Did you know you can actually help to improve your child's fine motor skills? Try engaging her in a few double-duty activities that are not only fun, but help develop essential skills for things such as writing, tying knots, and even sports. Check out our look at activities and toys you may want to add to your tot's playtime to strengthen her coordination.
Sixty-seven American children are diagnosed with autism each day so it's no wonder why parents worry about their youngsters and watch for signs of the developmental disorder. A new study of 2-year-old children suggested that one area of the brain offered insight. The report said:
"We believe that children with autism have normal-sized brains at birth but at some point, in the latter part of the first year of life, it [the amygdala] begins to grow in kids with autism. And this study gives us insight inside the underlying brain mechanism so we can design more rational interventions," said lead study author Dr. Joseph Piven.
The amygdala gland helps with the processing of things like faces and emotions. Doctors hope this finding will eventually help them be able to diagnose autism at an earlier age.
When the FDA and EPA warned pregnant women about mercury levels in fish, consumption of this healthy food dropped dramatically. Women were told not to eat more than 12 oz. a week, but confusion about which fish was OK to eat and fear about getting too much mercury made women give fish up altogether.
Now experts are saying that not getting enough Omega-3s is much more dangerous to the developing fetus than getting trace amounts of mercury. These important fats are found most readily in fish and are necessary for brain development and improved motor and cognitive skills. Some evidence suggests that it may also prevent premature delivery and postpartum depression.
These experts are pushing pregnant woman to eat at least 12 oz. of fish, while the government's advice is to eat no more than 12 oz. The thing is, the National Fisheries Institute is the one paying for this health message urging pregnant women to eat more fish, so the message seems like it's got money on the mind instead of babies.
What's the bottom line? Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the health of growing babies. If you are pregnant and love to eat fish, go ahead and eat it, but stick to no more than 12 oz. a week. Salmon, tuna, sardines (yum), oysters, and mackerel are great sources. Not into fish? Great plant sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, soy products, canola oil, and enhanced foods such as Breyer's yogurt and eggs.