Sensory Processing Abnormalities in Children with Autism Evident as Early as Six Months

The debate over what causes autism, and when it occurs, has been going on for quite some time now. Some parents (and purported experts) say the condition is caused by vaccination. Others cite environmental exposure issues. However, as more and more research comes in, it becomes evident that autism is congenital – present at birth, or perhaps even while in utero. Now added to the growing body of evidence is a study that found sensory processing abnormalities in six-month-old infants.

Sensory Processing Abnormalities in Children with Autism Evident as Early as Six Months

Headed up by lead author John Lewis, a researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University and the Ludmer Centre for Bioinformatics and Mental Health, the study comes from the same team that discovered the language and behavior areas of the brains of 24-month-old infants with autism had decreased network efficiency. They wanted to determine just how early those inefficiencies surfaced, so they conducted this secondary study on infants between the ages of 6 and 12 months – some with a high risk of developing autism and others with a low risk. There were 260 infants, in all.

Using a new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) known as diffusion weighted imaging, the authors measured brain connectivity of each child. Lengths and strengths of different areas of the brain were measured to measure network efficiency, the connectivity from one area of the brain to another. Overall, those that were later diagnosed with autism had network inefficiencies as early as six months of age.

The data is important because it indicates that it may be possible to detect autism as early as six months of age, which could ensure more children receive early intervention. Shown to help improve overall outcomes for children with autism, such early treatment could even mitigate against the behavioral and cognitive issues that typically start to surface as the child progresses into toddlerhood. The presence of neurological factors at this early stage in life also indicate that autism is caused, not by environmental or external factors in the child’s early months, but by a genetic mutation or defect. In other words, autism may occur as early as conception.

“Our goal was to discover when and where in the brain the network inefficiencies first appeared,” Lewis told Science Daily. “The results indicate that there are differences in the brains of infants who go on to develop autism spectrum disorder even at six months of age, and that those early differences are found in areas involved in processing sensory inputs, not areas involved in higher cognitive functions. We hope that these findings will prove useful in understanding the causal mechanisms in autism spectrum disorder, and in developing effective interventions.”


10 Tips to Help You Kick Morning Sickness to the Curb

Morning sickness (which isn’t confined to just mornings) is an extremely common pregnancy condition, but it certainly doesn’t feel normal. It seems that anything and everything – or even nothing at all – sets it off. You’re searching for the restroom, the second you enter a place you’ve never been. And it strikes, without warning, at some of the most inconvenient times. Thankfully, there are some things that expectant moms can do to kick morning sickness to the curb. The following 10 are just some of the most popular.

10 Tips to Help You Kick Morning Sickness to the Curb

1. Track Your Triggers

While short and infrequent bouts with morning sickness may not warrant much investigative work, those that suffer from either regular or serious morning sickness may benefit from a trigger journal. When you get hit with a wave of sickness, try to pin down what you see, smell, taste, or feel. Is it the flickering lights causing you to feel nauseous? Is it the smell of your partner as they kiss you goodbye each day that sets you off (perhaps cologne or perfume)?

2. Avoid Trigger Items

Once you’ve identified any possible trigger items, you’ll want to avoid them as much as possible – at the very least, find ways to work around them. For example, you can’t quite stop the garbage truck from driving by your house during breakfast every Thursday. What you CAN do is leave before the truck is supposed to arrive. Have breakfast out with friends. Try that new waffle place down the street. Or go grab yourself a nice, hearty breakfast burrito. Whatever suits your fancy.

3. Take Your Time in the Morning

If you’re one of the “lucky” ladies that only gets sick in the morning – or if your sickness starts out in the morning – try to avoid rushing yourself out of bed. Sit up, eat a few crackers, let them digest. Then slowly move to the edge of your bed. See how you feel. If you’re still tolerating the movement, you can try to stand up. If, after doing so, you need to sit back down, do it. A lot of times, just giving your body a chance to adjust to changes in position can make all the difference. Crackers – a nice, bland food – can also help.

4. Always Carry a Stash of Food

Food might be the last thing you want to think about when you’re feeling nauseous, but morning sickness can sometimes be brought on by hunger. To avoid this issue, always keep a light snack in your purse or handbag. We highly recommend either pretzels or crackers, both of which are bland and easy to digest; they also have a way of easing the queasies. You might also want to keep some in your nightstand or next to your bed for those morning bouts of sickness.

5. Stay Hydrated (Of Course!)

Staying hydrated might sound like common sense, but when you’re constantly throwing up, it can be hard to tell if you’re getting enough fluids. Know what the warning signs of dehydration are (dry mouth, dark or pungent urine, headaches, dizziness, dry skin, fatigue, etc.) and attack them, the second you notice them.

If you are doing a lot of throwing up, or you seem to have a hard time keeping anything down, you may want to consider adding something with electrolytes into your daily regimen. Sports drinks are often recommended, but remember that these can be high in sugar, and that may make them unsuitable for mothers who either have or are at risk for gestational diabetes.

6. Hot or Cold

It’s interesting how temperature can make such a difference to a morning sickness sufferer! And it can affect each mom-to-be differently. So, if something isn’t settling right with your stomach, try consuming it either hot or cold. If hot or cold food seems to be setting you off, try consuming your drinks and food when they are closer to room temperature. (Note that frozen fruit, ice chips, and popsicles can also help you increase your fluid intake.)

7. Try a Little Alternative Medicine

Although there is no scientific evidence to support that alternative medicine practices such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy actually work for morning sickness, they won’t do you any harm. Some report – at the very least – a possible placebo effect. Others will swear by it. And, being that it won’t harm you or baby, you don’t have much to lose and everything to gain.

8. Practice Some Homeopathy

Some moms find that homeopathic methods, such as carrying around essential oils to ward off unpleasant scents, helps. To our knowledge, there is no scientific evidence to back their claims, but it certainly makes sense! Peppermint, lemon, and orange are some of the most commonly used oils, but feel free to experiment with blends and other scents that seem appealing or refreshing to you. Just make sure you don’t overdo it (essential oils are extremely powerful), otherwise, you may make your morning sickness worse.

9. Add a Slice of Ginger

Ginger is well-known for its ability to ease upset stomachs, and you can put it in almost anything – tea, smoothies, juices, sauces, soups, and so much more! Now, some people do have a genuine sensitivity to ginger, and therefore cannot consume it, but if it doesn’t cause any digestive issues for you, feel free to give this home remedy a try!

10. Try the Strange and Unusual

Sometimes morning sickness makes absolutely no sense. As such, it stands to reason that some of the remedies might not make sense. One mom found that Barbie toothpaste kept her from feeling sick, but regular toothpaste set her off. Another found that flat, room temperature Coca-Cola helped to ease her upset stomach. So, if someone tells you a wives’ tale, if you hear a crazy remedy, it might be worth trying, as long as it won’t harm you or the baby.

Please note that morning sickness is different from hypermesis gravadium, which is a very serious form of morning sickness. If you continue to suffer from morning sickness, or if you experience any form of dehydration, weight loss, or concerns over malnutrition, please speak to your doctor about medication or other forms of treatment. 

Alanis Morrissette Opens Up About Still Struggling with Debilitating Postpartum Depression

Approximately 1 in 8 mothers experience some degree of postpartum depression. For singer and Grammy award winner, Alanis Morrissette, the condition is debilitating.

Alanis Morissette and husband Souleye take a flight out of Los Angeles at LAX with their little ones Ever and Onyx

Alanis Morissette and husband Souleye take a flight out of Los Angeles at LAX with their little ones Ever and Onyx in July 2017

“There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move . . . It’s very isolating,” the 43-year-old mother of two told PEOPLE in an exclusive. “As a kid, I imagined having children and being with an amazing partner. This is a whole other wrench I didn’t anticipate.”

But she was expecting it this time around.

She’d experienced it almost immediately after giving birth to her now-6-½ -year-old son, Ever Imre. Plagued by the symptoms commonly associated with the disorder – insomnia, physical pains, lethargy, and even scary visions of her family being harmed – Alanis wasn’t diagnosed until 16 months after giving birth.

Alanis Morissette with husband Mario Treadway and son Ever LAX

Alanis Morissette with husband Mario Treadway and son Ever LAX in August 2012

To have lived that long, suffering in silence, not really sure if you’re losing your mind or if there is something legitimately broken inside of you – I honestly cannot imagine. But it prepared her for the birth of baby Onyx, who was born last June. And, though she admits that she is still struggling, she is at least aware of what’s going on. That arms her to deal with it in the best way possible. For her, that means using a combination of medication, homeopathic remedies, daily exercise, working with her therapists, and channeling her feelings and struggles into her art.

“I’m used to being the Rock of Gibraltar, providing, protecting and maneuvering. It had me question everything. I’ve known myself to be a really incredible decision-maker and a leader that people can rely on. [Now] I can barely decide what to eat for dinner,” Alanis told PEOPLE. But she has written several songs over the last few months. “It was a song a day. I had to start writing songs, or I was going to implode,” she said.

Unfortunately, it has apparently taken a bit of a toll on her 7-year-marriage to Mario “Souleye” Treadway – partly because she does her best to shield her children from the effects of her condition, but also, perhaps, because it’s just hard to help someone fighting with depression. Often, we don’t know what it is that we need . . . we just know that something isn’t quite right.

“My main priority is that I want to make sure both of my children are loved and bonded with and provided for,” she said, adding that. “Poor Souleye sometimes gets the dregs of my exhaustion at the end of the night. Even holding hands at this point is a deeply intimate experience.”

But he seems to be dealing with it just fine. He’s offering support and has even taken up watching Game of Thrones with his wife as a way for them to bond. Alanis says she does her best to show him just how much that means to her.

“I set him up to win as often as I can,” Alanis, who’s continued creating content for her podcast, said. “He’s doing the best he can. I just basically say to him, ‘There’s an end to this, and I’m in the middle of it. I’m so sorry for not being able to be who you typically know me to be.’ ”

Getting back to herself is, of course, what she’s looking forward to most of all.

“There are people who are like, ‘Where’s the old Alanis?’ and I just think, ‘Well, she’s in here. She’s having a minute,’ ” says the singer. “I just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and try not to beat myself up.”

She’s so adamant about not beating herself up, and not allowing herself to feel shame over a condition that affects so many, she absolutely refuses to stay silent on the matter. And that has created a sort of bond for her with any woman that has ever struggled with PPD.

“The stigma remains in a really big way,” she says. “There’s this version of eye contact that I have with women who have been through postpartum depression where it’s this silent, ‘Oh my God, I love you. I’m so sorry.’ ”


Donating to Hurricane Victims – Making the Most of Your Money and Helping the Non-Humans, Too!

America has been horribly divided since its last presidential election, but in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, we are reminded of just how strong this country can be. People from all four corners are traveling to lend physical aid to victims, and those that cannot be there are sending donated items and money, hoping to make a difference. It is truly a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately, it seems there’s always a scam, just waiting for moments like this; moments of vulnerability and kind, giving hearts. Don’t let it happen to you! Instead, learn how to avoid the scams with help from the following sections. We’ll also talk about how to make the most of your money, and explain how you can help the non-human victims, too!

 Water coming over road in Kemah Texas During Hurricane Harvey

What to Send

Blankets, jugs of water, food, and clothing might seem like great items to donate to hurricane victims, but the sad truth is that a lot of those items never make it to their final destination. Transporting, sorting, and storing such items takes up precious time, space, and resources that could be better utilized in other ways. Plus, charities can often make your dollars stretch a little further than you can. Many purchase items in bulk, often at a discounted price, and they may even be able to get at least some of the items tax-free (provided they are tax exempt). So, even though your heart is in the right place, you may want to consider giving them money instead.

Avoiding Scams

Our lives become more and more digital by the day, and that can make us easy prey for scam artists. Add in a natural disaster, such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and you have a recipe for disaster. Experts say that you can protect yourself from scams by sticking with large, well-known organizations, such as UNICEF and the American Red Cross, or by doing careful research on the various smaller organizations that are working to help victims.

When it comes to doing research on a possible charity, accreditation through Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, or the Better Business Bureau are a good sign, but some smaller, community-based charities may not be covered. In these instances, persons are encouraged to gather details on the charity, such as its exact name, phone number, and location. These can be used to perform an internet search, along with keywords like “scam” and “complaints” to determine if there may be a reason to doubt their validity. Persons making donations are also discouraged from sending cash or wiring money to a charity, both for security reasons and tax purposes.

Our Charity Picks

Want to give now but don’t have the time to do your research? While you can easily donate to one of the large charities, we prefer a lot of the smaller organizations. Efficiency and integrity are also at the top of our list when choosing a place to donate. These five are our top picks for those wanting to give to Hurricane Harvey or Irma victims.

GlobalGiving’s Irma Relief Fund (

One of the biggest reasons that we love GlobalGiving is that it is not like giving to a single charity; instead, it’s like giving to a handful! This organization distributes donations to various organizations, both large and small. They prioritize the smaller, local organizations but will often steer funds to larger, international ones to get help out quickly. They’re also highly rated by charity watchdogs.

Direct Impact Fund (

An independently registered non-profit, Direct Impact Fund is sending both immediate and direct assistance to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma victims. What we love about this one is that you can donate to both areas, or you can simply donate to the one of your choice. They also tend to focus on smaller campaigns within the United States.


Focused specifically on the education and well-being of children, UNICEF has a long history of helping victims of disaster. Using donations, they work directly with the local governments to coordinate relief efforts that help get children back in school. Now, that might not seem like a pertinent issue in the face of a disaster (at least not at first), but some one million children in Texas are unable to start school right now, and perhaps as many as three million across the entire region. Some have lost their schools and their homes, which only makes matters more difficult. UNICEF fills the gap by providing the communities with learning materials and support.

Shelterbox USA (

With so many families being displaced by the recent hurricanes, it only makes sense to donate to Shelterbox USA. Rated with a score of 97.41% by Charity Navigator, they spend 81 percent of what they receive on direct services to the community. Those services mostly include the deployment of emergency shelter and tools for families that have been left homeless by disaster, but they also include other essential items, such as cooking utensils, solar lights, water, and mattresses – whatever it is that they might need to recover from the disaster. They also like to include activity sets for children.

Medical Teams International (

Every disaster requires medical care – and not just for the sick or injured. Disasters seem to have a way of inducing labor in expectant moms, and there are likely to be severely vulnerable individuals throughout the areas affected (i.e. newborns, infants, the elderly, children with disabilities, diabetics, etc.). Without proper medical treatment, they may not survive. Medical Teams International is our medical donation of choice because it has a strong rating with Charity Navigator, and a whopping 96.9 percent of all their expenses go directly to helping victims.

Helping the Animals

 Humans are not the only ones suffering right now; pets, strays, and other animals in the area are also struggling to survive. Some have been separated from their owners and will require care. Others may need medical treatment. Some may need shelter until the area is clear enough for them to return to the wild. Whatever your preference – be it the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the South Florida Wildlife Center, or the Best Friends Animal Society – animals and their owners are sure to be grateful for your donations.

Source, Source, Source

Ameriwood Home Recalls 1.6 MILLION Chests of Drawers Due to Tip-Over and Entrapment Hazards

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Ameriwood Home, of Tiffin, Ohio has announced a voluntary recall of about 1.6 million Mainstays chests of drawers because the recalled chests of drawers are unstable if they are not anchored to the wall, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children. The chests do not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard (ASTM F2057-14).

Ameriwood Home Recalls Chests of Drawers Due to Tip-Over and Entrapment Hazards

This recall involves Mainstays four-drawer chests of drawers with plastic drawer glides and a single decorative pull on each drawer. The composite wood chests were sold in six colors: alder, black forest, white, weathered oak, walnut and ruby red. The chests measure 40 5/16 inches high by 27 11/16 inches wide by 14 11/16 inches deep. Model numbers included in the recall are 5412012WP, 5412301WP, 5412328WP, 5412015WY, 5412301WY, 5412012PCOM, 5412015PCOM, 5412026PCOM, 5412213PCOM, 5412214PCOM, 5412301PCOM, 5412317PCOM, and 5412328PCOM. The model number is printed on the instruction manual.

CPSC has received one report of an injury after a chest of drawers tipped over onto a four-year-old.

The recalled chest of drawers were sold at Walmart stores and other retailers nationwide and online at from April 2009 through May 2016 for about $60.

Consumers are being asked to immediately stop using any recalled chest that is not properly anchored to the wall and place it into an area that children cannot access. Contact Ameriwood toll-free at 888-222-7460 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online at and click on Support for more information on how to receive a free repair kit that includes a wall anchoring device and feet for the unit. Consumers who require additional installation guidance should contact Ameriwood for further assistance.

Baby Born with Seven Teeth, Shocking Both Parents and Doctor

When little Prayan Sharma was born, his parents were only concerned about his health. He had an infection and had to be transferred over to the neonatal ICU for treatment. But, ten days later, when he was doing better, Prayan was united with his mother, Nikita Sharma, so she could breastfeed. It was then that she made a shocking discovery.

“When he was eventually re-united with my wife and she tried to breastfeed him, she noticed something in his mouth,” the baby’s father, Harish Sharma, told The Sun.

That something was seven teeth, all on the bottom.

baby born with seven teeth

“We were completely surprised,” Harish said. “We never knew a baby could be born with one tooth never mind seven teeth.”

And, unfortunately, those teeth created some breastfeeding issues, so the parents consulted with a pediatric dentist. He, too, was apparently shocked by the sheer number of teeth.

“This is a first of its kind it’s rare that babies are born with one tooth but never seven teeth,” Dr. Meet Ramatri, the dentist who treated Prayan, told The Sun.

But this is not actually the first case of multiple natal teeth. In fact, we’ve covered a few stories on natal teeth, including one baby who was born with twenty-eight teeth!

No one knows exactly what causes natal teeth, but it is estimated to occur in about one in 2,000-3,000 live births. Some cases may indicate maternal malnutrition or certain health conditions, but those are rare. Instead, most are benign and simply strange situations that no one really understands.

One thing is clear, however, and that is that natal teeth can place a baby at risk – especially if they start to come loose. Babies can choke on them, inhale them, or even damage their own tongues. Breastfeeding can also become more difficult when natal teeth are present. As such, most are removed. Such was the case with little Prayan’s teeth.

“The teeth had to be removed to avoid any risk to the baby swallowing or choking on them,” Dr. Ramatri said. “The procedure was done under local anesthesia as he was too young to be given any regular anesthesia.”

It took two total procedures to remove them – four teeth in the first procedure and the rest during a second operation. Baby tolerated both and is hopefully now nursing much better, thanks to the removal of his teeth.

Source, Source

Brian Austin Green Defends Son’s Decision to Wear Dresses

When I see photos of Brian Austin Green’s family, I always think of how adorable the kids are, and how great it is that Brian and his wife, Megan Fox, managed to work things out. But some people see a boy in a dress, and that seems to have sparked some debate.

Megan Fox and husband Brian Austin Green and their boys Noah, Journey and Bodhi leave Nobu Restaurant

Brian was asked about this issue during a series of candid interviews with Hollywood Pipeline’s Straight from the Source. His response?

“My son, he’s 4,” Brian said about Noah. “I’ve heard from some people that they don’t agree with him wearing dresses. To them I say, I don’t care. He’s 4 and if he wants to wear it then he wears it.”

And it’s not just Belle and Elsa dresses that he wears, Brian says.

Pregnant Megan Fox & Brian Austin Green Out With Their Kids In Studio City

“It’s dresses or goggles or slippers or whatever,” said the 90210 alumni. “It’s his life, they’re not my clothes. … I feel like at 4 at 5, that’s a time when he should be having fun. He’s not harming anyone wearing a dress. So if he wants to wear a dress, good on him.”

Brian Austin Green and sons go shopping at Malibu Country Market

That’s not the only thing that Brian had to say about family life, though.

Reportedly thrilled that he and Megan managed to work things out instead of going through with their divorce back in 2015, Brian says he’s already thinking about having more kids. They already have Noah Shannon and his two brothers, Bodhi Ransom, 3, and Journey River, 1. Brian also has an older child, Kassius, 15, from a previous relationship.

“I have four boys now, a fifth is a basketball team,” he joked during the Facebook Live video with Dax Holt, host of Straight from the Source. “So that would be kind of awesome.”

But that doesn’t mean that Brian isn’t still hoping for a girl.

“I want a girl,” Brian said. “I really want a girl.”

He’s not ready to try just yet though; he doesn’t want to jinx their luck.

“I’m worried that if I try I’ll just get another boy,” he said. “Not just because I love my boys, but I’ll have another boy and I don’t know if I’m ready for five.”

Considering Megan isn’t quite on board, he may still have a while to wait anyway.

“I’m not [pining for a girl],” the actress told Extra on Tuesday. “I know Brian would like a girl, but they seem much more challenging if I’m any indication.”


Kim and Kanye Announce the Gender of Their Surrogate Baby

In June, People Magazine revealed that Kim and Kanye had hired a surrogate to carry their third child. Now a source close to the family has revealed the baby’s gender . . .

Kim and Kayne Announce the Gender of Their Surrogate Baby

“They are so excited about their future baby girl,” the source told People.

Parents to Saint, 21 months, and North, who just turned four in June, the couple are said to be “thrilled” about the impending birth, which is expected to take place in January.

“They can’t wait to add a new addition to their family and are just so incredibly happy,” the source said.

The couple decided to hire a surrogate after doctors warned Kim of the risks of carrying another baby. She’d experienced placenta accreta, a serious complication that occurs when the placenta attaches itself too deeply in the uterine wall, with both of her previous pregnancies.

Both very hands-on during the surrogacy process, sources say, Kim and Kanye are even working directly with the surrogate to ensure she sticks to a healthy diet.

“Kim and Kanye both want the healthiest baby possible and are making sure the surrogate is abiding by the routine they’ve set for her,” the source told PEOPLE.

But it seems not everyone is quite as excited as mom and dad to welcome a fifth member into the family. Young North, who has apparently suffered from some jealousy issues since the birth of Saint, is not thrilled to be a big sister again.

“North isn’t the most thrilled to be a big sister again,” the source shared. “She’s had the tendency to get really jealous about Saint and wants all of the attention to herself, but Kim and Kanye thinks it’s just a phase and are hoping she will grow out of it.”

Total eclipse of the heart

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about North’s jealousy issues, though. Kim opened up about her struggles with North while guest hosting last month on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

“I don’t know if it’s because she’s the older sister. I don’t know what it is. I thought it was a phase. She does not like her brother and it’s so hard for me,” said the 36-year-old reality TV star said. “She would get so jealous when I would breastfeed and all that kind of stuff. And now, the phase isn’t going away.”

Though fairly typical, and most likely (or we hope) a phase, we certainly sympathize with Kim. Hopefully North will be a little more at ease by the time the new baby arrives!

Mom Pumped and Shared Breastmilk to Make Lattes at Burning Man

Breasts, though most often sexualized, are designed to feed babies. That is their purpose. Yet, when women nurse and must pump because they are away from their hungry little ones, many are made to feel as if they are doing something . . . unnatural. We are relegated to smelly and unsanitary restrooms, forced to hide in closets, and told to “wait for a more appropriate time.”

Miki Agrawal, the founder of Thinx reusable period panties, recently sparked a controversial conversation about all of this when she pumped and shared her breast milk at Burning Man.

Miki Agrawal at burning man pumping breast milk for lattes

Image via @mikiagrawal

“I pumped my breasts every three hours at Burning Man and gave away most of my milk,” she wrote in the caption of her Instagram photo. “Some people downed a whole four ounces hoping for a hangover cure. Some wanted it for their coffee to make lattes. So many were excited and curious to try it.”

Curiosity over breast milk and its taste, in and of itself, is not a rare thing. In fact, I know a lot of people who have been interested in seeing what it tastes like. What Miki did find surprising was that a lot of people there weren’t sure why she had to pump every three hours.

Miki Agrawal at burning man pumping breast milk for lattes

Image via @mikiagrawal

“They didn’t know that breasts would become engorged and super painful if they were not pumped — nature’s way of keeping mama and baby working together,” she wrote. “Every human has been birthed and raised somehow and yet even the smartest people have no idea what this process looks like.”

One could easily argue that the reasons behind this are due to the almost taboo nature of breastfeeding. Rather than asking questions or asking us to talk about, most people who have an issue with breastfeeding will simply glare or make a snide comment. A few brave folks may ask a mother to “relocate” to feed or pump for her baby. Some of these folks are truly appalled. Others have never experienced it, so it makes them uncomfortable, and discomfort causes them to act in ways that are in-line with societal views (which are not typically conducive to nursing).

It is exactly this issue that Miki’s breast milk sharing brings to light.

“First of all, we still live in a patriarchal system where breasts are over-sexualized and made to be for the ‘male gaze only . . . So it makes sense to ‘our current society’ to sequester women in back room closets to pump quietly — because heaven forbid our breasts be useful tools to keep our children alive. That’s not sexy, is it?’ Agrawal told Babble. “Second of all, and one of my girlfriends said it best: ‘It’s so funny to me how people have no problem (through indoctrination and marketing) drinking milk from a cow breast that has been obtained in an inhumane, filthy manner, with rampant udder infections, drugs, steroids, and fecal matter — yet, balk over drinking human milk from a clean, healthy source … indoctrination is powerful!’”

Yet, as a mother that has had children spanning over 12 years, I will admit that I’ve noticed a significant shift between nursing my first and nursing my last baby. Changes have occurred. And not everyone subscribes to the societal norms. There are mothers who have been there, and kids that grew up watching their mothers nurse. Many will step in and stand up for what is right.

So, to all you nursing moms out there – no matter how you see the sharing of breast milk (one would hope that someone with a serious health condition would not share, but let’s face it – a stranger’s breast milk could contain all matter of bacteria and viruses) I ask that you take away just one thing from this interesting but controversial topic; in the words of Miki:

“Don’t feel shame. Pump with pride.”

Terminally Ill Mom Delivers Her 6th Child

Carrie DeKlyen made the ultimate sacrifice by choosing to forego cancer treatment and carry her baby to term. In April, the mom of 6 was diagnosed with glioblastoma — an aggressive, rapidly growing malignant tumor that can affect the brain and spinal cord.

Carrie and husband Nick DeKlyen

A short time later she learned she would need to “terminate her pregnancy” in order to receive cancer treatment in a clinical trial at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Her husband Nick recounted the heartbreaking conversation to, “The doctor said if you don’t terminate this baby, Carrie, you will die. But it was Carrie’s decision and I said, ‘What do you want to do?’ She said, ‘We’re keeping it.’ ”

She was able to carry the baby to 24 weeks 5 days in a coma before doctors made the decision to deliver the tiny baby by cesarean section on September 6.

24 week baby Life

Image VIA Facebook

Life Lynn DeKlyen, who arrived weighing a mere 1 lb. and 4 oz. at birth, is “doing great,” Nick revealed.

After the delivery Carrie was taken off of life support.  Her family told supporters on their Facebook support page Cure 4 Carrie that she is “very comfortable she is in God’s hands until he calls her home.”

“Her oxygen level is getting lower and her breathing is becoming shorter, she’ll take a breath and take another breath 20 seconds later,” Nick revealed. “These final moments are precious, it’s peaceful, but bittersweet.”

Just after 7am on Saturday morning Nick announced Carrie’s passing on Facebook with a note that started with John 15:13:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.

Carrie entered into the presence of our Lord early this morning. I can only imagine what she is experiencing now!

Carrie, we love you and we will miss you, but your legacy will live on. You have touched so many lives and your love for Jesus was evident in the way you lived your life. Because of our faith we know we will see you again! We love you!”

The fearless mom also leaves behind her 5 oldest children; Elijah, 18, Isaiah, 16, Nevaeh, 11, Leila, 4, and Jez, 1.

Nick told People she was an amazing mother.

“She’s the kind of mom that wants to be with her kids all the time, building forts in the backyard, taking the kids on walks to the park and making them special lunches.”

“I’m going to really miss those moments,” he added.

To suppport the family during this heartbreaking time please visit their GoFundMe page.

Researchers Discover a New Genetic Risk Factor for Autism

With one in 68 children affected by autism, researchers are searching for answers. What causes it? When does it happen? Sadly, there is still so much to learn. However, there are numerous studies to indicate that it is a genetic condition, one that may occur as early as conception. A new study, conducted by researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, adds to the growing body of evidence. However, this study also made a new discovery – a postzygotic mosaic mutation – that may be responsible for at least some cases of autism.

Researchers Discover a New Genetic Risk Factor for Autism

Postzygotic mosaic mutations, or PMMs, occur after the conception of a zygote but during the development cycle of a fetus. In other words, they occur in the very early stages of pregnancy. Recently implicated in a variety of other neurological conditions, these mosaics include both mutated and non-mutated cells, and may even be passed on from the parent.

Researchers discovered them while comparing the genetic sequencing data of 2,300 families that had just one child with autism. They focused solely on the types of low-lying mutations that would typically be overlooked. Such mutations can only be found in a small fraction of a person’s DNA. Around 11 percent had such mutations that affected a single DNA base.

“This initial finding told us that, generally, these mosaic mutations are much more common than previously believed. We thought this might be the tip of a genetic iceberg waiting to be explored,” said the study’s principal investigator Brian O’Roak, Ph.D., an assistant professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Next, the researchers took a custom approach, leveraging molecular bar codes and next generation sequencing, to both identify these low-lying mutations and determine that they were not simply technological artifacts. Not only were the mutations validated, but the rate of such PMMs also increased with this method, going to approximately 22 percent.

After that, the researchers compared the rates of PMMs in affected children to the genomes in unaffected siblings. They found that “silent” mutations were enriched in affected children, and were found to be a contributing risk in about 2 percent of the children with autism. Researchers also found preliminary evidence to suggest that such mutations may alter the proteins code of genes that are essential for development – genes that resist mutation. Overall, this was found to be a possible contributing factor in another 1 to 2 percent of children with autism.

Sadly, determining when, exactly, these mutations occur is difficult. Researchers did determine that the mutations likely occur in the early stages of development, but the exact timeline is not known. They hope that more research and more subjects could help them discover more.

“In addition to a need for broader research focused on the role that mosaicism plays in autism and related disorders, our data argue that physicians should be requiring more sensitive testing of both children and parents, when a new disorder-related genetic mutation is identified,” O’Roak said. “These mutation can go from being in a few percent of the cells of a parent to 100 percent of the cells of a child. If present, at even low levels in the parents, the risk of additional children receiving this mutation is dramatically increased.”