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WORLD
August 17, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
FUPING, CHINA - Dong Genlao, a 24-year-old new father, was giddy over the birth of his child, a robust 8-pounder, until the obstetrician beckoned him into the hallway and lowered her voice. The newborn had a serious genital deformity and could never lead a normal life, she explained. "He is not completely male, but not female. It will bring shame on the family," whispered the doctor, Zhang Shuxia, a trusted family friend whom they affectionately called "Auntie. " "Don't worry," Dong recalled Zhang telling him. "Auntie can help you. " She advised that Dong and his mother give up the baby, euphemistically, to let him be euthanized, a fate common in China for disabled newborns.
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SCIENCE
June 12, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The human brain may be wired to sympathize with the underdog. Even if the underdog is a yellow square being chased by a blue circle, and the brain has been checking out the outside world for only 10 months. A Japanese research team found that 16 of 20 infants reached for the pursued yellow square rather than the aggressive blue ball as the ball bumped the square seven times, then smashed it. Twenty other infants observed the objects moving independently without touching, with nine of them reaching for the persecuted square, according to the study, published in the online journal PLOS ONE. The experiments hint at a very early cognitive ability to sense and respond to aggression with preference for the “victim,” a building block for sympathetic behavior that is a core element of social, cooperative animals.
WORLD
May 28, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
A newborn boy was rescued from a narrow sewage pipe in China over the weekend. Video of doctors and firefighters carefully taking the pipe apart is shown above. (Warning: It may be disturbing to watch.) The section of pipe -- reportedly about 3 inches in diameter -- was sawed away and carried to a nearby hospital. Firefighters and hospital personnel used pliers and saws to free the baby. In footage, you can hear the snap of the pipe, and a section of it is pulled away to reveal the baby's face.  He opens his mouth to cry. PHOTOS: Newborn rescued from pipe The baby weighed a little more than 6 pounds, according to the Associated Press, and at the time he was rescued still had placenta attached to his body.  The AP, citing local media, said the infant had grazes on his head and limbs and a low heart rate but was otherwise unhurt.
HEALTH
May 11, 2013 | Susan Brink, Susan Brink is a freelance medical writer. Her book "The Fourth Trimester: Understanding, Nurturing, and Protecting an Infant Through the First Three Months," published by University of California Press, was released this spring
Newborns arrive in this world somewhat half-baked or, in the more measured words of evolutionary anthropologist Wanda Trevathan of the University of New Mexico, "a little unfinished, if you will. " Parents declare them beautiful, these wailing bundles of wrinkles. But upon arrival, far more than their physical appearance needs work. Indeed, human newborns are the least neurologically developed primates on Earth, their brains a mere 25% developed, compared with about 50% among others in the animal kingdom.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2013 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Hoping to reduce the number of infant deaths, Los Angeles County officials unveiled a campaign Wednesday to educate parents about how to safely put their babies to bed. Over the last four years, 278 babies in the county have died from suffocating while they were sleeping - more than all other accidental deaths of children under age 14, officials said. The deaths are more common among Latino and black babies, officials said. "Accidental suffocation poses the greatest risk for babies from 1 day to the age of 1," said Deanne Tilton Durfee, executive director of the county Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.
SCIENCE
May 7, 2013 | By Wes Venteicher
WASHINGTON - Why do kids grow up to cry “Mommy” more often than “Daddy”? The National Institutes of Health has an answer: The wailing of a hungry infant is less likely to bother a man than a woman. In an experiment, 18 men and women were encouraged to let their minds wander while researchers played recordings of white noise mixed with an infant's cries. Those cries abruptly raised attention levels for women, brain scans showed. But men's brains remained in a resting state, according to study results published in the journal Neuroreport.
SCIENCE
April 19, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times
Babies wise up fast. By the time infants are 3 months old, their unfinished brains are laced with a trillion connections, and the collective weight of all those firing neurons triples in a year. But the indecipherable babbling and maladroit wiggling so beloved by parents just leave scientists in baby labs scratching their heads. What do those little people know, and when do they know it? A team of French neuroscientists who compared brain waves of adults and babies has come up with a tentative answer: At 5 months, infants appear to have the internal architecture in place to perceive objects in adult-like ways, even though they can't tell us. "I think we have a pretty nice answer," said Sid Kouider of the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, whose findings were published Friday in the journal Science.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 17, 2013 | A Times Staff Writer
A Sacramento County woman was arrested this week after an infant found dead under a bed. The woman, identified as 24-year-old Courtney Addington, was examined in January by personnel at Mercy General Hospital for excessive bleeding. Although hospital staff said she showed signs of recently giving birth, Addington reportedly denied those claims, officials said. The hospital contacted Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, who stopped by Addington's home later that night.
SCIENCE
April 17, 2013 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Infant mortality in the U.S. has declined 12% since 2005 after holding steady for many years, according to data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infant mortality rate in 2011 was 6.05 deaths per every 1,000 live births, down from 6.87 in 2005, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Some of the biggest gains were seen in Southern states, though the region still has the highest infant mortality rates overall.
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