From the wealth of information you have provided to us, we have made discoveries and have shared them with the scientific community. We look forward to updating you here and in the upcoming newsletters!
In the journal of Perinatal and Paediatric Epidemiology, we have described how Upstate KIDS was put together and how birth certificates are a great source of information. Upstate KIDS is the first birth cohort in the US designed to really look at children’s development with respect to infertility treatment!
Pushing the envelope
Did you know with just a few drops of blood from a small prick we can create a useful tool to measure substances in the blood? These are known as dried blood spots (DBS) which can be easily shipped, stored and analyzed! Newborn blood spots are especially useful for examining exposure to traces of environmental chemicals and other biomarkers. In multiple papers, our research team has begun showing just how useful dried blood spots can be!
Published in the journal Obesity, we found that infants born to mothers who had a high pre-pregnancy body mass index (i.e. larger weight to height ratio) were marginally slower to sit without support and crawl on hands and knees. However, we didn’t see any difference for when they started standing and walking which is reassuring that no big differences in motor development are happening with maternal obesity.
In research published in the journal Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, we showed that children born to diabetic mothers, diagnosed before or during pregnancy, might be at risk for a delay in achievement of important milestones such as sitting or walking, even if they were born at term or with a birthweight appropriate for the length of pregnancy. Adverse outcomes in these infants could potentially be minimized if complications such as gestational diabetes are prevented or optimal care is provided in chronic diabetes.
We looked at how infant motor skills may be associated with how well they did on cognitive tests. We found that standing earlier may indicate better performance on cognitive and adaptive tests at older age. The paper was highlighted by CNN Health News.
Validating Our Sources
Important for scientists is the reproducibility and reliability of our data. In one study, (refer to article), we found that mothers are very good at reporting whether or not they used ART accurately. Nevertheless in a follow-up article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology we set out to determine the accuracy of self-reported information on assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and other kinds of infertility treatment in Upstate KIDS. We found that compared to a clinical database with information on infertility treatment procedures, self-report on only certain kinds of treatment are accurate and can be used in future scientific research.
Our paper in JAMA Pediatrics gave an encouraging message, finding that children conceived with infertility treatment did not have a higher risk of developmental delays than other children. The article has also been referred to by various news agencies and by both the National Institutes of Health and the University at Albany.
In a study published in Fertility & Sterility, we recently looked at how mothers in the Upstate KIDS study fed their infants. We found that mothers who used fertility treatments were more likely to start giving their infants formula, juices, and solids foods by the time they were 4 months old. Mothers who did not use fertility treatments were more likely to breastfeed for at least a year. Although we are not completely sure why we saw these differences, we know many things can affect feeding: having twins, workplace environment for breastfeeding, doctor recommendations, and concerns about infant growth.