Media Watch

This section is intended to draw attention to items in the news that are pertinent to our field. APPPAH does not necessarily agree with, or vouch for, the scientific worthiness of any of the news items mentioned here. Just reporting...

Exposure to toxins can alter DNA.

Women with ovarian disease may have inherited it from great grandmothers who were exposed to toxic chemicals decades ago, according to a study by Washington State University researchers. [June 5, 2012; The Spokesman-Review: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/jun/05/researcher-exposure-to-toxins-can-alter-dna ]

A combination of genes and our environment makes us what we are. Or do they?

It is a shibboleth of family life – that every individual is the product of their genes and environment, the one an immutable inheritance, the other a mutable array of influences and pressures with unpredictable outcomes. But new research has demonstrated that genes can change, identical twins with the same genetic inheritance can turn out completely different and the impact of environmental influences can be passed down the generations. The new science of epigenetics has shown that in addition to nature and nurture, what makes us who we are is also determined by biological mechanisms that can switch genes on or off. [June 1, 2012; The Guardian: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nature-nurture-or-neither-epigenetics-is-the-new-twist-in-an-ageold-argument-7808598.html#]

Maternity Ward Swag.

The benefits of breast-feeding are many, but hospitals undermine the practice by sending mothers home with free samples of baby formula. [May 11, 2012; The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/opinion/maternity-ward-swag.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120511]

New report shows 15 million babies born too soon every year.

The first-ever national, regional, and global estimates of preterm birth reveals that 15 million babies are born too soon every year and 1.1 million of those babies die shortly after birth, making premature birth the second-leading cause of death in children under age 5. According to the report, more than one in every 10 babies is born prematurely and preterm birth rates are increasing in almost all countries with reliable data. Survivors of premature birth often face a lifetime of disability, including serious infections, cerebral palsy, brain injury, and respiratory, vision, hearing, learning, and developmental problems. [May 3, 2012; e ! Science News: http://esciencenews.com/articles/2012/05/03/new.report.shows.15.million.babies.born.too.soon.every.year]

The Mother-Baby Bond.

After spending nine months intricately joined together, mother and infant share more than just common features. Now, in a special partnership with theVisualMD.com, we present a look at this remarkable bond, complete with scientifically accurate and stunning images. [April 30, 2010; Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/report.cfm?id=mother-child-bond&sc=DD_20100430]

Corporate Greed or Healthy Babies?

Fact Number One: Exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months is best for infants and new mothers. Fact Number Two: Hospital giveaways of infant formula samples to new mothers reduce the amount and length of breastfeeding. Given these two facts, why would hospitals serve as marketing agents for infant formula companies by giving away free samples of infant formula? [April 9, 2012; Public Citizen http://lists.essential.org/pipermail/corp-focus/2012/000346.html]

Inducing Labor Unnecessarily Increases Risk of Complications.

Inducing labor in pregnant women when it's not medically necessary is more likely to result in complications at birth, according to a University of Adelaide study. [29 March 2012; ScienceDaily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329100904.htm]

Maternal Separation Stresses the Baby, Research Finds.

A woman goes into labor, and gives birth. The newborn is swaddled and placed to sleep in a nearby bassinet, or taken to the hospital nursery so that the mother can rest...research published in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence that separating infants from their mothers is stressful to the baby. It is standard practice in a hospital setting, particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. [2 November 2011; ScienceDaily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102124955.htm#.T87e7AdXQLg.email]