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Journal: Early human development


BACKGROUND: Studies have documented a positive relationship between regular breakfast consumption and cognitive outcomes in youth. However, most of these studies have emphasized specific measures of cognition rather than cognitive performance as a broad construct (e.g., IQ test scores) and have been limited to Western samples of school-age children and adolescents. This study aims to extend the literature on breakfast consumption and cognition by examining these constructs in a sample of Chinese kindergarten-age children. METHODS: This cross-sectional study consisted of a sample of 1269 children (697 boys and 572 girls) aged 6 years from the Chinese city of Jintan. Cognition was assessed with the Chinese version of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - Revised. Breakfast habits were assessed through parental questionnaire. Analyses of variance and linear regression models were used to analyze the association between breakfast habits and IQ. Socioeconomic and parental psychosocial variables related to intelligence were controlled for. RESULTS: Findings showed that children who regularly have breakfast on a near-daily basis had significantly higher full scale, verbal, and performance IQ test scores (all p<0.001) compared to children who "sometimes" have breakfast. This relationship persisted for VIQ (verbal IQ) and FIQ (full IQ) even after adjusting for gender, current living location, parental education, parental occupation, and primary child caregiver. CONCLUSION: Findings may reflect nutritional as well as social benefits of regular breakfast consumption on cognition, and regular breakfast consumption should be encouraged among young children.

Concepts: Linear regression, Intelligence quotient, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Kindergarten, David Wechsler, Intelligence tests, Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence


BACKGROUND: This study examined predictors of parenting self-efficacy (PSE) in a sample of first-time mothers during the first year after childbirth and evaluated the effect of a brief, intensive, mother-infant residential intervention on PSE and infant behaviour. METHODS: 83 primiparous women with infants aged 0-12months admitted to a residential parent-infant program participated in a structured clinical interview for DSM-IV diagnosis of depressive and anxiety disorders and completed questionnaires assessing psychological distress, adult attachment and childhood parenting experiences. During their residential stay, nurses recorded infant behaviour using 24-hour charts. RESULTS: Results showed PSE to be inversely correlated with maternal depression, maternal anxiety and attachment insecurity. Low levels of parental abuse during childhood, avoidant attachment, male infant gender and depressive symptom severity were found to predict low PSE. Major depression mediated the relation between attachment insecurity and PSE, but there were no links between PSE and infant behaviour. After the intervention, there was a significant improvement in PSE, with abusive parenting during childhood and depressive symptom severity being predictive of change. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the links between maternal psychopathology and maternal background factors such as childhood parenting experiences and attachment style in the development of postnatal PSE. Directions for future research are discussed.

Concepts: Psychology, Infant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Abnormal psychology, Child abuse, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Attachment in adults, John Bowlby


In humans in the absence of significant stress the sex ratio at birth [males/(males+females)] is in favor of more male than female live births.

Concepts: Human, Male, Reproduction, Female, Gender, Sex, FIFA World Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup


BACKGROUND: Management of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) remains a major issue in perinatalogy. AIMS: The objective of this paper was the assessment of gender-specific fetal heart rate (FHR) dynamics as a diagnostic tool in severe IUGR. SUBJECTS: FHR was analyzed in the antepartum period in 15 severe IUGR fetuses and 18 controls, matched for gestational age, in relation to fetal gender. OUTCOME MEASURES: Linear and entropy methods, such as mean FHR (mFHR), low (LF), high (HF) and movement frequency (MF), approximate, sample and multiscale entropy. Sensitivities and specificities were estimated using Fisher linear discriminant analysis and the leave-one-out method. RESULTS: Overall, IUGR fetuses presented significantly lower mFHR and entropy compared with controls. However, gender-specific analysis showed that significantly lower mFHR was only evident in IUGR males and lower entropy in IUGR females. In addition, lower LF/(MF+HF) was patent in IUGR females compared with controls, but not in males. Rather high sensitivities and specificities were achieved in the detection of the FHR recordings related with IUGR male fetuses, when gender-specific analysis was performed at gestational ages less than 34weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Severe IUGR fetuses present gender-specific linear and entropy FHR changes, compared with controls, characterized by a significantly lower entropy and sympathetic-vagal balance in females than in males. These findings need to be considered in order to achieve better diagnostic results.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Male, Embryo, Fetus, Obstetrics, Gender, Gestational age, Linear discriminant analysis


Feeding and drinking skills were registered in 47 preterm (<32weeks) and/or low birth weight (<1500g) infants and compared to 52 healthy full term infants at a (corrected) age of nine months. In the preterm and/or SGA infants a delay was found for sufficient postural balance, drinking independently from a bottle, eating skills and accepting teeth brushing at a corrected age of nine months compared to healthy controls. For tongue position and movement, and choking during drinking no difference was found between both groups.

Concepts: Childbirth, Nutrition, Eating, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Wine


The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms is high among very low birth weight infants (VLBWIs). Early diagnosis of ASD is crucial, because early intervention for ASD is effective.

Concepts: Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Pediatrics, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, PDD-NOS


Despite the potential benefits of thromboelastography (TEG) for bedside hemostatic assessment in critical care settings, its accuracy remains to be determined, especially in critically ill neonates. We determined the intra-assay reproducibility of TEG parameters: Reaction time ®, clot kinetics (K) and Maximum Amplitude (MA) in a cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants.


Skin-to-skin contact after birth between mother and baby has immediate and long-term advantages. Widström’s 9 Stages of Newborn Behavior offer an opportunity to evaluate a baby in the natural, expected and optimal habitat. Intrapartum drugs, including fentanyl administered via epidural and synthetic oxytocin (synOT), have been studied in relation to neonatal outcomes with conflicting results.


The reported national case fatality rates (CFRs) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shows a sex bias with males > females. The relative lengths of the index (2D) and ring (4D) fingers (digit ratio; 2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic (males < females) proxy of fetal sex steroids (low 2D:4D indicates high prenatal testosterone/low prenatal estrogen).


Using a cross-sectional design, this study quantified the relationship between the digit ratio (2D:4D) and muscular strength in 57 adolescent boys. 2D:4D was very likely a moderate negative correlate of handgrip strength, even after adjustment for age and body size. This result may reflect the organizational benefits of prenatal testosterone.

Concepts: Ratios, Finger