Type 1 diabetes or Juvenile diabetes, as well call it commonly, is more widely present in young kids today. There are different reasons behind this widespread presence-the increasing rates of type 1 or 2 diabetes in moms enhance the risk factor of type 1 diabetes in kids; there are also research evidence that kids born to moms with gestational diabetes are at a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes before the age of 22 and there are other genetic and environmental factors that play a role here. It’s a well-known fact that diabetes rates are increasing and gestational diabetes rates too are prominent among pregnant women which automatically affects newborn children and young kids. Such children face several problems including a daily insulin injection and avoidance of sweet treats often. This makes the kids often sulk in sadness. Who doesn’t like to eat sweet meats and treats, especially at a young age? Besides these there are also some other complications associated with type 1 diabetes in kids.
Young kids with type 1 diabetes experience extreme fluctuations in glucose levels when the developing brain undergoes maturation changes. Glucose is critical for brain development as the brain needs a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose. A study by researchers from Stanford University in the PLOS Medicine journal shows that kids with type 1 diabetes show differences in brain functioning compared to those who don’t have the disease.
The research involved 93 kids with type 1 diabetes aged 7-14 years. All of them performed a cognitive test whose results showed that both sets of kids, those in the diabetes group and control group, performed the task with equal accuracy. But there was substantial difference seen in the ways their brains were behaving. The default-mode network, the brain’s idle system of kids with diabetes was not shutting off during the task and hence to counter this, the brain’s executive network (responsible for self-regulation and concentration) was working harder than normal in kids with diabetes. Younger the age of diagnosis more pronounced was the abnormality seen in kids. Individuals who are exposed to blood-glucose level changes for a longer time experience greater alteration in brain function which can never be reversed or compensated in the later stages of the disease.
Kids are most flexible during their younger years of life-physically and mentally. Their bodies behave like rubber bands and their minds are like a clean slate in which we can fill in details that we wish-both good and bad. Their brains have the greatest potential for plasticity and repair but when diabetes levels are not corrected and brain-related problems go undetected they would be threatened to face and live with the resulting consequences in life forever. Take care to minimize the risk of type 1 diabetes in kids by taking care of yourself even before you decide to get pregnant. Optimize glucose levels, eat good food and workout to prevent gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Get in touch with nutritionists and dietitians at www.firsteatright.com who specialize in pregnancy nutrition to plan a pregnancy diet suiting your body needs.
Shaped like our brain, our parents have always been a fan of walnuts-not for their own consumption but for putting their kids under compulsion to consume them. All this is because of its structure-shaped like a brain though there are claims that it increases intelligence our mothers and fathers are not huge fans of scientific evidence but prefer to put their own logical skills to use-deciding that it’s the best for their kid based on its structure. But believe me or not, walnut indeed is one of the best picks for a healthy dish. In general, nuts are rich sources of nutrients and one of the versatile options for a mid-day or an evening snack. There are different varieties of nuts each bringing in a different taste, unique flavour and benefit upon the human body. While we might be fans of almonds, cashews or pistachios not many prefer the walnut owing to its slightly bitter taste. But you would definitely feel better about popping in some walnuts into your mouth once you realize its different benefits.
High in proteins, calcium and iron walnuts have been hailed as an effective dietary component to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Now, they might offer cardiovascular protection too. Previously, it was seen that eating walnuts alongside a diet that’s low in saturated fats might offer heart-healthy benefits but the latest research shows that including walnuts as a daily part of your diet increases the presence of good bacteria in the gut thereby safeguarding heart health.
The randomized control trial done on 42 participants with overweight/obesity aged 30-65 years shows that individuals who consumed a walnut-enriched diet showed significant association between changes in gut bacteria and risk factors for heart disease. The walnut diet paved way to an increase in the number of gut bacteria that promoted health benefits which includes those such as Eubacteria eligens, Roseburia and Butyricicoccus. Greater the number of Eubacteria or Lachnospiraceae higher was reduction in blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. There were no changes found in gut bacteria following the walnut-free diet and risk factors for heart health.
The gut bacteria are seen to play an evident role in modifying our health-for the better or worse depending on the food that we eat. The baby acquires gut bacteria from the birth canal of its mother which is later modified based on environmental and lifestyle factors. For more information about how mode of delivery affects gut bacteria composition please visit www.firsteatright.com. So, when walnuts have a positive influence on this gut bacteria composition which in turn benefits heart health it is high time that we include them in our daily diet in controlled portion sizes by getting in touch with dietitians and nutritionists. Replace your unhealthy snacks with walnuts to provide your body with fatty acids, fibre and bioactive compounds. A small change in your diet can bring about greater health benefits.
An infant is a delight to watch-his/her expressions, acts, sounds and movements bring utter joy to each of us present. These newborn kids are given an oil massage (to add glow to their skin, make the hands and feet strong and also to put them to sleep) and bathed using fragrant homemade powders that include turmeric and rose petals too. Soon after bath, they are generally sprayed with talcum powder all over their body to make them as fragrant as possible-this very sight is heavenly! Isn’t it common for a house to smell of talcum powder when there is a small infant?
Talcum powder is made from talc (one of the softest minerals in the world), a mineral that’s made of elements such as magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talcum powder is used in the preparation of a number of cosmetic products such as baby powder, adult body and facial powders and other cosmetic products too. It is valued for its capacity to absorb moisture, oils, odour and reduce friction protecting the baby against diaper rash and infections. It is a common sight for parents to spray a generous dose of powder on the baby’s genitals before putting on the diaper. But there have been times when some people also advice against spraying this powder on genital parts as there is an associated risk of cancer in using this powder.
Talc is a mineral that has to be mined for and it might contain asbestos as the mineral often occurs in close proximity to asbestos on the Earth’s surface. For the unknown, asbestos is a substance that’s known for its cancer-causing property and because talc is very close to this substance people fear and claim that talcum powder causes cancer too. Though everyone’s worried, most concerns about cancer risk is focused on individuals who have long-term exposure to talc such as talc miners and those women who apply talcum powder to their genital areas increasing their risk of ovarian cancer. There are other common risk factors of ovarian cancer the list of which can be found at www.firsteatright.com. There have been more than 5000 cases filed against talcum powder (also known as baby powder) based on research claims that have found that long-term use of talcum powder on female genitals might increase the risk of ovarian cancer. We also have lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (this company started selling talcum powder as early as during 1800s) and other companies that sold talcum powders contaminated with asbestos blaming them for increased risk of cancer.
Evidence or Lack of Enough Evidence?
The issue first cropped up when researchers found talc particles in ovarian tumors in 1971. Yet another study in 1982 came up with a connection between ovarian cancer and talc powder use in genitals but a 2014 study disproved any of these links. Studies in 2016 and 2018 show that there is a weak but significant link between using talcum powder and ovarian cancer risk.
Different health committees have come up with their ideologies: the CDC says that prolonged inhalation of talc could cause carcinogenic effect on the lungs; FDA doesn’t conclude anything as research is still going on regarding the effect; the powder is banned from being used as an ingredient in beauty products by the European Union and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says that talc-based powders are not carcinogenic generally but could be possibly carcinogenic when used on the genitals.
With conflicting evidences, it is better to refrain from using these powders until a clear judgement is given. Instead, people can use cornstarch, arrowroot starch, oat flour, baking soda or tapioca starch powders to prevent rashes and skin irritation. Though the current evidence is insufficient to provide judgement there are hopes that we could be getting results soon owing to the lawsuit on Johnson & Johnson. Until then if you are extremely concerned about it, adults and children alike are recommended to choose alternate powder options to serve their purpose.
As we are getting increasingly concerned about our needs and deeds, we are all the more depriving our small kids of their needs in life. Kids were the number one priority of parents, especially the mother, during earlier decades. But with both parents going for a job and rise in personal demands it’s the children who exist as the most affected lot. We want to go out, we want to participate in marathons, watch movies peacefully, go on a lunch date or spend time with friends which puts the child at the mercy of the caretaker or the day-care centre. There are some parents who simply cuddle their child, kiss them good night and go off to their own busy schedule. Not everyone can afford a personal caretaker and when some kids are enrolled in day care centres the same attention as given to your child in a home setting cannot be expected. Kids are left to be on their own, engaged using television programs or made to sleep. This sounds sad and we pity the children but what is the state of those kids who are brought up in orphanages without the love, care and a sense of belonging? Pathetic.
More than the emotions surrounding the upbringing of children in orphanages a new study has come up with a shocking revelation that kids suffering from severe deprivation in early life have smaller brains in adulthood. This was the study done by a group of researchers at King’s college in London who simply revealed that neglecting children had everlasting effects on their brain. It is based on a study on small kids who grew up in Romania’s orphanages.
Romanian Orphanages that Shed Light on Children Neglect
It was in 1989 when the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, was revoked of his powers that the world realized the plight of more than 1,70,000 kids who were being raised in Romania’s impoverished institutions. A group of researchers took this opportunity to study a group of 136 kids (aged 6 months to 3 years) who had been living in one of the institutions from birth. They randomly moved half the kids into Romanian foster families (they were monitored and monetary aid was given) and the other half remained in the institution. On comparison they could see that institutionalized children suffered from delayed cognitive function, motor development and language besides showing deficits in socio-emotional behaviour and psychiatric disorders. Those who were shifted to foster care showed improvements in language, IQ and social-emotional functioning. The team also evaluated a control group of local kids and found that those sent to foster care still lagged behind the control group kids. But the researchers also observed that when kids were moved into foster care before the age of 2 their brain activities were no different from that of the control group.
A research in 2017 on 165 kids adopted from the same institutes into UK families observed that 4 of 5 kids continued to experience mental health problems that connected to childhood neglect. But the latest study, the first to scan brains of the kids, shows that childhood trauma physically changed them too. The researchers studied the brain scans of 67 Romanian adoptees who were there in orphanages for varying duration before they were adopted by UK families with brain scans from 21 other adults who were adopted into the UK. The results from the study nullify the concept that anything is possible to change or recover. Results showed that in comparison to other adoptees the adult brain of Romanian orphanage survivors were 8.6% smaller. For each extra month the kids spent in the orphanage their brain size decreased by 0.27%.
Its known that big brains don’t promise greater intelligence but the brain size of the study participants differed structurally in three main areas including control organization, memory integration and motivation. The early unpleasant development stages and environment shape brain development-the impaired brain doesn’t become 100% healthy even after the kids received loving care and affection for more than 10-15 years in their foster homes. All this might be due to lack of exposure to life experiences that could nurture normal brain development and chronic stress that could affect brain development. Its time to start showing your kids unbiased love and care. Devote focused attention on your little ones and shower them with loving words prioritizing their presence over anything else. Scientific research is now focusing on making new strides into erasing the impression what early neglect could leave on the child. Beyond nutrition and food, mental health plays an equally important role in designing a child’s brain development. Understand more about mental health and its effects on kids by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.