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Archives Of Pediatric News Blog From Medicineworld.Org


January 4, 2010, 8:14 AM CT

Addictive Effects of Caffeine on Kids

Addictive Effects of Caffeine on Kids
Caffeine is a stimulant drug, eventhough legal, and adults use it widely to perk themselves up: Being "addicted" to caffeine is considered perfectly normal.

But how strong is caffeine's appeal in young people who consume an abundance of soft drinks? What impact does acute and chronic caffeine consumption have on their blood pressure, heart rate and hand tremor?

Furthermore, does consuming caffeinated drinks during adolescence contribute to later use of legal or illicit drugs?.

Jennifer L. Temple, PhD, a neurobiologist, assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the University at Buffalo and director of its Nutrition and Health Research Laboratory, is looking for answers to these three questions through a 4-year, $800,000 study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Her paper addressing the first question appears in the December 2009 issue of Behavioural Pharmacology, and is believed to be the first study to show a gender effect in the appeal of caffeinated soda in young people.

Given the effects of caffeine in adults, the scientists expected to see a difference between those who habitually consumed a lot of soft drinks, and those who consumed few. However, results showed that the difference was between boys and girls: The boys in the study worked harder and longer on a computer-based exercise to obtain caffeinated drinks.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 3, 2010, 10:47 AM CT

Tell them to go to bed early

Tell them to go to bed early
A study in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Sleep observed that adolescents with bedtimes that were set earlier by parents were significantly less likely to suffer from depression and to think about committing suicide, suggesting that earlier bedtimes could have a protective effect by lengthening sleep duration and increasing the likelihood of getting enough sleep.

Results show that adolescents with parental set bedtimes of midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to suffer from depression (odds ratio = 1.24) and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal ideation (OR=1.20) than adolescents with parental set bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier. This association was appreciably attenuated by self-reported sleep duration and the perception of getting enough sleep. Adolescents who reported that they commonly sleep for five or fewer hours per night were 71 percent more likely to suffer from depression (OR=1.71) and 48 percent more likely to think about committing suicide (OR=1.48) than those who reported getting eight hours of nightly sleep. Participants who reported that they "commonly get enough sleep" were significantly less likely to suffer from depression (OR=0.35) and suicidal ideation (OR=0.71).

Main author James E. Gangwisch, PhD, assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, N.Y., said that the results strengthen the argument that short sleep duration could play a role in the etiology of depression.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 29, 2009, 8:47 AM CT

Exposure to tobacco in childhood

Exposure to tobacco in childhood
Children regularly exposed to tobacco smoke at home were more likely to develop early emphysema in adulthood. This finding by scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health suggests that the lungs may not recover completely from the effects of early-life exposures to tobacco smoke (ETS). The study is reported in the December 2009 American Journal of Epidemiology

This population-based research is the first to examine the association of childhood ETS with early emphysema by Computerized axial tomography scan in nonsmokers. Approximately half of the participants in this large multiethnic cohort had at least one regular cigarette smoker in their childhood home. Participants with more childhood ETS exposure had more emphysema-like lung pixels; an average of 20% of scan pixels were emphysema-like for those who lived with two or more smokers as a child, compared with 18% for those who lived with one regular smoker, or 17% for those who said that they did not live with a regular inside smoker as a child.

The scientists studied Computerized axial tomography scans of 1,781 non-smokers without clinical cardiovascular disease recruited from six communities in the United States, including northern Manhattan and the Bronx, New York. Those reporting childhood ETS exposure were somewhat younger, with an average age of 61; were more likely to be non- Hispanic white; and less likely to have been born outside the United States. These differences were statistically controlled in the analyses.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 23, 2009, 11:03 PM CT

Sleeping Off Childhood?

Sleeping Off Childhood?
Are your 11- and 12-year-olds staying up later, then dozing off at school the next day? Parents and educators who notice poor sleeping patterns in their children should take note of new research from Tel Aviv University ? and prepare themselves for bigger changes to come.

Prof. Avi Sadeh of TAU's Department of Psychology suggests that changes in children's sleep patterns are evident just before the onset of physical changes linked to puberty. He counsels parents and educators to make sure that pre-pubescent children get the good, healthy sleep that their growing and changing bodies need.

"It is very important for parents to be aware of the importance of sleep for their developing children and to maintain their supervision throughout the adolescent years," says Sadeh, who reported his research findings in a recent issue of the journal Sleep. "School health education should also provide children with compelling information on how insufficient sleep compromises their well-being, psychological functioning and school achievements".

Every minute counts

Results of the study, supported by the Israel Science Foundation, show that over a two-year period, sleep onset was significantly delayed by an average of 50 minutes in the study subjects, and sleep time was significantly reduced by an average of 37 minutes. Girls also had higher sleep efficiency and reported fewer night wakings than boys. For both, initial levels of sleep predicted an increase in pubertal development over time. This suggests that the neurobehavioral changes linked to puberty appears to be seen earlier in sleep organization than in bodily changes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 7, 2009, 10:22 PM CT

Fit teenage boys are smarter

Fit teenage boys are smarter
In the first study to demonstrate a clear positive association between adolescent fitness and adult cognitive performance, Nancy Pedersen of the University of Southern California and his colleagues in Sweden find that better cardiovascular health among teenage boys correlates to higher scores on a range of intelligence tests and more education and income during the later part of life.

"During early adolescence and adulthood, the central nervous system displays considerable plasticity," said Pedersen, research professor of psychology at the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. "Yet, the effect of exercise on cognition remains poorly understood".

Pedersen, main author Maria berg of the University of Gothenburg and the research team looked at data for all 1.2 million Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976 who enlisted for required military service at the age of 18.

In every measure of cognitive functioning they analyzed from verbal ability to logical performance to geometric perception to mechanical skills average test scores increased as per aerobic fitness.

However, scores on intelligence tests did not increase along with muscle strength, the scientists found.

"Positive associations with intelligence scores were restricted to cardiovascular fitness, not muscular strength," Pedersen explained, "supporting the notion that aerobic exercise improved cognition through the circulatory system influencing brain plasticity".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:23 AM CT

Dangers of childhood lead exposure

Dangers of childhood lead exposure
A study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to evaluate brain function revealed that adults who were exposed to lead as children incur permanent brain injury. The results were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"What we have found is that no region of the brain is spared from lead exposure," said the study's main author, Kim Cecil, Ph.D., imaging scientist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and professor of radiology, pediatrics and neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "Distinct areas of the brain are affected differently".

The study is part of a large research project called the Cincinnati Lead Study, a long-term lead exposure study conducted through the Cincinnati Children's Environmental Health Center, a collaborative research group funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Cincinnati Lead Study followed prenatal and early childhood lead exposure of 376 infants from high-risk areas of Cincinnati between 1979 and 1987. Over the course of the project, the children underwent behavioral testing and 23 blood analyses that yielded a mean blood lead level.

Lead, a common and potent poison found in water, soil and lead-based paint, is particularly toxic to children's rapidly developing nervous systems. Homes built before 1950 are most likely to contain lead-based paint, which can chip and be ingested by children.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:19 AM CT

Overweight children may develop back pain

Overweight children may develop back pain
Being overweight as a child could lead to early degeneration in the spine, as per a research studypresented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"This is the first study to show an association between increased body mass index (BMI) and disc abnormalities in children," said the study's main author, Judah G. Burns, M.D., fellow in diagnostic neuroradiology at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City.

In this retrospective study, Dr. Burns and his colleagues evaluated MR images of the spines of 188 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 who complained of back pain and were imaged at the hospital over a four-year period. Trauma and other conditions that would predispose children to back pain were eliminated from the study.

The images revealed that 98 (52.1 percent) of the patients had some abnormality in the lower, or lumbar, spine. Most of those abnormalities occurred within the discs, which are sponge-like cushions in between the bones of the spine. Disc disease occurs when a bulging or ruptured disc presses on nerves, causing pain or weakness.

"In children, back pain is commonly attributed to muscle spasm or sprain," Dr. Burns said. "It is assumed that disc disease does not occur in children, but my experience says otherwise".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 1, 2009, 8:15 AM CT

Successful weight control strategies

Successful weight control strategies
Adolescent obesity is a major public health problem that impacts one out of every three children, resulting in 4-5 million overweight youth in the United States. As per a research findings reported in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, scientists reviewed differences in weight control behaviors, including dietary intake and physical activity, comparing overweight adolescents who lost weight and those who did not in order to better understand which strategies could be most effective.

Research has documented that one of the strongest predictors of adult obesity is adolescent obesity, with 70% of obese adolescents becoming obese adults. Identifying effective weight control strategies for adolescents is important and could help influence interventions for obesity in youth.

Investigators surveyed 130 adolescents, 62 who had been successful in losing weight and 68 who had been unsuccessful. Questioning adolescents and their parents, the authors reviewed weight control strategies, sedentary behaviors, dietary intake, physical activity, weighing frequency and current weight status.

In this pilot study weight control strategies were broken down into four categories. The first, "Healthy Weight Control Behaviors" (HWCB ), included eating less calories, increasing exercise, eating less high fat and junk food, drinking less soda, drinking more water, weighing oneself, eating more fruits and vegetables, and engaging in different kinds of exercise. The second category, "Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors" (UWCB) included laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, smoking, and fasting. The third category, "Extreme Dietary Changes" (EDC), included use of liquid diet supplements, the Atkins diet, a structured diet, fasting, and increased protein consumption. The fourth category, "Structured Behaviors" (SB), included eating a certain amount of calories, counting calories, recording food intake, and working with a professional.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 30, 2009, 8:00 AM CT

Intervention for children with autism

Intervention for children with autism
A novel early intervention program for very young children with autism some as young as 18 months is effective for improving IQ, language ability, and social interaction, a comprehensive newly released study has observed.

"This is the first controlled study of an intensive early intervention that is appropriate for children with autism who are less than 2 years of age. Given that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all 18- and 24-month-old children be screened for autism, it is crucial that we can offer parents effective therapies for children in this age range," said Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., chief science officer of Autism Speaks and the study's main author. "By starting as soon as the toddler is diagnosed, we hope to maximize the positive impact of the intervention." .

The study, published online today in the journal Pediatrics, examined an intervention called the Early Start Denver Model, which combines applied behavioral analysis (ABA) teaching methods with developmental 'relationship-based' approaches. This approach was novel because it blended the rigor of ABA with play-based routines that focused on building a relationship with the child. While the youngest children in the study were 18 months old, the intervention is designed to be appropriate for children with autism as young as 12 months of age. Eventhough prior studies have observed that early intervention can be helpful for preschool-aged children, interventions for children who are toddlers are just now being tested. Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors and impairment in verbal communication and social interaction. It is reported to affect one in 100 children in the United States.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 23, 2009, 8:23 AM CT

High blood pressure and kidney disease

High blood pressure and kidney disease
Susan Furth MD, PhD
Susan Furth, M.D., Ph.D.

Spot blood pressure readings in children with chronic kidney disease often fail to detect high blood pressure - even during doctor's office visits - increasing a child's risk for serious heart problems, as per research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and other institutions. A report of the findings appears online in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology.

Scientists compared blood pressure measurements obtained during regular doctor visits to readings obtained via a special device the children wore at home that automatically recorded their blood pressure every 20 minutes.

Of the 198 children in the study, nearly 40 percent had "masked" hypertension, meaning their blood pressure was normal at the doctor's office, but spiked outside of it.

An even more disturbing finding: Children with masked high blood pressure were four times more likely to have a form of hypertension-related heart damage called left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) than children with normal blood pressure, scientists report. LVH is a common consequence of untreated high blood pressure that results in a thickening of the left chamber of the heart and that over time can lead to heart failure and heart rhythm disturbances.

"Taking blood pressure at the doctor's office clearly misses a number of cases of masked hypertension," says Susan Furth, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric nephrologist at Hopkins Children's and one of the study's principal investigators. "This means children with chronic kidney disease should have their blood pressure taken at home several times a day and regularly reported to their doctors." An overnight monitor, like the one used in the study, that automatically takes a child's blood pressure every 20 minutes is great, but some insurance companies won't pay for it, researchers say.........

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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