chromosomes that program most of our body processes and traits &mdash; mitochondrial DNA consists of just 37 genes inside mitochondria, which are structures inside cells that provide their energy.</p><p>Mitochondrial disorders range from mild to severe. In many cases there is no treatment, and the affected child dies early in life after suffering progressive, debilitating symptoms.</p><p>Scientists want to create eggs free of mitochondrial defects by removing the defective mitochondrial DNA. It would be replaced with healthy mitochondrial DNA from eggs donated by other women.</p><p>The British government recently&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/02/03/383578221/u-k-lawmakers-allow-scientists-to-attempt-dna-transplants">approved</a>&nbsp;such experiments in that country.</p><p>But this remains&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/11/10/360342623/combining-the-dna-of-three-people-raises-ethical-questions">controversial</a>, not only due to the fact that the resulting children would have DNA from three people. Because the transplanted DNA could be passed down for generations, critics fear it could accidentally introduce errors into the human gene pool that could create new diseases.</p><p>They also worry it would set a precedent that could open the door to creating designer babies, in which parents can pick and chose the traits of their children.</p><p>Because of such concerns, making any change in DNA that could be passed down for generations has long been considered off-limits.</p><p>The committee report acknowledged that making babies with DNA from three different people could have &quot;psychological and social effects&quot; on the offspring, including issues about their &quot;conception of identity.&quot;</p><p>In addition, the committee acknowledged the possibility that it could lead to attempts at genetic &quot;enhancements.&quot;</p><p>Such work would raise thorny regulatory issues, the committee noted. For example, the federal government is prohibited from funding research that involves destroying human embryos. As a result, &quot;even an agency request&quot; for data from such research in support of FDA approval &quot;could well be controversial,&quot; the report says.</p><p>Nevertheless, the committee says the potential benefits make the work worth pursuing with careful oversight.</p><p>Moreover, the FDA could at some point even consider letting experiments proceed to try to create female babies if certain criteria are met, the report said, including the production of &quot;clear evidence of safety and efficacy from male&quot; experiments and signs that it would be publicly acceptable.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/03/465319186/babies-with-genes-from-three-people-could-be-ethical-panel-says?ft=nprml&amp;f=465319186"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/babies-genes-three-people-could-be-ethical-panel-says-114697 President Obama Calls for Urgent Action, More Research on Zika Virus http://www.wbez.org/news/president-obama-calls-urgent-action-more-research-zika-virus-114632 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/zikababy1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama is calling for urgent action and research into the Zika virus, which is now active across much of Latin America and the Caribbean.</p><p>Zika is a mosquito-borne illness that is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause serious birth defects in babies, including a condition called microcephaly, in which&nbsp;babies are born with small heads and under-developed brains.</p><p>The CDC is now warning women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to avoid travel or take precautions in the nearly&nbsp;<a href="http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices" target="_blank">two dozen countries</a>&nbsp;with Zika virus.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em> Jeremy Hobson talks with&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/helenbranswell?lang=en">Helen Branswell</a>, who covers infectious diseases and public health for STAT, the new national health and medicine publication, about what is known and not yet known about Zika, and what people can do to protect themselves</p></p> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 15:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/president-obama-calls-urgent-action-more-research-zika-virus-114632 Here's What You Shouldn't Do When Trying to Revive a Newborn http://www.wbez.org/news/heres-what-you-shouldnt-do-when-trying-revive-newborn-114422 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/_npr8697-50_custom-47f83fe2d1cc3786016018f1cb192dc7b2dbfc78-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res461935146" previewtitle="Baby &quot;NeoNatalie&quot; waits to be saved, as Dr. Mark Hathaway gives NPR's Malaka Gharib a lesson on getting an infant to take its first breath."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Baby &quot;NeoNatalie&quot; waits to be saved, as Dr. Mark Hathaway gives NPR's Malaka Gharib a lesson on getting an infant to take its first breath." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/04/_npr8670-50_custom-dd6a230d23652acc94a0c4bace238c530cb37a77-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Baby &quot;NeoNatalie&quot; waits to be saved, as Dr. Mark Hathaway gives NPR's Malaka Gharib a lesson on getting an infant to take its first breath. (Akash Ghai/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;You have a minute to help that baby breathe,&quot; says Dr. Mark Hathaway. He works as a senior adviser for family planning at USAID&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mcsprogram.org/">Maternal and Child Survival Program</a>, and he&#39;s showing me how to get a newborn to take its first breath.</p></div></div></div><p>And it has to happen now &mdash; during the &quot;golden minute&quot; after a baby is born. That&#39;s what the medical world calls the tiny window of time an infant must bring oxygen into its lungs.</p><p>But I&#39;m not a doctor or a nurse. I&#39;m a reporter. So I am pretty clueless.</p><p>I lift up the &quot;baby,&quot; a mannequin called the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.laerdal.com/neonatalie">NeoNatalie</a>. Filled with water and covered with soft plastic, it&#39;s heavier than I expected &mdash; about five or six pounds, just like a real newborn.</p><p>A wave of panic washes over me. I do what I remember seeing on TV shows. I lift the baby by its feet and slap its backside.</p><p>&quot;Yeah, don&#39;t do that,&quot; says Hathaway.</p><p>I have a lot of company in the club of clueless birth attendants. In the developing world, there&#39;s a dire shortage of health care workers and nearly half of all births take place without a skilled birth attendant.</p><p>A nonprofit called&nbsp;<a href="http://seedglobalhealth.org/">Seed Global Health</a>&nbsp;is determined to change things. In 2012, Seed teamed up with the Peace Corps to create the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/globalhealth/">Global Health Service Partnership</a>, a volunteer program that sends U.S. doctors and nurses to Africa to train medical professionals in a variety of techniques, including how to resuscitate a newborn who&#39;s not breathing.</p><p>Seed Global Health has so far introduced the program in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and most recently, Swaziland.</p><p>In the past two years, 73 American volunteers have trained more than 7,200 African faculty, residents and students.</p><div id="res461935316" previewtitle="&quot;NeoNatalie&quot; is the star of a neonatal resuscitation training kit, which includes a yellow stethoscope, two green bulbs (one to simulate a baby's breath, another that's a suction tool), a bag mask (it looks like a lamp), an umbilical cord and clamps and cutter. The hat is part of the kit, too — it keeps the baby warm."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="&quot;NeoNatalie&quot; is the star of a neonatal resuscitation training kit, which includes a yellow stethoscope, two green bulbs (one to simulate a baby's breath, another that's a suction tool), a bag mask (it looks like a lamp), an umbilical cord and clamps and cutter. The hat is part of the kit, too — it keeps the baby warm." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/04/_npr8760-50_custom-b4a6799929ae116a2c0f56df4ea8669524223fed-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 476px; width: 620px;" title="&quot;NeoNatalie&quot; is the star of a neonatal resuscitation training kit, which includes a yellow stethoscope, two green bulbs--one to simulate a baby's breath, another that's a suction tool--a bag-mask, which looks like a lamp, an umbilical cord and clamps and cutter. The hat is part of the kit, too — it keeps the baby warm. (Akash Ghai/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>After my failed attempts to help my mannequin breathe, Hathaway shows me the proper procedures. He turns the doll to one side and begins vigorously drying its back and head with a towel to help the baby warm up.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;Sometimes that&#39;s all that&#39;s needed,&quot; says Hathaway.</p><p>If that doesn&#39;t do the trick, he has all the tools ready for plans B and C: a suction tool&nbsp;and a bag mask.</p><p>The suction tool, which looks like a turkey baster, clears out a baby&#39;s nasal passages by removing mucus and gunk from its nose. Using it once is usually enough to help a baby breathe.</p><p>If 20 seconds go by and the baby still isn&#39;t breathing, Hathaway would turn to the bag mask, which pumps oxygen from the air into the baby&#39;s lung passages.</p><div id="res461935538" previewtitle="Dr. Mark Hathaway shows how a bag mask can be used to pump oxygen from the air into the baby's lungs."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Dr. Mark Hathaway shows how a bag mask can be used to pump oxygen from the air into the baby's lungs." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/04/_npr8697-50_custom-47f83fe2d1cc3786016018f1cb192dc7b2dbfc78-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Dr. Mark Hathaway shows how a bag mask can be used to pump oxygen from the air into the baby's lungs. (Akash Ghai/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Aliasgar Khaki, a 24-year-old fifth-year medical student from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, is one of the trainees. He was taught by Dr. Esther Johnston, a former Seed Global Health volunteer who is now the director of family medicine for the nonprofit.</p></div></div></div><p>In Khaki&#39;s country, roughly a quarter of newborn deaths are caused by birth asphyxia &mdash; a lack of oxygen to the lungs. But the university he attends didn&#39;t have the resources to teach its students the proper techniques.</p><p>&quot;They had a program, but the problem was that the equipment wasn&#39;t there,&quot; says Johnston. &quot;It&#39;s hard to teach neonatal resuscitation without a mannequin. You can teach the principles, but if you don&#39;t practice it, it doesn&#39;t get into your muscle memory.&quot;</p><p>Inspired, Khaki started organizing trainings for other students, nurses and interns in the area, demonstrating with donated NeoNatalie dolls from global health groups like<a href="http://www.jhpiego.org/">Jhpiego</a>. The NeoNatalie set costs about $70 for nonprofits.</p><p><a href="http://ghsm.hms.harvard.edu/person/faculty/vanessa-kerry">Dr. Vanessa Kerry</a>, co-founder of Seed Global Health, hopes the trainees will now show others what they&#39;ve learned.</p><p>&quot;If we focused on teaching new doctors and nurses how to be great educators with the idea that one doctor could go on and teach ten, who could go on to teach ten more, and so on, we could have this great force multiplying effect,&quot; she says.</p><p>For Hathaway, the future of Seed Global Health&#39;s training program will ultimately rely on the power of the individual.</p><p>&quot;What moves things forward is a champion,&quot; he says. &quot;If you have someone in a health facility who really wants the infant mortality reduction to happen, that person will work hard to keep following through on things.&quot;</p><p>Since Khaki&#39;s training with Seed Global Health, he&#39;s had a chance to practice his neonatal resuscitation skills in real life.</p><p>A week after his first training with Johnson, he visited a hospital with a relative. In the nursery ward, he saw a &quot;code blue&quot; situation: a baby struggling to breathe.</p><p>How did it make him feel?The nurse on duty didn&#39;t know what to do. Khaki quickly stepped in and saved the baby&#39;s life, using the step-by-step techniques he learned from his training (which is what Hathaway showed me in my mini-lesson).</p><p>&quot;Every cartoon character has their own superhero outfit,&quot; he says. &quot;Mine was my white lab coat.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/01/07/461935008/so-heres-what-you-shouldnt-do-when-trying-to-revive-a-newborn?ft=nprml&amp;f=461935008" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 08 Jan 2016 12:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/heres-what-you-shouldnt-do-when-trying-revive-newborn-114422 Say yes to downward dog: More yoga poses are safe during pregnancy http://www.wbez.org/news/say-yes-downward-dog-more-yoga-poses-are-safe-during-pregnancy-113807 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/pregnant-yoga_custom-5687a8c47ca8703dbb1f86dc025c93ac0a4dc661-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455937530" previewtitle="Four pregnant women sit in lotus position."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Four pregnant women sit in lotus position." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/13/pregnant-yoga_custom-5687a8c47ca8703dbb1f86dc025c93ac0a4dc661-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Four pregnant women sit in lotus position. (Thomas Northcut/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Lots of studies have looked at the health benefits of prenatal yoga for the mother to be. There&#39;s even some evidence that yoga can be potentially helpful in reducing complications in high-risk pregnancies.</p></div></div></div><p>But does yoga have any impact on the fetus?</p><p>&quot;I wasn&#39;t able to find any evidence-based studies&quot; to answer this question, says&nbsp;<a href="https://kosairchildrenshospital.com/provider/rachael-polis-do-gynecology?Directions=403">Dr. Rachael Polis</a>, who practices gynecology at Kosair Children&#39;s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. So she and a group of collaborators decided to conduct their own study. Their findings have just been&nbsp;<a href="http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/publishahead/Yoga_in_Pregnancy__An_Examination_of_Maternal_and.98897.aspx">published</a>&nbsp;in the journal&nbsp;Obstetrics &amp; Gynecology.</p><p>They recruited 25 healthy pregnant women in their third trimesters. All the women in the study had uncomplicated pregnancies; no high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.</p><p>During one-on-one yoga classes, the women were guided through 26 poses &mdash; everything from standing poses, to twisting poses to stretching.</p><div id="res455902432" previewtitle="Child's pose"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Child's pose" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/13/childs-pose-1_custom-96820bc7476f8105a27b63d659cdd4dae58a0029-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Child's pose. (Chris Gahler/Jersey Shore University Medical Center/American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)" /></div><div><p>&quot;We found these postures were really well-tolerated by women in our study,&quot; says Polis, who conducted the research while she was a resident at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. &quot;Women&#39;s vital signs, heart rates, blood pressure &mdash; these all remained normal.&quot;</p></div></div><p>In addition, there were no falls or injuries. And none of the women reported &quot;decreased fetal movement, contractions, leakage or fluid, or vaginal bleeding in the 24-hour follow-up,&quot; according to the study manuscript.</p><p>And very important, the fetal heart rate during all 26 poses remained normal.</p><p>&quot;Because we had them [the pregnant women] on continuous fetal monitoring, we could see that the fetal heart rate remained normal,&quot; says Polis.</p><p>During the study, the women avoided inversion poses such as handstand or headstand to reduce the risk of falls. And for obvious reasons they also avoided lying flat on their bellies.</p><p>But they did try poses that some yoga teachers have advised pregnant women to avoid. These include the downward-facing dog; the happy baby pose &mdash; that&#39;s a pose where you lie on your back and hold your toes like a baby; and the corpse pose, where you lie on your back. Pregnant women are often told to lie on their sides, not their backs, during the final stages of pregnancy.</p><div id="res455902596" previewtitle="Downward facing dog pose"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Downward facing dog pose" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/13/downward-dog_custom-f1ffd73f19a89a34f4e6d97e8dfc4fdc4013c6ee-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 494px; width: 620px;" title="Downward facing dog pose (Chris Gahler/Jersey Shore University Medical Center/American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)" /></div><div><div><p>Polis says her study finds all of these four poses were well-tolerated.</p></div></div></div><p>So, the message here seems to be: Go for it!</p><p>&quot;This is preliminary information, but I think it&#39;s exciting and reassuring to know there were no adverse changes for both mom or baby,&quot; Polis says.</p><p>There is one caveat. Polis says it&#39;s important that every woman check with her ob/gyn to make sure that there are no complications before hitting the yoga mat.</p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/say-yes-downward-dog-more-yoga-poses-are-safe-during-pregnancy-113807 Mother's milk may help prevent blindness in preemies http://www.wbez.org/news/mothers-milk-may-help-prevent-blindness-preemies-113804 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istock_000009972637_full_custom-152eefa66dd20696ac7b65f35b6d9b616e668afc-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456218493" previewtitle="Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And human milk looks like it helps, too."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And human milk looks like it helps, too." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/16/istock_000009972637_full_custom-152eefa66dd20696ac7b65f35b6d9b616e668afc-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Babies born prematurely are at risk of eye damage and, in severe cases, permanent blindness. Treatments can help. And human milk looks like it helps, too. (iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>If Stevie Wonder had been born three decades later, we might never have gotten &quot;Superstition&quot; and &quot;Isn&#39;t She Lovely&quot; &mdash; but the musician might never have gone blind, either. Born premature, Wonder developed retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disease that afflicts more than half of babies born before 30 weeks of gestation.</p></div></div></div><p>Though treatments were developed in the 1980s, about&nbsp;<a href="http://https/nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop">400 to 600 U.S.children</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://www.aao.org/topic-detail/retinopathy-of-prematurity%E2%80%94europe">50,000 children worldwide</a>&nbsp;still go blind every year from the condition. Now a study suggests that number could be slashed by more than half if all those preemies received their mothers&#39; milk.</p><p>&quot;It makes sense that human milk can be protective against retinopathy of prematurity because we know it&#39;s protective against abnormal neurological outcomes in tiny babies,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dellchildrens.net/find-a-doctor/doctor-profile/landers/susan">Susan Landers</a>, a neonatologist in Austin, Texas, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding Executive Committee. &quot;Retinal tissue is just like neural tissue embryologically; it grows from the same immature cells.&quot;</p><div id="res456210762" previewtitle="Stevie Wonder, seen here performing in 2014, was born prematurely and lost his sight due to retinopathy of prematurity."><p>The study, actually a combined analysis of five studies from 2001 through 2013, found that preemies receiving human milk from their mothers had 46 to 90 percent lower odds of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), depending on how much milk they received and how severe the ROP was. The studies were observational, so they cannot show that breast milk directly caused the lower risk.</p></div><p>&quot;This is a very provocative study, and it does open new questions in new areas for research, but I think it&#39;s too early to conclude that breast milk prevents ROP,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/providers/?personid=2034">Michael Chiang</a>, a professor of ophthalmology and medical informatics at Oregon Health &amp; Science University&#39;s Casey Eye Institute who was not involved in the study. It was published online Monday in the journal&nbsp;Pediatrics.</p><p>Of the infants who develop ROP, most recover and develop well without treatment, but about 10 percent develop severe ROP, increasing their risk of blindness, Chiang said. About half those infants need treatment, which will prevent blindness in 80 to 90 percent of them.</p><p>The new research analyzed the outcomes of 2,208 preterm infants based on whether they received exclusive human milk, any human milk, mainly human milk (more than 50 percent), exclusive formula, any formula or mainly formula. The study did not include donor milk, so all the milk was the mother&#39;s pumped or hand-expressed breast milk.</p><p>Infants who exclusively received breast milk had 89 percent reduced odds of severe ROP compared to infants who received any formula. Infants who received a mixture of breast milk and formula had roughly half the odds of developing severe ROP compared to infants exclusively receiving formula. The analysis included a very large older study that had found no reduced risk for ROP from breast milk, but most infants in that study received less than 20 percent breast milk.</p><p>&quot;Despite including a negative study with large numbers, the results are still very, very significant,&quot; said Landers, who was not involved in the study. &quot;That strengthens this study considerably.&quot;</p><p><img alt="Stevie Wonder, seen here performing in 2014, was born prematurely and lost his sight due to retinopathy of prematurity." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/16/stevie-wonder_custom-b31fb9ebde47045e5010437e2f458f79a24f6fef-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 217px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Stevie Wonder, seen here performing in 2014, was born prematurely and lost his sight due to retinopathy of prematurity. (Jim Ross/Invision/AP)" /></p><p>Until the 1940s and 1950s, ROP did not exist because infants born prematurely rarely survived, Chiang said. As doctors learned to how to keep these tiny babies, usually little more than 3 pounds at birth, alive, they discovered that the blood vessels in their retinas would often start to grow out of control. If the abnormal growth continued, their retinas detached, causing blindness.</p><p>The first treatment developed in the 1980s was cryotherapy, which slowed blood vessel growth. Laser treatments later replaced cryotherapy and have remained the&nbsp;<a href="https://nei.nih.gov/health/rop/rop">standard of care</a>&nbsp;since. The newest treatment is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/content/d/pediatric_patient/c/40126/">bevacizumab,</a>&nbsp;a drug made from humanized antibodies that slows the growth of new blood vessels.</p><p>The cause of ROP isn&#39;t entirely understood, but scientists believe oxidative stress can stimulate the abnormal growth of the blood vessels. Providing preemies with oxygen is often key to their survival, but that oxygen exposure might lead to ROP, according to Jianguo Zhou, a neonatologist in Shanghai, and lead author of the study.</p><p>The antioxidants in breast milk offer one possible way that breast milk could prevent ROP, Zhou explained in an email. But the preventive mechanism could be indirect as well.</p><p>&quot;Breast milk, specifically maternal breast milk, has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of many severe complications of prematurity, including a severe gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/dept_primary_apr.aspx?appointment=Pediatrics&amp;id=tcolaizy">Tarah Colaizy,</a>&nbsp;an associate professor of pediatrics and neonatology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. &quot;It has also been shown to decrease the risk of potentially life-threatening blood infections, and there is some evidence that the severity of lung disease due to prematurity is reduced in infants fed maternal milk.&quot;</p><p>Infants without these complications may receive less oxygen therapy, thus lowering the incidence of ROP, Zhou pointed out. Among&nbsp;<a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/">2 million infants</a>&nbsp;born before 32 weeks each year worldwide, Zhou estimates that a tenth of them could develop severe ROP.</p><p>&quot;Theoretically, exclusive human milk feeding could potentially prevent 8 percent (160,000) very preterm infants from severe ROP globally,&quot; Zhou wrote. &quot;That is an enormous influence and prevents thousands of preterm infants from blindness or visual impairment.&quot;</p><p>ROP is still rare in places with the poorest health infrastructure because very premature infants still do not survive, but in China, India, Latin America and Eastern Europe, the problem is growing as doctors keep the infants alive but lack the neonatology and ophthalmology expertise to screen for and treat ROP. Even in the US where treatment is more available, screening may not be.</p><p>&quot;Especially in rural and medically underserved areas, there&#39;s not enough supply of ophthalmologists to do these exams,&quot; Chiang said. &quot;It&#39;s a huge problem in the US and internationally.&quot;</p><p>But providing exclusive maternal milk to preemies is easier said than done, Landers said. The biggest barrier is adequate lactation support for mothers in the NICU as well as the psychological complexity of the issue for mothers themselves.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a very stressful time, and expressing milk is the only thing that moms can do, so we put a lot of pressure on them,&quot; Landers said. Some mothers don&#39;t fare well under that pressure. The mothers need to start pumping within 12 hours of birth, as well as instruction in expressing milk and support and encouragement over the three or so months she will need to pump before her baby can breastfeed. &quot;As hard as it is to get them started on pumping, it&#39;s harder still to keep them going,&quot; Landers said.</p><p>Even greater cultural obstacles exist among poor and African-American mothers, Landers said, but donor milk may not offer the same benefits, possibly because of its processing and storage needs.</p><p>&quot;To give these mothers the best chance of providing milk, the health care system needs to provide them with professional help in the form of lactation consultants with specific expertise in preterm infant-mother pairs, the appropriate breast pumps and supplies to collect and store milk and assistance in transportation to get the milk to the NICU for the baby,&quot; Colaizy said. &quot;For these extremely fragile infants, maternal breast milk is a potentially life-saving intervention, and we should do everything possible for mothers to help them provide it.&quot;</p><p><em>Tara Haelle is a freelance health and science writer based in Peoria, Ill. She&#39;s on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/tarahaelle">@tarahaelle</a></em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/16/456209017/mothers-milk-may-help-prevent-blindness-in-preemies?ft=nprml&amp;f=456209017" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mothers-milk-may-help-prevent-blindness-preemies-113804 More babies are dying because of congenital syphilis http://www.wbez.org/news/more-babies-are-dying-because-congenital-syphilis-113771 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/syphilis_wide-b388ef1516c9a9a65bcb6b0e42e8d00b490d7319-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455770081"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The bacterium that causes syphilis is spread through sexual contact. It's easily cured with antibiotics, but can be hard to diagnose." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/12/syphilis_wide-b388ef1516c9a9a65bcb6b0e42e8d00b490d7319-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="The bacterium that causes syphilis is spread through sexual contact. It's easily cured with antibiotics, but can be hard to diagnose. (CDC/Phanie/Science Source)" /></div><div><div><p>The number of babies born with syphilis has shot up, and it&#39;s taking a toll.</p></div></div></div><p>Of the 458 babies born last year with syphilis, 33 of were stillborn or died shortly after birth. From 2012 to 2014, there&#39;s been a 38 percent increase in cases of congenital syphilis. The spike reverses a previously falling trend in the rates of babies with syphilis from 2008 to 2012, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6444a3.htm?s_cid=mm6444a3_w">report</a>&nbsp;released Thursday in&nbsp;Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.</p><p>As rates of new syphilis infections rise and fall, rates of fetal and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm">congenital syphilis&nbsp;</a>tend to follow suite, says Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author on the study. If a pregnant woman carries the bacteria, syphilis can infect the unborn fetus. When that happens, a lot of things can go awry. &quot;Up to 40 percent of babies will die in utero or shortly after delivery,&quot; Bowen says. &quot;Or they might have a severe illness like blindness or deafness or other types of damage.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s hard to know the reason behind the recent surge in syphilis cases, Bowen says. &quot;The only thing I can say is syphilis is going up right now across the board,&quot; she says. &quot;From &#39;13 to &#39;14, we are seeing syphilis going up everywhere, including among the women, and we don&#39;t have the answers as to why.&quot;</p><p>The rising rates in congenital syphilis might betray a larger problem among health care for women and pregnant women, Bowen says. &quot;There are a lot of barriers to getting into the door at the prenatal care provider. That could be related to insurance status, stigma or discrimination.&quot; If women aren&#39;t getting adequate prenatal care, then they can&#39;t be screened for syphilis.</p><p>Access to care can be particularly hard for certain populations, says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/3b0b0dd8-3ad5-11e5-8d53-005056b104be">Dr. Martha Rac</a>, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at Ben Taub Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who was not involved with the study. &quot;African-American women are more disproportionately affected by syphilis than any other race,&quot; she says. And 57 percent of children with congenital syphilis were born to African-American women.</p><p>Lack of prenatal care is probably the greatest contributor to the upturn in congenital syphilis, Rac says. &quot;It seems to be the common theme that women having congenitally infected babies overwhelmingly have, if any, late, poor prenatal care. That is a big area which can be targeted from a public health standpoint.&quot;</p><p>Some states have been harder hit than others. California went from 35 cases in 2012 to 99 in 2014, while Texas continued to see a slight decline in the overall number of babies born with syphilis. &quot;In April, I designated Fresno County as an area of high syphilis, so providers are required to screen for syphilis three times during pregnancy,&quot; says Dr. Ken Bird, health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.</p><p>There are states that have free health coverage for pregnant women. &quot;In California, every pregnant female has coverage for prenatal care [through the Medi-Cal program]. Many don&#39;t realize that, and they&#39;re not sure how to access that care,&quot; Bird says. Other states may cover prenatal visits through state Children&#39;s Health Insurance Programs.</p><p>Syphilis is a difficult disease to diagnose, Bowen says. Many people become asymptomatic after the first lesions or rashes appear, but can still pass the infection on to their unborn children. But as long as the infection is caught early enough, a simple course of antibiotics is enough to ensure a healthy baby. &quot;Of the 458 cases we had last year, every single one of them is considered preventable,&quot; she says.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/12/455768422/more-babies-are-dying-because-of-congenital-syphilis?ft=nprml&amp;f=455768422"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 11:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-babies-are-dying-because-congenital-syphilis-113771 List: Three completely unrelated observations http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-03/list-three-completely-unrelated-observations-105899 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2302665329_ba2f179a90.jpg" style="height: 186px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Flickr/Brian Auer" />1. Around the age of 33 is when an adult woman apparently finds the need to start referring to female friends as &quot;girlfriends&quot; as opposed to just &quot;friends.&quot;</div><p>2. Everybody uses a different voice when addressing a baby. Everybody. If you think you don&#39;t, you just haven&#39;t spoken to a baby lately.</p><p>3. I probably don&#39;t need to remove the stickers from my avocado before slicing it.</p><p><em>Discover other profound thoughts at <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 09:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-03/list-three-completely-unrelated-observations-105899 Join the grand tradition of looking kind of bad at your baby's baptism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/join-grand-tradition-looking-kind-bad-your-babys-baptism-105170 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/8107081210_f8f5f11ea4.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><span id="internal-source-marker_0.5039652526344417">A friend of mine is having her baby baptized soon, which is very lovely, except for the fact that the baby is five months old already.</span></div><p>No, it&rsquo;s not a problem because the parents let the baby risk being alive all these five months before getting some nice-smelling oil rubbed on his little baby head. If it weren&rsquo;t for the cute frilly white dresses and the way everyone holds their breath when the baby gets the water splashed on the baby head, I&rsquo;d say no one should be baptized until they&rsquo;re 18 and have picked his or her religion.<br /><br />The problem is that this mother unfairly skirted the tradition (in the christening set) of Looking Kind Of Bad At Your Baby&rsquo;s Baptism.<br /><br />Looking Kind Of Bad is not at all the same as looking actually bad. You wouldn&rsquo;t find a picture of yourself in Glamour with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-19/cautionary-tale-anthropologie-sweater-sale-95008">a bar across your eyes</a> for Looking Kind Of Bad. It&rsquo;s just the sartorial result of being presented by the challenge of being required to look nice on a photo-op day that is a significant occasion shortly after you just had a baby. It&rsquo;s been difficult enough simply taking care of the child, taking care of the house not to mention keeping yourself together in the face of basic biology (wherein, post-birth, your boobs explode and your uterus falls out.) Then you have to find a dress that covers up your postpartum belly but is slightly hipper than a muumuu. And you need to find shoes and jewelry to go with that nonexistent dress and don&rsquo;t forget to do your hair and makeup. You could put your clothes on before you feed the baby but then the baby might spit up on you so hurry, hurry! Get dressed before you get to the church. Don&rsquo;t forget the undereye concealer, you waking zombie. So it&rsquo;s no wonder that mothers in their kids&rsquo; baptism photos look a tiny bit uneasy in addition to tired and happy. I myself purchased a Gap dress that was simultaneously gigantic yet also too short, but what really mattered was that it was a fun day, the baby behaved and we ate some delicious honeybaked ham.<br /><br />Looks aren&rsquo;t everything, especially when it comes to recording your kid&rsquo;s life. (This essay by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html">Allison Tate</a> &nbsp;encapsulates that beautifully.) We can&rsquo;t all look like <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/01/claire-danes-flaunts-post-baby-body-on-golden-globes-red-carpet/">Claire Danes</a> who looks like she must have given birth to a pea-baby. What&rsquo;s important on a christening day is health and happiness and family and whatever spiritual element one finds in the day (and of course whether the baby cries once its baby head gets wet.)<br /><br />But once I realized that feeling awkward in your clothes on a baptism day is a funny sort of tradition and not a curse, it seems like some sort of cheat, like managing to skip over puberty and going straight from adorable childhood to confident adulthood. So whether you&rsquo;re doing the christening late or you used a surrogate or adopted, just do the decent thing and at the very least, eat a big meal right before the christening, and join the club.</p></p> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/join-grand-tradition-looking-kind-bad-your-babys-baptism-105170 Zulkey bits and pieces http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/zulkey-bits-and-pieces-105082 <p><p>There are some little bits and pieces I would like to share with the Internet but none of them can really be turned into a whole post, so here you go: it&rsquo;s potpourri day.</p><p>1.) <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/funnyhaha.php" target="_blank">Funny Ha-Ha</a> is returning next month with a fabulous lineup! Check it all out in our gorgeous poster right here. <img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FunnyHaHaTriumphant-Large.jpg" style="float: right; height: 386px; width: 250px;" title="" /></p><p>2.) My husband Steve Delahoyde made a very nice short (as in three minutes long) piece about the origins of the poetry slam right here in Chicago (see below). You&rsquo;ll probably like it.</p><p>3.) I wrote this piece for the Hairpin called &ldquo;<a href="http://thehairpin.com/2013/01/that-baby-wants-to-break-you-up" target="_blank">That Baby Wants to Break You Up.</a>&rdquo; It should be noted that a.) Coincidentally, life seemed to get a lot easier right after I wrote it and b.) It&rsquo;s not meant as a cautionary tale against having children. I&rsquo;m just not likely to write a piece called &ldquo;Here Are All The Ways I Love My Adorable Baby.&rdquo;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s just meant as catharsis first, and maybe commiseration, second.</p><p>4.) Finally, Michelle Obama&rsquo;s bangs! I don&rsquo;t have much to say about them (they&rsquo;re fine? But she was also fine without them.) But my mother wanted me to mention that Mamie Eisenhower was also famous for her bangs. Duly noted. Eek!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mamie.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/57704802" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 08:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/zulkey-bits-and-pieces-105082 Maternity leave: Finding your new reality http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/maternity-leave-finding-your-new-reality-103688 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8107076002_69951db0aa.jpg" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: left; " title="Soaking it up (Claire Zulkey)" /></div><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.36721461067155736">First, let&#39;s get something out of the way: the phrase &ldquo;having it all&rdquo; needs to be terminated, wiped off the planet or made illegal. It&rsquo;s pure gobbledeygook nonsense, like &ldquo;losing weight and eating everything you want.&rdquo; Unless you actively dislike your child or you absolutely have no professional or creative ambitions beyond raising a child, it&rsquo;s simply impossible for a woman (or man) to &quot;have it all.&quot; Taking care of a kid means time away from other things and vice versa.</span><br /><br />Right after I had the baby I congratulated my husband and myself on our equal partnership. He was right there alongside me feeding the baby, changing him, going to the doctor&rsquo;s, everything. None of this too-good-for-a-poopy-diaper, you-get-up-instead-of-me stuff. It was great. I felt bad for women who had caveman partners.<br /><br />But then he went back to work and I stayed on maternity leave.<br /><br />There are a lot of great parts about maternity leave: Being able to wear sweatpants all day and catch up on TV; time to do the dishes and the laundry; being there for the baby.<br /><br />But those can also be the bad parts about maternity leave. I missed talking to adults and I missed having a place to go. I didn&rsquo;t think I resented spending time with the baby, except sometimes, like when Steve came home from work and would express frustration when the baby didn&#39;t cooperate. Then I thought, &quot;But I get this all day long and I put up with it.&quot; I knew the baby a little better than he did; I folded his little socks, ordered the diapers and massaged his blocked tearduct. But I realized that it wasn&#39;t awesome, all this incidental knowledge. Our equal partnership wasn&#39;t quite so equal anymore.<br /><br />We had a good &ldquo;come to Jesus&rdquo; talk last weekend, where I said, &ldquo;I need to vent to you but you can&rsquo;t take it personally.&rdquo; I told Steve that I felt very reduced, in a lot of ways, to this feeding, cleaning, providing automaton whose work was necessary but not exactly fulfilling in a way I was used to (finishing a load of laundry, for instance, feels a lot less satisfying once you already have half a new pile of dirty laundry built up from the time you started doing the laundry).<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sorry,&rdquo; Steve started to say. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just that&mdash;&rdquo; and I said, &ldquo;No, I need you to listen as my friend, not as my husband. Because I&rsquo;m not mad at you. I know you&rsquo;re not out there drinking beer and sitting around letting me do all this work that you have all the time in the world to pitch in on.&rdquo; Because he didn&rsquo;t. What was I going to do? Let all the housework pile up just to make a point? Force him to do things I had the time to do?<br /><br />Then Steve confessed that he, too, sometimes resented my role. He&#39;d be out working and getting tired, then he&rsquo;d come home and I&rsquo;d be in a bad mood when all it seemed that I had done that day was spend time with the baby and maybe have lunch with a friend. Even if I had gotten more bad time with the baby, I had gotten more good time with him, too, and he had missed that.<br /><br />It will all be fine. We&rsquo;re still luckier than most and are blessed to have support and health on our side. But the truth of the matter is that no matter how smart, ambitious or sophisticated you are, or how enlightened and helpful your husband is, at some point after you have a baby you are going to be The Mommy, doing Mommy Things. These are things that need to get done, but it&rsquo;s not the same as completing a good work project or finishing a race or something like that.<br /><br />I go back to work today. I am melancholy about this (sometimes heartbroken) and yet I know it&rsquo;s what I need. It will probably help me continue to find the new me and to be happy, and it&rsquo;ll be better for the baby as well.</p><p>Things don&rsquo;t go back to normal after you have a kid &mdash;&nbsp;you have to find a new normal instead.</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/maternity-leave-finding-your-new-reality-103688