Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Living the life of a working woman is not easy. While you are trying to build your career to make a name in the competitive world, your family members seem to be more concerned about when you will marry, settle down and have kids. This is a common debate in various households across the country. You just don't get to hear the end of the drawbacks of late marriage and late motherhood, and that biological clock which keeps ticking. Life decisions such as marriage and motherhood can't be made under pressure, it needs more thought through. Most importantly, the person should be mentally ready for it. There's of course the worry about complications during pregnancy and the ability to conceive at the first place. But here's some good news for career-oriented women and those who are not ready to have a child yet, a recent study states that delaying pregnancy till age 35 can actually make your kids smarter.
This statement contradicts the common belief of the perfect time for women to have healthy kids to be between 25-30 years. The study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology says that children born to older mothers today are more likely to perform better in cognitive ability tests than those born to younger mothers. Perhaps the times are changing!

"Our research is the first to look at how the cognitive abilities of children born to older mothers have changed over time and what might be responsible for this shift," said study lead author Alice Goisis, researcher at London School of Economics and Political Science.

This shift is due to the changing characteristics of women who have children at an older age, the study said. Older mothers today tend to be more advantaged than younger mothers -- for example, they are well educated, are less likely to smoke during pregnancy and are established in professional occupations. This was not necessarily true in the past.

For the study, the researchers analysed data from three longitudinal studies in Britain -- the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study and the 2001 Millennium Cohort Study. Children's cognitive ability was tested when they were 10/11 years old. In the 1958 and 1970 cohorts children born to mothers aged 25-29 scored higher than children born to mothers aged 35-39. In the 2001 cohort, this result was reversed.

When the researchers took the mothers' social and economic characteristics into account, the differences across cohorts disappeared. This indicates that the changing characteristics of women who have children at an older age were highly likely to be the reason for the differences.

"Cognitive ability is important in and of itself but also because it is a strong predictor of how children fare in later life - in terms of their educational attainment, their occupation and their health," said Goisis.

Mothers-to-be please don't take stress during pregnancy as it may harm your baby's brain. A new study has found that stress during pregnancy is not good for the unborn child and remaining stress-free during this period helps the brain development of the baby.

According to the study presented at a meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in Boston, Massachusetts, a mother's stress during pregnancy changes neural connectivity in the brain of her unborn child.

One of the researchers Moriah Thomason of Wayne State University in the US said,"We have demonstrated what has long been theorised, but not yet observed in a human, which is that the stress of a mother during her pregnancy is reflected in connectional properties of her child's developing brain."

Research in newborns and older children to understand prenatal influences has been confounded by the postnatal environment, Thomason explained.

But recent advancements in foetal imaging allowed the researchers to gain insight into a critical time period in brain development never previously accessible.

Using foetal resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they examined functional connectivity in 47 human foetuses scanned between the 30th and 37th week of gestation.

The researchers recruited the participating mothers from a low-resource and high-stress urban setting, with many reporting high levels of depression, anxiety, worry and stress.

They found that mothers reporting high stress had foetuses with a reduced efficiency in how their neural functional systems are organised.

The data suggest that the brain does not develop in a sequence from the simplest systems to more complex high-order systems, but perhaps instead first develops the areas that will be most critical in bridging across systems.

The researchers found that the cerebellum played a central role in the observed effects, suggesting it may be especially vulnerable to the effects of prenatal or early life stress.

Are you using baby wipes for your infant? If yes, then stop doing so because a new study has found that baby wipes increase the risk of developing life-threatening food allergies in children.

The genetics that alters skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes that leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care are some of the factors contributing to food allergies in babies.

Researchers said that food allergy is triggered when these factors occur together.

Joan Cook-Mills, a professor at Northwestern University in the US said,"This is a recipe for developing food allergy. It's a major advance in our understanding of how food allergy starts early in life."

Cook-Mills said that factors leading to food allergy can be modified in the home environment.

She said,"Reduce baby's skin exposure to the food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby."

She added,"Limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin. Rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago."

Cook-Mills made the discovery by using clinical evidence about food allergy in humans, the effects of food allergen and environmental allergen exposures and neonatal mice with genetic mutations that occur in humans.

Clinical evidence shows up to 35 per cent of children with food allergies have atopic dermatitis and much of that is explained by at least three different gene mutations that reduce the skin barrier.

Cook-Mills used a neonatal mouse model with skin barrier mutations and tried exposing its skin to food allergens like peanuts. The peanuts alone had no effect.

Babies are exposed to environmental allergens in dust in a home.

"They may not be eating food allergens as a newborn, but they are getting them on their skin. Say a sibling with peanut butter on her face kisses the baby. Or a parent is preparing food with peanuts and then handles the baby," she said.

The top skin layer is made of fats, and the soap in the wipes disrupts that barrier, Cook-Mills said.

Skin problems that occur with skin barrier mutations may not be visible until long after a food allergy has already started.

The neonatal mice with the mutations had normal-appearing skin, and the dry itchy skin of dermatitis did not develop until the mice were a few months old, the equivalent of a young adult in human years.

After the neonatal mice received three to four skin exposures of food and dust allergens for 40 minutes during a two-week period, they were given egg or peanut by mouth.

The mice had allergic reactions at the site of skin exposure, allergic reactions in the intestine, and the severe allergic food reaction of anaphylaxis that is measured by decreased body temperature.

A skin barrier dysfunction was necessary for food allergy to develop in the mice, but there is a wide continuum of severe to mild skin dysfunction with eczema or atopic dermatitis, which in its mildest form may simply appear to be dry skin.

In patients with skin-barrier defects, there are changes in the proteins in the skin that are a result of mutations in the genes.

These gene mutations in patients are primarily heterozygous, which means there is a mutation in one of the two copies of a gene.

Accordingly, in the preclinical studies, neonatal mice were also heterozygous for skin barrier mutations.

The mice were co-exposed to food allergens such as egg and peanut proteins, allergens in dust (house dust mite or Alternaria alternata mold) and sodium lauryl sulphate, a soap present in infant cleansing wipes.

Cook-Mills said, these novel animal studies provide a basis to test interventions that will more effectively block the development of food allergy in infants and children.

As a new parent, it is natural for you to want the best for your little one. You tend to be more conscious about the choices you make, and are usually bombarded with a plethora of baby care products available in the market. Hence, when it comes to choosing the right product for your baby’s soft skin, there are chances of you getting confused.

“A baby’s skin is more delicate and sensitive than adult skin, so be sure to use safe products on your baby. Whether it is oils and creams or shampoos and soaps, they should be gentle and safe on the skin, as chemicals like phthalates and mineral oils in baby care products can be harsh and affect baby’s delicate skin. These chemicals get absorbed immediately by the baby’s skin as it is thinner, which can cause potential harm to your baby. Hence, it becomes important to choose products infused with the power of herbs,” says Dr. Subhashini N S, Ayurveda Expert, The Himalaya Drug Company, who suggests a list of ingredients which are gentle and help preserve the softness of baby’s skin:

* Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera works best for treating dry skin and heals rashes and itchy skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties effectively cure common skin problems for babies.

* Khus Grass: The anti-bacterial and antifungal properties in Khus Grass soothe and refresh irritated skin. This herb is known for its anti-perspirant and astringent properties, which keep baby dry throughout the day.

* Chickpea: Chickpea is rich in antioxidants and cleans, soothes, and nourishes your little one’s skin. A Chickpea-based shampoo brings shine to baby’s hair. It also helps cleanse the baby’s body.

* Five-Leaved Chaste Tree: The anti-bacterial and antifungal properties of Five-Leaved Chaste Tree help in treating skin infections and reduce redness, inflammation, and diaper rash.

* Lavender: Lavender helps fight bacteria and also has a pleasant aroma that relaxes baby. It also promotes peaceful sleep.

* Calamine: Summer is here, and along with it, prickly heat and heat rashes. Calamine infused lotions work as a healing solution to treat heat rashes and itching due to dry skin.

* Indian Lotus: This natural ingredient contains skin-conditioning agents, which keep baby’s skin soft and supple.

Your baby’s well-being depends on you. Apart from choosing safe products for your baby’s skin, it is important to provide the right kind of nutrition and exercise for overall wellness. Provide your little one with a balanced, nutritious diet and include outdoor play in their everyday routine.

फेरुला या वनस्पतीपासून हिंग बनवले जाते. हिंग़ातील अ‍ॅन्टी बॅक्टेरियल आणि अ‍ॅन्टी सेप्टीक घटक पोट साफ करण्यास मदत करतात. यामुळे पचनमार्ग मोकळा आणि स्वच्छ होतो. लहान मुलांच्या पोटदुखीवर हिंग हा एकमेव उपाय आहे. लहान बाळ हे अबोल असतात. त्यांना काही त्रास झाले की ते रडून व्यक्त करतात. पण ते नेमके का रडतात हे घरातील कुणालाच समजत नाही. डॉक्टरांच्या मते, खाण्याच्या वेळी मुलांनी अधिक प्रमाणात हवा श्वसनाच्या मार्गाने आत घेतल्यास आतड्यांचे आकुंचन होण्याचे प्रमाण वाढते. परिणामी पोटदुखीची समस्या वाढते. त्यामुळे त्यांच्या पोटदुखीवर हिंग हा रामबाण उपाय आहे.

- अर्धा चमचा हिंग पाण्यात मिसळून त्याची पेस्ट बनवा.

- पोटाजवळ हलक्या हाताने या पेस्टने मसाज करा.

- पेस्ट बेंबीत जाणारा नाही याची काळजी घ्या. बेंबीजवळील पेस्ट कापसाच्या ओल्या बोळ्याने पुसा.

- पाण्याऐवजी ऑलिव्ह ऑईल किंवा तीळाच्या तेलातही हिंग मिसळून पेस्ट करणे फायदेशीर ठरू शकते.

- पेस्ट लावल्यानंतर थोडावेळ ती थंड होऊ द्यावी तसेच सुकू द्या. पोटदुखी कमी करण्यासाठी थोडा वेळ लागण्याची शक्यता आहे.

- पेस्ट सुकल्यानंतर मुलांना ढेकर येऊ देण्यासाठी प्रयत्न करा. यामुळे गॅस बाहेर पडेल तसेच पोटदुखीची समस्या कमी होण्यास मदत होईल. त्यानंतर ओल्या कापडाने बाळाचे पोट स्वच्छ पुसावे.

Dr. Nitesh
Dr. Nitesh
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Archana Bhilare
Dr. Archana Bhilare
BDS, Dentist Endodontist, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Rahul Pawargi
Dr. Rahul Pawargi
BAMS, Family Physician General Physician, 19 yrs, Pune
Dr. Shalthiel Sathe
Dr. Shalthiel Sathe
BHMS, Medical Cosmetologist Trichologist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sneha Jain
Dr. Sneha Jain
MD - Homeopathy, Homeopath, 4 yrs, Pune