Tag Archives: Children

Low Vitamin D in Childhood Linked to Later Heart Risks

sunshine_145918109A long-term Finnish study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has reported that vitamin D deficiency in childhood may be linked to hardening of the arteries later in life. In 1980 the researchers enrolled 2,148 children aged 3 to 18 who underwent periodic physical exams measuring serum vitamin D levels and other cardiovascular markers until they were 45 years old. During this time, doctors used ultrasound to examine their arteries (including the carotid artery in the neck) for thickening as a marker of increased cardiovascular risk. After adjusting for age, sex and other cardiovascular risk factors, the results showed children in the lowest one-quarter for vitamin D levels were nearly twice as likely to have thickening of the carotid artery as those in the other three quarters. This evidence suggests Vitamin D is important for good artery health. What are your typical sources of Vitamin D? How often do you recommend your patients to get their Vitamin D levels checked?

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Asthma is not more prevalent in the inner city, researchers say

asthmaFor decades, childhood asthma was linked to living in urban areas. This is not the case anymore, says researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Race, ethnicity and poverty are actually more closely associated with the lung disease than location in urban neighborhoods. Looking at data from 23,065 children across the United States, they found that self-reported asthma attacks were equally found between inner city areas and all others areas. Interestingly, researchers found that “black race, Puerto Rican ethnicity and poverty rather than residence in an urban area per se are the major risk factors for prevalent asthma.” For African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, higher risk of asthma may be genetic, says Corrine Keet, assistant professor of pediatrics. For the poor, it may be stresses such as exposure to mouse and cockroach allergens, cigarette smoke, a higher rate of pre-term births and more maternal stress, she said. It is unclear whether inner-city children who have asthma may suffer more severe symptoms as a result of allergens there. Another study is currently being conducted to determine this. How often do you counsel patients with asthma symptoms?  Are you in agreement with the latest findings?

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How Exercise Can Boost Young Brains

kids-playing-soccer-10078413A new study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found that exercise improves the cognitive ability in children. By performing 70 minutes of physical activity in two-hour session daily for nine months, the 110 children enrolled in the test group has showcased substantial improvements in the assigned cognitive tests at the end of the program in comparison to the corresponding control group. Based on these new findings, how would you pursue your patients to incorporate regular exercise in their lifestyle, and to encourage their children to do so?
For more reading, please visit The New York Times.
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Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity

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The Food and Drug Administration just released Nutrition Basics reminder to help parents look at nutrition facts labels (ingredients, percent daily value, nutrients, and serving size) before buying food for their children. The main goal of this program is to fight childhood obesity with better food choices. How often do you discuss food labeling with your patients?

For additional information, please see the FDA Consumer Update .

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Running may help reduce the symptoms of autism in children with the diagnosis

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In 2012, Achilles International, a non-profit organization that provides physical development opportunities for people with disabilities, had developed a training program for children with autism. The program involved helping the children train for a mainstream five mile race, and it has produced some anecdotal evidence that points to a link between running and the symptoms of autism. Achilles found that children with autism who run exhibit a decrease in descriptiveness and aggression, while exhibiting an improvement with social interactions. They say that running gives these children a way to refocus and to decrease stress. A grant provided by the Cigna Foundation will allow Achilles to research this link further. Achilles hopes to find how running effects the symptoms of autism in order to improve the quality of life for these children. How do you keep yourself focused and stress-free?

Find more information at The Washington Post

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Probiotic Eases Ills in Children

arztsamuiTaking daily doses of probiotics can help reduce episodes of diarrhea and respiratory tract infections in children at day care centers. This randomized, double-blinded trial published in Pediatrics evaluated 336 healthy children, aged 6 months to 3 years old, whom half received Lactobacillus reuteri (probiotic) and half received an identical placebo. During the 3 month study, there were 69 cases of diarrhea in the placebo group versus 42 cases in the supplement group. The placebo group also had 204 cases of respiratory tract infections with subjects spending an average of 4.1 days on antibiotics, while the L. reuteri group had 93 cases of respiratory tract infections and subjects spent an average of 2.7 days on antibiotics. Follow-up continued for 3 months after the trial without any supplements of probiotics. There seems to be a beneficial effect for children taking daily doses of L. reuteri to have a significant reduction in episodes of diarrhea as well as respiratory tract infections. What are your thoughts on giving infants and children probiotics to prevent possible illnesses?

For additional information, please see The New York Times.

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Overweight Adolescents and Life Events in Childhood

Obesity is a known problem in the United States, but what can we do to prevent it? A recently published study reviewed the relationship between negative stressors and the risk of obesity in children. The study included mothers of obese children who completed surveys of events that occurred to their child at age 4, 9, and 11. These events were then categorized into family health and well-being, parental work, school, or financial stability, emotional aspects of relationships, and family structure, routine, and caregiving. The results showed that high exposure to negative stressors increased the risk of obesity in children 15 years old by 47%.  What stress reliever works best for you?

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Gel laundry capsule poisonings rise. #ipharm

Child_care_doctor2There has been a rise of poisoning in children biting into brightly colored liquid-gel laundry capsules. UK’s National Poisons Information Service survey found 1,486 poisoning cases between May 2009 and July 2012 which occurred mostly in children under the age of five. Ingesting liquid gel laundry capsule can burn children airway and cause breathing problems. The manufacturers of gel capsules have agreed to change their packaging to opaque boxes with child resistant openers and noticeable warnings. This problem is not limited to England since poison control centers in the US began receiving calls regarding this issue in 2012. How can we increase public awareness of this rising problem?

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Screaming at Your Misbehaving Teen May Backfire.

Family_ProblemsThe journal Child Development published a new study which followed almost 1000 two-parent families with children at ages 13 and 14. It revealed that parents who discipline their teenagers by screaming, cursing and name-calling actually increase their teenager’s aggressive behavior. Researchers discovered that children whose parents used higher levels of harsh verbal discipline experienced larger increases in behavior problems the next year, including fighting with peers, trouble in school, lying to parents, as well as symptoms of depression. What are your thoughts on this study? What behavioral modifications do you recommend to parents who seek your advice?

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Increasing the “Smoking Age”: The Right Thing to Do.

kk0060New York City has proposed to increase the legal age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.  Statistics show that that 90 % of adults who smokes on a daily basis had their first cigarette by 18. Currently, 4 states and 2 counties have a tobacco age of sale of 19 and in 2005, Needham, Massachusetts, raised the tobacco age of sale to 21 years. New York City officials estimate this change will result in a 55% reduction of tobacco use among persons aged 18 to 20 years and a 67% reduction among those aged 14 to 17 years. Is increasing the age for tobacco sale the right thing to do? Have you engaged in educational in-services or counseling to prevent school-aged children and adolescents from trying their first cigarette?

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