News You Can Use
What does the latest research say about listening, placenta capsules and the benefits of holding your babies? Take a look:
Speak into my good ear!
If your children aren’t listening to you, try speaking into their right ear. New findings suggest that children both process and retain information better, especially when there is a lot of background noise and interruptions, from their right side.
"The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management (including hearing aids) and auditory training will become," says Auburn University audiology researcher Danielle Sacchinelli.
Unlike adults, children cannot sort and separate sounds going into both ears at the same time. They rely on the information coming in from the right, which is then processed by the left side of the brain. The left brain controls speech, language development, and portions of memory. So basically, they can remember and understand information much better when it comes in through the right ear.
Your Daily Dose of Placenta
A ground-breaking study by UNLV researchers reveals that consuming capsules of placenta has little to no effect on postpartum mood or maternal bonding, but has a small effect on a mother’s hormone levels.
Supporters of the practice say that because mammals in the wild often consume their placenta, human mothers are likely to experience a natural benefit as well.
"While the study doesn't provide firm support for or against the claims about the benefits of placentophagy, it does shed light on this much-debated topic by providing the first results from a clinical trial specifically testing the impact of placenta supplements on postpartum hormones, mood, and energy," says Dr. Sharon Young, lead author of the study and program manager for UNLV's Office of Undergraduate Research. "What we have uncovered are interesting areas for future exploration, such as small impacts on hormone levels for women taking placenta capsules, and small improvements in mood and fatigue in the placenta group."
Hold Your Babies Close
An ongoing study by the University of British Columbia and British Columbia’s Children’s Research Institute suggests that physical contact between infants and their caregivers actually changes their molecular profile. This is the first study to show in humans that the simple act of touching, early in life, has deeply-rooted and potentially lifelong consequences on genetic expression.
After studying a group of 94 healthy children over four and a half years, the researchers found that the children who had been more distressed as infants and had received less physical contact had a molecular profile in their cells that was underdeveloped for their age.
Scientists discovered that there were consistent differences in the DNA of children who received a lot of physical contact and those who received less. However, the effects of these differences on development and health are not yet known.
Erin McIntosh is a mom of four children, 15, 12, 10, and 6. She works at the Kansas City Art Institute and is also a freelance writer and photographer. She is currently working on her first book, a memoir about single parenting.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.