My name is Catherine Morgan, I'm a writer, nurse, and mother. This is a blog about women's issues, health & wellness, inspirational thoughts, and other stuff too. If you like this blog, you will love BlogHer.com where I am also a contributing editor for Health & Wellness.
Find out all the places I blog at by going to catherine-morgan.com.
I think it is well known that as we get older we have a more difficult time getting pregnant, but I was shocked to hear these new statistics on fertility. It seems that 90 percent of a woman’s eggs are gone by age 30, and only 3 percent remain by age 40. Ninety Percent of eggs are GONE! That’s a huge number. That’s a scary number.
It’s common knowledge that women have more difficulty conceiving as they age, but this is the very first study believed to quantify the number of eggs lost and it shows that the decline is more rapid than previously believed. Over time, the quality of ovarian eggs also deteriorates, increasing the difficulty of conception and the risk of having an unhealthy baby. The study was based on information collected from 325 women of varying ages in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.
Dr. Marie Savard, “Good Morning America” medical contributor, visited “GMA” to discuss the issue and its implications for moms-to-be. “Women lose eggs a lot faster than we thought,” she said. As you get older, conceiving is “much more difficult…Even all those assisted reproductive techniques are challenges.”
“That biological clock does tick,” she said, adding that her advice to women who want kids is, “the sooner the better.”
I imagine this news is going to cause a great deal of anxiety to women in their 30′s who were holding off having children. What do they do? Do they drop everything and try to have a baby before their eggs run out? And how will this affect women who want to pursue a career before motherhood? Are women going to have to start choosing motherhood over career for fear of future infertility?
My daughter Nicole, who is a big Miley Cyrus fan, heard about a project Miley was supporting called Get UR Good On. As soon as she heard about it, she wanted to get involved. The idea was to do something good in your community, video it, and then upload it onto the Get UR Good On website to encourage others to do the same.
Do you know someone who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease? Or someone who is a caregiver to a loved one with this devastating disease? If so, you understand the heartache associated with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Who are we without our memories of past experiences? For most of us, the though of losing our memories to Alzheimer’s disease is horrifying. But there is much more to Alzheimer’s than memory loss.
I’m honored to be a member of the American Cancer Society’s Blogger Advisory Council, a small group of volunteers that advises the Society on its social media strategy. Part of our mission is to help spread the word that we have power in the fight against cancer. And our first step is to build awareness and encourage women to get involved. Visibility equals power! So we have started a blog “chain” to spread the word among women bloggers. We call it Bloggers for More Birthdays.
You can help me…Join Bloggers for More Birthdays by dedicating a blog post to someone you love who’s been affected by cancer. It’s a simple way to celebrate those you love. Just write a post (like I’ve done here), host our badge, and know that whatever you write, you are helping to raise awareness and inspiring others to join American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer.
Here is my contribution to the Bloggers for More Birthdays Campaign…
Becky was my best friend. A wonderful mother. And a great mom-mom. Even though she’s been gone for over seven years, a day rarely goes by that I don’t think of her and wish she were here. Time has helped to replace some of my grief with many lovely memories, but it hasn’t healed my anger towards the disease that took her from us. Cancer.
I hate cancer, and I hate that my friend didn’t get a chance to be a survivor. Why her? She deserved to be a survivor, she deserved to have more birthdays. She fought this disease with every ounce of strength she had, but in the end cancer took away every ounce of strength she had.
Although I’m angry, I’m also grateful for the time I did have Becky in my life. She was there for me during some very tough times. I know I’m who I am today, partly because of her influence in my life. I only wish I was able to thank her for that.
No matter how much time goes by, I will never forget the angel she was…and still is.
If you’ve posted, let The American Cancer Society know so they can feature it! Just put a link to your post in the comments section here, or email your post to firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll be showing your support for More Birthdays and bring visibility to your blog.
Avoiding Candy Cravings During Halloween and Sticking To A Healthy Diet
I have been successfully off of sugar since my post Conquering Sugar Addiction: The First Step Towards A Healthy Diet (and the toughest), but I know I am always just one bite of a brownie away from falling off the wagon. And now there is another huge temptation – Halloween. It seems like everywhere I go I am faced with those giant bags of Halloween candy. The next few weeks are going to be a real test of my new-found willpower.
It’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with Halloween candy temptations.
Do you have children that suffer with food allergies? It seems like food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent. Why is that? My personal opinion, is that it has something to do with how germ and bacteria free we’ve become as a society.
Last week was food allergy awareness week, so I thought I would use this post to look at food allergies and how some parents are coping.
Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3, and about 4 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older.
WASHINGTON, DC, May 14, 2009 – Today, as we continue to mark Food Allergy Awareness Week, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., member of the Board of Directors of the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), announced the formation of FAI’s Advocacy Steering Committee. The committee’s objectives are to help build a strong nationwide presence for the food allergy community in the public policy arena; and to actively seek to increase federal funding of food allergy research, as scientists believe that with proper funding, a cure can be found in less than a decade.
The new steering committee comprises 16 leading parent advocates nationwide who confront the daily dangers of raising children with severe food allergies.
There is a lot of discussion about how schools are dealing with food allergies…
I don’t mean to get all Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and I certainly am not trying to get into a “my child’s allergy is more severe than yours” discussion. It’s inappropriate, and it doesn’t matter. The school system should treat all food allergies as if they equally severe. It’s just safer that way. Besides, you never know which reaction is going to be the anaphylactic one, so it’s best just to avoid reactions altogether.
My children go to a “Nut Free” school which has changed to a “Nut Aware” school since the school cannot guarantee that it is “nut free”. So, more or less, no peanut butter sandwiches allowed–no vital protein (that doesn’t spoil) at lunch. There have been stories about lunch ladies taking Skittles away from children because they are made in factory that also makes M&M’s. We call the lunch ladies Peanut Nazis because they embarrassed and humiliate the children who bring in the Skittles too.
How does your school deal with food allergies? Are they doing enough? Could they be doing more?
As with everything in life, sometimes bad things can lead to something good…
Beth George’s story touched me and I think you will feel inspired too. Beth was unwilling to accept the host of diagnoses and psychotropic drugs doctors recommended to deal with her son’s unpredictable behavior. Instead, she was determined to figure out the cause. After years of struggling, she discovered that her son was allergic to a common wheat and certain artificial food additives. Once she removed these ingredients from her son’s diet, miraculously his symptoms disappeared. This inspired her to start a baking company, Spelt Right® Baking, that only uses organic, all natural materials with no artificial ingredients of any kind in their products.
I just received a press release from FAAN that made me smile! The organization has donated 1.1 million to food allergy research, including peanut allergy therapies and vaccines. I have high hopes for vaccines–more so than I do for immunotherapy studies like the small one just published from Duke University. This study has received a lot of media buzz but is still in its very early and experimental stages and has caused severe allergic reactions in human subjects. In fact, this experimental therapy isn’t currently recommended for those who have high IgE levels (that is, patients whose blood tests indicate they are at high risk of anaphylaxis) or who have ever had a severe reaction to peanut or tree nut. That leaves many of us out! Now, if this therapy has helped you personally, great. I’m just saying that for many it’s not even an option. That doesn’t sound like a “cure” to me.
We all know that in order to be healthy (and happy) we need to get enough sleep. But still, most of us either don’t get enough sleep or our quality of sleep is lacking. Let face it, if you’re a mom you probably don’t get enough sleep. If you work you probably don’t get enough sleep. If you worry, you probably don’t get enough sleep. And if you’re a mom who works and also worries, you may have already forgotten what it means to get a good night’s sleep.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired all the time. I guess it doesn’t help that I stay up till all hours of the night doing my blog posts.
Severe depression may silently break a seemingly healthy woman’s heart. Doctors have long known that depression is common after a heart attack or stroke, and worsens those people’s outcomes. Monday, Columbia University researchers reported new evidence that depression can lead to heart disease in the first place.
The scientists tracked 63,000 women from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study between 1992 and 2004. None had signs of heart disease when the study began, but nearly 8 percent had evidence of serious depression.
The depressed women were more than twice as likely to experience sudden cardiac death — death typically caused by an irregular heartbeat, concluded the 12-year study, published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. They also had a smaller increased risk of death from other forms of heart disease.
A strained marriage can lead to heart disease risks for women. A new study show the chances of developing depression, leading to metabolic syndrome and obesity is worse for women in strained marriages than for men. The result is increased heart disease risk for women who are in an unhappy marriage.
A recent study shows that calcium may play an even greater role in a woman’s health than we once thought. Apparently, a higher intake of dietary calcium may decrease the risk of a woman developing colorectal cancer. But this isn’t about taking calcium supplements, it’s recommended that we increase our intake of calcium by choosing to eat more calcium rich foods. Yes, it’s another reason to eat healthy. How many more reasons do you need?
High dietary intake of calcium may reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer, especially for women, but has no apparent effect in reducing other malignancies, a U.S. National Cancer Institute study finds.
Why calcium should influence cancer risk differently in women versus men isn’t clear, said Yikyung Park, a staff scientist at NCI who led the study. “One can speculate that hormonal or metabolic factors contribute to this difference,” she said.
Women with higher intake of calcium appear to have a lower risk of cancer overall, and both men and women with high calcium intakes have lower risks of colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive system, according to a report in the February 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
So, what does all this mean. The bottom line comes down to this: If you have to grab a quick meal, grab something that includes calcium, such as low-fat dairy products—yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese—or calcium-fortified beverages, such as orange juice or soy milk. Dark green leafy vegetables—kale, watercress, and bok choy—are also calcium-rich. Eating calcium foods will do your body more good than supplements. However, if you’re falling short on calcium or if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, you should still take calcium supplements, particularly if your health care practitioner told you to take them.
But how do we know if we are getting enough calcium? Do you know if you are getting enough caclium in your diet?
Try this easy to use calcium calculator to find out how much calcium you should be getting, and how much your current diet is providing. I was shocked to find how little calcium I am actually consuming each day, I will certainly need to pay more attention to this in the future.
Once you know how much more calcium you should be getting each day, use this list of calcium rich foods
to find ways to add more to your diet.
During childhood and adolescence, the body uses the mineral calcium to build strong bones — a process that’s all but complete by the end of the teen years. Bone calcium begins to decrease in young adulthood and progressive loss of bone occurs as we age, particularly in women.
It is also important to understand how much calcium kids actually need. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences recommends:
* 500 mg a day for kids who are 1 to 3 years old
* 800 mg a day for kids who are 4 to 8 years old
* 1,300 mg a day for kids who are 9 to 18 years old
My daughter (14 years old) was recently diagnosed with a slight herniated disk in her lower back. It’s most likely the beginning stage of degenerative disc disease (which runs in our family). The doctor wants her to begin doing regular cardio exercise (at least 45 minutes 3 times a week), and also make sure she is getting enough calcium in her diet. Hopefully making these changes will decrease her pain and reduce her risk of future problems.
Young bodies need adequate calcium to build strong bones, especially during growth spurts. In fact, 90 percent of a person’s peak bone mass for adulthood is established by the late teen years: The strength and health of an adult’s bones largely depends on calcium intake during formative years. Some experts call osteoporosis a juvenile disease because poor bone mass in adulthood often begins in adolescence.
Other factors also help build bones, such as engaging in weight-bearing physical activity, for example:
But calcium intake remains critical. An added bonus to consuming calcium: Some studies link diets rich in dairy products with more lean body mass and better weight management.
This was a challenging subject to blog about – especially since one of my kiddos is the pickiest eater ever. Here are my 5 tips for making sure my kids get the vitamins and minerals they need for strong bones.
When I was kid there was nothing better than coming home from school, opening the refrigerator, and seeing those old-fashioned ice cream dessert glasses filled with Mom’s chocolate pudding, bananas, and Graham Crackers. Cool, creamy, and soothing, just what any kid could use after a long day at school. Plus it’s low in fat and high in bone-building calcium, vitamin D and protein.
Is stress wearing you down? Are you worried about the bad economy? Your job? The mortgage? Your health? Your family? If so, you are not alone.
Life is always changing, and that can feel very stressful. But often, seemingly bad things will happen in our lives, that will actually turn out to be the catalysts to something positive. It’s very true that when one door closes another will open. Although it never feels so great when that one door closes. Recently I’ve had several doors close on me. But as hard as it’s been, I can already see that these things needed to happen to bring me closer to where I am meant to be.
There are three things we can do to help relieve the stress in our lives…
Number one is acceptance. We need to accept that life does not always go the way we perceive to be best.
One tool to help keep life in perspective is a gratitude journal where you write down a few things each day that you are thankful for. They can be big things, like I’m thankful that I have a warm, dry place to live in the midst of this crazy California rainstorm, or small things, like I had a really yummy hot chocolate the other day.
Number three is your inner game and positive affirmations.
What is your inner voice saying to you? Have you developed the habit of saying negative things to yourself? If so, this is a habit that needs to be broken.
Whether we speak out loud or we are in silence, our brain is in continuous chatter. We have thoughts about things to do, feelings, expectations, ideas, reminders, theories and conversations.
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Much of our mind chatter is thoughts we have been given by others, thoughts based on past experiences we have had (as kids), things we have seen in the media and interpretations of what has happened around us. The real challenge is to switch from negative thoughts to positive ones.
Taking a wealth/prosperity affirmation as our example, it’s unlikely that a wealthy person would tell someone “I’m a very wealthy person” or “I’m a multi-millionaire,” but they might tell someone “I’m never in need of money” or “My finances are better than they’ve ever been before.” Think of a way in which you’d tell your friends and family about your wealth, and use that as your money mantra. If you use a lot of slang or colloquial phrases, fashion your affirmation that way. A person who refers to money as “dough,” for instance, would probably be better off writing her mantra as “I’m rollin’ in dough!” than as “I have a lot of money!” Keep your own speech pattern in mind when you write out your affirmations, and they’ll be much more powerful for you.
It’s not something we, as parents, like to hear and yet it’s precisely what we need to realize: if our children are fat, the chances are we bear a big load of the blame. Kids aren’t the ones pulling the minivan into the drive-through lane at McDonald’s for dinner between dance lessons and karate practice. Again. They aren’t the ones zipping past the produce aisle and dried beans in favor of high-fat, calorie-dense convenience meals that promise to be ready after five minutes or less in the microwave. They don’t keep files crammed with the take-out menus for nearby restaurants, nor program the phone number of the pizza joint on their cell phones. Parents do.
If a child is obese at the age of two, there’s no one to blame but the parents.
Traditionally toddlers have the healthiest lifestyles – they naturally run around all the time, burning up calories.
So it’s difficult to imagine what these children’s parents have been doing to let them get so fat. If you’re busy and stressed and feel guilty about not spending enough quality time with your child, you’re probably looking for quick and easy ways to make it up to them.
Is fast-food to blame? Or is it the parent who provides the fast-food to blame?
School systems have instituted nutrition and exercise programs with some success. For example, a research group, The Healthier Options for Public Schools, followed 3700 students in a Florida county over 2 years. School districts instituted an intervention program in 4 schools and the results were measured against two schools that did not have a program. The intervention program included dietary changes, increased exercise and nutrition awareness. There were dramatic changes in the kids who had intervention, however, when those students returned from summer vacation, most had reverted back to their old habits.
Healthy Choices: Stock the fridge with a lot of healthy food and snacks, such as whole-grain choices, fresh produce and milk. Get rid of the junk food and soda.
Behavioral changes help: Serving water or milk at dinner instead of soda, sitting at a table instead of around the T.V., eating dinner at a regular time—these changes are small but can break old habits and make a real difference. Make small decisions to increase the activity in your day.
Beware of the TV: studies have shown that TV time directly correlates with snacking. Instead, encourage your child to be active, or work on a project that engages his or her hands so they are less likely to snack.
Slow down the consumption: Encourage your child to eat slowly and engage them in discussion during mealtime. Serve them smaller portions, and if they are old enough, don’t cut their food for them.
Food as nutrition, not reward: Don’t make food a source of reward or punishment. Allow your child to stop eating when they are no longer hungry and never force them to finish their plate.
Engage them in physical activity outside of the home: Enroll your child in a physical activity they might enjoy, such as gymnastics, dance or martial arts. Encourage him to join a school team or play basketball with his friends.
Be a good role model: Create a healthy lifestyle, not just a goal for your child’s weight. There are old habits to break and good habits to establish- acting as a role model for your child is the most effective way to help him or her make changes that last.
Often, I say to my adult children “I wish I knew then what I know now”. Our lives would be very different. I would advise that parents involve their children in the healthy choices. A meal always tastes better when the child is involved in the preparation. Make sure the fruit bowl is always full. Take control as a parent over the media hype. Do not give in. I would also advice parents to start with the elimination of “hydrogenated oils” and “high fructose corn syrup” from any products they purchase. Make sure your child starts their day with a nutritious breakfast that would exclude modern breakfast cereals. We drink green smoothies daily and every child loves a smoothie. Cabbage and spinach are the easiest veggies to mask and this can sustain a child with clearer thinking and brain function. In sharing with your child the importance of healthy choices and the affect on their bodies, we can reverse this preventive epidemic we call obesity.
Do You Hate or Love Your Body? Is It Possible To Love Yourself Healthy?
A long time ago I read a book called Love Yourself Thin. The idea of the book was that if you love and appreciate your body, choosing to feed it healthy foods would come naturally. It also emphasized the importance of loving our bodies just the way they are…even suggesting you stand naked in front of a mirror and replace negative self talk with positive self talk. Even though I never tried that, it did make me notice how many times in one day I was passing my reflection and telling myself I was fat or ugly (more than I could count).
So the idea of loving ourselves healthy isn’t a new concept. But it is something that most of us are neglecting to practice.
When we choose to eat healthy out of love for our bodies, we are able to let go of the negative aspects of weight and appearances. We no longer have to hate our bodies into going on starvation diets. Instead, we can love our bodies into making healthy food choices.
The first step in loving yourself healthy is to STOP JUDGING YOURSELF and your appearance. If you can’t say something nice about yourself…Don’t say anything at all. This is a great opportunity to recognize your negative self talk and begin to practice positive affirmations. Check out this website where you can randomly pick a wisdom card by Louise Hay.
The next step is to start treating your body like you love it (even if you don’t). Try making food choices that reflect your desire to fuel your body with nourishing and healthy foods.
One way to learn to love yourself is to act as if you already do (i.e., “Fake it till you make it”). An important way to love yourself is to nourish and care for your body: eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.
Make stir-fry using a little chicken, some veggies, some seasoning all in one pan; and you have a healthy meal.
Carry nuts, fruit, string cheese (part skim mozzarella), low-fat yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs with you for healthy snacks.
If other people in the house eat junk food, put it all in one cabinet and start eating less of it.
Make a healthy grocery list and don’t buy the junk (chips, etc.).
Avoid foods with the word “hydrogenated” on the label, or look for foods that say “no trans fats”.
Avoid deep fat fried foods like french fries.
Eat throughout the day. If you don’t eat much all day you are more likely to binge at night.
Eat something with a lot of fiber, like a salad, before your meal; it will make you feel less hungry.
If you find you frequently eat for emotional comfort, think of other things you could substitute, like a warm bath, or your favorite music.
You can be a good example for your children and teach them to eat healthy foods along with you. This may change their lives for the better now, and help them be more likely to eat healthfully as adults.
If we really and truly care for ourselves, we would take good care of these bodies that are taking us through life.This minor revelation helped me change my negative thoughts about myself as I was writing. I realized that I usually do love myself enough to eat healthy foods which contribute to my being exceptionally healthy most of the time.
How many companies rely on us feeling crappy about our bodies to sell more product? If we all loved our bodies the way they are, douche companies wouldn’t be the only ones going out of business–the diet, health & beauty, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic surgery industries would suffer as well!
Think of the money we could save if we loved ourselves and accepted our bodies in their natural state.
Head Start is one of the most cost-effective programs we have in this country. We need more Head Start, and we need full day Head Start programs (much of the funding only pays for a few hours of services) so that low income working parents can take advantage of the enormous benefits Head Start offers children and families. It is a comprehensive early learning program that supports the total well-being of children.
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Further, study after study shows that quality early childhood programs like Head Start significantly reduce the incidences of teen pregnancy, juvenile crime, being held back in school, and other social ills that develop later in life. Every $1 we invest today in these programs saves taxpayers somewhere between $7 and $17 in future costs due to negative consequences of poverty.
We are joining together because our children deserve a better and brighter future. Under the President’s budget, 200,000 low-income children and their families will lose child care assistance, and 14,000 children will lose Head Start.
Please add your voice by calling or e-mailing your Members of Congress today.
Here is how you can take action and help…
To call your representatives, use the script below and dial toll-free at 1-888-460-0813. The operator who answers the phone will ask which Senator or Representative you would like to speak to. To find out who your Senators and Representative are, search our directory before you call.
Tell the staffers who answer the phone in your representatives’ offices:
Hi, my name is (INSERT NAME.) I’m a constituent. (If you are also a parent, child care provider, community leader, etc., feel free to mention that as well.)
I am calling because I believe that child care and Head Start are essential programs for children and families. I urge Senator/ Representative (INSERT NAME) to support an increase of $874 million for child care and $1 billion for Head Start in this year’s budget.
The national Head Start program, which was a legacy of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” offers preschool to families unable to afford a private program. We don’t know how it functions elsewhere in the country, but in Morris County, Head Start is as refreshingly bipartisan as can be. Republicans and Democrats are on its board, and Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-Harding, long has been a supporter.
The nation’s teen birth rate has risen for the first time in 14 years, according to a new government report.
The birth rate had been dropping since 1991. The decline had slowed in recent years, but government statisticians said Wednesday it jumped 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.
“It took us by surprise,” said Stephanie Ventura of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a co-author of the report. — see full article here
It seems to me that this latest report proves that abstinence-only programs are not working.
Ideology, not science, has been driving America’s response to the twin epidemics of teen pregnancy and STD/HIV infections. Funding for abstinence-only censorship programs is dramatically increasing. All told, abstinence-only programs have received over half a billion dollars in federal funds since 1997, and the Bush administration requested yet another sharp increase to $204 million for fiscal year 2007. By 2009, President Bush proposes that funding for abstinence-only programs reach $270 million.
This huge investment of taxpayer funds in abstinence-only programs conflicts with scientific and medical research: abstinence-only programs are not proven effective and may in fact result in riskier behavior by teenagers. Responsible sex education programs, on the other hand, have demonstrated positive results such as delayed initiation of sex, reduced frequency of sex, and increased contraceptive use. — read full article here
I would love to know how these programs have spent over half a billion dollars of taxpayer money teaching abstinence? I would also like to know what the current presidential candidates will do when elected to lower the rate of teen pregnancy in this country?
Are you aware that maternity is a leading killer of women worldwide?
It’s true. Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world a woman loses her life because of issues related to pregnancy or giving birth. In 2007-2008, BlogHers Act is committed to saving some of these lives by harnessing the power of women online and our blogs to address maternal health, the global health issue recommended by this community.
This is a very important issue, and a great way for women to help other women. I hope you’ll get involved. Just go to theNew BlogHers Act Site, and see what you can do to help.
I came across an interesting article today, about a new study on breastfeeding, and how it relates to IQ. Even though I’ve been personally out of the breastfeeding business for some time (my son is 16 and my daughter is 13), this article still intrigued me, so I decided to use it as the topic of todays post. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only study (or news) on breastfeeding that had been released recently.
Let’s start with the research that first caught my eye today…
In two studies of over 3,000 children in Britain and New Zealand; breast-fed infants were found to have a 7 point increase in their IQ, when the child also carried a particular version of the FADS2 gene.
“It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is associated with a higher IQ score,” said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology at Yale and a member of the research team.
“Children who do not carry the ‘helpful’ genetic variant have normal average IQ scores,” Kim-Cohen said. “Being breastfed for them is not associated with an IQ advantage.” — read full article
The Nature vs Nurture debate is now old-fashioned and instead enlightened people like Malcom Gladwell have been reformulating it as Nature via Nurture where, for genes to make their impact, appropriate environmental agents have to be present. Ed Yong of the excellent Not Exactly rocket Science blog, blogs about a recent study that shows that IQ differences (of up to 7 points) in people with two different variants of a gene, FADS2, can be accomplished under the environmental conditions of breastfeeding. Thus, the gene, which is instrumental in metabolism of some fatty acids, leads to increase in IQ points, but only if the babies are breast-fed. The link seems that this gene is necessary to metabolize some of the the fatty acids present in mother’s milk. — read full post
Another study suggests that the benefits of breastfeeding do not stop when your baby is weaned. Breastfeeding my actually protect your baby from developing heart disease later in life.
This is from WebMD…
Researchers found that babies who are nursed for one month or longer have a lower body mass index (BMI) and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in mid-adulthood than their bottle-fed counterparts. A lower BMI and high HDL both protect against cardiovascular disease. — read full post
There is also new research about the lack of benefit of breastfeeding, when the mother has asthma. It seems that when mothers with asthma breastfeed, the child does not get the same sort of protection and improvements in lung function as other children.
There is an interesting study about asthma and breastfeeding in the first November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Breastfed babies having less diarrhea, fewer ear infections and fewer incidents of wheezing in infancy. The new study suggests that the breastfed babies of asthmatic mothers, though, may be missing out on the positive effects of breastfeeding on lung development. — read full post
Breastfeeding usually helps babies have better lung function later in childhood, but it may not if their moms have asthma.
A new report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Arizona Respiratory Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson finds longer breastfeeding in children of asthmatic mothers does not improve the child’s lung growth and it significantly decreases their airflow later in life. — read full article
Then there is the controversy over breastfeeding in public…
It bothers me that this is even a subject for debate. Hospitals practically force women to breastfeed their babies. While nursing my son in my maternity ward room, I could hear the nurse giving the young mother next door to me a guilt trip because she didn’t want to breastfeed her baby. So, here we are being bombarded with posters and fliers and nurses and doctors telling us that breastfeeding is natural and the best thing for the baby. There are breasts and nipples hanging out all over the place and no one bats an eye. Then we leave the hospital. — read full post from Modern Mommy
This is a news clip on the latest breastfeeding in public controversy…
My personal opinion on this one is…It seems to me that gravity and age play a pretty large role in the ongoing saga of the saggy boob.But that’s just my personal opinion, and not based on anything except my own intellect and wisdom. *wink*
Today is Blog Day for The MOTHERS Act. See how you can help…
Thank you for taking time to participate in this LIFE SAVING legislative initiative which will help to end the suffering of thousands of mothers, infants and families, while offering education, research and training to those who are charged with their care. Together, we are a powerful force to support the promotion of The MOTHERS Act until it becomes federal law. The implementation of this pivotal prosocial supportive legislation will offer crucial safeguards to women, children and families.
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It seem that Oprah has ruffled a few feathers while explaining her recent bout with thyroid problems. Some are saying that she is just using a thyroid problem as an excuse for a recent 20 pound weight gain. Others find her method of treatment [a one month trip to her Hawaii estate for total relaxation and healthy eating] to be a bit grandiose, and not exactly a treatment available to the average woman with thyroid disease. And then others are a bit taken back by her “expert” Dr. Northrup, and her attempt to blame the patients (mostly women) for their thyroid disease.
…The downside is that the talk show host has been vague about her diagnosis and treatment and even suggested that her body’s imbalance of thyroid hormones was the result of working too hard and not relaxing enough. Her main “treatment” approach seemed to be quitting work for a month and eating only fresh food at her tropical Hawaiian estate.
“While good nutrition, exercise, and self-care are certainly part of overall good health, they are not likely to cure your thyroid condition,’’ writes Mary Shoman, founder of a well-known thyroid disease Web site and the author of several books on the topic. “It may have worked for Oprah, but …I doubt most of us could ever aspire to such a luxurious recuperation.”
Ms. Winfrey hasn’t detailed her specific diagnosis, but Ms. Shoman says the description sounds like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that is characterized by the thyroid’s gradual decline into hypothyroidism, interspersed with periods “when the thyroid sputters to life and becomes temporarily overactive.” Avoiding medical treatment is only an option for those with very mild thyroid problems, notes Ms. Shoman, who worries some women may try to self-treat rather than consulting a doctor about their symptoms…
“In many women thyroid dysfunction develops because of an energy blockage in the throat region, the result of a lifetime of ‘swallowing’ words one is aching to say. In the name of preserving harmony, or because these women have learned to live as relatively helpless members of their families or social groups, they have learned to stifle their self-expression….It’s no coincidence that so many more women than men have thyroid problems. Thyroid disease is related to expressing your feelings…”"
For me, there is no doubt that some degree of a mind/body connection exists. Personally, I know that when under great stress or anxiety, that my medical problems will often become worse. However, there is a thin line between “connection” and “blame”…and it seems this Dr. Northrup may have just crossed that line.
This is what she had to say…
Dr. Northrup says your health depends on what’s going on with your mind, body and soul, and your symptoms are actually your soul’s way of bringing deeper issues to your attention. “You’re in labor with yourself because everything that no longer serves your highest purpose and your optimal health starts to go away and your body gives you signals—’Hey, you’ve been putting too much stuff under the carpet emotionally, nutritionally, not exercising … putting everyone else first. The kids, the husband, the job, whatever,’” Dr. Northrup says. “And your soul is saying, ‘What about me? What about me?’ And your body will start getting symptoms to hit you over the head with till you wake up.”
Well, that just doesn’t make much sense…There are plenty of depressed people that don’t have a single medical problem wrong with them, as there are plenty of people who suffer with numerous medical issues that are not in the least bit depressed.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just go to our “happy place” and will our medical problems away? Yes, it sure would be…But, in “reality” medical problems happen…regardless of your state of mind. So all of this talk about Thyroid disease stemming from an underlying emotional problem…well, no wonder why people are getting a bit upset. Oprah may be spotlighting thyroid disease, but the medical community blaming the patient for their health problems is not new at all. Just ask anyone who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowl Syndrome, just to name a few. And actually, Dr. Northrup names many more…
The first thing Dr. Northrup wants Rachel to do is to make a list of five things she wants to do—and then do them! The five things Rachel chooses to do may help improve her health in the long run. “When you do those, they decrease cellular inflammation. This isn’t just some kind of pop psychology. They decrease inflammation in your cells and cellular inflammation is the beginning of all chronic degenerative disease,” she says. “So headaches, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, it all begins with cellular inflammation. Things that bring you joy quell stress hormones in the body and decrease cellular inflammation.”
I imagine Dr. Northrup doesn’t actually suffer from any of these pesky “cellular inflammations”, otherwise how could she even say any of this with a straight face. She is basically saying that people with cancer, thyroid disease, and many other chronic illnesses, have brought this all on themselves. When someone suffering hears this kind of crazy talk, they actually begin to believe that their illness is their own fault. And that’s not even the worst thing. What is worse, is when that person believes that if they could just emotionally “fix” themselves, they could make themselves better [in this case, just like Oprah]. And when they don’t get better…again, they will feel it is their own fault.
And when she finally has a program which somewhat addresses the thyroid issue this week, she allows her hallowed guest, Dr. Christiane Northrup, to state “your symptoms are actually your soul’s way of bringing deeper issues to your attention.” Hogwash! And thyroid patient Mary Shoman has rightly proclaimed that “thyroid disease is NOT your fault, despite what Dr. Northrup says.”
How do you feel about these comments by Dr. Northrup?
I decided to post on some of the interesting health and wellness issues that have been in the news this week…
Starting with the Autism Speaks website…They now have video examples of children with autism, compared to children without, in the hopes of helping parents recognize early signs of the disease. Also, a new study shows that the United States is lagging behind in maternal health, and the House urges health agencies to expand research into Postpartum Depression.
With 1 in every 150 children having some degree of Autism, knowing the symptoms and being diagnosed early is critical. This week Autism Speaks is helping parents learn what is common behavior for most children, as compared to what is common in an Autistic child, with the use of videos.
Please keep in mind that there are many presenting features associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that are depicted in the video clips you are about to see. However, most children do not show all of the features all of the time. Instead, many children have some of the features some of the time. Awareness of these common presenting features may help to heighten your index of suspicion. Individually, they may not indicate a problem; however, in combination, they may indicate a need to conduct a screening or a diagnostic evaluation. Not all signs and features need be present for ASD to be diagnosed.
By viewing these videos of symptoms found in Autism, parents can help recognize a potential problem early, and bring it to the attention of their child’s pediatrician.
As always, there are critics of this idea who believe that these videos may cause unnecessary worry for parents. However, as both a nurse and a mother, I would say that the potential benefits to parents viewing these videos, far outweighs any potential risk of undue worry.
In spite of all the controversy over the treatment and the politics of Autism, I think one thing everyone can agree on, is the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. With such a short amount of time that a child will actually spend with their doctor, parents are the first line of defense when it comes to recognizing the symptoms their children are exhibiting.
Then there is a new study showing that the United States is lagging behind in maternal health, this also happens to be a topic that is being addressed by the BlogHer community, through BlogHer Acts. I found the statistics on this quite disturbing, and shocking. We do still live in the richest country in the world, right?
The United States has a far higher death rate than the European average, the report shows, with one in 4,800 U.S. women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth, the same as Belarus and just slightly better than Serbia’s rate of one in 4,500.
Just one out of 47,600 women in Ireland die during or just after childbirth, the report found. Bosnia had the second-lowest rate, with 1 in 29,000 women dying during pregnancy and childbirth. — read full article here
The United States is ranked 41st in the world for maternal mortality, with 1 in 4,800 women dying from pregnancy complications.This is what they are saying at Chrone Speaks…
While the BBC article uses a graph from the Lancet, showing the rise or drop in maternal mortality around the world, I’d like to point out that the US is lumped in with other developing nations.
Causes of the rising maternal mortality rates for the US can be listed in a few short words:
abstinence only education
closing women’s clinics
laws restricting (safe) abortions
I hope the anti-abortionist take note of this — they are the principle reason why women are dying untimely deaths — the rate of unsafe abortions has not changed since 1995.
They make a pretty good point…Look what is happening in Aurora, with the attempt to stop the opening of a Planned Parenthood there. If one truly cares about life, then one should care about all life, including women and mothers. It seems to me there is a degree of rational thought that is sometimes being excluded from many people’s biblical interpretation of life. And ignoring that only results in more lives lost…When will the Pro-Life Movement start being Pro-”All Life”???
Also in the news…The House urges health agencies to expand research into postpartum depression. This is another issue that the BlogHer community is passionate about. This cause is being led by Katherine Stone…
Katherine Stone suffered postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder with the birth of her son in 2001. She is now an advocate for women with postpartum mood disorders, primarily through her blog Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the United States on these illnesses, which include postpartum depression, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis. — read more about Katherine here
The bill cites studies that up to 80 percent of new mothers experience “baby blues,” characterized by mood swings, feelings of being overwhelmed and irritability.
It said more serious postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, which can occur during pregnancy and anytime within the first year of the infant’s birth, impair between 10 and 20 percent of new mothers.
Postpartum psychosis, striking one in 1,000 new mothers, may entail losing touch with reality, delusions, auditory hallucinations, paranoia and hyperactivity.
It notes that while the causes of postpartum depression are unknown, theories include a steep and rapid drop in hormone levels after childbirth, difficulty during labor or pregnancy and external factors such as a lack of support from one’s spouse, stressful events such as the death of a loved one or a previous history of depression.
Rush said 90 percent of depression cases are treatable, but that only 15 percent of women with postpartum depression receive treatment.
So these are some of the health issues in the news this week…Are you or your family being affected by any of these issues?