A study published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that exposing infants to peanuts prior to age 1 helped prevent a peanut allergy. The Associated Press reports that exposure lowered the risk of a peanut allergy by as much as 81 percent. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to the report, called the results “without precedent.” The AP also quoted Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, an allergy specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who said, “Before you even start any kind of introduction these children need to be skin-tested” to prevent life-threatening reactions and noted that since small children can choke on whole peanuts it’s best to use smooth peanut butter or other peanut-based foods. In a statement, Fauci said this could “have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention.”
The March of Dimes Louisiana awarded a grant to the Daughters of Charity Foundation of New Orleans to expand the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans’ Centering Pregnancy program to its Health Centers in New Orleans East and Gentilly. “There is strong evidence that Centering Pregnancy assists in decreasing pregnancy complications and increases patient education and satisfaction,” said Michael Griffin, President and CEO, Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans in a statement. “It also lowers costs and is efficient for both providers and patients.” According to the statement, Centering Pregnancy is a model of prenatal care combining health assessment, education and support in a group setting. Pregnant women with similar due dates attend a group session to receive prenatal care in place of their one-on-one visits with a provider.
The goals are to improve birth outcomes, decrease preterm births and increase education. Each pregnant woman attends 10 sessions during her pregnancy, “with topics ranging from breast feeding and nutrition to safety and pregnancy spacing.” The Health Center in Mid-City on Carrollton Avenue already employs the Centering Pregnancy model.