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Zika May Have Damaged More Infants' Brains Than Expected

It's a virus some might not even remember, but babies born to mothers infected with Zika who appeared normal at birth still experienced neurological or developmental problems, new research suggests.

A hallmark of infection with the mosquito-borne Zika virus in pregnant women is delivering a baby with an abnormally small head -- a condition called microcephaly. But as children exposed ...

Seizures After Vaccination Don't Affect Kids' Development: Study

Kids who have a fever-related seizure after getting a vaccine won't have developmental and behavioral problems as a result, according to a new study.

These so-called febrile seizures do not affect children's development whether they occur after a vaccination or not, the researchers said.

"A febrile seizure can occur following vaccination and understandably can be quite dis...

Asthma More Likely in Kids With Disabilities, Delays

Children with developmental disabilities or delays have an increased risk of asthma, a new study finds.

"This research has shown that it's not just clinicians or pediatricians that should be aware that children with disabilities and delays may also have other health problems. It's also schools, after-school programs and other community-wide programs," said study senior author Sarah Me...

Mom's Depression Can Lead to Behavior Problems in Kids

Children of mothers with long-term depression have an increased risk of behavioral problems and poor development, researchers say.

The new study included nearly 900 Australian mothers and 978 of their children. Levels of depression were examined in the mothers before, during and after pregnancy. The investigators also analyzed their children's development and behavior.

One i...

Adult Life Tougher for Teens Who Had Controlling Parents: Study

Back off, Mom and Dad: Teens who feel their parents are overly controlling may have more difficulty with romantic relationships as adults, a new study suggests.

The study, which followed 184 teens, found that those with domineering parents had a future that was different from their peers: On average, they did not go as far in their education, and they were less likely to be in a roman...

Stay-at-Home Orders Could Mean More Obese Kids: Study

As if the childhood obesity epidemic isn't bad enough, new research warns that over one million more American boys and girls stand to become obese if coronavirus-related school closures continue through the end of the year.

The culprit: a steep rise in sedentary behavior following the spring shutdown of school and afterschool sports and activities across all 50 states.

"If s...

Pandemic Can Overwhelm Those With Autism

The coronavirus pandemic can be especially difficult for children and adults with autism and their families, experts say.

Self-isolation and disruption of routine are tough for anyone, but may emotionally upend someone with an autism spectrum disorder, said Dr. Adrien Eshraghi, a professor and director of the University of Miami Hearing Research and Communication Disorders Laboratory....

Uncles, Aunts May Influence a Child's Odds for Autism

A child with an uncle or aunt with autism appears to have a more than doubled risk of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder themselves, a new U.S. government-funded study reports.

Roughly 3% to 5% of children with an aunt or uncle with autism can also be expected to have some form of autism, compared with just 1.5% of children overall, according to the study fun...

Could Umbilical Cord Blood Help Ease Autism?

A study testing umbilical cord blood as an autism treatment has found hints of potential benefits for some kids -- but the researchers say much more work is needed to get firmer answers.

The study, of 180 children, found that a single infusion of cord blood did not improve social or communication skills across the group as a whole. But there were positive signs in the subgroup of kids...

Pandemic Lockdown Increases Child Abuse Risk

Hunkering down during the coronavirus pandemic has stressed families and raised the risk for child abuse, Penn State researchers report.

"We're very worried about children becoming more seriously injured over longer periods of time before they can get treatment," said Dr. Lori Frasier, chief of the division of child abuse pediatrics at Penn State Children's Hospital.

Data f...

Zika Virus Tied to Profound Developmental Delays

Toddlers with congenital Zika syndrome have severe developmental delays, researchers report.

In a study that covered a five-year period, researchers found that children in Brazil with congenital Zika syndrome who had microcephaly at birth suffered severe mental delays.

Microcephaly is a condition in which the head is smaller than normal. Its severity was the only significa...

Baby's Sleep Issues Could Sometimes Signal Autism: Study

Babies who have disrupted sleep, as many with autism do, may experience delayed brain development, a new study suggests.

Sleep problems in baby's first year may affect growth of the hippocampus and may also precede an autism diagnosis, researchers say.

In the study of 400 6- to 12-month-old infants, the investigators found that those diagnosed with autism were more likely ...

Tough Childhoods Are Tough on Adult Hearts: Study

Adults who had rough childhoods have higher odds for heart disease.

That's the conclusion from a look at more than 3,600 people who were followed from the mid-1980s through 2018. Researchers found that those who experienced the most trauma, abuse, neglect and family dysfunction in childhood were 50% more likely to have had a heart attack, stroke or other heart problem in their 50...

Early High School Start Times May Hurt Attendance

High school students who have early start times are more likely to show up late or cut school entirely, a new study finds.

As schools across the United States think about reopening, they might want to bear this in mind.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high schools begin class after 8:30 a.m., but we know that most schools start much earlier," said resear...

Breast Milk May Help Shield Infants From Dangerous Viruses

New mothers have long been told that breast milk is best for their baby, and now there's more evidence that breastfeeding helps protect babies against potentially harmful viruses.

With the coronavirus pandemic on everyone's mind, the new research is especially timely. However, the report did not look specifically at the virus that causes COVID-19.

For the study, the investi...

Screen Time for Tiniest Tots Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms

Letting a baby watch a smartphone, tablet or TV at 12 months increases the odds the child will develop autism-like symptoms during the next year, new research suggests.

On the other hand, if parents spent active play time with their child every day, the odds of autism-like symptoms decreased.

"At 12 months, watching TV or DVDs was associated with more autism symptoms a...

All That Social Media Hasn't Hurt Kids' Social Skills, Study Finds

Today's youngsters are as socially skilled as previous generations, despite concerns about their heavy use of technology, like smartphones and social media, new research shows.

The researchers compared teacher and parent evaluations of more than 19,000 U.S. children who started kindergarten in 1998 -- six years before Facebook appeared -- with more than 13,000 who began school in 2010...

Do C-Section Babies Become Heavier Adults?

Girls born by cesarean delivery may be more prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes as adults, a new study suggests.

Of more than 33,000 women born between 1946 and 1964, nearly 1,100 were delivered by C-section. Of those women, 37% were obese and 6% had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by 2014, the study found.

"The results of our study suggest that the previously...

Let Your Baby Cry It Out

Could letting your baby cry it out mean less crying later?

A new British study suggests that's the case.

Researchers from the University of Warwick investigated the issue: They followed 178 infants and their moms over 18 months, assessing how soon and how often moms intervened when their babies cried.

The result? Babies that were left to cry it out a few times had ...

Too Much 'Screen Time' Could Slow Your Toddler's Language Skills: Study

Everyone is glued to some sort of media these days, but for young kids, that screen time could delay or limit their language skills, a new research review suggests.

"Our findings are really consistent with the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], and the bottom line is that kids should use screens in moderation and parents should try to prioritize using screens t...

Eating Fish in Moderation During Pregnancy Benefits Fetus: Study

Advice on eating fish while pregnant has flip-flopped over the years. Now, a new study suggests that the benefit of eating fish in moderation during pregnancy outweighs the risk.

Fish is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for a developing fetus. But some fish -- such as swordfish, shark and mackerel -- can contain high levels of mercury, which can cause neuro...

Suicidal Thoughts Among Young Kids Higher Than Believed

Suicidal thoughts have haunted nearly one of every 10 pre-teens in the United States, a new study reveals.

About 8.4% of children aged 9 or 10 said they'd temporarily or regularly harbored thoughts of suicide, researchers report.

Importantly, only around 1% of children that age reported a suicide attempt or planning their suicide.

But suicidal thoughts at t...

12 Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave Benefits Everyone: Study

The argument against paid maternity leave in the United States often focuses on the cost, but a new study suggests that more paid leave would not only be beneficial for families, but also for society.

In the study, researchers found that new parents with paid medical leave of 12 weeks or more were more likely to be in better mental and physical shape than those who received less paid ...

Preemies' Impaired Immune Systems Quickly Catch Up: Study

Premature infants' immune systems develop at a rate similar to full-term infants, a new study finds.

British researchers tracked immune system development in babies born before 32 weeks, including identifying different immune cell populations and the types of bacteria present in stool samples.

All of the preemies' immune systems progressed similarly as they got older, regard...

Could Dad-to-Be's Health Affect His Newborn's Health?

The health of both mom and dad are key to a healthy pregnancy and birth, new research finds.

In the study of nearly 786,000 births, researchers found that dads who weren't in the best of health were more likely to have preterm and low birth weight infants who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

"The study suggests that a father's health before conc...

Endometriosis Risk Can Be Predicted in Young Girls: Study

Taller and thinner girls are more likely to develop the often painful condition known as endometriosis, according to the results of a six-decade study.

The findings could lead to earlier detection and treatment of the common gynecological disease, the researchers said.

In endometriosis, tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus grows in locations outside it. ...

Getting Quality Autism Therapy From Thousands of Miles Away

By the time he was 7 months old, John Michael Crawford had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis, associated with a high risk of developmental delays, including autism.

Early intervention programs are believed to help reduce that risk, but these time- and labor-intensive therapies often aren't available in areas of the United...

How 'Stranger Things' Widened Awareness of a Rare Disorder

Teenage actor Gaten Matarazzo III was born with a rare genetic disorder that affects bone development. And ever since his Netflix series "Stranger Things" became a hit, public interest in the condition has shot up, a new study finds.

The disorder, called cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), affects only about one in a million people, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Caus...

Common Plastics Chemicals Linked to Autism Traits in Young Boys

Young boys whose mothers were exposed to chemicals known as phthalates while pregnant may face an increased risk for developing behaviors associated with autism, a new study warns.

Phthalates are chemicals found in many household products, including cosmetics and plastics.

The study didn't identify a heightened risk for autism per se among boys, but rather a "small" increas...

Late Bedtimes in Preschool Years Could Bring Weight Gain

Little ones who stay up late may have a higher risk of becoming overweight by the time they are school-age, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that young children who routinely got to sleep after 9 p.m. tended to gain more body fat between the ages of 2 and 6. Compared with kids who had earlier bedtimes, they had bigger increases in both waist size and body mass index (BMI) -- an...

Budding Altruists? Tots Give Up Food to Help Others, Study Finds

Schools may strive to teach kids that sharing is caring, but a new study suggests that altruism begins in infancy and can be influenced by others.

It's been unclear when people start to display altruism, which can include sharing resources such as food with others in need.

"We think altruism is important to study because it is one of the most distinctive aspects of being hum...

Beyond Baby Talk: Helping Early Language

Teaching parents how to talk to their babies could help boost their children's language development, researchers say.

The University of Washington study didn't look at so-called baby talk, which typically consists of silly sounds and nonsense words.

Instead, the researchers focused on what's called parentese. This is proper speech with elongated vowels and exaggerated tones ...

Many Moms-to-Be Are Stressed, and it Might Affect Baby's Brain

Many mothers-to-be feel overwhelmed by stress, and it might have implications for their babies' brain development in the womb, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that even in a group of highly educated, healthy pregnant women, stress and anxiety were common. More than one-quarter reported higher-than-average levels of "perceived stress," while a similar number had anxiety sym...

Smoking While Pregnant May Weaken Baby's Bones

Mothers who smoke during pregnancy put their infants at increased risk of fractures in their first year of life, researchers warn.

The study looked at more than 1.6 million people who were born in Sweden between 1983 and 2000, and followed for an average of 21 years.

Over that time, nearly 378,000 fractures were recorded. But the rate among those whose moms smoked during pre...

Girls With Autism Diagnosed Later Than Boys

Girls tend to be diagnosed with autism at an older age than boys, perhaps delaying essential treatment, a new study concludes.

That delay in diagnosis is a clinically important finding, said study author Eric Morrow, an associate professor of molecular biology, neuroscience and psychiatry at Brown University.

"The major treatment that has some efficacy in autism is early dia...

Largest-Ever Study Ties Over 100 Genes to Autism

More than 100 genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to the largest genetic study of the condition to date.

The study, involving over 50 centers around the globe, identified 102 genes associated with ASD -- including a few dozen that had not been recognized before.

Some of the genes are also associated with intellectual disabilities and dev...

Are Antibiotics a Recipe for Obesity in Childhood?

Children who receive multiple antibiotic prescriptions early in life may be vulnerable to obesity, two new studies suggest.

In one study, researchers found that 4-year-olds who'd received more than nine antibiotic prescriptions in their lives were twice as likely to be obese as their peers with no antibiotic exposure.

The second study found a similar pattern. However, the an...

How Mom-to-Be's Worry Over Birth Defects Can Harm Baby

Hearing that your unborn baby has congenital heart disease can be traumatic, but now new research suggests that if you experience stress, anxiety or depression afterward it could affect your baby's brain development.

Congenital heart disease (structural problems with the heart) is the one of the most common birth defects.

"We were alarmed by the high percentage of pregnant w...

Severe Deprivation in Childhood Has Lasting Impact on Brain Size

Severe deprivation in childhood can lead to a smaller-than-normal brain, lower IQ and attention deficits in early adulthood, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed MRI brain scans of 67 young adults, ages 23 to 28, who were institutionalized as children in Romania during the Communist regime. They had spent between 3 and 41 months in institutions, where they were often malnourishe...

1 in 4 Children With Autism Is Undiagnosed: Study

Far too many U.S. children with autism are waiting too long for a diagnosis, new research shows, and those delays can greatly affect their quality of life.

About one in every four 8-year-olds assessed in the new study was found to have undiagnosed autism and wasn't receiving autism services. Most of those kids were black or Hispanic, according to the report published online recently i...

Zika Damage Showing Up in Babies Deemed 'Normal' at Birth

Some infants who appear healthy at birth after being exposed to the Zika virus in the womb develop neurological problems during their first year of life, a new study finds.

The study included pregnant women in Colombia who were exposed to Zika and had fetal MRIs and ultrasounds as their pregnancies progressed.

Of the 82 babies delivered by the women, 77 were born with no sig...

Family's Social Standing May Be Key to Happiness for Teens

How teens see their family's social status may play a part in their mental health and success at school, a new study suggests.

Social status appears to be more important than what their parents do for a living, how much money they have or how educated they are, the researchers said.

"The amount of financial resources children have access to is one of the most reliable pred...

Banned for Decades, DDT and Dioxins Are Still Harming U.S. Babies

Decades-banned pesticides apparently continue to interfere with fetal growth during U.S. pregnancies, a new study reports.

DDT was banned in 1972 in the United States, but low levels of it and other organic chemical pollutants can still be found in the blood of pregnant American women, researchers reported online Dec. 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Women carrying even low levels ...

Can Apps Make Your Kids Smarter?

Smartphones, tablets and laptops are everywhere, and young children are fascinated by them. Now, new research suggests that parents might be able to harness that curiosity and use apps on the devices to boost early learning.

The review found that apps could be particularly useful for teaching early math and language skills.

"Screen time is here,...

Differences Found in Brains of Kids Born to Depressed Parents

The brains of kids who have a high risk of depression because they have parents with depression are structurally different from other kids' brains, a new study finds.

Depression often first appears during adolescence. Having a parent with depression is one of the biggest known risk factors. Teens whose parents have depression are two to three times more likely to develop depression th...

Bullying's 'Vicious Circle' Harms Mental Health

Bullied teens are more likely to develop mental health problems, and people with mental health problems are also more likely to become bullies, researchers report.

Even though many studies have shown that being bullied can leave mental scars, "no studies to date" have tested the notion that mental health issues might also help drive bullying, explained study author Marine Azevedo Da ...

Mom-to-Be's Diabetes May Up Odds of Heart Disease in Her Kids

Children whose mothers had diabetes before or during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing heart disease by age 40, according to a new study.

The findings "highlight the importance of effective strategies for screening and preventing diabetes in women of childbearing age," said study author Dr. Yongfu Yu and colleagues. Yu is in the clinical epidemiology department at Aarhus ...

Babies May 'See' Light While in the Womb

Though fetuses spend nine months in a dark womb, they may detect light by the second trimester, a new study in mice suggests.

That's when light-sensing cells develop in the retina, and it may set up the day-night rhythms that the infant will follow, the researchers said.

These cells talk with each other and the brain, giving the retina greater light sensitivity than once be...

Another Possible Effect of Climate Change: More Preemie Babies

Rising temperatures might help trigger premature birth, a new study finds, suggesting that global warming could deliver more "preemie" babies.

Looking at 20 years of data on heat waves and birth timing across the United States, researchers "estimate that an average of 25,000 infants per year were born earlier as a result of heat exposure."

Taken another way, the research sug...

Smallest Tots Spending Too Much Time on Screens

Even infants are now watching screens, and as they grow so does the time they spend doing it, two new studies show.

In fact, watching TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets or electronic games occupies about an hour a day of an infant's time and increases to more than 150 minutes by age 3. That's way beyond what's recommended, the researchers said.

"Since screen-time exposure ...