19-05 Segment 1: Talking to Your Baby

rhj 19-05a wordpress

Scientists have discovered that the way parents talk to their infants has a huge effect on their intellectual development and later success. Experts discuss why and how parents should hold “conversations” with their babies.


  • Dr. Anne Fernald, Associate Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
  • Dr. Kimberly Noble, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University

Links for more information:

Stay in the loop! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Subscribe and review on iTunes!

18-25 Segment 2: Babies and Their Gut Bacteria

RHJ 18-25 B


Children in the US are now more likely to develop asthma, allergies, and other diseases. One explanation for this trend could be the lack of good gut bacteria. Dr. Tanya Altmann, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Editor In Chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics parenting book series, explains more about the studies that have suggested this theory.

Research of baby excrement has found significant differences over the last 100 years, and it has also shown that nine of out ten babies don’t get the transfer of good bacteria from their mothers that they need to be healthy. This is largely a result of modern medical practices, such as birth by C-section or antibiotics during pregnancy. An imbalance or overgrowth of bad gut bacteria has been linked to several diseases later on in life.

Breast milk is often pointed to as the solution to these problems, but while it is considered the best nutrition for babies, it may not be able to solve this problem by itself. If the mother’s own gut bacteria are disrupted or imbalanced, the baby will not receive enough good gut bacteria from the mother. Furthermore, research shows that many babies have become incapable of processing good gut bacteria from breast milk and might need to take a probiotic supplement in order to extract all the nutrients.

Altmann also points out that while it is crucial for a baby to develop good gut bacteria in the first year of its life, the need for these bacteria is also important later on. Having a nutritious, whole food, high-fiber diet, supplemented with probiotics, will help people of all ages develop a balance of good microbiome in their guts.

To learn more about healthy gut bacteria in babies, visit the links below.


  • Dr. Tanya Altmann, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Editor In Chief of American Academy of Pediatrics parenting book series

Links for more information:

Share this:

Stay in the loop! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Subscribe and review on iTunes!

Coming Up On Radio Health Journal Show 18-25

RHJlogo with title


Vanishing Teen Rights of Passage

Teenagers used to experience rites of passage including getting a driver’s license, going out on dates, drinking, having sex, & getting a job. They’re engaging in these activities much less often today. It means less risk, but may leave adolescents less ready for adulthood and independence. Experts discuss.

Babies and Their Gut Bacteria

Children have up to five times as much asthma and allergies as their grandparents, and a new study shows that an imbalance of gut bacteria in the first year of life may be why. An expert pediatrician discusses why this occurs and ways to address the problem.  

Medical Notes 18-10


Medical Notes this week…

Antibiotic resistance has left some serious infections with only one defense and the development of new antibiotics has slowed to a crawl, but a study in the journal Nature Microbiology reveals that scientists have found an entire new family of antibiotics in soil.  Researchers say the new antibiotics kill a variety of bacteria, including MRSA, that are mostly resistant to current antibiotics.  However its likely to take years before the find can be turned into an effective treatment.

We’ve reported on sibling abuse in the past and now a study in the journal Psychological Medicine shows that it can lead to mental illness later.  Researchers say people who were bullied by a brother or sister are up to three times more likely than other children to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic disorders by age 18. Kids who are also bullied at school are four times more likely to develop mental illness.

And finally, babies crawling on the floor, especially on carpeting, kick up a lot of bacteria, dirt, pollen, and other biological bits and they breath a lot of that in.  In fact, a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that crawling babies inhale four times what an adult would when they walk across the same floor.  But scientists say its not necessarily a bad thing, exposure to allergens and microbes in infancy helps babies develop immunity and may reduce the chances they develop asthma and allergies later on.  

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

Stay in the loop! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Subscribe and review on iTunes!

Medical Notes 17-19



Medical Notes this week…

You may need to rethink your drink. A study in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia shows that excess sugar, especially the fructose in soda, may damage your brain. People who drink a lot of sugary beverages are more likely to have a poor memory, a smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s important for learning and memory. But researchers say don’t reach for lo-cal soda. Another study in the journal Stroke, shows that people who drink diet soda are nearly three times as likely to have a stroke and develop dementia as those who don’t drink diet soda.

Courses that teach mindfulness and meditation help women, but a new study shows they don’t help men at all. The study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology shows that while women are more prone to depression and downcast mood overall, learning mindfulness significantly helps them overcome it. However, men are mostly unaffected.

And finally, where a baby’s born makes a big difference in how much they cry. A study in the Journal of Pediatrics finds that on average, babies cry about two hours a day their first few weeks of life. Over three hours per day is officially a colicky baby. And you’ll find more of them in England, Canada and Italy than anywhere else. About a quarter to a third of babies there cry more than three hours a day. The lowest percentages were in Denmark and Germany, where only about five percent of babies spend so much time crying.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.