For the Week Ending December 12, 2021.
To test or not to test
About half of the stillbirths in the US have no discernible cause. Some experts think that increased prenatal testing–especially for umbilical cord abnormalities–could prevent some of them. But many doctors think that the connection between umbilical cord defects and stillbirths is not clear enough to warrant the risks of extra screening: cost, emotional toll, and potentially unnecessary but harmful medical interventions. Read more here.
This is important for you because the only way to settle this is with more information, so researchers can correlate if and which umbilical cord abnormalities are associated with stillbirths.
Michael Rutter was one of the first child psychiatrists to realize that autism had a genetic component. Before him, doctors thought the condition was due to bad mothering. He died a few weeks ago at the age of 88. Read more here.
This is important for you because thankfully, there are always brave researchers ready to question and disprove harmful medical orthodoxies.
Dr. Becky Kennedy is millennial parents’ favorite clinical psychologist. Her brand is called Good Inside, presumably because it helps both parents and children to feel… good inside. Read more here.
This is important for you because her helpful advice is available in easily digestible podcasts and newsletters or in longer form books and workshops; however you want to access it.
The CRISPR kids
Three years ago, three baby girls were born in China whose DNA had been edited by a scientist while they were still embryos. This means that the genetic changes he made–those that he intended as well as any that may have happened accidentally as a result of his tinkering–are in their egg cells, and will be passed down to their offspring if they procreate. This is the first instance of humans knowingly changing the DNA of an entire familial line going forward. The researcher got sent to jail after being roundly condemned by the international scientific community. The girls are allegedly healthy toddlers, but we don’t actually know the details of how they are and how they will be monitored as they grow up. Read more here.
This is important for you because it raises really thorny questions about if, how, and with whom such data should be shared–given that the initial work is widely considered to be unethical, and the privacy of the girls (who obviously had no input into the decisions surrounding their creation) and their families is paramount.
The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Anti-Anxiety Meds During Pregnancy and Nursing. Read it here.