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22 news posts in Frontiers in Pediatrics



14 Sep 2023

Identifying polar bears just got easier: Here are five Frontiers articles you won’t want to miss

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, it’s impossible to cover all of them. Here are just five amazing papers you may have missed. Polar bear identity and sex can be established from paw prints The recent loss of sea ice is forcing polar bears – one of the Arctic’s biggest predators – to spend more time on land closer to human settlements. To prevent potential human-animal conflicts and to protect the species, polar bear populations must be monitored and managed. More often than not, this is a costly and difficult endeavor, in part because of the remote regions the bears inhabit. Now, a team of researchers in the US has developed a method to keep track of polar bears that might make scientist less reliant on having to capture the bears to get data. Writing in Frontiers in Conservation Science, they investigated the use of environmental DNA – cells which the animals shed when walking – collected from paw-prints in the snow to identify individual polar bears and their sex. They sampled 13 polar […]

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16 May 2023

Occasional cannabis use during pregnancy may be enough to impact fetal growth significantly

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: As cannabis products are being legalized around the world, the notion that they are safe to consume – including during pregnancy – is rising. Now, researchers in the US have investigated if the timing of cannabis exposure impacts fetal growth. They found that exposure in just the first trimester resulted in a significant decrease in newborn weight. If exposure continued, effects got more severe, including reduced head circumference. The consumption of the drug is discouraged at any point during pregnancy, the researchers stressed. As more people use cannabis for recreational purposes, attitudes towards the drug have changed. For example, research has shown that dispensaries often recommend cannabis – also referred to as marijuana – to pregnant women to ease pregnancy symptoms, especially morning sickness. There is a growing body of literature attesting to poor child outcomes if cannabinoids are consumed during pregnancy. The exact effects on the developing fetus, however, remain unclear. Researchers in the US have now examined how timing of cannabis exposure during pregnancy impacts fetal development. “We show that even when marijuana use occurred only in the first trimester of pregnancy, birth weight was significant reduced, by more than […]


27 Mar 2023

Shh! Intensive care incubators resonate sounds and risk damage to premature babies’ hearing, scientists say

by Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image/ Although the effects of a noisy environment in the neonatal intensive care unit have been studied before, the effect of the incubators premature babies spend their first weeks or even months in has not. A team of scientists investigated, and found that while the incubators dampen some sounds, they amplify others, potentially damaging babies’ hearing. For vulnerable premature babies, an incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a lifesaver, but the consequences can last a lifetime. Many studies have shown that the NICU is a noisy environment and that babies who spend time there have higher rates of hearing impairment, which can lead to delays in language acquisition. Scientists from Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, and Osnabruck set out to investigate the role of the incubator, an underestimated element in the soundscape that surrounds babies during their time in the NICU. “The motivation of our multidisciplinary research team concerns the question: why many more premature babies suffer hearing impairments,” said Dr Christoph Reuter from the University of Vienna, corresponding author of the study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics. “We believe that what we have measured in our studies could be a leading […]