Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Chronic Pain in Children and Adolescents Becoming More Common

 

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Schematic Examples of CNS Structural Changes in chronic pain.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schematic_Examples_of_CNS_Structural_Changes_in_chronic_pain.jpg Borsook D, Moulton EA, Schmidt KF, Becerra LR.

 

 

From the 9 December 2011 Medical News Today article

Children who suffer from persistent or recurring chronic pain may miss school, withdraw from social activities, and are at risk of developing internalizing symptoms such as anxiety, in response to their pain. In the first comprehensive review of chronic pain in children and adolescents in 20 years, a group of researchers found that more children now are suffering from chronic pain and that girls suffer more frequently from chronic pain than boys.

Their findings indicate that most types of pain are more prevalent in girls than in boys, but the factors that influence this gender difference are not entirely clear. Pain prevalence rates tend to increase with age. Psychosocial variables impacting pain prevalence included anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and low socioeconomic status. Headache was found to be the most common studied pain type in youth, with an estimated prevalence rate of 23%. Other types of pain, ie, abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, and pain combinations, were less frequently studied than headache, and prevalence rates were variable because of differences in reporting. However, the overall results indicated that these pain types are highly prevalent in children and adolescents, with median prevalence rates ranging from 11% to 38%. “These rates are of great concern, but what is even more concerning is that research suggests that the prevalence rates of childhood pain have increased over the last several decades,” stated Dr. King.

Researchers also found that many studies did not meet quality criteria and there was great variability in prevalence rates across studies due to time periods over which pain was reported……

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Just the Newest Toys Hold Risks for Kids

Not Just the Newest Toys Hold Risks for Kids

Danger lurks among tricycles as well as battery- and magnet-loaded gadgets, experts warn

HealthDay news image


From the December 17 Health Day news item

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) — Toys today are often cutting-edge wonders, loaded with gadgets and gizmos. But as toys become more sophisticated, they often pose new dangers for children that safety experts urge parents and gift-givers to consider.

Tiny magnets, powerful batteries and laser lights are among the features on modern toys that can be just as dangerous as small parts and sharp edges have always been…..

Choking hazards have long been a leading cause of death in children, prompting the creation of warning labels detailing small parts and recommending minimum ages for certain toys….

But in recent years, riding toys have proven to be the most dangerous type of toy on the market, according to the consumer agency. They were associated with the most deaths in 2008: Two children on tricycles were hit by a motor vehicle, and two others drowned after riding their tricycle into a pool. Other types of non-motorized riding toys accounted for another five deaths…..

…..Parents also should be mindful of new dangers presented by modern toys. For example, many toys contain small but powerful magnets, and “magnets have proven to be incredibly dangerous,” Weintraub said.

The hazard comes when a child swallows more than one magnet. The magnets can stick together through the walls of the child’s digestive tract, potentially causing internal tears or blockages. “It can rip through a child’s intestines,” she said.”

Small batteries contained in toys present another danger to children. If swallowed, the batteries can lodge in the esophagus and cause a potentially fatal burn as the battery’s current eats through the body’s internal tissues. Medical experts whose research on battery hazards appeared in the June Pediatrics found that a swallowed battery has to be removed from the child’s esophagus within two hours to prevent serious injury or death.

Consumers Union performed a presentation where they put a piece of ham on a battery and it burned through,” Weintraub said.

Laser pointers and toys with laser attachments also present a risk. A 15-year-old Swiss boy playing with a laser pointer accidentally beamed the laser into his eyes, permanently damaging his vision, according to a letter published Sept. 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Even video games have their problems. Too much play can create eyestrain, Kehoe said.

“If you do anything too much, it’s not good for you,” he said. “Children should not spend more than 20 to 30 minutes playing a video game without taking a visual break.”

Parents who want to make sure toys remain fun and treasured possessions rather than potentially dangerous devices should follow a few key suggestions, according to Weintraub, Kehoe and Prevent Blindness America:

  • Follow the age recommendations listed on toy packaging. The recommendations now are available on toys advertised over the Internet as well, Weintraub said.
  • Consider how a child plays with and interacts with toys. For example, if the youngster still places objects in his or her mouth, be keenly aware of potential choking hazards on any toys.
  • Make sure that battery-powered toys keep the batteries in compartments that cannot be easily opened by children.
  • Don’t buy any magnetic toys for children who are still placing objects in their mouth.
  • Examine all toys for loose parts and sharp points or edges.
  • When buying a riding toy, also provide all the proper protective equipment and make sure it is worn. Supervise the child’s play on riding toys at all times.
  • Don’t buy costume jewelry for a child. “Metal children’s jewelry has been such an ongoing problem in terms of high levels of lead and cadmium that we recommend that people not purchase it and children not play with it,” Weintraub said.

SOURCES: Rachel Weintraub, director, product safety, Consumer Federation of America; Peter Kehoe, O.D., optometrist, Peoria, Ill.; June 2010Pediatrics; Sept. 9, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine

 

 


December 21, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jailed Dads Tied to Greater Risk of Kids’ Drug Use

Kids whose dads have put in time behind bars may be at a greater risk for using marijuana and other illegal drugs, according to a new study

From an October 20 Reuters Health Information press release

By Lynne Peeples

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Kids whose dads have put in time behind bars may be at a greater risk for using marijuana and other illegal drugs, according to a new study.

The incarcerated population of the U.S. has grown from 250,000 in the mid-1970s to about 2.25 million today. Rising alongside has been the number of kids growing up with a parent that has served jail time: now about 7.5 million.

In other words, one out of every eight young people in the U.S. now has a father that has been incarcerated, notes lead researcher Michael E. Roettger, formerly of Bowling Green State University in Ohio and now at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“In the context of the massive increases in incarceration in the U.S. and growing number of children being affected, we wanted to know what issues these children would likely face,” Roettger told Reuters Health. “It appears that drug use is one of the unintended consequences of these rising rates.”

Already on the troubling list, he added, were increased risks for mental health problems, criminal behavior, dropping out of high school, family instability and poverty

To determine the extent of the role a father’s incarceration might play in youth drug use, Roettger and his colleagues looked at data from about 150,000 young men and women followed from adolescence into early adulthood during the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative sample beginning in 1995.

The team found that over half of young men and 39 percent of young women who had a father with a history of incarceration reported using marijuana, compared to 38 and 28 percent of young men and women whose fathers never went to jail.

This unfortunate group also used marijuana more frequently and continued using it longer into adulthood.

 

 

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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