Posts Tagged ‘Pediatrics’

Should This Movie Be R Rated?

July 23, 2012

According to a new recommendation, films that feature smoking should receive an R rating. That would therefore deem the movie above, Lassie (1994), an R rated movie. It features teenagers smoking in a non-glorified way.

Whilst I agree that the film industry should be pressured to resist glorified presentations of smoking in family films, it is important that we don’t go overboard. After all, our children will see smoking frequently, if not at home, then in the street, shops, sporting events and restaurants.

Or will those activities get an R classification as well?

A recent study published in “Pediatrics” entitled “Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking,” explained how adolescents are affected by smoking in movies. The findings indicate those teens that watch movies featuring smoking are more likely to try cigarettes. The study goes onto demonstrate what steps can be taken by society to prevent this. But the health conscious study misses the point of raising a child.

The conclusion of the study states: “An R rating for movie smoking could substantially reduce adolescent smoking by eliminating smoking from PG-13 movies.”

The Drug Companies Are at it Again!

July 23, 2012

The drug companies are ruthless. Here they are again peddling any opportunity they can to get more children on medication:

Should all U.S. children get tested for high cholesterol? Doctors are still debating that question months after a government-appointed panel recommended widespread screening that would lead to prescribing medicine for some kids.

Fresh criticism was published online Monday in Pediatrics by researchers at one university who say the guidelines are too aggressive and were influenced by panel members’ financial ties to drugmakers.

Eight of the 14 guidelines panel members reported industry ties and disclosed that when their advice was published in December. They contend in a rebuttal article in Pediatrics that company payments covered costs of evaluating whether the drugs are safe and effective but did not influence the recommendations.

It also is not uncommon for experts in their fields to have received some consulting fees from drug companies.

‘Experts’ or lackeys for the drug companies?

Click Here to read Doctors Create a New Normal by Over-Prescribing Drugs

Click here to read ADHD Diagnosis a “Convenient Out For Lazy Teachers”: Dunham

Sleep Disorders Often Mistaken for ADHD

July 15, 2012

Whilst the diagnosis of ADHD is reaching epidemic proportions, yet another possible explanation is being uncovered:

“Sleep disorders may contribute to behaviors that resemble ADHD during the day,” says Kevin Smith, a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. A study published in March in Pediatrics analyzed more than 11,000 children over a period of six years, beginning at 6 months of age, and revealed that children suffering from sleep-disordered breathing—including snoring, breathing through the mouth, and apnea, where the child seems to stop breathing for several seconds at a time—had a higher incidence of behavioral and emotional issues such as hyperactivity, aggressiveness, depression, and anxiety. In fact, they were 50 to 90 percent more likely to develop ADHD-like symptoms than were normal breathers. And those children who suffered most severely from all three sleep-disordered breathing behaviors at around age 2 and a half had the highest risk for hyperactivity.

A lack of sleep can damage brain neurons, particularly in the prefrontal cortex region, says Karen Bonuck, lead author and professor of family and social medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. This may be due to a decrease in oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide levels; interference with sleep’s restorative processes; and a disruption in the balance of cellular and chemical systems. What can result is inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity—the classic trademarks of ADHD. When the disorder is suspected in a child, “nighttime sleep patterns should be reviewed with the primary care doctor,” says Bonuck. “Parents may even wish to video or audio tape the problematic behavior as a first step.”

Now it is up to doctors to do their due diligence and ensure that what may seem like ADHD isn’t a raft of other minor possibilities such as sleep or diet issues.

Click here to read my post, ‘Are Children Getting Enough Sleep?’

Click here to read my post, ‘Sleep Deprived Children in the Classroom’.

Children as Young as 7 are Cutting Themselves

June 11, 2012

It is terribly tragic to read of the number of children harming themselves on purpose. What makes it even more unsettling is that these children don’t take up this practice based on peer pressure, television, advertising or any other common triggers for unhealthy child behaviour.

When a child decides to cut themself, they are expressing deep and complex issues such as hopelessness, self-hatred, loneliness and anger. Often a child’s cuts goes unnoticed.

I am grateful that a study has brought this silent but shocking issue to the fore:

Studies have suggested about one-fifth of teens and young adults engage in self-injury at some point to relieve negative emotions or reach out for help, for example. But this report is the first to ask the question of kids as young as seven. Researchers found one in 12 of the third-, sixth- and ninth-graders they interviewed had self-injured at least once without the intention of killing themselves.

“A lot of people tend to think that school-aged children, they’re happy, they don’t have a lot to worry about,” said Benjamin Hankin, a psychologist from the University of Denver who worked on the study. “Clearly a lot more kids are doing this than people have known.”

Hankin and his colleagues spoke with 665 youth about their thoughts and behaviors related to self-harm. They found close to eight percent of third graders, four percent of sixth graders and 13 percent of ninth graders had hit, cut, burned or otherwise purposefully injured themselves at least once. In younger kids hitting was the most common form of self-injury, whereas high schoolers were most likely to cut or carve their skin.

Ten of the kids, or 1.5 percent, met proposed psychological criteria for a diagnosis of non-suicidal self-injury, meaning they had hurt themselves at least five times and had a lot of negative feelings tied to the behavior, the researchers reported Monday in Pediatrics. Youth who self-injure often say they do it to help stop bad emotions, or to feel something — even pain — when they are otherwise feeling numb, according to psychologists.


Kids and the Choking Game

April 16, 2012

A dull, dormant life can not be fully responsible for the rise of the infamous “choking game” played largely amongst kids, but it surely must be a contributing factor. The constrictive and restrictive nature of school, regulations, non-active lifestyles and anti-socialised extra-curricula activities must be factored into the increased popularity of this dangerous game.

Although the choking game is not new, very little research has been done to investigate how often it happens or which kids are more likely to try it. But the new study published today in the journal Pediatrics gives a snapshot of who is engaging in this risky activity.

Researchers surveyed nearly 5,400 Oregon eighth graders, and 6.1 percent reported playing the choking game at least once in their lives. Among those who had played, 64 percent had played more than once and 27 percent had done it more than five times. Boys and girls were equally likely to have participated.

The researchers found that kids who participated in the game commonly engaged in other risky health behaviors. About 16 percent of boys and 13 percent of girls who reported using alcohol, tobacco or marijuana on the health survey also reported playing the choking game. Girls who reported being sexually active were four times as likely to participate in the choking game as those who had never had sex.

Robert Nystrom, adolescent health manager at the Oregon Public Health Division and one of the study’s authors, said it’s significant that kids who play the choking game are also experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sex.

“Risk-taking is a part of normal adolescent development. The fact that a lot of adolescents are participating in these behaviors shouldn’t surprise us,” Nystrom said. “What we want to do is prevent it.”

Nystrom noted that the choking game is different from autoerotic asphyxiation, where the goal of near-strangulation is sexual gratification. In the choking game, kids simply seek the rush that comes from passing out.

Before adults become hysterical about this growing trend, I ask them to consider the life of a standard teenager and reflect on what we can do to help them appreciate the real thrills that life has to offer.

Breast-Feeding Benefits Academic Achievement

December 21, 2010

Findings from a recent study in the journal ‘Pediatrics’, show that breast-feeding infants for at least six months appears to give kids’ an advantage in school.

This is not a new finding in itself.  However, what was of particular interest, was that boys appeared to benefit the most.

The researchers, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, have followed 2,868 children since the early ’90s. The study showed that, at age 10, boys who were breast-fed for six months or longer scored higher in math, reading and spelling compared with boys who were breast-fed for less than six months. Girls who were breast-fed for at least six months showed a small improvement in reading. The researchers controlled for other factors that could influence school performance, such as family income and education and how often the child was read to.

There were two reasons given for the link between breast-fed babies and academic performance:

1.  Breast milk is rich in long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids that are critical to brain development. It’s not clear why boys showed the largest gains from being breast-fed, but the authors explain that male babies are known to be more vulnerable in infancy than females. They speculate that breast-feeding “accelerates the rate of maturation in boys.
2.  Boys may also benefit more from the mother-child relationship facilitated by breast-feeding. “A number of studies have revealed that male infants are more reliant than female infants on maternal attention and encouragement for the acquisition of cognitive and language skills,” the authors wrote.

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