Apr 11 2012

Autism Link to Obese, Diabetic Moms

New, Faster Diagnostic Testing

by: Mummy Buzz

Autism is grabbing all kinds of headlines this week, with a major study by UC Davis MIND Institute finding a correlation between maternal diabetes and obesity and a child having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disorder.

In the study, currently published online at Pediatrics, diabetic or obese moms were 67 percent more likely to have a child with ASD or other developmental disorder than normal-weight mothers without diabetes or hypertension.

Moreover, the children of such mothers were 'more disabled,' that is, showed "greater deficits in language comprehension and production and adaptive communication" than those born to healthy mothers. All exhibited social impairments.

"Over a third of U.S. women in their childbearing years are obese, and nearly one-tenth have gestational or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy," said Paula Krakowiak, a PhD Candidate in Epidemiology affiliated with the MIND Institute. "And while the study does not conclude that diabetes and obesity cause ASD and developmental delays, it suggests that fetal exposure to elevated glucose and maternal inflammation levels adversely affect fetal development."

It is thought that poorly regulated maternal glucose can result in chronic fetal exposure to high levels of insulin, which in turn may result in depleted oxygen and iron supply for the fetus, thereby affecting fetal brain development.

This, at a time when incidences of autism are at record highs -- 1 out of every 88 children -- according to the latest figures released by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This, at a time when the diagnostic definition of autism (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)) is about to be revised, with a drastic drop estimated for said figures by 2013. 

Clearly the need to find accurate diagnostic testing is crucial. That's why Dennis Wall, an associate professor at the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, has been beavering away to come up with new testing, now published online at Translational Psychiatry.  

The algorithms combine a brief set of questions and a short home video of the subject, to allow for faster, more accurate assessments. Wall estimates that the online testing will cut the lengthy waiting time for diagnosis by some 95 per cent. The tool will help parents determine early on whether intervention may be needed.

"We believe this approach will make it possible for more children to be accurately diagnosed during the early critical period when behavioural therapies are most effective," said Wall.

For a taster of the new assessments, please explore the survey and video site



Apr 11 2012

Are you the next Pregzilla?

Babies are Cute. She Isn't!

by: Mummy Buzz


Are you one of those glowing, bump-stroking serene moms to be? Then you need not apply. An L.A. casting company is on the prowl for the next starts of the reality TV show, PREGZILLAS.

The makers of shows like Jersey Shore and Millionaire Matchmaker are looking for pregnant women "with big personalities" to share their "sometimes irrational, decidedly demanding, high maintenance" journey through pregnancy. 

“I think women are the most beautiful when pregnant," says Executive Casting Director, Doron Ofir. "It’s with respect and curiosity I chose to explore the madness behind the glow.” 

Expecting females and their partners between the ages of 21-35 wanting to take part in this brand new 'docu-series' should apply online. If chosen, the couple will receive an episodic stipend of $5,000.

Move over Katherine Heigl. If you see the funny side of pregnancy and don't mind showing yourself up, Hollywood beckons.  


Apr 11 2012

The Play Date Contract

Sign on the Dotted Line

by: Mummy Buzz

We live in a world of legalese. It's practically unavoidable. When it comes to daycares and schools, you not only expect a hefty list of terms and conditions, but welcome it. But what signing a waiver—for a play date in a backyard? 

Apparently the average play date is no longer exempt from our increasingly litigious culture. According to Today Moms, some parents—fearing potential injuries from say, a trampoline or a pool—expect you to sign a waiver before letting your kids come over to play.

A Miss Manners column in the Washington Post summed it up pretty well. If the waiver predates a birthday party in which a bouncy castle has been rented, the waiver may in fact be a necessity for the company's insurance rather than parental retentiveness. 
But in the case of an ordinary play date, Miss Manners suggests determining whether there is a "specific safety concern" at the fore. If not, Manners herself suggests you "sign [the waiver] this once, and hang out with another mom in the future.”
Responsible parenting or fear mongering gone too far?  


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