Thursday, March 08, 2018
Doctors Perspective
Infants develop in not so obvious ways

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
We all know how much infants change in the first two years of life. We can see them grow and develop new skills. We can also see them become social individuals. We sometimes forget that there are a lot of things that we cannot see. They are developing physically in ways that are not so obvious. The most important area involves brain development. We see some of that growth in the things they do. However, there is a lot of neurological development that takes place far beyond that. What we sometimes forget is that nutrition is an important part of that neurological development. The effects on development during starvation are well known. What is less clear is what the effects are on children who do not receive proper nourishment during those first two years. Many scientific studies have shown how poorly children with inadequate nutrition do. I have previously written about the fact that 16.6 percent of all children in the United States do not have enough food. That percentage increases to 36.8 percent in households below the poverty line. The actual amount of food is important. However, there are other things to keep in mind about infant nutrition. Some of them are not necessarily related to high cost. For example, we know that human breast milk is the very best food for an infant between birth and six months of age. Breastfeeding provides an infant with all the necessary nutrients until six months of age. The rush to add other foods at an earlier age does nothing for the infant. It might make the parents proud, however, it does not provide anything more than breast milk. In actuality, the more food an infant gets, the less demand there is for breast milk. The lower demand decreases the mothers supply. The result is an early end to breast feeding because of a lack of milk production. Of course, many mothers breast feed beyond six months. That is good, however, it is at that point the infant needs additional nutrients. The most important of those is iron. There is little iron in breast milk, however, an infant has enough at birth to last until six months of age. Some other things such as vitamin D and zinc need to be supplemented after that age. Adding solid foods at that point helps provide these. We sometimes forget the fact that nutrition during pregnancy is important for brain growth. It is just as important during pregnancy as it is afterward. We love to watch our infants show new skills. We need to remember that some of the things that we do not see are every bit as important as the ones that we do.

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, March 20 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center. This group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, this free support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. Meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions for caregivers and stroke survivors to discuss concerns, providing support and networking. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 629-6224.

Lymphedema Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services hosts lymphedema support groups on the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center. The next meeting is Thursday, March 15. This free support group is open to anyone affected by lymphedema including patients, caregivers, and relatives. Meetings consist of a lecture by health care professionals and medical equipment providers followed by refreshments and an open question and answer session or discussion among participants. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Robert Donati, PT, CLT at 629-6224.

Diabetes support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts free diabetes support groups on Mondays four times a year from 5 to 6 p.m., in the Medical Staff Conference Room. Pre-registration is required. 2018 schedule- March 19 – “Declutter Your Diabetes” with Carla Shipman from DeClutter Enterprise, LLC. Learn how to organize and redesign your environment to benefit your diabetes. June 18 – “The ABCD’s of Diabetes with Medicare” with Lakia Turner, community relations officer, State of Delaware September 17 – “Move with Jonathan” with Jonathan Souder, MS, fitness director, Manor House December 3 – “The Dish on Diabetes” - Learn food preparation skills for simple, savory diabetic dishes. For more information or to register, contact Nanticoke’s Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2288.