Posted by: Ticktock | January 23, 2009

This Week in Parenting Science 1/23/09

I’m going to try to make this an ongoing segment.  Every Friday, I will wrap up the week with a summary of interesting studies that may be relevant to parents.

Blueberry Science – It turns out that Augustus Gloop would have been better served if he had passed on gorging at the chocolate river and instead eaten the giant blueberry version of Violet Beauregard*.  Researchers at The Ohio State University are showing some interesting results on the effect of blueberry extract on mice with tumors.  The blueberry has been causing the tumors to shrink, and these are the same kind of tumors that deform 3% of babies (typically premies).  Human trials will soon follow up this important research.

Drunk and Pregnant – A retrospective cohort study out of western Australia has created a stir in the media by suggesting that mothers who binge drink in the 1st timester have exposed their unborn children to the risk of low birth weight and/or being born premature.  However, the results were not statistically significant, and the scientists had to combine sets of data to manufacture these results.  Standard recommendation to pregnant mothers has been to limit drinking in the 1st trimester.  This study seems to agree with that recommendation showing more of a risk of harm by drinking during the 1st trimester than at any other trimester.

Kids on Steroids – Kids all over America have been prescribed steroids for their asthma and wheezing problems, and I’ve always been bothered by it.  I have always had this horrible feeling that steroids are making lungs weaker or causing other unknown damages in vulnerable children, but it’s only now that research is confirming my uninformed fears.  It turns out that steroid treatment for wheezing has only mild benefits and stumps growth.  This research comes from a British study and a Canadian study that followed wheezing children whose parents were either given a placebo or an actual inhaler.  I know that steroids are one of the more effective treatments of asthma, so my opinions on steroids are not informed, but I do look forward to more research on steroid therapy to see if my instincts are correct.



  1. I’m sorry that I even feel the need to correct this, but it was Violet Beauregard that became a giant blueberry.

    • *Doh! You are most certainly correct on that. Facts are facts! I changed it from Veruca Salt to Violet Beauregard. Thanks for the correction! 🙂

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