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January 26, 2009, 11:26 PM CT

School children who receive more recess

School children who receive more recess
School children who receive more recess behave better and are likely to learn more, as per a large study of third-graders conducted by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The study, published in Pediatrics, suggests that a daily break of 15 minutes or more in the school day may play a role in improving learning, social development, and health in elementary school children. The study's principal investigator is Romina M. Barros, M.D., assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Einstein.

Dr. Barros looked at data on approximately 11,000 third-graders enrolled in the national Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. The children, ages 8 to 9, were divided into two categories: those with no or minimal recess (less than 15 minutes a day) and those with more than 15 minutes a day. There were an equal number of boys and girls. The children's classroom behavior was assessed by their teachers using a questionnaire.

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, free, unstructured play is essential for keeping children healthy, and for helping them reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones. Unstructured play also helps kids manage stress and become resilient.

However, some studies indicate that children are getting less and less unstructured playtime, a trend exacerbated by the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. "A number of schools responded to No Child Left Behind by reducing the time for recess, the creative arts, and physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics," says Dr. Barros.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 26, 2009, 6:19 AM CT

Reducing risk of childhood leukemia

Reducing risk of childhood leukemia
A study led by Dr Marcus Cooke at the University of Leicester and funded by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) UK is looking at whether consuming caffeine during pregnancy might affect the unborn baby's risk of developing leukaemia in childhood.

Dr Cooke sees the study as a unique opportunity to determine the sources of chromosomal alterations during pregnancy, with the ultimate aim of reducing the risk of childhood leukaemias.

Leukaemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and white blood cells. It can affect people of all ages and around 7,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the UK. While it is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for 35 per cent of cases, it is still rare. Only 1 in 10 of leukaemia patients are children, accounting for 500 child diagnoses a year in the UK.

"We want to find out whether consuming caffeine could lead to the sort of DNA changes in the baby that are associated with risk of leukaemia," said Dr Cooke. "This is an important area of research because it is vital that mothers are given the best advice possible".

While childhood leukaemia could be initiated by DNA alterations in the unborn child, it is thought that leukaemia would only develop if there was another secondary trigger. There is currently no single proven cause of childhood leukaemia, though exposure to radiation and/or a rare response to a common infection are thought likely to play a part.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 20, 2009, 6:29 AM CT

What your mother ate?

What your mother ate?
In the United States, there has been a recent dramatic rise in the number of children classified as obese and diagnosed with obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). One factor thought to contribute to this rise is obesity of the mother during pregnancy. However, a team of researchers, at Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine,.

Aurora, have found the offspring of both lean and obese nonhuman primate mothers chronically consuming a high-fat diet exhibited an increased risk of developing NAFLD. Importantly, if mothers fed a high-fat diet were reverted to a low-fat diet during a subsequent pregnancy, this second offspring exhibited fewer signs of NAFLD. The team, led by Kevin Grove and Jacob Friedman, therefore suggests that a developing fetus is highly susceptible to maternal consumption of excess fat, whether or not the mother is obese, and that a healthy maternal diet is most important for the obesity-related health of a developing fetus.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 19, 2009, 6:16 AM CT

Some genetic mutations and childhood obesity

Some genetic mutations and childhood obesity
Three new genetic variations that increase the risk of obesity are revealed in a newly released study, published recently in the journal Nature Genetics The authors suggest that if each acted independently, these variants could be responsible for up to 50% of cases of severe obesity.

Together with existing research, the new findings should ultimately provide the tools to predict which young children are at risk of becoming obese. Health professionals could then intervene to help such children before they develop weight problems, say the scientists from Imperial College London, the French National Research Institute CNRS and other international institutions.

In the UK, one in ten children under the age of six is obese, as per the Department of Health's National Child Measurement Programme 2007/08.

For today's ten-year study, researchers looked at the genetic makeup of obese children under six and morbidly obese adults, most of whom had been obese since childhood or adolescence, and compared this with age matched people of normal weight. The study reveals three previously unidentified genetic variations that increase the risk of severe obesity significantly, giving new insight into the reasons why some people become obese and others do not.

The gene variant most strongly linked to childhood obesity and adult morbid obesity in the study is located near the PTER gene, the function of which is not known. This variant is estimated to account for up to a third of all childhood obesity, and a fifth of all cases of adult obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:43 PM CT

Breakthrough in Treating Premature Babies

Breakthrough in Treating Premature Babies
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Adelaide scientists have made a world breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders.

A six-year study led by Dr Maria Makrides from the Women's & Children's Health Research Institute and Professor Bob Gibson from the University of Adelaide has demonstrated that high doses of fatty acids administered to pre-term infants via their mother's breast milk or infant formula can help their mental development.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Scientists observed that a major lipid in the brain - the omega-3 fatty acid known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - is not developed sufficiently in babies born before 33 weeks' gestation, leading to possible impaired mental development.

To counter this, increased doses of DHA (1000mg per day) were administered to lactating mothers with pre-term infants, in the form of tuna oil capsules. If required, infants were given supplementary formula with matching DHA levels.

Of 657 premature babies tested in a trial involving five Australian hospitals, about 50% fewer infants on high-DHA diets had significantly delayed mental development compared with low DHA diets.

Premature girls in particular who were exposed to DHA-rich diets showed much better mental development than girls fed the low DHA diet.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:53 PM CT

Behavioral difficulties at school

Behavioral difficulties at school
Adolescents who misbehave at school are more likely to have difficulties throughout their adult lives, finds a 40-year study of British citizens published on bmj.com today. These difficulties cover all areas of life, from mental health to domestic and personal relationships to economic deprivation.

Severe behavioural problems in schools affect about 7% of 9-15 year olds and have been on the increase for the past 30 years. Prior studies have shown that individuals with severe conduct problems place a significant burden on society in terms of crime as well as the additional needs of education, health and welfare.

Ian Colman, an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Population Health Investigator, and Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the health and social problems of adults who had mild and severe behavioural problems as adolescents. The findings are based on more than 3,500 individuals taking part in the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort), over a 40-year period. All the participants were aged between 13 and 15 at the start of the study. Approximately a quarter of the participants had mild behavioural problems.

Participants were rated by their teachers as having severe, mild or no conduct problems and were followed up between the ages of 36 and 53 when they were asked about their mental health, and social and economic status.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 0:02 AM CT

Winter babies face socioeconomic disadvantages

Winter babies face socioeconomic disadvantages
A number of of us may often feel that we've been born under an unlucky sign. Now, new research by a pair of University of Notre Dame economists suggests that some of us are, in fact, born in an unlucky season.

In their paper, Kasey Buckles and Daniel Hungerman point out that a large body of prior research consistently has observed that people born in December, January and February are, on average, less educated, less intelligent, less healthy and lower paid than people born in other seasons.

A variety of explanations have been suggested for this phenomenon, including such social and natural factors as compulsory schooling laws, changes in climate and exposure to illness. However, the exact cause of the association between season of birth and later outcomes has never been precisely clear.

In the newly released study, Buckles and Hungerman analyzed U.S census data and birth certificates to determine if the typical woman giving birth in winter is any different from the typical woman giving birth at other times of the year.

They discovered that babies born in the winter are more likely to have mothers who are unmarried, who are teenagers or who lack a high school diploma. One explanation for the seasonal patterns in births is that summer's high temperatures inhibit sperm production. This seems to affect lower socioeconomic status women more adversely, which could explain why there are relatively fewer births to these women in the spring and early summer.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 7, 2009, 11:24 PM CT

Risks of choosing repeat cesarean

Risks of choosing repeat cesarean
Women choosing repeat cesarean deliveries and having them at term but before completing 39 weeks gestation are up to two times more likely to have a baby with serious complications including respiratory distress resulting in mechanical ventilation and NICU admission.

UAB researchers, led by Alan T.N. Tita, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and his colleagues reported as per a research findings published January 8 in the New England Journal (NEJM) that women who choose to have their babies delivered via repeat cesarean at 37 or 38 weeks without a medical or obstetric indication, risk serious complications for their child.

"The cesarean rate in the United States has risen dramatically, from 20.7 percent in 1996 to 31.1 percent in 2006. A major reason is the decline in attempted vaginal births after cesarean. Because elective cesareans can be scheduled to accommodate patient and doctor convenience, there is a risk that they appears to be performed earlier than is appropriate." Tita said. "We knew from prior small studies that infants born before 39 weeks' gestation are at increased risk for respiratory distress. Because nearly 40 percent of the cesareans performed in the United States each year are repeat procedures, we undertook this large study to describe the timing of elective repeat cesareans and assess its relationship with the risk of various adverse neonatal outcomes".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 7, 2009, 11:20 PM CT

Preterm births goes higher

Preterm births goes higher
New government statistics confirm that the decades-long rise in the United States preterm birth rate continues, putting more infants than ever at increased risk of death and disability.

Nearly 543,000 babies were born too soon in 2006, as per the National Center for Health Statistics, which today released "Births: Final data for 2006," National Vital Statistics Reports; Vol. 57, No. 7. The nation's preterm birth rate (birth before 37 completed weeks gestation) rose to 12.8 percent in 2006 -- that's a 36 percent increase since the early part of 1980s.

The report attributed much of the increase to the growing number of late preterm infants (those born at 34 to 36 weeks gestation), which increased 25 percent since 1990. The report also noted an increase in preterm births to Hispanic women, while rates were unchanged for non-Hispanic whites and blacks. However, black women continue to have the highest preterm birth rate, at 18.5 percent.

The preterm birth rate continued to rise despite the fact that multiple births, a known risk factor for preterm birth, have begun to stabilize. The rate of twin births was unchanged in 2005 and 2006, and triplets and higher order multiples declined 5 percent in 2006.

"The health consequences for babies who survive an early birth can be devastating and we know that preterm birth exacts a toll on the entire family emotionally and financially," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 6, 2009, 8:43 PM CT

New infant formula safety advice

New infant formula safety advice
Wheat-based infant follow-on formulas are better reconstituted with fruit juice and should be stored in the fridge at 4C to prevent growth of meningitis bacteria, as per recent research.

The results of a study, published recently in the Society for Applied Microbiology journal, Letters in Applied Microbiology, have shown that Cronobacter species do not grow in wheat-based infant formula stored at 4C.

Cronobacter is a recently defined genus of bacteria and was previously known as Enterobacter sakazakii Cronobacter species have been frequently isolated from the environment and various food products including infant formula. These bacteria have been linked to infant meningitis, enteritis and septicaemia, so prevention of infant's consumption is vital in maintaining their safety.

These bugs will grow at 25C or 37C, but less so when the formula is made up using apple or grape juice than when made up using water or milk.

"This is valuable information for parents, infant formula producers and regulators and should be used when preparing and storing the reconstituted wheat based infant formula. It is also important that formula is prepared hygienically" said researcher Tareq Osaili.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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