Administration Officials Review the State of the Union and Discuss Opportunities in Early Childhood Learning
“The reason we’re here is every child — every single child in our country — deserves to have a fair chance to live up to his or her God-given potential,” _Hilary Clinton
As over 1,100 early learning stakeholders met on February 4 and participated on a call regarding the State of the Union address, early learning and development efforts, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, Hillary Clinton addressed a group of parents and children at the East Harlem Council for Human Services to discuss the importance of early childhood initiatives such as reading to young children as part of her “Too Small to Fail” initiative. Secretary Arne Duncan opened the call regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address by saying a 3-pronged strategy will be used on the early childhood initiatives by working to maximize existing resources; working with Congress to find bipartisan solutions; and partnering with mayors, governors, the private and non-profit sectors and others. Secretary Sebelius discussed connecting Early Head Start with childcare through the new round of Early Head Start competitive grants and Deputy Assistant Secretary Smith assured callers that her office is doing all it can to support reauthorizing home visiting programs. For more information on Too Small to Fail, including the new collaboration with Univision, go to: www.toosmall.org.
An Overactive Immune System in Pregnant Women Could be Putting Males at Risk for Adult Brain Disorders A new study published online this month shows that fetal mice, especially males, show signs of brain damage lasting into adulthood when exposed to inflammatory immune responses in the womb. These findings suggest that some neurological diseases in humans could result from this same exposure. “Now we wonder if this could explain why more males have diseases such as autism and schizophrenia, which appear to have neurobiological causes”, says study leader Irina Burd, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of gynecology/obstetrics and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Integrated Research Center for Fetal Medicine. Click here for the abstract.
Illness During Pregnancy and Prenatal Allergen Exposure May be Predictors of a Child’s Risk of Asthma and Allergy A study conducted on pregnant women and their children in Germany and published in the February issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that a baby will have a higher risk of asthma with a higher number of colds and viral and bacterial infections experienced in the mother during pregnancy. “In addition, these same children that had early exposure to allergens, such as house dust and pet dander, had increased odds of becoming sensitized by age five,” said allergist Mitch Grayson, MD, Annals deputy editor and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Read more here.
For Infants, Stress May be “Caught” New research shows that babies show physiological changes that correspond to the contagious stress they are “catching” from their mothers. This study involved 69 mothers and their infants with cardiovascular sensors recording positive and negative feedback from each. The findings show that the infant’s response tracked the mother’s response, physically communicating their responses to their mother’s emotions during stress. The abstract is available here.
This News Roundup was compiled and co-authored by Jean Kurnik, M.A.