Good behavior, good bedtimes
Researchers have found a clear link between the lack of a regular bedtime and behavioral difficulties in children, and it is just what moms and dads know intuitively: Irregular bedtimes often lead to bad behavior in kids.
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers also found that, on average, children’s behavior got worse as the number of nights they did not get to bed on time increased.
The research team from University College in London analyzed data from 10,230 7-year-olds from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, with bedtime information collected from interviews with mothers when the children were 3, 5 and 7. The mothers also described their children’s behavior.
It will surprise nobody that they found the children most likely to have irregular bedtimes, or very late bedtimes, were also more likely to be from the poorest homes. Those children also were more likely to skip breakfast, have a television in their room and have a mom in poor mental health than their peers who had regular bedtimes.
However, the good news in the study is that the effects of not having a regular bedtime appear to be reversible.
“For children who changed from not having to having regular bedtimes, there were improvements in behavioral scores,” the researchers write.
A FEEDING INSTINCT STARTS IN THE WOMB
Hungry babies instinctively open their mouths as their mother’s breast or a bottle draws near. Now, researchers from England and France report that this instinct — the anticipation of touch — is a skill fetuses teach themselves in the womb.
Studying scans at monthly intervals between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, the scientists found that the youngest fetuses were more likely to touch their heads and that as they matured, they began to touch their mouths more. And by 36 weeks, the fetuses began to open their mouths before they touched them.
The anticipation of touch is a skill a baby uses during feeding, said Nadja Reissland, a psychologist at Durham University in England, who reports the findings along with colleagues in the journal Developmental Psychobiology.
Premature babies may not have fully grasped this skill, Reissland said. The study could provide more information about what premature babies can do and what special care they need.
“The fetus might actually be learning the limits of its body, the texture of the body and what it feels like to be a person in the womb,” she said.
EXERCISE vs. prescriptions
A structured exercise program may be as good as or better than frequently prescribed drugs for some common cardiovascular ailments, a large meta-analysis has found.
Researchers evaluated 57 randomized trials testing the effect on mortality of exercise and drugs in four prevention regimens: the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation from stroke, treatment of heart failure and prevention of Type 2 diabetes. The review, published online in the journal BMJ, involved more than 14,000 patients. The studies used a variety of drugs — for example, statins for the prevention of coronary heart disease, blood thinners for stroke, diuretics for heart failure and biguanides like Glucophage and Metaglip for impending diabetes.