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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D



Jun 27, 2003 Issue

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                                      ~ B R A I N Y - Z I N E ~

                           "Learn How to Nurture A Smarter Kid" 

        Volume #1 Issue #17   ISSN: 0219-7642   Jun 27, 2003

                   Andrew Loh, Publisher,

By subscription only! You are receiving this newsletter
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T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S : 

(1) ~ EDITORIAL ~ 
(2) ~ ARTICLES -  ~ Thyroid Deficiency in Pregnancy Affects Child IQ ~
                             ~ Baby Walkers May Delay Children's Development ~
(6) ~ CONTACT US - Contact and Subscriber Information ~

E D I T O R I A L - W e l c o m e !

Hi Everyone,
Hope all has been going well for you lately! It's almost summer
all the time in my part of the world... and some of the days
have been hot or at least it feels like it ;). The kids are out of school
and we are planning to go for a short holiday. May be it is time for
you to take vacations, go out and enjoy the weather instead of working. Don't you agree sometimes we need to rest and take times to reflect upon what we have been doing so far? Half of 2003 is almost gone, may be it's time for me to take a look at the resolutions that I had made early this year. See how far I am off the targets ....8-)

Do you have comments, questions, or suggestions about the newsletter this week? Feel free to have your say! Just send them to 

Andrew Loh
Publisher/Editor of the BrainyZine
andrew @


~ Thyroid Deficiency in Pregnancy Affects Child IQ ~
Reuters News

Even a mild, symptom-free case of thyroid deficiency in a pregnant woman can affect her child's IQ scores years later, results of a study suggest.

Children aged 7 to 9 who had mothers with untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancy had IQ scores about 7 points lower than youngsters of women without such a deficiency, according to study results published in the August 19th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings suggest that "routine prenatal or pre-pregnancy screening for thyroid deficiency needs to be considered," said lead study author Dr. James E. Haddow, of the Foundation for Blood Research in Scarborough, Maine, in an interview with Reuters Health.

In the report, the researchers note that for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, before the unborn child's thyroid becomes active, "the mother is the sole source of thyroid hormones." Studies suggest that these hormones play a role in brain development.

Haddow and colleagues screened stored blood samples from more than 25,000 women who were pregnant between January 1987 and March 1990. They identified 62 women with thyroid deficiency, of whom 48 were not treated for hypothyroidism throughout pregnancy.

The investigators tested the neuropsychological development of the offspring of the 62 women and compared them with the children of 124 women without thyroid problems in pregnancy.

Between ages 7 and 9, children of the 48 mothers with untreated
hypothyroidism scored 7 points lower, on average, on the Wechsler
Intelligence Scale for Children. By comparison, IQ scores were similar between children of women whose hypothyroidism was treated during pregnancy and other youngsters.

Overall, compared with other children, the offspring of thyroid-deficient mothers had impaired school performance and lower scores on tests of attention, language, and visual-motor performance.

"Eleven years after the pregnancy under study, 64% of the untreated women and 4% of the matched control women had confirmed hypothyroidism," the investigators write, based on data from questionnaires they mailed. On average, hypothyroidism had been
present for about 5 years in these women before being diagnosed,
Haddow said.

"What we don't know from this study is whether you can effectively avoid the IQ problem in the child (by treating the mother's thyroid deficiency)," he said. However, because of the "minimal" risk of treating thyroid disease in pregnancy, the typical long delay in diagnosis and the simplicity of screening for thyroid deficiency, Haddow believes that widespread screening for hypothyroidism in pregnant women is "worth considering."

In an editorial, Dr. Robert D. Utiger notes that there are two potential causes of hypothyroidism in women: chronic autoimmune thyroiditis and iodine deficiency. He suggests that both causes likely play a role in thyroid deficiency in the US, where 15% of women of childbearing age had "overtly inadequate" intake of iodine between 1988 and 1994.

With this in mind, the editorialist notes that efforts to increase dietary iodine intake in the US should be the first step in any program to help prevent the adverse effects of hypothyroidism during pregnancy. "The beneficiaries would be not only pregnant women and their offspring, but everyone," Utiger concludes.

~ Baby Walkers May Delay Children's Development ~
Reuters News

Although baby walkers get infants moving before they are able to
on their own, this early locomotion may actually delay babies' physical and mental development, US researchers report.

The large trays on all newer-model walkers that protect a scurrying infant from accidents also prevent babies from seeing their legs as they move and from grasping objects around them. This deprives babies of the visual feedback that may help them learn to move through space, according to researchers led by Dr. Roger V. Burton, of the department of psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In the October issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the researchers report study results showing that babies who used newer-style walkers may be slower than other babies in reaching developmental milestones, including sitting up, crawling, and walking. These babies may also be delayed in the development of memory, learning, and language skills.

Studying 109 babies, the investigators found that while babies who used the newer walkers showed normal development, they sat upright, crawled and walked later than babies who never used a walker and those who used outdated walkers, which allow babies to see their legs and grasp objects. Babies who used new-style walkers, for example, took their first steps at 11.6 months, on average; no-walker babies and those with old-style, "see-feet" walkers began walking at ages 10.8 and 10.7 months, respectively.

On a standard test of mental development, no-walker babies had the highest average score, followed by babies who used "see-feet" walkers and those who used newer walkers.

The babies were initially tested at 6, 9 or 12 months of age, then again 3 months later. Since no baby was tested beyond 15 months, the researchers could not determine whether walker use could have long-term effects. "It is likely," they report, "that normal infants will catch up with their no-walker peers when they walk and are no longer restricted by being put into a walker."

In addition, while Burton's team did factor in parents' education, other factors that could influence a baby's development, such as the parents' occupation and social class, were not studied. Nearly all families in the study were white and middle-class.

However, the authors note, other investigators have found that in
developmentally-challenged babies, babies born prematurely and very young infants, walkers may be particularly likely to cause problems with balance and alignment.

And besides the evidence of developmental delays with walker use, there is a growing consensus that the devices pose a safety hazard, according to the report. The study authors cite a 1994 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that held baby walkers responsible for more injuries than any other children's product.

Since 1995, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has maintained that there should be a "ban on the manufacture and sale of mobile infant walkers in the US." In light of the new study findings, the AAP is also stressing that parents should be made aware of the "lack of benefits" to walker use. Taken together, the investigators conclude, the evidence on baby walkers suggests their use is "ill-advised."

_________________________________________________________ B R A I N Y  P R O D U C T

~ Brainy Baby - 123's (2002) ~

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_________________________________________________________ L A T E S T  B R A I N Y  N E W S

"Sleep Loss Hits Child Brain"
Even losing an hour's sleep a night can have noticeable effects on a 
child's mental performance, say scientists.

N E X T  I S S U E
Next issue, how do you teach your child to read?

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