Study: Breastfeeding Doesn’t Make Babies Smarter After All, This Does

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A new study casts doubt on whether breastfed-kids are smarter than their formula-fed peers, though it does note there are benefits to breastfeeding babies including reduced hyperactivity.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, finds that while kids between 3 and 5 years old who were breastfed as babies scored higher on cognitive tests than their counterparts, the difference was not that significant.”We weren’t able to find a direct causal link between breastfeeding and children’s cognitive outcomes,” Lisa-Christine Girard, an Irish researcher who authored the study, told NPR.


Socioeconomic factors and the overall behavior and environment of a child contribute to a higher cognitive ability, the study found. When the researchers accounted for those factors, it was harder to link breastfeeding by itself to smarter children, NPR reports.

The researchers did, however, note that the breastfed kids were less hyperactive by age three if they had been breastfed for six months as a baby. But by age five, the impact on hyperactivity appeared to fade.

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A Pesticide linked to Kids’ Brain and Nervous System Damage Just Got Ok’d for Use Again

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Here is more reason to buy organic if you can afford it.

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday reversed an Obama administration recommendation to ban a pesticide linked to nervous system damage in children, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Newly installed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order that would allow farmers to continue using chlorpyrifos, which is sprayed on more than a dozen crops, including tree nuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, apples and citrus, writer Geoffrey Mohan pens.

For over 15 years, Chlorpyrifos has been banned from consumer products and residential use because the science suggest that it can hamper children’s cognitive development. A UC Berkeley study found that 7-year-old children in the Salinas Valley who were exposed to high levels during pregnancy had slightly lower IQ scores than their peers. A Columbia University study showed similar effects at lower exposure.

In 2015, former President Barack Obama’s administration vowed to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy for residue of that chemical on food, essentially ending its use indefinitely.

But Pruitt undid that yesterday.

A nonprofit group called Pesticide Action Network said the USDA buckled under pressure from corporations like DowAgroSciences which makes 5 to 10 million pounds of chlorpyrifos, which are used each year on crops across the nation.  The chemical is an organophosphate, a class of chemicals originally designed as a nerve agent weapon.

Eek!

“The new administration’s agency ignored their own findings that all exposures to chlorpyrifos on foods, in drinking water, and from pesticide drift into schools, homes and playgrounds are unsafe,” Schafer said.

The USDA says the science is inconclusive and removing the ban frees up farms to not interrupt their crop seasons.

“This frees American farmers from significant trade disruptions that could have been caused by an unnecessary, unilateral revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances in the United States,” said Sheryl Kunickis, director of the USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy. “It is also great news for consumers, who will continue to have access to a full range of both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables.”

Again, like I said.

More reason to buy organic if you can afford it. If not, wash your fruits and vegetables  thoroughly before eating.

 

Crayola To Retire A Color from The 24-Box For First Time

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This Friday, the Crayola crayon company will retire another one of the crayons. It will announce which one this Friday in Times Square at 8:15 a.m. on National Crayon Day.

While it has retired colors before, starting in 1990 ( maize, lemon yellow, blue gray, raw umber, green blue, orange red, orange yellow and violet blue), but this is the first time it will retire a color from its classic 24-count box, the company said.


This color will join the “Crayola Hall of Fame” with the other colors that were given the boot!

 

But once the color is retired, the Forks Township,Pennsylvania-based company will not produce any more crayons in that shade. Only boxes that already contain that specific color will remain.

Current colors in the 24 box are: red, yellow, blue, brown, orange, green, violet, black, carnation pink, yellow orange, blue green, red violet, red orange, yellow green, blue violet, white, violet red, dandelion, cerulean, apricot, scarlet, green yellow, indigo and gray.

The last time Crayola got rid of colors was in 2003, when blizzard blue, magic mint, teal blue and mulberry disappeared from the collection.

Burnt sienna avoided getting cut after more than 60,000 fans voted in the campaign to “save the shade.”

Good. We love burnt sienna. So sad that maize went. That was a fave of mine a child.

Crayola will be livestreaming the Friday announcement on Facebook. To join in, head to the Facebook event.

The best guess is cerulean because who can pronounce that word anyway? (ha!)

Researchers Studying High US Maternal Death Rate Seek Survey Participants

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Surprisingly, the United States has become the most dangerous industrialized nation in which to give birth, recent data supports.

Scary, huh?


In fact, American women are more than twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related causes as British women, three times as likely as Canadians and six times as likely as Norwegians and Poles, according to 2015 data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

While other wealthy nations reduced maternal deaths in recent years, the U.S. maternal mortality rate jumped more than 25 percent from 2000 to 2014, researchers reported last August.

For every expectant or new mom who dies in or shortly after child birth, there are as much as 100 moms who came close to dying and were left with crippling long-term physical, emotional and economic effects. Yikes!

Think hemorrhages, strokes, aneurysms, clots, sepsis infections, cardiac arrest, organ failure and other life-threatening complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

Truth.

The Centers for Disease Control report that these problems have been on the rise, and now exceed 65,000 a year.

There are also frightening disparities also at play. African-American mothers are 3 to 4 times more likely to die or nearly die than whites.

What gives? ProPublica and NPR and Special Correspondent Renee Montagne have launched an investigative study to try to understand why so many American women die and nearly die because of pregnancy and childbirth—and how the health care system can be improved to protect more mothers from harm.

They’ve heard from 2,500 women since launching their study this past February but they are in search of more voices.

If you or someone you know passed away or  nearly did during pregnancy, childbirth, or within a year after delivery, they want to hear from you. Do your part to help researchers get to the bottom of this crisis. Pretty please!

Go to this link and fill? Please tell us your story.

You can also reach the study group by email at maternal@propublica.org or maternalhealth@npr.org. Thanks much!

Pregnancy Tests in Australia are telling Women they’re not Preggers, but they are

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A commercially available, home-use pregnancy test has been recalled in Australia after producing false negative results, prompting a sweep of the market that led to a further nine products being removed and more subjected to regulatory action.

The One Step HCG urine pregnancy test was recalled after a family planning clinic alerted the Therapeutic Goods Administration to three instances of false negative results.


The TGA found the test to be insufficiently sensitive to human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), which is an early indicator of pregnancy. Some home-use tests claim to be able to detect extremely low levels of the hormone, as would be present within a week of conception.

The One Step test, sponsored by Minco Import and Export, was removed from the register of therapeutic goods allowed to be sold in Australia.

The result prompted the TGA to carry out a sweep of the market, the results of which were published on Wednesday.

Of the 36 point-of-care or self-test urine pregnancy test kits listed on the register , nine were not tested because their suppliers chose to cancel local sales rather than supply information to the TGA.

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10 Things You Can Do To Help Find Missing and Exploited Children

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When I was in high school, my best friend and I were on our way to the drug store we both worked at and traveling on our usual path that requires us to cut through the parking lot of a shopping center.  As we strolled, we passed by a parked car sitting alone in the back lot and in the broad daylight, we saw a girl who looked like she was 8 or 9 giving fellatio to a grown man.

We were shocked and paused. The guy was in the driver’s seat with his seat pulled back and it looked like there was another young girl in the back seat.


When the girl saw that we were aware of what was going on, she looked up frightened and startled. She stopped and pressed her hands and face against the glass. We didn’t know what to do. Between the two of us we memorized the license plates of the car and made our way to work.

When we got to the store, we were still hesitant and unsure of what to do because we just weren’t sure what we saw. After  discussing it more with other clerks for a few minutes, we called the police. The officers that came questioned our story.

“How do you know it was a child? It could have been a teen who has a baby face. How do you know it wasn’t consensual?” they asked. My friend and were dumbfounded but the questions made us start to doubt ourselves. Were we wrong to call the police?

Finally, the officers drove over to the parking lot to see if the vehicle was still there but it was not.

This all happened before Amber alerts and stuff like that so I am not sure the cops did anything more to flag the car of if they just dismissed it as deviancy, juvenile delinquency or whatever, but I doubt there wasn’t much concern to find those girls. This all happened in Maryland, and the DC, Maryland and Virginia area has long been a haven for sex traffickers. In fact, there is a Department of Justice task force dedicated to this geographical area.

And the cavalier and seemingly unconcerned attitude of the officers reflect old policy regarding runaways, exploited and sexual trafficked girls back then.

I’m glad there is a new effort to find kids that are reported missing, even runaways because they are most vulnerable to child predators. When I was child myself, three grown men exposed their private parts to me as I walked to the store, commuted on a rail train or was walking to a bus stop from school. I never told my parents but my experiences tell me that runaways especially are susceptible to be found by one of the many perverts running loose, on the hunt for children to exploit.

I posted my experience on Facebook recently, tagging my best friend who then confessed that she always thinks about that young girl.  I do too. I also think of the other girl who I saw in the back seat, a very thin and emaciated with big black curly hair, pale white skin.

These days, there is a pandemic in many cities around the nation of missing girls, and in Washington, DC alone, there has been  501 cases of missing children in the first three months of the year and 37 girls have gone missing in the past few weeks. These cases have gotten little national attention despite the fact that there is a missing girl each day, practically, in the past few weeks. It is slowly getting national attention as  Essence, Teen Vogue and The Grio, and more recently the New York Daily News have reported on it.

Because most of the missing children are black and Latina perhaps,  black lawmakers in Congress have asked the Department of Justice to intervene.

When a child is listed as a runaway, they are not provided the same attention as one listed as being kidnapped or missing, The Grio’s , George Johnson pens in an opinion piece this week.  He notes that the media stops treating the girls with much urgency when they are listed as a runaway, leaving the families of the missing little support to find their loved ones.

It’s common to find people among the general population also being dismissive and saying, “well they just ran away.” But, so what?

Johnson writes that inaction “makes black and brown women easy targets for human sex trafficking, which correlates with the statistics showing that 40.4 percent of victims are black women in comparison to white women (26 percent).”

I believe that we parents, moms, dads, caregivers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends are all jointly responsible for keeping all of society’s children safe because they are one of our most vulnerable populations. Even a sassy teen who talks back, dresses provocatively and is sexually active is a child and can be exploited, and deserves being cared for.

As Johnson notes, we all know the names Natalie Holloway, Elizabeth Smart, Caylee Anthony, Jon Benet Ramsey as their cases are nationally known but the stories of missing children like Relisha Rudd in DC is not. I’m based in DC so I am well aware of Rudd’s story. It was a very big deal locally to discover this missing 8 year old who was last seen on surveillance camera walking with a janitor in the homeless shelter she lived in with her mom. He eventually committed suicide in a wooded area shortly after Rudd was reported missing and she has not been seen alive since despite months of searching.

Regardless of any perceived discrepancy, we, individually have an ability to do out part. Collectively, those individual efforts matter.

After what I witnessed as a teen, I want to empower more everyday people. We all can help locate missing and exploited children, if we keep our eyes and ears open and don’t shut our mouths when we see something wrong.

  1. Share a photo circulated by police and media when it comes across your social feed. The more eyes on the missing child, the higher the liklihood someone may see her and report it to authorities.

2. Be vigilante and study photos and description of girls posted. It only takes a few seconds of your time to look, even if you choose not to share.

  1. Keep the lights on your porch or the front of your home on at night.  If someone happens to escape an capture, they’ll run to a place with a light on in hopes the people inside are friendly and may help. Again, it’s all of our jobs to protect all of our children.

  2. If your Spidey senses start tingling and you happen to overhear any convo with a child and adult that you suspect may not be related or friendly to the child, watch for other signs of possible exploitation.

  3. When you pass a parked car, be vigilant and alert, look into back seats of vehicles in parking lots. Abusers won’t walk around with a victim in fear they’ll get caught. They’d leave them in the car. If my friend and I hadn’t coincidentally looked in the car as we walked by, we never would have seen what we saw.

  4. Take note of suspicious behavior, memorize distinguishable features of any suspected adult and mark down license plates numbers as this will be helpful for law enforcement officials. A tattoo, unique birthmark, odd article of clothing are better than general descriptors like  white male, tall, dark hair.

  5. An unkempt child with a decently dressed adult (male or female) may be neglected and/or abused. Be alert.

  6. A well dressed adult male with a young girl who may be inappropriately dressed could be a john and she may be forced into prostitution. Consider this when deciding if you will say something or report it.

  7. Don’t get less concerned when you learn the child is a runaway. So what? A runaway child deserves help too.

Sadly, some parents and caregivers are neglectful as well so calling the authorities on random people may not be cool, but as a friend said, it might be worth it if it means one child’s life might be saved.

Also, keep your eyes on your children in public places and if you have children who walk home from school or take public transportation to work, school or activities, reiterate safety rules to them almost daily. They may consider it nagging but your words ringing in their ears constantly works. They did for me. To this day, I still recall my parents’ advice

And social media and tips do work to help find missing kids. For example, 16-year old Michigan boy, Cody Page, was recently found thanks to social media.

A link to to an article on The Center for Missing and Exploited Children Facebook page states:

“Detectives with a cyber crimes unit traced him to the Morongo Basin area thanks to his Facebook use.

In a four-month period, Page used Facebook over 3 million times, Koski said. The cyber crimes unit determined that the provider of the Internet he used was HughesNet, and from that they narrowed down his computer to his father’s house on El Camino Road in Twentynine Palms. Local officials went to the house, but didn’t find Page.

Police began blanketing social media with photos of the 16-year-old, asking locals to keep an eye out. Since Monday, the center’s hotline received more 10 tips that narrowed down the search, Koski said.”

Page was a foster kid who ran away, it appears. “The preliminary investigation revealed Page was not the victim of a crime and did not require any type of medical attention.  His biological mother was found nearby and is cooperating with detectives.”

See, yes we can. Let’s do this people!

A Breastfeeding Emoji is Among This Year’s New Emojis

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Last April, Hello Giggles had a playful post about emojis we wish existed which included a breastfeeding emoji and it looks like the folks at the Unicode Consortium — the governing body of all things emoji — listened.

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The body released a new set of of pictographs and including among a new breastfeeding emoji for all skin tones, a woman wearing a hijab, and hopping on the beard trend is a man with a beard, New York Post reports. 
22-emojis-5-w710-h473The Emoji 5.0 also includes some new emotions such as a vomiting face, a cursing face, a face blowing its top off, a face with stars for eyes, and a face with a monocle.

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And there is the odd. Not certain when the occasion will arise to use the  steamy room emoji or curling stone emoji but, okay. Sure, add it in. The rock climbing culture is big so that makes sense emoji.

Enjoy peeps and moms-to-be and nursing moms!

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So Someone Really Did a Study that Says Pregnant Women Eat Junk

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Most women have poor diets around the time of conception that may increase the risk of pregnancy complications like excessive weight gain, high blood pressure, impaired fetal growth and preterm deliveries, a U.S. study suggests.

During the three months around conception, the study found that women got roughly one-third of their energy from so-called empty calories like alcohol and foods loaded with sugars and fats. Their top sources of energy were soda, pasta, cookies, cake, bread, beer, wine and spirits.


“In particular, the fact that soda was the primary source of calories was concerning,” said lead study author Lisa Bodnar, a public health researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Soda provides essentially no nutrition,” Bodnar said by email. “But it is something that can be replaced with water or other non-caloric beverages to eliminate those extra calories that may be contributing to obesity.”

For the study, researchers examined data from dietary questionnaires completed by 7,511 women when they were 6 to 14 weeks pregnant. Participants were asked to recall what they ate during the three months around conception, then researchers scored women’s diets with up to 100 points for following every aspect of healthy diet guidelines.

Overall, the average score was just 63 points, researchers report in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Pregnant College Athlete’s Modeling Dreams Cut Short by Freak Train Accident

model-killedA 19 year old pregnant Volleyball athlete and college co-ed  from Texas would have turned 20 this past Monday but for a tragic train accident last Friday as she was chasing her childhood dreams of becoming a model.

Fredzania “Zannie” Thompson of College Station, Texas was posing for a photo session on the train tracks in a city 80 miles north of Houston last Friday, March 10 when she heard a train approaching and scampered out of the way to avoid it.

Only she was hit by an oncoming train heading in the other direction and died en route to the hospital, TheEagle.com reports. Witnesses say she was struck in between the two tracks seen in her very last photo taken before the horrific incident. The photos, taken by a friend of a friend and “were to be the beginning of a portfolio the young woman was hoping to use in her pursuit of a modeling career,” the Eagle notes.


Thompson’s 25-year old fiance Earl Chatman said they found out about the pregnancy weeks ago. He set up a GoFundMe account to seek help to offset burial expenses.  He told the Eagle that Thompson had been offered several modeling opportunities in the past, but had turned them down.

He shared how she called him only two weeks ago to share the pregnancy news with him and was crying happy tears.

“She said, ‘You’re going to be a dad again,'” he said, sharing also how Thompson deeply loved his 7-year-old son, who would have become her stepson.

She seemed to be a motherly figure to him, Chatman said, and the boy has been troubled by her death.

“He woke up crying this morning,” Chatman told the paper. “He thought [her death] was a dream.”

Both Thompson’s mother and fiance said she was kind, welcoming and loved her friends. She would help anyone who was hurting and give them advice.

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Per reports, Thompson was an athlete at Navasota High School and had earned several athletic scholarships choosing to attend Blinn College in Bryan, Texas.

“She was more interested in modeling,” her mother, Hakamie Stevenson, said. “That’s definitely what she wanted to do. It’s what she had started to do the day she was deceased.

Thompson’s family posted the last photo she took before getting killed on Facebook which was posted on a funeral home’s home page.

How chilling and sad. May her soul rest in peace. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

Photos: Facebook/GoFundMe

Report: 2 Pregnant Utah Women with Zika Lost Their Babies

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In the past five months, two pregnant women in Utah lost their babies in the first trimester after contracting Zika, according to a state health department report released Monday.

The report by Utah’s department of health shows that since the beginning of last year, 11 pregnant women have contracted Zika in Utah.


Amy Steele, an epidemiologist at Utah’s Department of Health, said eight of those pregnant women did not pass on the virus to their children and one woman left Utah and wasn’t tracked.

The two women who did pass on Zika to their unborn babies were in their first trimester of pregnancy when they contracted the virus while traveling outside of the country.

“Two dying in the first trimester due to Zika seems to align with what they have found in Brazil and in the states,” said Steele.

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