Research

By KidcareCanada

“Bath Time” DVD – Pilot Study

Over recent decades, academia has amassed significant amounts of data and evidence on the effects of nurturing on the physical, emotional, and social development of infants.

However, little of this information is available in ways that are accessible to new parents. Unless new parents are able to access and integrate the new information, none of the research information generated will be able to affect the well-being of our children. For knowledge translation to occur, the information must be presented in accessible language and style, at the right time, and using the right medium.

Link to PDF Version: Research Project – Bath Time DVD

KidCareCanada Society Bibliography

KidCareCanada resources are informed by science. These are some of the research studies that inform our work.

  1. Barr, Ronald G., Frederick P. Rivara, Marilyn Barr, Peter Cummings, James Taylor, Liliana Lengua and Emily Meredith-Benitz. “Effectiveness Of Educational Materials Designed To Change Knowledge And Behaviours Regarding Crying And Shaken-Baby Syndrome In Mothers Of Newborns: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Pediatrics 123 no. 3 (2009): 972-980.  Accessed December 14, 2013.  doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-0908.
  2. Boyce, W. Thomas and Bruce J. Ellis. “Biological Sensitivity To Context: I. An Evolutionary-Developmental Theory of the Origins And Functions of Stress Reactivity.” Development and Psychopathology 17 no. 2 (2005): 271-301. Accessed December 14, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16761546
  3. British Columbia Provincial Government. “Healthy Families BC.” Accessed December 14, 2013. http://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/parenting
  4. Canadian Paediatric Society. “Let’s Put the First Years First,” last modified November 4, 2013. http://www.cps.ca/en/blog-blogue/blog-details/first-years-first
  5. Feldman Ruth, Charles W. Greenbaum, and Nurit Yirmiya. “Mother-Infant Affect Synchrony as an Antecedent of the Emergence of Self-Control.”  Developmental Psychology 35 no. 10 (1999) : 223 – 231.  Accessed December 14, 2013. http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/dmessinger/c_c/rsrcs/rdgs/emot/feldman99devpsy.pdf
  6. Feldman Ruth, Magi Singer, and Orna Zagoory. “Touch Attenuates Infants’ Physiological Reactivity to Stress.” Developmental Science 13 no. 2 (2010): 271 – 278. Accessed December 14, 2013. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00890
  7. Feldman, Ruth. “Mother-Infant Synchrony and the Development Of Moral Orientation in Childhood and Adolescence: Direct and Indirect Mechanisms of Developmental Continuity.”  Am J Orthopsychiatry 77 no. 4 (2007) : 582 – 597.  Accessed December 14, 2013.  doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.77.4.582
  8. Fish, Eric W., Dara Shahrokh, Rose Bagot, Christian Caldji, Timothy Bredy, Moshe Szyf, and Michael J. Meaney. “Epigenetic Programming Of Stress Responses Through Variations In Maternal Care.” Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1036 (2004): 167 – 180.
  9. Golding, Jean. “Determinants of Child Health And Development: The Contribution Of Alspac – A Personal View of the Birth Cohort Study.” Archives of Disease in Childhood 95 (2010) : 319 – 322. Accessed December 14, 2013.  doi: 10.1136/adc.2009.178954.
  10. Hertzman, Clyde. “The Significance of Early Childhood Adversity.” Paediatrics & Child Health 18 no. 3 (2013): 127–128.
  11. Holsti, Liisa, Tim F. Oberlander, and Rollin Brant. “Does Breastfeeding Reduce Acute Procedural Pain in Preterm Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit? A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Pain 152 (2011) : 2575 – 2581.
  12. Lebedeva, Gina C., and Patricia K. Kuhl. “Sing That Tune: Infants’ Perception of Melody and Lyrics and the Facilitation of Phonetic Recognition in Songs.” Infant Behaviour Development 33 no. 4 (2010): 419 – 430. Accessed December 14, 2013.  doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.04.006
  13. Moore, Elizabeth R., Gene C. Anderson, Nils Bergman and Therese Dowswell. “Early Skin-To-Skin Contact For Mothers And Their Healthy Newborn Infants.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 5 (2007): 1- 109. Accessed December 14, 2013.  doi: 10.1002/14651858.
    CD003519.pub3.
  14. Nyqvist, Kerstin H., G.C. Anderson, N. Bergman, A. Cattaneo, N. Charpak, and R. Davanzo, et al. “Toward Universal Kangaroo Mother Care: Recommendations and Report for the First European Conference and Seventh International Workshop On Kangaroo Mother Care.” Acta Paediatrica 99 no. 6 (2010): 820-826. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01787.
  15. Oberlander Timothy F., J. Weinberg, R. Papsdorf, R. Grunau, S. Misri, and A.M. Devlin. “Prenatal Exposure To Maternal Depression, Neonatal Methylation of Human Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene (NR3C1) and infant Cortisol Stress Responses.” Epigenetics 3 no. 2 (2008): 1-9. Accessed December 14, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18536531
  16. Perinatal Services BC. “Perinatal Services BC: An Agency of The Provincial Health Services Authority.”  Accessed December 14, 2013. http://www.perinatalservicesbc.ca/default.htm
  17. Saffran, J. R., J. F. Werker, and L.A. Werner. “The Infant’s Auditory World: Hearing, Speech, and the Beginnings Of Language”, In Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol.2, Cognition, Perception and Language edited by W. Damon, R. M. Lerner, R. Siegler and D. Kuhn. New York: Wiley, 2006. Accessed December 14, 2013. http://www.pnas.org/content/109/Supplement_2/17221.full.pdf
  18. Smith, Monique G. Aboriginal Supported Child Development Guidelines Manual.  Victoria: Ministry of Children and Family Development, 2010.  Accessed December 14, 2013. http://ascdp.bc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ASCD-GuidelinesManual-April122010.pdf.
  19. The Royal Society of Canada. Early Childhood Development: A Special Expert Panel Report. Centretown: Ottawa, 2012.  Accessed December 14, 2013.  http://rsc-src.ca/en/expert-panels/rsc-reports/early-childhood-development-rsccahs)
  20. Weikum, Whitney M., Tim F. Oberlander, Takao K. Hensch and Janet F. Werker. “Prenatal Exposure to Antidepressants and Depressed Maternal Mood Alter Trajectory of Infant Speech Perception.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 no. 2 (2012): 17221-17227.
  21. Werker, Janet, H. Yeung, and K. Yoshida. “How Do Infants Become Native Speech Perception Experts?” Current Directions in Psychological Science 21 no. 4 (2012): 221-226. Accessed December 14, 2013. 10.1177/0963721412449459
  22. Werker, Janet. “Perceptual Foundations of Bilingual Acquisition in Infancy.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1251 no. 1 (2012): 50-61. Accessed December 14, 2013. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06484.x.
  23. Yonkers, Kimberly A., Katherine L. Wisner, Donna E. Stewart, Tim F. Oberlander, Diana L. Dell, Nada Stotland, Susan Ramin, Linda Chaudron, and Charles Lockwood. “The Management of Depression During Pregnancy: A Report from The American Psychiatric Association and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.” General Hospital Psychiatry 31 no. 5 (2009): 403-413. Accessed December 14, 2013.doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.
    2009.04.003

PDF Version: link to PDF KidCareCanada Bibliography

By Others

Love and Learning: How Providing Emotional Safety Can Lead to Cognitive Development

Abstract
Cognitive control functions (‘executive functions’ [EFs] such as attentional control, self-regulation, working memory, and inhibition) that depend on prefrontal cortex (PFC) are critical for success in school and in life. Many children begin school lacking needed EF skills. Disturbances in EFs occur in many mental disorders, such as ADHD and depression. This paper addresses modulation of EFs by biology (genes and neurochemistry) and the environment (including school programs) with implications for clinical disorders and for education.

Unusual properties of the prefrontal dopamine system contribute to PFC’s vulnerability to environmental and genetic variations that have little effect elsewhere. EFs depend on a late-maturing brain region (PFC), yet they can be improved even in infants and preschoolers, without specialists or fancy equipment. Research shows that activities often squeezed out of school curricula (play, physical education, and the arts) rather than detracting from academic achievement, help improve EFs and enhance academic outcomes. Such practices may also head off problems before they lead to diagnoses of EF impairments, such as ADHD. Many issues are not simply education issues or health issues; they are both.

Introduction
Executive functions (EFs; also called ‘cognitive control’ functions) are needed for reasoning, problem-solving, and whenever ‘going on automatic’ would be insufficient or worse. They depend on a neural circuit in which prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a central role, and are impaired by damage to, or dysfunction in, PFC. They are critical for mental health, achievement in school, and successful functioning in the world. The three core EFs from which more complex ones (like reasoning) are built are (1) inhibitory control (resisting a strong inclination to do one thing and instead do what is most needed or appropriate, e.g., focused or selective attention; being disciplined and staying on task; exercising self-control and not saying or doing something socially inappropriate), (2) working memory (holding information in mind and working with it: mentally manipulating ideas; relating what you are learning, hearing, or reading now to what you learned, heard, or read earlier; relating an effect to the cause that preceded it), and (3) cognitive flexibility (being able to change perspectives or the focus of attention; thinking outside the box to come up with other ways to solve a problem; Diamond 2006; Miyake et al. 2000; Huizinga et al. 2006; Lehto et al. 2003).

Both biology (genes and neurochemistry) and the environment (including school programs) modulate the functioning of PFC and thus affect EFs. Unusual properties of the dopamine system in PFC contribute to PFC’s vulnerability to environmental and genetic variations that have little effect elsewhere, and some of those variations appear to differentially affect males and females. The relevance of this to disorders such as ADHD and PKU are discussed in the section below, as well as how genotype and gender can moderate which environment is most beneficial.

What we are learning about the brain is turning some ideas about education on their heads. “Brain-based” does not mean immutable or unchangeable. EFs depend on the brain, yet they can be improved by the proper activities. PFC is not fully mature until early adulthood (Gogtay, 2004), yet EFs can be improved even during the first year of life and certainly by 4-5 years of age. Neuroplasticity is not just a characteristic of the immature brain. PFC remains plastic even into old age, and EFs remain open to improvement. Many children today, regardless of their backgrounds, are behind on crucial EF skills compared to past generations (Smirnova, 1998; Smirnova & Gudareva, 2004), yet these skills can be improved without specialists and without great expense. Research shows that activities often squeezed out of school curricula (play, physical education, and the arts) rather than detracting from academic achievement, help improve EFs and enhance academic achievement. Such practices may also help to head off problems before they lead to diagnoses of EF impairments, such as ADHD, and may have dramatic effects on children’s life trajectories. Improving key EF skills early gets children started on a trajectory for success. Conversely, letting children start school behind on these skills may launch them on a negative trajectory that can be extremely difficult and expensive to reverse.

PDF Version: Link to The evidencebaseforimproving.pdf