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Which babies will get coronary heart disease?

As the goddess of childbirth, Lucina is fascinated by the association between the intrauterine environment and long-term health. The well-established Barker hypothesis on the fetal origins of adult disease has spawned much literature showing a link between low birthweight and adult coronary heart disease, and the factors that predispose to it; but previous studies have not always distinguished the effects of intrauterine growth retardation and prematurity. Researchers in West Virginia studied over 3000 fifth-graders (10 to 11 year-olds) and linked known coronary risk factors (body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, lipid profiles) to birth data (Mullett M and colleagues. J Pediatr 2014;164:78–82). As expected, larger term babies had higher BMIs. Those that were small for gestational age or preterm (<37 weeks) had disproportionately high triglyceride (TG) levels beyond what would be expected for their BMI, suggesting increased coronary risk beyond that of obesity. Even normal weight pre-terms had slightly higher TG levels. The authors call for obstetricians to be cautious in delivering babies early for marginal reasons.

Bronchiolitis and eosinophils

Throughout the winter we have all discharged our recovering bronchiolitis babies with words of warning to the parents that they may be at increased risk of …

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