When a Child with Autism Refuses Most Foods

Case report suggests vitamin deficiencies, serious health problems can follow

The life-threatening health problems that a 9-year-old boy with autismfaced recently shed light on an issue that is rarely discussed.

Many children with autism or other developmental disorders Continue reading

Autism-Birth Induction Link: Correlation or Causation?

induced_birth_autismA new study linking birth induction to autism is rippling through the mainstream press, generating titles such as Bloomberg’s “Autism Risk May Be Raised for Children When Labor Induced, CBS News’ “Induced labor may increase risk of autism in offspring,  and WebMD’s “Induced Labor Linked to Raised Risk of Autism.” Continue reading

4 Ways Probiotics Can Reduce Infections, Flus and Colds

Probiotics are bacteria or yeast introduced to the body to aid in total body health.

It may seem counterproductive to purposely consume microorganisms but our body naturally contains many beneficial bacteria – the digestive system alone contains more than 500 such organisms – that help to keep our complex processes running smoothly.

Maintaining the proper balance is crucial to our health. Both good and Continue reading

Exercise May Lead to Better School Performance for Kids with ADHD

A few minutes of exercise can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder perform better academically, according to a new study led by a Michigan State University researcher.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, shows for the first time that kids with ADHD can better drown out Continue reading

Vitamin D Supplementation Can Decrease Risk of Respiratory Infections in Children

Wintertime infection risk cut in half among children with very low initial vitamin D levels

A study conducted in Mongolian schoolchildren supports the possibility that daily vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of respiratory infections in winter. In a report that will appear in the journal Pediatrics and has received early online release, an international research team found that vitamin D supplementation decreased the risk of respiratory infections among Continue reading

Brown Fat Measured by Thermal Imaging

Heat-seeking cameras could be used to measure people’s “good fat” and determine which foods they ought to be avoiding, scientists claim.

Brown fat is good for our bodies because it burns calories by producing large amounts of heat, which could help us avoid storing surplus energy as white fat around our waistlines. Continue reading

Despite Less Play, Children’s Use of Imagination Increases over Two Decades

Children today may be busier than ever, but Case Western Reserve University psychologists have found that their imagination hasn’t suffered – in fact, it appears to have increased.

Psychologists Jessica Dillon and Sandra Russ expected the opposite outcome when they analyzed 14 play studies that Russ conducted between 1985 and 2008. Continue reading

Lasting Symptoms possible after Kids’ Concussions: Study

Some children may have memory and attention problems up to a year after a concussion, issues that can be tied to a lower quality of life and an increased risk of needing extra help in school, according to a U.S. study.

Concussion is by far the most common form of brain injury and has received increasing attention in the media, and millions of U.S. children get a concussion every year — but many don’t go to the hospital, said Keith Yeates at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, who worked on the study.

“Our study pretty convincingly shows that the vast majority of kids do very well after a mild traumatic brain injury,” Yeates said. Continue reading

Diet Rich in Fish Oil and Protein May Help Combat ADHD

In the past few decades, there have been a growing number of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with the disease.

While there is medication to treat this disorder, it is not effective for all children. Recently, research published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that making changes in diet could combat the symptoms of ADHD in children who are unresponsive to pharmacotherapy.

“A greater attention to the education of parents and children in a healthy dietary pattern, omitting items shown to predispose to ADHD, is perhaps the most promising Continue reading

Kids’ ER Visits for Psychiatric Care Inching Up

Emergency room doctors are seeing more and more kids for mental health problems, and many of them are uninsured, researchers said at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Boston.

A study found that between 1999 and 2007, 279 million children went to U.S. emergency departments. Over that period, the proportion of visits caused by mental illness rose from 2.4 percent to three percent.

Underinsured children accounted for as many as 54 percent of the psychiatric emergencies in 2007, up from 46 percent in 1999, Dr. Zachary E. Pittsenbarger and his team concluded based on data Continue reading

The Inside Scoop on Vitamin K

This is an introduction to vitamin K, which is closely connected to blood’s capacity to clot.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin discovered in the early 1930s by a Danish biochemist, Henrik Dam, who won the Nobel Prize 13 years later. The letter “K” comes from the German word “koagulation,” which has to do with blood clotting.

The vitamin consists of many different but related chemicals. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone) are the two natural forms. Both are found in a variety of foods,

Vitamin K is essential for the key proteins in our bodies, including some that are critical Continue reading

Spring Flings May Explain Teenage Pregnancies Peak

Researchers have found that the relative likelihood of conceiving in the month of March is higher if you’re a school-aged adolescent than if you’re an adult.

“It certainly is an intriguing finding,” says Mary Anne Jamieson, an Associate Professor in Queen’s Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, a practicing obstetrician at Kingston General Hospital, and co-author of the paper. “This adolescent pregnancy peak may be explained by biological reasons such as variations in fertility over the course of a calendar year, but it’s also possible that this increased conception rate in March is because of Spring Break.”

The researchers examined all 838 adolescent pregnancies that occurred in the Kingston region over a five-year period and compared the conception rates per month with a random sample of 838 adult conceptions that occurred over the same time period. While more adults conceive overall during the month of March, a larger relative percentage of adolescent pregnancies are conceived at this time compared to adult pregnancies.

This peak in adolescent conceptions coincides with the weeklong break given to all Ontario high school students.

“If Spring Break is the reason Continue reading

Children’s Hospitals not Equipped to Handle Pandemics

Outbreak could quickly exhaust capacity

A new study of children’s hospitals nationwide has found them underequipped to handle a major surge of patients in the event of a pandemic, and urges health care institutions and government agencies to immediately review emergency preparedness plans as flu season approaches.

“Every year we get lucky,” said the study’s lead author, Marion Sills, MD, MPH, and associate professor of pediatrics at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine. Continue reading

Good Fat Most Prevalent in Thin Children

Study at Joslin Diabetes Center and Children’s Hospital Boston Finds Boosting Brown Fat Levels May Combat Obesity Epidemic

Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Children’s Hospital Boston have shown that a type of “good” fat known as brown fat occurs in varying amounts in children – increasing until puberty and then declining — and is most active in leaner children.

The study used PET imaging data to document children’s amounts and activity of brown fat, which, unlike white fat, burns energy instead of storing it. Results were published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Increasing the amount of brown fat in children may be an effective approach at combating the ever increasing rate of obesity and diabetes in children,” said Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, an assistant investigator and staff physician at Joslin and senior author of the paper. Continue reading

The Simple Act of Breastfeeding May significantly Reduce the Risk of SIDS

The sobering statistic is that every day approximately seven babies die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Recent research suggests the simple act of breastfeeding may significantly reduce the risk of this disease and the reduction may be particularly dramatic if the breastfeeding is exclusive of formula feeding: Health Day reports. The study published in the June 13 issue of Pediatrics found a 45% reduction in SIDS risk in babies who received any amount of breast milk and a whopping 73% reduction in those who were breastfed exclusively.

Aside from lowering SIDS risk, breast feeding provides other advantages. Experts widely regard breast milk as the best type of nourishment,  Continue reading