Mental Attitude: Maternal Depression?
Depression is a serious mental illness with many negative consequences for its sufferers. Depression among pregnant women may also have an impact on their developing babies. Children of depressed parents are at an increased risk for developing depression themselves, which can be the result of a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. These children also display alterations in their amygdala, a part of the brain that’s important for the regulation of emotion and stress.
Biological Psychiatry, December 2013
Health Alert: E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that look like cigarettes and deliver an aerosol of nicotine and other chemicals. These devices are largely unregulated, with no effective controls on marketing them to minors. Despite industry claims that it markets only to adults, the percentage of 12-18 year olds who use e-cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012. As of 2012, an estimated 1.8 million American adolescents have used the devices.
Journal of Adolescent Health, November 2013
Diet: Low Vitamin D Levels.
A recent study shows that vitamin D deficiency may cause damage to the brain and other organs. When middle-aged rats were fed a diet low in vitamin D for several months, they developed free radical damage to their brains and also performed poorly in cognitive functioning tests for learning and memory.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine, December 2013
Exercise: Parents Need to be Fitness Role-Models!
Two-thirds of United Kingdom schoolchildren surveyed about their parent’s fitness levels stated that their mom and dad do almost no physical activity. After testing the children’s fitness levels, researchers found that the children of sedentary parents were 50% more likely to be classified as physically unfit. Dr. Gavin Sandercock, the lead author of the study, adds, “As parents we don’t need to be Olympic athletes to be good role models for our children. We need our children to know that we encourage and support their physical activity and, most importantly, we need our children to see us being active ourselves.”
University of Essex, June 2012
Chiropractic: One More on Cracking Knuckles.
Dr. Donald Unger spent a half-century cracking the knuckles of his left hand but never his right. After fifty years, he reported no arthritis or other problems in either hand, despite cracking the knuckles in his left hand over 36,500 times.
Arthritis & Rheumatism, May 1998
Wellness/Prevention: Get a Dog!
Several studies have shown that children exposed to dogs during early infancy have a much lower risk for developing allergies and asthma. Now, researchers and the University of California-San Francisco believe they know the reason and it’s in the gut. Mice were exposed to dust samples from homes with and without dogs. The immune systems of mice exposed to dust from homes with dogs had decreased reactivity to common allergens. The researchers examined the gut bacteria in these mice and observed that it had changed after exposure to the dust. In particular they noticed a greater presence of the bacteria Lactobacillus johnsonii. When this bacteria was introduced to a different group of mice, they exhibited nearly the same decrease in response to common allergens as the group exposed to dust samples from the homes with dogs. According to Dr. Susan Lynch, “Gut microbiome manipulation represents a promising new therapeutic strategy to protect individuals against both pulmonary infection and allergic airway disease.”
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2013