DiversityNursing Blog

German Grandmother, 65, Gives Birth To Quadruplets

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 27, 2015 @ 01:27 PM

By Jethro Mullen

www.cnn.com 

german3 resized 600For many people, 13 children would be more than enough.

But not for Annegret Raunigk.

The 65-year-old German grandmother recently gave birth to quadruplets, making her the oldest woman ever to do so.

The new arrivals increase her progeny to a total of 17 children. And let's not forget her seven grandchildren.

Raunigk, a single mother, gave birth last week to three boys and one girl after a pregnancy of just under 26 weeks, the German broadcaster RTL reported. 

The newborns -- whose names are Neeta, Dries, Bence and Fjonn -- were delivered by C-section and are being kept in incubators for premature babies, according to RTL.

Daughter wanted a younger sibling

Raunigk, a teacher from Berlin, made headlines 10 years ago when, at the age of 55, she gave birth to a daughter, Leila. And it was apparently Leila's plea for a younger sibling that encouraged her mother to try again.

"I myself find life with children great," Raunigk said earlier this year. "You constantly have to live up to new challenges. And that probably also keeps you young."

To become pregnant, she used in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment with donated eggs that were fertilized.

One doctor tried to persuade her to abort one or two of the fetuses, but she refused to consider it.

Indian woman holds record

Raunigk, who had her first child at 21, is still not the oldest woman to give birth.

That record is held by Rajo Devi Lohan, an Indian woman who at 70 became the world's oldest known first time mother after three rounds of IVF.

Her daughter Naveen will turn 7 later this year.

What are your thoughts about this story?

Topics: c-section, IVF, health, nurses, doctors, hospital, newborns, germany, premature, quadruplets, in vitro fertilization

Pre-babbling Babies Prefer Baby Sounds To Adult Sounds

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 15, 2015 @ 12:02 PM

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

www.medicalnewstoday.com 

four infants on a rug resized 600A new study that offers insights into early language development suggests babies prefer listening to other babies rather than adults as they get ready to produce their own speech sounds.

The study, led by McGill University in Canada and published in the journal Developmental Science, observed the reactions of infants aged from 4-6 months who were not yet attempting speech, as they listened to baby-like and adult-like sounds produced by a voice synthesizer.

They found when the vowel sounds the babies listened to sounded more baby-like (for instance, higher pitch), the infants paid attention longer than when the sounds had more adult-like vocal properties.

Previous studies have shown that children at this age are more attracted to vocal sounds with a higher voice pitch, the authors note in their paper.

The team says the finding is important because being attracted to infant speech sounds may be a key step in babies being able to find their own voice - it may help to kick-start the process of learning how to talk.

They say the discovery increases our understanding of the complex link between speech perception and speech production in young infants.

It may also lead to new ways to help hearing-impaired children who may be struggling to develop language skills, they note.

Baby-like sounds held infants' attention nearly 42% longer

For the study, the team used a voice synthesizer to create a set of vowel sounds that mimicked either the voice of a baby or the voice of a woman.

They then ran a series of experiments where they played the vowel sounds one at a time to the babies as they sat on their mother's lap and listened. They measured the length of time each vowel sound held the infants' attention.

The results showed that, on average, baby-like sounds held the infants' attention nearly 42% longer than the adult-like sounds.

The researchers note that this finding is unlikely to be a result of the babies having a particular preference for a familiar sound because they were not yet producing those sounds themselves - they were not yet part of their everyday experience.

Some of the infants showed their interest in other ways. For example, when they listened to the adult sounds, their faces remained fairly passive and neutral. In contrast, when they heard the baby-like sounds, they became more animated, moved their mouths and smiled.

The following video shows how one of the infants - baby Camille, who is not yet babbling herself - reacts to the various sounds. Every time she looks away, the sound is replaced by another. Her reactions show which sounds she seems to like the most.

Babies need to 'find their own voice'

The researchers say maybe the babies recognized that the baby-like sounds were more like sounds they could make themselves - despite not having heard them before.

The findings may also explain the instinct some people have when they automatically speak to infants in baby-like, high-pitched tones, says senior author Linda Polka, a professor in McGill's School of Communication Disorders, who adds:

"As adults, we use language to communicate. But when a young infant starts to make speech sounds, it often has more to do with exploring than with communicating."

Prof. Polka says babies often try speaking when they are on their own, without eye contact or interaction with others. She explains:

"That's because to learn how to speak babies need to spend lots of time moving their mouths and vocal cords to understand the kind of sounds they can make themselves. They need, quite literally, to 'find their own voice.'"

Funds for the study came from the Natural Sciences Engineering and Research Council.

Meanwhile, parents and schools looking for ways to encourage children to eat more healthily may be interested in a study carried out among kindergarten through sixth-grade students at an inner-city school in Cincinnati, OH. There, researchers discovered that children found healthy food more appealing when linked to smiley faces and other small incentives. The low-cost intervention led to a 62% rise in vegetable purchases and a 20% rise in fruit purchases.

Topics: learning, studies, infants, health, healthcare, research, medical, communication, newborns, babies, sounds, speech

Formerly Conjoined Twins Celebrate First Birthday

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Apr 15, 2015 @ 02:36 PM

By SYDNEY LUPKIN

http://abcnews.go.com 

Formerly conjoined twins Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata celebrated their first birthday with a "Frozen"-themed party at the hospital.

A team at Texas Children's Hospital separated the girls on Feb. 17 in a 26-hour surgery. They are still in the pediatric intensive care unit and have each had a few surgeries since the separation, but their mother, Elysse Mata, decorated their room with snowflakes and balloons.

"It's been a year," Mata said, surrounded by presents as the hospital filmed her. "It went by so fast. I feel like just yesterday they were born."

HT conjoined twins 3 sk 140902 4x3 992 resized 600

Earlier in the week, Mata had a party for everyone at the hospital who helped her babies over the last year. She said she was sad to leave some of the doctors from before the separation, but she knows it's a positive thing.

"Now they're good and healthy and hopefully headed towards home," said Mata, 25, of Lubbock, Texas.

Mata was shocked to learn the twins were conjoined when she was pregnant with them, she told ABC News in July.

"I was speechless, it was so unexpected,” she said.

The girls were born on April 11, 2014 at Texas Children's Hospital. They shared a chest wall, diaphragm, intestines, lungs, lining of the heart and pelvis. Their middle names are Hope and Faith because you can't have one without the other, she said.

"Nightline" was at the hospital in February as 12 surgeons operated on the Mata twins, and Elysse, her husband and 20 family members camped out in the waiting room.

HT conjoined twins birthday 4 sk 150414 4x3 992 resized 600

Topics: surgery, twins, health, healthcare, nurses, doctors, medical, newborns, babies, conjoined twins, hospita

Indiana Couple Welcomes 'One in a Million' Set of Triplets

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 01:57 PM

By GILLIAN MOHNEY

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

150327 wrtv triplets1 16x9 992 resized 600

An Indiana couple is celebrating an extra-special arrival with the birth of their identical triplet daughters.

Ashley and Matt Alexander of Greenfield, Indiana, were surprised weeks ago when they learned they were expecting three new additions to their family during a routine sonogram, according to ABC affiliate WRTV-TV in Indianapolis, Indiana.

"She was checking [Ashley] and right away there were twins, and she goes, 'Let me check for a third,'" Matt Alexander told WRTV-TV in an earlier interview. "I'm like, she's just joking. I said, 'You're joking,' and she said, 'No, we don't joke about this stuff.' So [Ashley] about came off the table."

The couple, who already have a son, had conceived the triplets naturally, so they were not expecting to see three heartbeats on the sonogram.

Ashley Alexander told WRTV-TV she has a plan to tell the girls apart.

"I'm painting their nails," she said. "One's going to be pink, one purple, and the other probably pale blue."

Dr. William Gilbert, the director of women's services for Sutter Health in Sacramento, California, said in an earlier interview with ABC News there was no definite rate for the number of identical triplets born every year.

"It's hard to calculate a conservative estimate," Gilbert said about the rate of naturally conceived identical triplets. "One in 70,000 - that would be on the low end. The high end is one in a million."

Topics: health, nurses, doctors, hospital, newborns, babies, identical, sonogram, triplets

Delayed cord clamping results in better immediate newborn outcomes

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 17, 2014 @ 11:35 AM

mother and newborn resized 600

At birth, a newborn baby is still attached to its mother through the umbilical cord, which is either cut very early - within the first 60 seconds - or later, with some women opting to wait until after the cord has stopped pulsating. Though the right timing for cutting the cord - also referred to as clamping - is widely debated, a new study suggests delaying cord clamping by 2 minutes results in better development for the newborn during the first days of life.

What do you think about it? Do you think the 2 minutes makes a difference? Perhaps you can share a personal and/or professional experience about this.

The research, carried out by scientists from the University of Granada and the San Cecilio Clinical Hospital in Spain, is published in the journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the reason that cord clamping timing is so controversial is that a previous series of studies into blood volume changes after birth concluded that in healthy term infants, more than 90% of blood volume was attained within the first few breaths he or she took after birth.

As a result of these findings, as well as a lack of other recommendations regarding optimal timing, the amount of time between birth and umbilical cord clamping was widely shortened; in most cases, cord clamping occurs within 15-20 seconds after birth.

However, before these studies, in the mid-1950s, cord clamping within 1 minute of birth was defined as "early clamping," and "late clamping" was defined as more than 5 minutes after birth. And the ACOG have stated that "the ideal timing for umbilical cord clamping has yet to be established."

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocate for late cord clamping (between 1-3 minutes after birth), as it "allows blood flow between the placenta and neonate to continue, which may improve iron status in the infant for up to 6 months after birth."

Waiting 2 minutes increased antioxidant capacity

To provide further evidence in the debate of early versus late cord clamping, the researchers from this latest study, led by Prof. Julio José Ochoa Herrera of the University of Granada, assessed newborn outcomes for infants born to 64 healthy pregnant women to determine the impact of clamping timing on oxidative stress and the inflammatory signal produced during delivery.

All of these women had a normal pregnancy and spontaneous vaginal delivery. However, half of the women's newborns had their umbilical cord cut 10 seconds after delivery and half had it cut after 2 minutes.

Results revealed beneficial effects of late cord clamping; there was an increase in antioxidant capacity and moderation of inflammatory effects in the newborns.

Commenting further, Prof. Ochoa says:


"Our study demonstrates that late clamping of the umbilical cord has a beneficial effect upon the antioxidant capacity and reduces the inflammatory signal induced during labor, which could improve the development of the newborn during his or her first days of life."

He adds that umbilical cord clamping is one of the most frequent surgical interventions practiced in humans, with proof of the practice dating back centuries. 

Early clamping 'not advised unless newborn needs resuscitation'

With evidence of benefits for delayed cord clamping, however, why are most newborns separated from the placenta within 15-20 seconds after birth? According to the ACOG, there are concerns over universally adopting delayed clamping because it could "jeopardize timely resuscitation efforts, if needed, especially in preterm infants."

"However," the organization states, "because the placenta continues to perform gas exchange after delivery, sick and preterm infants are likely to benefit most from additional blood volume derived from a delay in umbilical cord clamping."

There are also other concerns regarding delayed cord clamping, including an increased potential for "excessive placental transfusion, which can lead to neonatal polycythemia" - an abnormally high level of red blood cells. This is especially of concern in the presence of risk factors including maternal diabetes, intrauterine grown restriction and high altitude.

Another concern stated by the ACOG is that delayed umbilical cord clamping "may be technically difficult in some circumstances."

Still, the WHO say late cord clamping is recommended for all births, and the improved iron status associated with it "may be particularly relevant for infants living in low-resource settings with reduced access to iron-rich foods."

The organization clearly states that early cord clamping - less than 1 minute after birth - is not advised unless the newborn is asphyxiated and needs to be moved for resuscitation.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Topics: health, nurses, healthcare, newborns, hospitals, medicine, physicians, babies, studies, birth, WHO, cord clamping, umbilical cord, AAP

CDC Endorses Circumcision for Health Reasons

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 03, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

cdc logo resized 600

U.S. health officials are poised to endorse circumcision as a means of preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released its first-ever draft guidelines on circumcision that recommend that doctors counsel parents and uncircumcised males on the health benefits of the procedure.

The guidelines do not outright call for circumcision of all male newborns, since that is a personal decision that may involve religious or cultural preferences, Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, told the Associated Press.

Discussion board is open for inputs on this subject.

But "the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks," Mermin said.

Circumcision involves the surgical removal of the foreskin covering the tip of the penis. Germs can collect and multiply under the foreskin, creating issues of hygiene.

Clinical trials, many done in sub-Saharan Africa, have demonstrated that circumcision reduces HIV infection risk by 50 percent to 60 percent, the CDC guidelines note. The procedure also reduces by 30 percent the risk of contracting herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV), two pathogens believed to cause cancer of the penis.

The guidelines do point out that circumcision has only been proven to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted diseases in men during vaginal sex. The procedure has not been proven to reduce the risk of infection through oral or anal sex, or to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to female partners.

The scientific evidence is mixed regarding homosexual sex, the guidelines say, with some studies having shown that circumcision provides partial protection while other studies have not.

Circumcision does reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in infants, according to the CDC guidelines.

The most common risks associated with the procedure include bleeding and infection.

Male circumcision rates in the United States declined between 1979 and 2010, dropping from almost 65 percent to slightly more than 58 percent, according to a CDC report issued last year.

The new draft guidelines mirror an updated policy on circumcision released by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012.

"The American public should take confidence that these are pretty much converging guidelines. There is no doubt that it [circumcision] does confer health benefits and there is no doubt it can be performed safely, with a less than 1 percent risk of complications," Dr. Susan Blank, chair of the task force that authored the AAP policy statement, said Tuesday. "This is one thing a parent can do to protect the future health of their children."

In its policy statement, the AAP declared that the health benefits are great enough that infant male circumcision should be covered by insurance, which would increase access to the procedure for families who choose it, said Blank, who is also assistant commissioner of STD Control and Prevention at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

"The push from the academy's point of view is to really have providers lay out for parents what are the risks, what are the benefits, and give the parents the information they need to make a decision," Blank said. "And the academy feels strongly that since there are proven health benefits, the procedure should be covered by insurance."

The guidelines are expected to spur a response from anti-circumcision groups.

"There are certainly groups that are troubled by circumcision of an individual who is not in a position to provide their own consent," Blank said.

The public can comment on the draft guidelines through Jan. 16, according to the CDC.

Source: www.nlm.nih.gov

Topics: health, nurses, healthcare, doctors, newborns, CDC, hospitals, HIV, medical, surgery, circumcision, STD

Newborns may benefit from fast genetic test

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 @ 03:07 PM

newbornGenome sequencing is rapidly changing modern medicine, and a new study shows its potential impact on seriously ill newborn babies.

New research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine this week makes the case for a two-day whole-genome sequencing for newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

After 50 hours, the test delivers to doctors a wealth of information about what could be causing newborns’ life-threatening illnesses. This would allow them to more efficiently and quickly tailor therapies to the babies, when possible, and identify problematic genetic variants that multiple family members may share.

“We think this is going to transform the world of neonatology, by allowing neonatologists to practice medicine that’s influenced by genomes,” said Stephen Kingsmore, the study's senior author and director for the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri, at a press conference Tuesday.

There are more than 3,500 diseases caused by a mutation in a single gene, Kingsmore said, and only about 500 have treatments. About one in 20 babies born in the United States annually gets admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit, he said. Genetic-driven illnesses are a leading cause of these admissions at Kingsmore’s hospital.

One example of how a genetic test would help newborns is a condition called severe Pompe disease, Kingsmore said. Children with this disorder die if they are not treated by age 1. They will live longer, at least four years, if they receive an enzyme replacement therapy.

The study shows how two software programs, called SAGA and RUNE, work together to help physicians pinpoint the genes that could be causing problems in the children. A company called Illumina developed a rapid genome sequencing device that incorporates the programs.

Researchers reported diagnoses as a result of this genetic test in the study for six children. Two of these tests were done retrospectively, after the children had died.

The test extends beyond the ill baby; genome sequencing can also identify genetic traits in multiple family members, the researchers said. Carol Saunders, the study's lead author, explained at the news conference how one baby and his 6-year-old brother both have a congenital heart defect and heterotaxy, meaning some internal organs are located on the wrong side of the body.

While some children will still die from incurable genetic disorders after being tested for them, the knowledge about diagnosis and likely outcomes for future children is beneficial for parents, experts say.

“Knowing the marker or defect may provide some information regarding the prognosis so the family knows what to expect,” Saunders said. "Importantly, it also allows them to have accurate genetic counseling regarding their risk to have another affected baby, and to make informed decisions about their reproductive future.”

Families value the diagnoses derived from this genetic test because it gives an answer, and alleviates guilt that something happened during pregnancy, Kingsmore said in an e-mail.

“It gives time for maternal bonding and saying goodbyes and last rites that can be planned,” Kingsmore said. “This is all complex but very real.”

The test costs roughly $13,500, but costs of whole-genome sequencing are quickly falling – experts believe a $1,000 genome sequence is not far off, Kingsmore said.

Children’s Mercy Hospital plans to offer this testing before the end of the year. Next year, Kingsmore and colleagues plans to offer testing at other hospitals for NICU patients.

Kingsmore estimates that about 5,000 babies a year could benefit from this technology.

“Ultimately, it will be used for every child with an illness that may be due to a genetic disease,” he said.

It made sense to start with the NICU because of the costs involved, he said.

Topics: genetics, newborns, benefits

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