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November 17, 2009, 8:10 AM CT

Parental Monitoring to Reduce Marijuana Use

Parental Monitoring to Reduce Marijuana Use
Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug by adolescents, with almost 42% of high school seniors admitting to having experimented with it. Continued marijuana use may result in many serious consequences including depression, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer. As such, it is critical to prevent marijuana use by adolescents and numerous behavioral and medical researchers have been trying to establish the best means of prevention.

A number of studies have focused on parents as being the best avenue for preventing adolescent marijuana use. Specifically, parental monitoring (when the parents know where their children are, who they are with, and what they are doing) has been seen as attenuating many negative adolescent behaviors, including gambling, sexual activity, and drug use. However, the strength of the relationship between monitoring and marijuana usage has been unclear; for example, if adolescents use marijuana, they appears to be more likely to hide that from their parents, in comparison to other behaviors. Despite this uncertainty, millions of dollars are spent annually on programs and media campaigns that urge parents to monitor their children's behavior.

Psychology experts Andrew Lac and William Crano from Claremont Graduate University evaluated numerous studies to examine the correlation between parental monitoring and adolescent marijuana use. For this review, Lac and Crano selected 17 studies from the literature, which contained data on over 35,000 participants. Criteria the scientists used for selecting studies included adolescent participants, that the research focused exclusively on marijuana, and that parental monitoring was reviewed by adolescent self-reports, not parents' reports of their own monitoring behavior.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 17, 2009, 7:44 AM CT

US gets D on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card

US gets D on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card
The US again earned a "D" on the second annual Premature Birth Report Card. No State earned an "A," and only Vermont earned a "B."

Credit: March of Dimes Foundation

For the second consecutive year, the United States earned only a "D" on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, demonstrating that more than half a million of our nation's newborns didn't get the healthy start they deserved.

In the 2009 Premature Birth Report card, seven states improved their performance by one letter grade and two fared worse. Criteria that affect preterm birth improved in a number of states:
  • 33 states and the District of Columbia reduced the percentage of women of childbearing age who smoke;.
  • 21 states and the District of Columbia reduced the percent of uninsured women of childbearing age;.
  • 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico lowered the late preterm birth rate.


As in 2008, no state earned an "A," and only Vermont received a "B." The grades were determined by comparing preterm birth rates to the national Healthy People 2010 preterm birth objective, which is 7.6 percent of all live births. The U.S. preliminary preterm birth rate was 12.7 percent in 2007.

"Eventhough we don't yet understand all the factors that contribute to premature birth, we do know some interventions that can help prevent it, and we must consistently make use of all of these," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes. She cited smoking cessation programs; health care before and during pregnancy; progesterone supplementation; and improved adherence to professional guidelines on fertility therapy and early Cesarean-sections and inductions.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 13, 2009, 8:18 AM CT

How long they stay in school

How long they stay in school
Queen's University researcher Steven Lehrer has won a prestigious international award in recognition of his contributions to health economics.

A professor in Queen's School of Policy Studies and Department of Economics, Dr. Lehrer shares the RAND Corporation's Victor R. Fuchs Research Award with Jason Fletcher of Yale University. Their prize-winning paper, recently reported in the journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy, examines the effects of adolescent health on educational outcomes.

"Our study shows that poor mental health in children and teenagers has a large impact on the length of time they will stay in school," says Dr. Lehrer. He notes a large number of school-based programs have recently been introduced to prevent childhood obesity through changes in lifestyle, but suggests the net should be cast more widely. "It's important for policymakers to target health conditions that are not the easiest to identify like inattention but may have larger impacts on one's future".

The findings provide good evidence that inattentive symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in childhood and depression in adolescents are associated with the number of years of completed schooling. Dr. Lehrer says this points to potentially large benefits from childhood and adolescent health interventions that have still not been identified. "We focus on the link between health and education because unraveling the mechanisms linking the two will have important implications for policy design."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 13, 2009, 8:03 AM CT

How youths view parental control?

How youths view parental control?
A newly released study has observed that young people feel differently about two types of parental control, generally viewing a type of control that's believed to be better for their development more positively. However, when parents are very controlling, young people no longer make this distinction and view both types of parental control negatively.

The study, conducted in the United States by scientists at rebro University in Sweden, appears in the November/December 2009 issue of the journal Child Development Unlike a lot of previous research on parenting that's focused on control, this study looked at how adolescents view and react to parental control.

Scholars tell us that parental control falls into two categories: behavioral control (when parents help their children regulate themselves and feel competent by providing supervision, setting limits, and establishing rules) and psychological control (when parents are manipulative in their behavior, often resulting in feelings of guilt, rejection, or not being loved). It's thought that behavioral control is better for youngsters' development.

But the study, which asked 67 American children (7th and 8th graders, as well as 10th and 11th graders) to respond to hypothetical scenarios involving both kinds of control, observed that the youths put a negative spin on both types of control when the parents in the scenarios exercised a lot of control. Specifically, when parents showed moderate levels of control, they saw psychological control more negatively than behavioral control, but when parents were very controlling, they viewed both types of control negatively.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 10, 2009, 8:40 AM CT

Handwriting is real problem for children with autism

Handwriting is real problem for children with autism
Handwriting skills are crucial for success in school, communication, and building children's self-esteem. The first study to examine handwriting quality in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has uncovered a relationship between fine motor control and poor quality of handwriting in children with ASD, as per research reported in the November 10, 2009, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study, conducted by scientists at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, compared handwriting samples, motor skills, and visuospatial abilities of children with ASD to typically developing children. The scientists observed that overall, the handwriting of children with ASD was worse than typically developing children. Specifically, children with ASD had trouble with forming letters, however in other categories, such as size, alignment, and spacing, their handwriting was comparable to typically developing children. These findings build on prior studies examining motor skills and ASD conducted in 2009 by Kennedy Krieger researchers.

Parents of children with ASD are often the first ones to observe their child's poor handwriting quality. This study identifies fine motor control as a root source of the problem and demonstrates that children with ASD may not experience difficulties across all domains, just forming letters. By identifying handwriting as a legitimate impairment, parents, teachers and therapists will now be able to pursue techniques that will improve children's handwriting.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 6, 2009, 8:54 AM CT

Air pollution and infants' bronchiolitis

Air pollution and infants' bronchiolitis
Infants who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution are at increased risk for bronchiolitis, as per a newly released study.

The study appears in the November 15 issue of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"There has been very little study of the consequences of early life exposure to air pollution," said Catherine Karr, M.D. PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington and the paper's main author. "This study is unique in that we were able to look at multiple sources including wood smoke in a region with relatively low concentrations of ambient air pollution overall".

The scientists analyzed nearly 12,000 diagnoses of infant bronchiolitis between 1999 and 2002 in southwestern British Columbia, with respect to the individual's ambient pollution exposure based on monitored levels of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter from monitoring stations within 10 km of the infants' homes. They also used land-use regression maps to assess concentrations of ambient pollution with respect to traffic and wood smoke. They analyzed pollution exposure by dividing subjects into four categories, or quartiles, of concentration.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 5, 2009, 8:28 AM CT

Religion and medicine

Religion and medicine
Do pediatric oncologists feel that religion is a bridge or a barrier to their work? Or do they feel it can be either, depending on whether their patients are recovering or deteriorating? A novel Brandeis University study examines these questions in the current issue of Social Problems

Through in-depth interviews with 30 pediatricians and pediatric oncologists at elite medical centers, the authors discovered that physicians tend to view religion and spirituality pragmatically, considering them resources in family decision-making and in end of life situations, and barriers when they conflict with medical decisions, said main author Brandeis sociologist Wendy Cadge.

Pediatricians, more than pediatric oncologists, say that religion is outside the purview, or boundary, of their profession, most likely because they deal primarily with healthy children. Pediatric oncologists, conversely, say that religion can help families cope with a dying child or an unfavorable medical outcome, said Cadge.

"Physicians view religion and spirituality as a barrier when it impedes medical recommendations and as a bridge when it helps families answer questions medicine inherently cannot," the authors wrote.

Only one doctor in the study directly asked patients and their families about religion and spirituality regularly. The other pediatricians said that direct conversations about religion were either not relevant or too personal, drawing a clear boundary between public and private that puts religion on the private side of the line.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 25, 2009, 11:37 PM CT

Suboptimal vitamin D levels in millions of US children

Suboptimal vitamin D levels in millions of US children
Boston, Mass. -- Millions of children in the United States between the ages of 1 and 11 may suffer from suboptimal levels of vitamin D, as per a large nationally representative study reported in the recent issue of Pediatrics, accompanied by an editorial.

The study, led by Jonathan Mansbach, MD, at Children's Hospital Boston, is the most up-to-date analysis of vitamin D levels in U.S. children. It builds on the growing evidence that levels have fallen below what's considered healthy, and that black and Hispanic children are at especially high risk.

Both the optimal amount of vitamin D supplementation and the healthy blood level of vitamin D are under heated debate in the medical community. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children should have vitamin D levels of at least 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml). However, other studies in adults suggest that vitamin D levels should be at least 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml), and possibly 100 nmol/L (40 ng/ml), to lower the risk of heart disease and specific cancers.

Mansbach and collaborators from the University of Colorado Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to look at vitamin D levels in a nationally representative sample of roughly 5,000 children from 2001-2006. Extrapolating to the entire U.S. population, their analysis suggests that roughly 20 percent of all children fell below the recommended 50 nmol/L. Moreover, more than two-thirds of all children had levels below 75 nmol/L, including 80 percent of Hispanic children and 92 percent of non-Hispanic black children.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:57 AM CT

Blood lead levels and test scores

Blood lead levels and test scores
Exposure to lead in early childhood significantly contributes to lower performances on end-of-grade (EOG) reading tests among minority and low-income children, as per scientists at Duke University and North Carolina Central University.

"We found a clear dose-response pattern between lead exposure and test performance, with the effects becoming more pronounced as you move from children at the high end to the low end of the test-score curve," said lead investigator Marie Lynn Miranda, director of the Children's Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI) at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

"Given the higher average lead exposure experienced by African-American children in the United States, our results show that lead does in fact explain part of the observed achievement gap that blacks, children of low socioeconomic status and other disadvantaged groups continue to exhibit in school performance in the U.S. education system, in comparison to middle- and upper-class whites," Miranda said.

The study, published online in the peer-evaluated journal NeuroToxicology, linked data on blood-lead levels from the North Carolina Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program surveillance registry to EOG reading test scores for 4th graders in all 100 of the state's counties.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 8:07 AM CT

Pre-term births and higher rates of eye problems

Pre-term births and higher rates of eye problems
As more extremely pre-term infants survive in Sweden, an increasing number of babies are experiencing vision problems caused by abnormalities involving the retina, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Retinopathy of prematurity [abnormal development of blood vessels in the retina] remains an important cause of childhood blindness and visual impairment throughout the world," the authors write as background information in the article. "During the last decade, neonatal care has changed with an increase in centralization, implementation of new therapies and provision of intensive care for infants of extremely low gestational age. These changes have contributed to an increasing population of survivors in neonatal intensive care units today. The occurence rate of retinopathy of prematurity in these extremely preterm infants is, therefore, unknown".

Dordi Austeng, M.D., of University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden, and Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway, and his colleagues studied Swedish infants born before 27 weeks' gestation between 2004 and 2007. Infants were screened for retinopathy of prematurity beginning at five weeks after birth and were treated for the condition as per established guidelines.........

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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