Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

New Report Finds Children in Rural Areas Face Different Health Challenges

New Report Finds Children in Rural Areas Face Different Health Challenges
Children in rural areas are more likely to face different challenges to their health and have less access to care when compared with children in urban areas, according to a new report from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Child poverty more common in rural areas
(http://irjci.blogspot.com/2011/10/child-poverty-more-common-in-rural.html)

 

From the Web site

Findings include:

  • Children living in rural areas are more likely to have public insurance, such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while urban children are more likely to be privately insured.
  • The percentage of children with chronic conditions such as obesity, asthma and diabetes is highest amongst teenagers living in small rural areas.

The National Survey of Children’s Health is sponsored by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Technical appendices at the end of the book present information about the survey methodology and sample. To see more in-depth information about the book and its findings, visi tmchb.hrsa.gov/nsch/07rural.

October 29, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Change the environment, not the child’s environment

From a 17 Aug Eureka News Alert

Hamilton, ON (August 16, 2011) — A successful new rehabilitation approach to treating children with cerebral palsy puts its focus on where a child lives and plays, not just improving the child’s balance, posture and movement skills.

Called a “context-focused intervention”, McMaster University and the University of Alberta researchers report in a new study this approach is just as beneficial as traditional child-focused therapy, offering parents an additional treatment option for their child.

The McMaster study, in conjunction with researchers at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and Alberta Health Services in Calgary, is the first randomized trial to examine the effects of therapy focused on changing a child’s task or environment, not the child. It appeared in the July issue of the medical journal Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

Context-focused and child-focused therapies were evaluated in a randomized controlled trial of 128 children with cerebral palsy ranging in age from one year to almost six year old. The children, from 19 different rehabilitation centres in Ontario and Alberta, received one of the two approaches for six months. Therapy was provided by occupational therapists and physical therapists. Between assessments at six and nine months, they returned to their regular therapy schedule.

Researchers found that while both groups improved significantly over the study, there were “no significant differences in daily functioning” between the two treatment groups, reported lead author Mary Law, professor in McMaster’s School of Rehabilitation Science and co-founder of the university’s CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research.

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage in the brain before or just after birth that results in problems with muscle tone and movement, and impacts ability to perform everyday activities. More than 50,000 Canadians have cerebral palsy, which occurs in about two of 1,000 babies.

During the study, parents in both groups received general information and education about their child’s disability as well as specific strategies to practice at home.

In the child-focused approach, therapists identified the underlying impairment – tone, posture, range of motion – and provided therapy to improve the child’s skills and abilities…..

 

Read the article

August 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The State of America’s Children – 2011 Report

Children's Defense Fund

 

From the Children Defense Fund Web site

CDF’s new report The State of America’s Children 2011 finds children have fallen further behind in many of the leading indicators over the past year as the country slowly climbs out of the recession. This is a comprehensive compilation and analysis of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence. The report provides key child data showing alarming numbers of children at risk: children are the poorest age group with 15.5 million children—one in every five children in America—living in poverty, and more than 60 percent of fourth, eighth and 12th grade public school students are reading or doing math below grade level.

View this year’s interactive report or download the document.

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health AND statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Major Increase In Hospitalization Rates For Children With Psychiatric Disorders

From the 12 August 2011 Health News Today article

Short-stay inpatient hospitalizations for children and adolescents with a psychiatric diagnosis increased significantly over a 12-year period (1996 to 2007) and decreased for the elderly, according to a report in the early online edition in Archives of General Psychiatry by Joseph C. Blader, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University School of Medicine…

Read the entire news article

August 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

K-12 Science and Health Education (Also, good ideas to keep kids busy this summer!)

K-12 Science and Health Education
Working with teachers and scientific experts to provide FREE reliable resources to help introduce, reinforce, and supplement education programs.

Two US Government Agencies (NLM-National Library of Medicine and HHS – Health and Human Services) have joined forces
to provide links in the areas of biology,  environmental health science/chemistry, general health, and forensics and medical terminology, and More!

Here is a sampling of Web sites especially geared to K-12 students…

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , | Leave a comment

We Are What We Breathe: The Impacts of Air Pollution on Employment and Productivity – Up Front Blog – Brookings Institution

Excerpts from the report
We Are What We Breathe: The Impacts of Air Pollution on Employment and Productivity – Up Front Blog – Brookings Institution

The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Productivity
Air pollutants are linked to higher rates of infant mortality, increased frequencies of low birth weight, greater risks of asthma attacks and other forms of respiratory sickness, and premature mortality among adults. The incidence of low birth weight has been associated with higher health care costs and reduced earnings later in life. More broadly, good health is also a requisite for being productive on the job, and thus air pollution also affects employment and productivity.

In an intriguing new paper, elevated ozone concentrations, even at levels well below current federal air quality standards, was found to reduce productivity of farm workers in California. Another study found that higher carbon monoxide concentrations result in increased school absences.

In short, air pollution has a direct impact on the health and productivity of today’s and tomorrow’s work force.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Annual Health Care Costs Rise Dramatically, Says New Study

Percent of Youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with Atte...

Percent of Youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: National Survey of Children's Health, 2003

Poor childhood health caused by environmental factors, such as air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals, cost the United States $76.6 billion in 2008, according to authors of a new study in the May issue of Health Affairs. This price tag represents a dramatic increase in recent years, rising from 2.8 percent of total health care costs in 1997 to 3.5 percent in 2008…

Click here for a Medical News Today summary of the research article (May 3, 2011)

Excerpts

Researchers used recent data to estimate the number of environmentally induced conditions in children and then calculated the annual cost for direct medical care and indirect costs, such as lost productivity resulting from parents’ caring for sick children. They found that the aggregate cost of environmental illness in children was $76.6 billion in 2008 dollars.

The study provides an update to an analysis of 1997 data that documented $54.9 billion in annual costs of environmentally contributable childhood diseases in the United States. In comparing the two studies, researchers found that diminished exposure to lead and reductions in costs for asthma care were offset by diseases newly identified as environmentally induced, including attention deficit disorder,[Editor Flahiff's note: see above map] and the added burden of mercury exposure. This toxic metal, from contaminated fish and coal-fired power plants, can harm the developing brain and is associated with intellectual disability.

Key findings from the study:

- Lead poisoning cost $50.9 billion
– Autism cost $7.9 billion
– Intellectual disability cost $5.4 billion
– Exposure to mercury (methyl mercury) cost $5.1 billion
– Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cost $5.0 billion
– Asthma cost $2.2 billion
– Childhood cancer cost $95.0 million

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids Healthcast: Pediatric Podcasts For Time Deprived Parents From IU School Of Medicine

Kids Healthcast: Pediatric Podcasts For Time Deprived Parents From IU School Of Medicine

(via Health News from Medical News Today) March 28, 2011 2:00:00 PM EDT Share

This month marks the first anniversary of Kids Healthcast, innovative monthly podcasts from Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children pediatricians providing easy-to-understand, evidence-based health information. Targeted to busy parents, the lay language programs are available without charge anytime in the iTunes store or here. The show can be heard on an iPhone, iPad, MP-3 player or computer…

 

March 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Careful cleaning of children’s skin wounds key to healing, regardless of antibiotic choice

Careful cleaning of children’s skin wounds key to healing, regardless of antibiotic choice
Hopkins Children’s study suggests antibiotics may not always be best therapy

From the February 21 Eureka news alert

When it comes to curing skin infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacterium MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), timely and proper wound cleaning and draining may be more important than the choice of antibiotic, according to a new Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study. The work is published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers originally set out to compare the efficacy of two antibiotics commonly used to treat staph skin infections, randomly giving 191 children either cephalexin, a classic anti-staph antibiotic known to work against the most common strains of the bacterium but not MRSA, or clindamycin, known to work better against the resistant strains. Much to the researchers’ surprise, they said, drug choice didn’t matter: 95 percent of the children in the study recovered completely within a week, regardless of which antibiotic they got.

The finding led the research team to conclude that proper wound care, not antibiotics, may have been the key to healing.

“The good news is that no matter which antibiotic we gave, nearly all skin infections cleared up fully within a week,” says study lead investigator Aaron Chen, M.D., an emergency physician at Hopkins Children’s. “The better news might be that good low-tech wound care, cleaning, draining and keeping the infected area clean, is what truly makes the difference between rapid healing and persistent infection.”

Chen says that proper wound care has always been the cornerstone of skin infection treatment but, the researchers say, in recent years more physicians have started prescribing antibiotics preemptively.

Although the Johns Hopkins investigators stop short of advocating against prescribing antibiotics for uncomplicated MRSA skin infections, they call for studies that directly measure the benefit — if any — of drug therapy versus proper wound care. The best study, they say, would compare patients receiving placebo with those on antibiotics, along with proper wound cleaning, draining and dressing.

Antibiotics can have serious side effects, fuel drug resistance and raise the cost of care significantly, the researchers say.

“Many physicians understandably assume that antibiotics are always necessary for bacterial infections, but there is evidence to suggest this may not be the case,” says senior investigator George Siberry, M.D., M.P.H., a Hopkins Children’s pediatrician and medical officer at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health & Human Development. “We need studies that precisely measure the benefit of antibiotics to help us determine which cases warrant them and which ones would fare well without them.”

The 191 children in the study, ages 6 months to 18 years, were treated for skin infections at Hopkins Children’s from 2006 to 2009. Of these, 133 were infected with community-acquired MRSA, and the remainder had simple staph infections with non-resistant strains of the bacterium. Community-acquired (CA-MRSA) is a virulent subset of the bacterium that’s not susceptible to most commonly used antibiotics. Most CA-MRSA causes skin and soft-tissue infections, but in those who are sick or have weakened immune systems, it can lead to invasive, sometimes fatal, infections.

At 48-hour to 72-hour follow-ups, children treated with both antibiotics showed similar rates of improvement — 94 percent in the cephalexin group improved and 97 percent in the clindamycin group improved. By one week, the infections were gone in 97 percent of patients receiving cephalexin and in 94 percent of those on clindamycin. Those younger than 1 year of age and those whose infections were accompanied by fever were more prone to complications and more likely to be hospitalized.

###

Co-authors on the study included Karen Carroll, M.D., Marie Diener-West, Ph.D., Tracy Ross, M.S., Joyce Ordun, M.S., C.R.N.P., Mitchell Goldstein, M.D., Gaurav Kulkarni, M.D., and J.B. Cantey, M.D., all of Hopkins.

The research was funded by a grant from the Thrasher Research Foundation and the General Clinical Research Center at Johns Hopkins.

Related:

Knowledge Gaps, Fears Common Among Parents of Children with Drug-Resistant Bacteria http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/Fears-Common-Among-Parents-of-Children-with-Drug-Resistant-Bacteria.aspx

Community-Acquired MRSA Becoming More Common in Pediatric ICU Patients http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/Community-Acquired-MRSA-Becoming-More-Common-in-Pediatric-ICU-Patients.aspx

 

 

 

 

February 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Trends – Research and Resources

 

Child Trends is a non-profit, non-partisan research center, and is the “nation’s only independent research and policy center focused exclusively on improving outcomes for children.”

Research  topics include “Child Poverty,” “Fatherhood & Parenting,” “Youth Development,” and “Health.” In each section, the research focus on that topic is explained in a brief introduction, followed by resources that include research briefs, executive summaries and full reports, fact sheets, and a publications archive of materials over three years old.

A feature that visitors shouldn’t miss is “What Works/LINKS,” which can be accessed via the left side menu. The data in this section is about “programs that work -or don’t- to enhance children’s development”. There are effectiveness charts, “Lifecourse Interventions that Work,” and a continually updated database on programs that work (or don’t).

Visitors who are “Program Providers” in policy, education, or the media will find the “Information for…” heading on the left side of the homepage useful for fulfilling their specific needs.

February 20, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The International Child & Youth Care Network

CYC-NET

The International Child & Youth Care Network (CYC-NET) is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation in South Africa. It aims to “promote and facilitate reading, learning, information sharing, discussion, networking, support and accountable practice amongst all who work with children, youth and families in difficulty.” However parents and others will undoubtedly find information at this Web site to be useful.

Many items at the home page are updated at least weekly as Daily News, Today, Press Release, and Link.

The home page has two main gateways to information through the tabs

  • Learning Zone with free online courses and training/educational podcasts
  • Network with site statistics, as recent top queries and the average number of daily visitors. On January 26,2011 the Recent top search queries were  bullied to death, homeless children statistics, bowlby, montesorri, anorexia nervosa, principles of management, punishment for children, bipolar disorder, peer influence, positive reinforcement for children, effects of corporal punishment, heroin stories.

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids of Deployed Soldiers May Face More Mental Health Woes

HealthDay news image

Study found they needed more doctor visits to handle issues from parent‘s absence

 

From a November 8, 2010 Health Day news item

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) — Mental and behavioral problems cause children of U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones to need considerably more outpatient medical visits than those with non-deployed parents, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined the medical records of more than 640,000 military children between the ages of 3 and 8, and found that those separated from deployed parents sought treatment 11 percent more often for cases of mood, anxiety and adjustment disorders. Visits for conditions such as autism and attention-deficit disorder, whose causes are not linked to deployment, also increased.

The study, reported online Nov. 8 and in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics [article is free through this link], also revealed larger increases in mental and behavioral visits among older children, children with military fathers and children of married military parents.

“It’s statistically significant, but I also think it’s clinically significant,” said lead researcher Dr. Gregory Gorman, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. “These are also probably the worst cases.”

Gorman said he was surprised to find that while these types of medical visits went up, the rates of visits for all other medical conditions dropped.

“I have no direct evidence, but we hypothesize that when a parent is deployed . . . and the other parent has to do all of the duties, they may want to handle other problems at home,” Gorman said. “These parents who remain at home need to multi-task even more.”…

…In Gorman’s study, the most frequent primary diagnosis during mental and behavioral health visits was attention-deficit disorder (ADD). Adjustment and autistic disorders came next, while farther down the list were mood and anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, developmental delays, post-traumatic stress disorder, bedwetting and separation anxiety.

SOURCES: Gregory Gorman, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.; Rick Olson, retired Army general, director, strategic communications, Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health Proponency, Fort Lewis, Wash.; December 2010 Pediatrics

 

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity

As the school year gets underway, parents and teachers are focused on reducing child obesity. FDA nutrition expert Shirley Blakely, a registered dietitian, says using the Nutrition Facts and list of ingredient on prepared foods are the keys to healthy eating.

Excerpts from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web page Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity

As you head down the supermarket aisle, Blakely says you should zero-in on two things:

  • the Nutrition Facts label—tells the number of calories and percentage of a day’s worth of nutrients in one serving
  • the ingredients on the label of all prepared foods—lists every ingredient that went into the product, with the predominant ingredient first, the next most prominent second, and so on in descending order

Ingredients in prepared foods are listed in descending order of predominance. If the cereal your kids like has some type of grain listed first, that’s a good sign. But if fructose, high fructose corn syrup, or sucrose—in other words, sugar—is listed first, you’d best leave that item on the store shelf because added sugars are taking the place of other, more nutritious ingredients.

And sugar isn’t always an additive. Some foods—fruits, for example—are naturally sweet without adding any sugar at all. If you check the Nutrition Facts label on canned or dried fruits that have no added sugar, you’ll still see sugars listed. That’s because the sugars in pineapple, raisins, prunes, and other fruits occur naturally….
……

Blakely also says parents and kids should pay attention to portion sizes. Her advice: put just one serving on each person’s plate. And make sure everyone in the family knows how to use the Nutrition Facts label to guide their food choices. Blakely says there are three things everyone should check when they read the label:

Serving size—one container isn’t necessarily one serving; make sure you’re eating only one serving by pre-measuring your food and eating it from a plate or bowl instead of out of the container.

Percent Daily Value—tells what percentage of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient is in one serving of a food. Based on the amount of each nutrient recommendation for one day, 5 percent or less is low; 20 percent or more is high.

Nutrients—try to get 20 percent or more of protein, fiber, and some essential vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C and calcium) in a single serving; but limit your intake of saturated fats and sodium to 5 percent or less per serving of food. Strive for 0 trans fat, or trans fatty acids—this harmful fat raises your bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers your good cholesterol (HDL).

Good nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being healthy. For more information about how to live healthier, go to www.letsmove.gov!

Some additional child nutrition Web sites and Web pages

 

 

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

BAM! (Body and Mind) aims to help children (9-13) make healthy lifestyle choices

BAM! Body and Mind is an interactive  comic book style Web site  designed for children 9-13 years old.  It gives youngsters the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.  The site focuses on topics children said were important, as stress and physical fitness.

The interactive features include

  • KABAM, a comic creator that allows kids to resolve conflicts and stressful situations with the help of the cartoon BAM bunch.
  • An exercise personality quiz that results in a custom activity list for each use
  • Disease Detectives 
  • A Dining Decisions game
  • A Physical Activities page where one can create a customized fitness/activity calendar, take a quiz to find out which activities one might like best, and more
  • A Your Body page with information and advice on genes, smoking, diabetes, germs, and more.

There is also a Teacher’s corner with in-school activities linked to the national education standards for science and health.

Created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More on exercise and children may be found at the Exercise and Children Web page from MedlinePlus.

July 11, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , | Leave a comment

US government agency finds school-based pandemic vaccine clinics effective

Health and Human Services (HHS)  officials have recently looked at a  new model of school-based immunization clinics. They believe it is an efficient way to deliver the pandemic vaccine to children. However, most schools would need more resources to hold future clinics.

The news report includes the following:

“They found that sites vaccinated an average of 28% of enrolled students during 1-day programs, which federal officials said compares favorably with state and national vaccination rates. For example, the average vaccination rate for the six states included in the study is 37%, which reflects a child vaccination period of about 3 months at multiple sites such as doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and community clinics. Most of the 38 locations said the school-based clinics were a useful vaccination method but said they would not hold them in the future without additional resources.

About 42% of the children vaccinated at the sites received the nasal mist form of the vaccine, and 59% received the injection. Reviewers noted that three of the six localities reported decreased demand for the nasal mist version, due to parent and staff misconceptions about its safety, which were driven by incorrect media messages that the nasal mist was riskier because it contained a live attenuated virus.”

More news on swine flu (H1N1) may be found here.

June 30, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

A Mother’s Love Overcomes Poverty’s Effect on Health

It is common knowledge that a mother’s love can help make children feel better after they scrape their knee or feel hurt by words of others.  It seems that the effects of devoted motherhood go further according to a study reported in A Mother’s Love Overcomes Poverty’s Effect on Health

There seems to be a strong association between warm caring motherhood and the reduction of stress in their children.
The results seem to be lower rates of heart disease and less physical and mental illness that go beyond childhood to all phases of adulthood.

Many diseases and conditions are at least partly the result of an inflammatory process linked to stress.
There seems to be evidence that good mothering strengthens the child’s immune system so that the inflammatory response is reduced.

This study is published in the May 18 issue of Molecular Psychiatry.
A summary (abstract) of the article may be found here.
The full text of the article is only available by subscription. However, it may be available at your local university or hospital library.  If interested in getting the article at a library, don’t forget to call ahead and ask to speak with a reference librarian!

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | | Leave a comment

Study Finds Food Companies’ Marketing Strategies Don’t Protect Kids

Children are increasingly exposed to unhealthy products through various media including television 
and movies. Parents and other significant adults in children's lives want their children to receive
truthful representations of food products. However, most of these companies marketing food products do
not have well thought out plans on how to market factually to children.  A recent study has concluded that
these marketing strategies do not include good nutrition standards. The result? An overabundance of ads
promoting high sugar cereals, fast food, snacks, and candy.

The full Center for Science in the Public Interest Report may be found here.  

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Nutrition | , | Leave a comment

   

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