Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Repost] Household chaos may be hazardous to a child’s health

Remembering that the television was only on for about an hour weekday evening (after homework was done!), and Saturday mornings for cartoons. Also Sunday evenings.  Still  generally stick to this after all these years. Even without homework.
No angel, could be on the Internet less!!

From the 9 October 2013 EurekAlert article

Study links crowding, noise, lack of routine to worse outcomes

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kindergarten-age children have poorer health if their home life is marked by disorder, noise and a lack of routine and they have a mother who has a chaotic work life, new research suggests.

The results show the importance of order and routine in helping preschoolers stay healthy and develop to the best of their potential, said Claire Kamp Dush, lead author of the study and assistant professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.

“Children need to have order in their lives,” Kamp Dush said. “When their life is chaotic and not predictable, it can lead to poorer health.”

Kamp Dush said that the study involved mostly low-income families, and the results showed mothers who were more impoverished reported significantly higher levels of chaos.

“I don’t think that the findings would be different in a middle-class sample – chaos is bad for children from any background,” she said.

“But most middle-class families can avoid the same level of chaos that we saw in the most impoverished families. We’re not talking about the chaos of your kids being overinvolved in activities and the parents having to run them from one place to another. This harmful chaos is much more fundamental.”

Kamp Dush conducted the study with Kammi Schmeer, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State, and Miles Taylor, assistant professor of sociology at Florida State University. Their results appear online in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Data came from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, and included 3,288 mothers who were interviewed at their homes by a trained interviewer when their child was 3 and again when he or she was 5 years old. Most of the parents were unmarried and low-income.

The researchers used several measures of household chaos: crowding (more than one person per room), TV background noise (TV was on more than 5 hours a day), lack of regular bedtime for the child, and a home rated as noisy, unclean and cluttered by the interviewer.

The study also included a measure of the mother’s work chaos, which included stress caused by the work schedule, difficulty dealing with child care problems during working hours, lack of flexibility to handle family needs and a constantly changing work schedule.

The children’s health was rated by their mother at ages 3 and 5 as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

Results showed that higher levels of household chaos and mothers’ work chaos when their children were age 3 were linked to lower ratings of child health at age 5, even after taking into account initial child health and other factors that may have had an impact.

In addition, the researchers were also able to use a statistical technique to determine if the causality may have been reversed: in other words, if poor child health might lead to more household chaos. “It would be easy to see how having a sick child may make your household more chaotic, but that’s not what we found. We did clearly see, however, that a chaotic household at age 3 was linked to poorer health at age 5,” Kamp Dush said.

The most common source of household chaos was television noise, with more than 60 percent of mothers reporting the television was on more than five hours a day. Between 15 and 20 percent of households reported crowding, noise, and unclean and cluttered rooms.

About a third of the mothers had inflexible work schedules and 11 percent worked multiple jobs.

How does household chaos lead to sicker children? Kamp Dush noted that chaos has been linked to stress, and stress has been shown to lead to poorer health. Women with inflexible work schedules may not be able to take their children to the doctor when needed. And a dirty house may increase exposure to toxins and germs.

Kamp Dush emphasized that the findings shouldn’t be used to suggest that the parents are at fault for the chaos in their households.

“We’re not blaming the victims here – there is a larger system involved,” she said.

“These mothers can’t help it that their jobs don’t give them the flexibility to deal with sick kids. They can’t afford a larger house or apartment to deal with overcrowding. With their work schedules, they often don’t have time to keep a clean home and they don’t have the money to spend on organizational systems or cleaning services used by middle-class families to keep their homes in order.”

What these mothers and fathers need most is jobs that allow them to maintain regular schedules and have the flexibility to deal with sick children, Kamp Dush said. Having to maintain two jobs is also detrimental to keeping households free of chaos.

 

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Kamp Dush received support for this study from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

New PTC Research Finds Teen Girls the New Target of Sexual Exploitation on TV

Parents Television Council

Parents Television Council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the summary of the report at Full Text Reports

 

July 18, 2013

New PTC Research Finds Teen Girls the New Target of Sexual Exploitation on TV
Source: Parents Television Council

New research from the Parents Television Council’s “4 Every Girl Campaign” found that underage female characters on primetime broadcast television are more likely to be presented in sexually exploitative scenes than adult women, and the appearance of underage female characters in a sexually exploitative scene increased the probability that the scene would be presented as humorous.

Study results revealed that out of 238 scripted episodes which aired during the study period, 150 episodes (63%) contained sexual content in scenes that were associated with females and 33% of the episodes contained sexual content that rose to the level of sexual exploitation.

The likelihood that sexual exploitation would be considered humorous increased to 43% when the sexual exploitation involved underage female characters. Topics that targeted underage girls and were presented as humorous included: sexual violence, sex trafficking, sexual harassment, pornography, and stripping.

 

 

 

 

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite TV reruns may have restorative powers, says UB researcher

 

From the 9 September 2012 article at EurekAlert

 IMAGE: Derrick’s findings may dispel some notions that watching TV is bad for us.Click here for more information.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — We hear all the time that we need to get off the couch, stop watching TV and get moving.

But what if watching TV under specific conditions could actually provide the mental boost you need to tackle a difficult task?

A new paper that describes two studies by Jaye Derrick, PhD, research scientist at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, found that watching a rerun of a favorite TV show may help restore the drive to get things done in people who have used up their reserves of willpower or self-control.

“People have a limited pool of these valuable mental resources,” explains Derrick. “When they use them on a task, they use up some of this limited resource. Therefore, they have less willpower and self-control for the next task.

“With enough time, these mental resources will return. However, there may be ways to more quickly restore them.”

One of these ways is to re-watch your favorite TV show, Derrick’s research found. Doing so, she says, taps into the surrogate relationship people form with the characters in their favorite shows. We find it comforting, mainly because we already know what the characters are going to say and do. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy it.

“When you watch a favorite re-run, you typically don’t have to use any effort to control what you are thinking, saying or doing. You are not exerting the mental energy required for self-control or willpower,” Derrick explains. “At the same time, you are enjoying your ‘interaction,’ with the TV show’s characters, and this

 

September 11, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Just Making Two Lifestyle Changes Spurs Big And Lasting Results

English: Half a dozen home-made cookies. Ingre...

English: Half a dozen home-made cookies. Ingredients: butter, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Français : Demie-douzaine de cookies fait-maison. Ingrédients: beurre, farine, sucre en poudre, œufs, vanille, soda, sel et grain de chocolat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 30 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

Simply ejecting your rear from the couch means your hand will spend less time digging into a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

That is the simple but profound finding of a new Northwestern Medicine study, which reports simply changing one bad habit has a domino effect on others. Knock down your sedentary leisure time and you’ll reduce junk food and saturated fats because you’re no longer glued to the TV and noshing. It’s a two-for-one benefit because the behaviors are closely related.

The study also found the most effective way to rehab a delinquent lifestyle requires two key behavior changes: cutting time spent in front of a TV or computer screen and eating more fruits and vegetables. …

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FCC seeks to change regulation of corporate interests disclosures on TV news (including local hospital segments on the news)

Those health news segments on the local news might not be as unbiased as they appear!

From the 3 January 2012 Washington Post article by Paul Farhi

V newscasts are increasingly seeded with corporate advertising masquerading as news — and the federal government wants to do something about it.

Concerned that subtle “pay-for-play” marketing ploys are seeping into the news, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed a regulation that would require the nation’s 1,500 commercial TV stations to disclose online the corporate interests behind the news….

“Unless you stick around for the end credits, you’re unlikely to know it’s payola,” said Corie Wright, senior policy counsel for Free Press, a media watchdog group backing the FCC proposal. “If broadcasters were required to put it online, you could check to see if it was actually sponsored or not.”

The proposed regulation is aimed at news programs that appear to viewers to be the work of independent journalists, but in fact sponsors have shaped or even dictated the coverage.

A common form of advertiser-supplied content, documented in a recent Washington Post article, is a live interview segment in which a seemingly neutral reviewer recommends a series of products that the “reviewer” has been paid by sponsors to mention. Stations across the country have also brokered “exclusive” relationships with local hospitals in which the hospitals pay the station to be featured in health stories.  [my emphasis] Other stations have aired “news” programs that feature interviews with sponsors who’ve paid for the privilege.

According to an FCC report, many stations also use “video news releases,” footage produced by a sponsor or corporate interest that looks like it was shot by the station.

Under current law, such arrangements aren’t illegal,

 

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily TV quota of six hours could shorten life expectancy by five years

Family watching television, c. 1958

Image via Wikipedia

From the 15 August 2011 Science Daily article

Watching TV for an average of six hours a day could shorten the viewer’s life expectancy by almost five years, indicates research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The impact rivals that of other well known behavioural risk factors, such as smoking and lack of exercise, the study suggests.

Sedentary behaviour — as distinct from too little exercise — is associated with a higher risk of death, particularly from heart attack or stroke. Watching TV accounts for a substantial amount of sedentary activity, but its impact on life expectancy has not been assessed, say the authors….

Read the article

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Prolonged TV Watching’s Health Outcomes

From the  18 July 2011 US National Library of Medicine (NLM) Director’s Comments article

Watching television for more than two hours a day is associated with significantly higher risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death from all causes, finds a comprehensive analysis of prior research recently published in Journal of the American Medical Association.

Eight international studies suggest two hours of daily television viewing is associated with a 20 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes, a 15 percent higher chance of cardiovascular disease, and a 13 percent increased risk of all-cause mortality for men and women.

The findings suggest each two hour increment of daily TV watching results in an absolute risk of 176 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 38 new cases of fatal cardiovascular disease, and 104 new cases of all-cause mortality among 100,000 persons each year.

The researchers’ findings are based on a meta-analysis of eight studies about the broader health impacts of television watching.

Meta-analyses assess a cluster of previous research studies within a highly similar area. The findings sometimes suggest commonalities or aggregate patterns, which are more evidence-based than the findings from individual studies. Meta-analyses also suggest areas where more comprehensive research is desirable – and sometimes identify new research agendas.

The studies were done in four nations and published between 1970-2010. The authors note the current study is the first quantitative and systematic assessment of television viewing and health research.

In the meta-analysis of television viewing’s health impacts, its two authors only assessed research undergirded by large sample sizes. All eight studies featured long durations of participant follow-up, and well-established prospective study methods. Prospective studies follow the health of a cohort, or group of similar persons, over time and often assess the consequences of a common exposure (such as television viewing) on health outcomes.

The authors, from the University of Southern Denmark and the Harvard School of Public Health, explain the first generation of research tied prolonged television viewing with unhealthy eating habits and less exercise. The authors add a second generation of research suggested an association between TV viewing and biological risk factors, such as obesity and adverse lipid levels.

The current findings represent a third generation of research that suggests an association between prolonged television viewing and disease risks, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the current findings suggest prolonged television viewing is linked to an elevated risk of death from all causes.

Within the article, the authors discuss how TV viewing displaces time on other activities, such as sleeping, exercise, and reading. The authors explain future researchers need to better contextualize the impact of TV viewing and health outcomes. For example, they suggest future research might assess the health impacts of TV watching in comparison with a range of the activities it displaces.

The authors also suggest reversing current emphases to note the impact of reducing TV watching on health outcomes. They write (and we quote): ‘Further study is needed to determine whether reducing prolonged TV viewing can prevent chronic disease morbidity and mortality’ (end of quote).

While MedlinePlus.gov does not have a health topic page devoted to the health impacts of TV viewing, a medical encyclopedia article about television watching is available. The article explains the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television viewing for children under age two, and fewer than two hours per day for older children.

Of course, the current research suggests the impact of prolonged television viewing may be deleterious to adult health. It will be interesting to see the extent that future research is consistent with the eight studies identified in the current meta-analysis and how these yield suggestions for a more therapeutic use of our time.

To find the encyclopedia article, type ‘television watching’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page. Then, click on ‘television watching.’

Before I go, this reminder……. MedlinePlus.gov is authoritative,….. free…. does not accept advertising …and is written to help you.

To find MedlinePlus.gov, just type in ‘MedlinePlus.gov’ in any web browser, such as Firefox, Safari, Netscape, or Explorer.

We encourage you to use MedlinePlus and please recommend it to your friends. MedlinePlus is available in English and Spanish.

Your comments about this or any of our podcasts are always welcome. We welcome suggestions about future topics too!

Please email Dr. Lindberg anytime at: NLMDirector@nlm.nih.gov

That’s NLMDirector (one word) @nlm.nih.gov

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

CeBIT 2011: Electronic fitness trainer

CeBIT 2011: Electronic fitness trainer

From a February 8, 2011 Eureka news alert

This release is available in German.

IMAGE: The electronic Fitness Assistant consists of a sensor suit that collects information about its wearer’s movements and transmits results to a television, computer or smartphone.

Click here for more information. 

 

Eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise and doing more sports – lots of people recommit themselves to these goals over and over. But one’s baser instincts are often stronger and invincible. On the couch in the evening, you take stock of the day only to admit that you have failed to rally once again. And yet, physical fitness is now considered a remedy for many illnesses. Particularly for older people, daily exercise is important – not only during rehabilitation following major surgery but also for one’s general sense of physical well-being.

“Did I do that right? Or should I raise my arm higher?” Questions like these are usually answered by the trainer in the fitness studio. Whether you have done an exercise right or wrong is important if training is to succeed. Unfortunately, this response is available only from trained sport therapists, not when exercising alone at home. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen have developed an intelligent assistance system designed to motivate you towards more exercise while providing advice in the form of exercise pointers.

When the screen becomes an exercise trainer

The electronic Fitness Assistant consists of a sensor suit that collects information about its wearer’s movements and transmits current measurement results to a television, computer or smartphone. During exercises, a T-shirt monitors the wearer’s breathing. The smartphone provides a user interface, analyzes the collected data, gives the user feedback on the success of his or her training and can instruct the user on gymnastics or rehabilitation exercises. Plus it is all individually tailored to the needs and demands of the individual wearer.

First, a trainer or physical therapist creates a personal training plan on the electronic Fitness Assistant. Under his or her supervision, all of the exercises are recorded once to ensure that they perfectly match the user’s own performance levels. Then, the exercises can be repeated in the home environment. An “avatar,” a digital trainer, performs the exercises in real time – on TV, for instance. The program then compares the exercise being performed with the results of the recording and makes any needed adjustments to the wearer’s posture. The goal is to playfully motivate the wearer to exercise more. The areas of application include exercise programs for senior citizens or patients undergoing rehabilitation. Combined with digital games – gaming consoles have shown how it is done – the electronic trainer can also be tailored for use by younger people.

The Fitness Assistant is a subproject of “FitForAge,” an initiative sponsored by the Bavarian Research Foundation. Researchers are working to further improve and refine sensor technology to permit the system to analyze movements with greater and greater precision. The program is also designed to provide additional important tips on increasing or maintaining motor fitness. Experts will be on hand at the joint Fraunhofer stand in Hall 9, B36 to demonstrate how the Fitness Assistant works in practice.

 

 

 

February 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Violent Media Can Desensitize the Minds of Young Males

 

Study found repeated exposure dampened their reaction to seeing aggression

Excerpts from a Health Day news item

TUESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) — The more adolescent boys absorb violence in media such as movies, television shows and video games, the less sensitive certain areas of their brains become to these images, researchers report.

And those areas of the brain are the ones involved in controlling aggression, notes a study published Oct. 19 in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

It’s possible that these boys might become more aggressive later in life (although the study didn’t actually track this), but a larger societal desensitization may be taking place that might be even more troublesome, the researchers said.

“There are always going to be people who are violent no matter what they’re exposed to,” said study senior author Jordan Grafman. “What’s even more dangerous is when society accepts such behaviors. . . If something becomes acceptable, then those who are creating the violence and aggressive behavior are allowed to get away with it more because society is not going to police it as much.”

Prior studies have indicated that violent media can make people more violent, but this is one of the first studies into how that mechanism plays out in the brain.

Full article in the October 19th issue of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
Article is available only by paid subscription. The article may be available at or through a local public, academic, or medical library. A library fee may be charged. Ask a reference librarian for details on how to obtain this and other medical/science journal articles.

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Excess Computer, TV Time Harm Kids Psychologically?

 

Study suggests a link, but cause-and-effect relationship unclear, experts say
Excerpt From the HealthDay News item

 

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) — Pre-teens who spent more than two hours a day in front of the TV or computer were at greater risk of having psychological problems than youngsters averaging less screen time, even if the kids also tended to be physically active, new research finds.

The study, published online Oct. 11 and in the November print issue of Pediatrics, found that the risk of psychological difficulties increased by about 60 percent when kids between 10 and 11 years old spent more than two hours daily watching TV or playing on the computer.

“Children who spent more than two hours per day watching television or using a computer were at increased risk of high levels of psychological difficulties,” regardless of how physically active they were, study lead author Angie Page, from the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol in England, and colleagues found.

Still, the experts stressed that the study can’t discern whether media exposure causes psychological woes in kids, or whether troubled children simply prefer spending time in front of computers or the TV.

 

 

 

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

   

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