I recently ran into a friend I hadn't seen in about 5 years. We were catching up on each other's lives when her teenage son joined us. The last time I saw John he was about 11 years old and full of pre-teen energy and curiosity. This time however, he was quiet and kept his head down when he said hello. When he finally looked up, I saw why he had been avoiding full-face eye contact. John had a pretty severe case of acne. Not a few pimples, but entire areas on his face that were red and dotted with large pustules and cysts. It looked painful.
Typically, acne isn't a serious medical condition. It comes and goes throughout life and is more of an annoyance than anything else. For some though, acne can cause emotional distress and lead to scarring of the skin and psyche.
Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications that when combined with a consistent face cleaning routine, keep breakouts to a minimum.
But for some people, teens in particular, acne can progress to the point where OTC medications don't control the problem. Pediatricians are often called upon to help teens come up with a plan of treatment.
There is a range of medications that can clear up even severe cases of acne, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Writing in the May issue of its journal Pediatrics, the group throws its support behind new guidelines from the American Acne and Rosacea Society that detail how to treat acne in children and teens of all ages.
That "all ages" part is important because acne is becoming more and more common in pre-teens, too, said Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield, the lead author of the AAP report. One study of 9- and 10-year-old girls found that more than three-quarters had pimples.
A possible reason for why kids are experiencing breakouts at a younger age is that, on an average, boys and girls are starting puberty earlier than in past generations says Eichenfield.
Many a new mother has struggled with whether to breast-feed or give her newborn formula. A recent study, published in the journal
10 to 20 percent of children have common skin warts, but where do they come from? Old wives tales and folklore suggest they come from touching frogs or toads, but I think we've all grown past that as an explanation. Actually, warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). They form when the virus gets into the skin, usually through a cut or scratch. The virus causes the rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin and once formed, they can be rough or smooth to the touch.
How do children get warts? A recent study found that elementary age children are most likely to catch the virus from family members or at school.
The study was led by, Sjoerd C. Bruggink, MD, Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He and his team looked at how warts are commonly spread. They focused on HPV, but not the strains transmitted through sexual activity.
The study looked at 1,000 children ages 4 to 12. Researchers looked for warts on the children's hands and feet, and recorded information such as whether any family members or classmates had warts, whether the children walked barefoot at home, and whether they visited public swimming pools, used public showers or played sports barefoot. At a follow-up exam a year later, the children were re-examined for warts.
Overall, 29 percent of the children in the study developed new warts during the year. Researchers said that children who had warts at the start of the study were more likely to develop new warts than were children who had no warts at the beginning of the study.
The investigators noted that the susceptibility to developing warts may run in families. The study found that children who had family members with warts were twice as likely to develop warts.
20 percent of the children were more likely to get them from classmates who had warts.
Prevention should be aimed at reducing transmission within families and classes, the researchers s
How doctors are helping kids beat a common food allergy.
This is one of those health concerns you heard a lot about in the 70s and 80s when the government began to take an active role in reducing the amount of lead in our everyday environment.
As long ago as 1904, child lead poisoning was linked to lead-based paints, but it wasnt until 1971 that the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act was passed. Finally in 1978, lead-based paint was banned. The inside and outside of homes built before then most likely were painted with a lead based paint. Since lead is slightly sweet to the taste children are tempted to put fallen paint chips, or peeled chips, into their mouths.
Lead was also an additive used in gasoline till 1986 when it was phased out of production. Tons of lead was released into the atmosphere and eventually found its way into the dirt of playgrounds, and yards.
The banning of lead in these two areas alone has dramatically reduced the number of American children with elevated blood lead levels. Thats extremely good news because lead poisoning can have terrible consequences for children and adults.
But, despite the progress that has been made in the last four decades, about 2.6% of U.S. children aged 1 to 5 years old still have too much lead in their systems, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Surveys conducted between 2007 and 2010 show that more than half a million children had blood lead levels equal to or above the recommended 5 micrograms per deciliter (mg/dl). A level at, or higher than 5 mcg/dl, is considered a level of concern by the CDC.
Children can be exposed to lead by inhaling it, swallowing it or in rare cases absorbing it through the skin. In the bloodstream it can damage red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it. Lead can end up in the bones and interfere with calcium absorption. It can severely affect mental and physical development and at very
The dreary days of winter are quickly giving way to longer hours of daylight. Kids will soon be swimming, biking, playing sports and enjoying all the other advantages that more sunshine and warmer weather offers. Theyll also be absorbing more UVA and UVB rays.
While skin cancer in children is rare, and melanoma " the deadliest form of skin cancer- is even more unusual, more cases are being reported according to a new study. The rates increased by about 2% per year from 1973 to 2009 in U.S. children ages newborn to 19. Melanoma accounts for up to 3 percent of all pediatric cancers, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
As you might expect, the largest increase was seen in teenage girls from 15 to19 years old. Girls tend to lay out in the sun or visit tanning booths more often than boys. Girls are more likely to have melanomas on their lower legs and hips while boys melanomas are typically found on the face and trunk.
Recent studies have also shown that melanoma is on the rise among adults as well. Exactly what is driving these trends is not fully understood, but increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation from both the sun and tanning booths as well as greater awareness of melanoma may be responsible, according to study authors led by Jeannette Wong of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
Skin cancer looks pretty much the same in children as it does in adults. Parents should routinely check any moles or changes in their childs skin.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer. It is highly treatable, grows very slowly and is located on the top layer of skin. It usually appears as a small, shiny bump or nodule on the skin, mainly those areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, arms, hands, and face. It more commonly occurs among people with light-colored eyes, hair, and complexion.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a more aggressive skin cancer but
Stopping pancreatic cancer before it becomes cancer.
If a child is diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), will he or she eventually outgrow it or continue with the condition into adulthood?
A new study shows that nearly 30% will continue to struggle with ADHD, and may develop other mental health issues.
"We suffer from the misconception that ADHD is just an annoying childhood disorder thats over treated," researcher William Barbaresi, MD, of Boston Childrens Hospital, says in a prepared statement. "This couldnt be further from the truth. We need to have a chronic-disease approach to ADHD as we do for diabetes. The system of care has to be designed for the long haul."
The study included 5,700 adults. Two groups were created: one group had been diagnosed during childhood with ADHD, and the other group grew up without ADHD.
Out of 367 participants who had childhood ADHD, 232 were followed into adulthood. At age 27, nearly 30% had adult ADHD.
Researchers also found that nearly 57% of the adults with childhood ADHD had at least one other mental health issue. 35% of the adults without childhood ADHD also had one or more mental health issues.
Substance abuse or dependence (26%), antisocial personality disorder (17%), other substance abuse/dependence (16%), hypomanic episodes (15%), anxiety disorder (14%) and major depression (13%) were the most common mental health issues experienced by adults diagnosed with childhood ADHD.
The researchers noted that death from suicide was nearly five times higher in this group.
Among all 367 adults with childhood ADHD, seven (1.9%) had died, three of them from suicide. Of 4,946 people without ADHD, only 37 (0.7%) had died, five by suicide.
Ten people whod had childhood ADHD (2.7%) were in jail at the time of recruitment for the study.
This study "speaks to the need to greatly improve the long-term treatment of children with ADHD and provide a mechanism for treating them as adults," r
A new study slated to appear in the Journal of Pediatrics, says that there is no association between the amount of vaccines a young child receives and autism. Some parents have worried that there may be a link and have opted out of having their child vaccinated or reduced the number of vaccines recommended.
When should babies be introduced to solid foods? Many physician groups and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend waiting till your infant is at least 6 months old before solid foods are introduced into his or her diet.
But a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that 4 in 10 parents start feeding their babies solid foods before their four-month birthday.
Why should parents wait? According to the AAP, its partly because early solid foods have been linked to obesity and other chronic conditions. Public health experts also agree that a mothers breast milk or nutritionally fortified formula is best fed exclusively till the baby is about 6 months old.
"Introducing solid foods early means that the baby gets less breast milk over the course of their infancy, and that decreases the ability to get optimal benefits, like protection against infection," said Dr. Alice Kuo, from the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.
Choking on solid foods is another concern experts have noted.
"Infants should be able to sit up (and) take food off the spoon," said the CDC's Kelley Scanlon, who worked on the research." Sometimes if they're not ready, if they get presented with the food, they might not open their mouth or they might spit it back up."
The teams research included 1,334 new moms who filled out questionnaires each month about what their baby had eaten in the past week. The surveys were conducted between 2005 and 2007, when AAP recommendations called for starting solid foods no earlier than four months of age. Just over 40 percent of parents reported their babies were eating solids, such as cereals and purees, before that point.
Why were the mothers feeding solid foods so early? They gave several answers. They thought their baby was old enough, their infant seemed hungry " even after being breastfed or given a bottle, and surprisingly many re
Do You Follow Your Child's Doctor's Advice?
Do you follow your child's doctor's advice? If not, you're not alone but you may be setting your child up for future health problems according to a new study.
The study showed that 56 %, about two-thirds, of parents said they followed the doctor's advice most of the time, and 13% said they followed it only occasionally.
The findings were produced by, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.
One possible reason as to why parents didn't always follow their child's doctor's advice was how well they related to their medical provider. Among parents who rated their children's doctor as excellent or talking to me in a way I can understand, 6 % said they followed the advice only occasionally. But 46% who rated their doctor as good, fair or poor said they also followed his or her advice only occasionally.
"Parents need to ask for clarification if they are unsure about what the provider is saying, or why it's important," said Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the poll. Doctors should use clear language, ask parents about their concerns, and give practical examples of what works with children, he said.
That last point cannot be emphasized enough. While parents need to speak up if they don't understand what the doctor is telling them, providers need to take the time to ask the parents questions to make sure they understand what is being said and why. Too often parents say they feel they are being rushed out of the exam room and receive information that is given to them in doctor speak and not common language.
What advice are parents more likely to heed? The studys results say that recommendations on nutrition, dentist visits and using car seats.
What recommendations were parents least likely to follow? 40 % said they didn't follow advice on discipline, 18% said they didn't follow advice on sleeping recommendations a
No surprise here, but food for thought. A new report reveals a couple of connections, that with a little common sense you could probably figure out anyway, that have been confirmed in a scientific study.
According to the study, in the last 20 years, there has been a substantial rise in the consumption of sugary drinks in 2 to 11 year olds and children who drink these beverages ingest far more calories than children who don't.
Also, children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages eat more unhealthy foods than other children.
Sugar-sweetened beverages include sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Unhealthy foods are considered ones that contain high levels of solid fats, sodium and calories such as pizza, fast food hamburgers, cakes, cookies, pies, and fried foods.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 11,000 U.S. children aged 2-18 years old who participated in national surveys from 2003-2010. During this time children's consumption of food and sugar-sweetened beverages increased, and the consumption of non-sweetened beverages decreased.
Breaking down the analysis even more, it was determined that the sugar-sweetened beverages were the primary cause of increased calories for children 2 to 11 years old.
The study is scheduled for publication (with greater detail) in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"Among all age groups analyzed, the energy density (calories per gram) of food consumed increased with higher sugar-sweetened beverage intake," lead investigator Kevin Mathias, of the department of nutrition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a journal news release.
Currently in New York City, there is a hotly contested debate over the legality of banning certain sized sugar-sweetened beverages. Some people feel it's a good idea to help combat the obesity epidemic and others believe that banning these drinks denies a person the r
In a recent KidsDr.com website article, Pediatrician, Sue Hubbard, writes about Food Myths & Your Baby. Dr. Hubbard emphasizes the need to introduce a variety of foods to children when they start eating solid foods. The myths relate to a nonexistent forbidden foods list parents should avoid in order to prevent their child from having an allergic reaction.
New recommendations, from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), support Dr. Hubbard's encouragement of including foods such as wheat, milk, eggs, fruits, nuts and shellfish in your child's diet.
In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued guidelines that suggested children should put off having milk until age 1, eggs until age 2 and peanuts, shellfish and nuts until age 3. However, in 2008 the AAP revised those guidelines citing little evidence that delays prevented the development of food allergies. It didn't say when and how to introduce such foods though.
The AAAAI's recommendations address those concerns by suggesting foods that are considered highly allergic be slowly introduced in small amounts- after first foods such as cereals, fruits and vegetables have been eaten and tolerated. Babies can be introduced to the more allergic type foods as long as they are prepared correctly. Foods should be mushy and easy for an infant to eat or in the case of eggs and fruits cut into very small pieces.
"There's been more studies that find that if you introduce them early it may actually prevent food allergy," said David Fleischer, co-author of the article and a pediatric allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver. "We need to get the message out now to pediatricians, primary-care physicians and specialists that these allergenic foods can be introduced early."
The theory behind introducing foods, that are considered the most likely to cause an allergic reaction, early and in small doses is that children may actu
New information breast cancer survivors need to know about a drug they might be on right now!
How many times have you told your child Good Boy! or Good Girl! I know I did hundreds of times. It was a mommy reaction to my child's attempt at accomplishment. Hit the ball during a softball game? Good Girl! Create an amazing science project? Good Boy! It was an easy compliment that rolled right off the tongue.
According to a new study, I could have done a little better if I'd praised the actual action instead of just the child. Researchers at the University of Chicago and Stanford University studied the mother-child interactions over several years and discovered that the type of praise you give your child affects their attitudes towards meeting challenges in the future.
Specifically, praise with feedback about the child's behavior and the choices he or she made helped them cope better with difficult experiences five years later, compared with praise focused solely on the child.
This is something we suspected would be the case based on a lot of experimental research, and it's exciting to see it play out in the real world, says Elizabeth Gunderson, an assistant professor of psychology at Temple University, in Philadelphia, who led the study while at the University of Chicago. Praising the efforts, actions and work of the kid is going to be more beneficial in their long-term persistence and [desire] to be challenged and work hard in the future.
Instead of just saying good boy or girl, you might say something like you really worked hard at learning how to hit that ball, or that was a very creative choice for a science project. I like how you built it. This kind of process praise focuses on the child's accomplishment and effort instead of person praise that focuses on the child's natural qualities.
While the difference may seem small, psychologists have made the distinction for years,. However, they haven't known exactly how these two types of praise affect the child's future development.
Dancing is a wonderful artistic expression and kids have taken to tapping, pirouetting, Irish stepping and even ballroom dancing across the country. While it can be fun and great exercise, lots of these kids are being seriously injured.
Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital looked at a national database of emergency-department visits. What they found was that the most common dance-related injuries were sprains, strains and injuries from falls. The patients were between 15 and 19 years old.
The researchers said no one on the team is calling for parents to pull their children from dance classes, but that the results from their study suggests that instructors should look for ways to prevent injury in students who participate in the physically demanding activity.
About 113,100 children and teens were treated for dance injuries in U.S. emergency departments between 1991 and 2007, according to the research teams estimates. During that time, the number of cases in a year increased by more than 37 percent, to about 8,500 in 2007. This is the first study to examine dance-related injuries on a national level. It was published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.
With about 22,000 dance schools across the country, study author Kristen Roberts, said one reason for the increase in injuries may be that there are simply more children dancing.
Steps to prevent injury include stretching, staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest and using good form.
Eric Leighton, an athletic trainer with the Nationwide Children's sports-medicine program, works with dancers regularly and said that repetition and fatigue often lead to injury.
Whether it's a pitcher throwing a lot of pitches in one inning or a dancer repeating a dance, as the muscles get tired, some of the coordination and the body's ability to cope starts to suffer he said. The hospital recently started a program to focus on dance.
Just about all western babies wear diapers. I'm pretty sure we all know that, but what you may not know is that the bigger the diaper the more difficult it may be for baby to walk.
Scientists compared the gait of 60 babies who wore either a thin diaper, a thicker cloth diaper or no diaper at all. Half of the babies were 19 month-old more experienced walkers, and half were 13 month-old beginners.
When the 13 month-olds walked naked only 10 fell, but when they wore cloth diapers 21 fell. When the babies wore the thinner disposable diapers, 17 fell.
The more experienced walkers, the 19 month-olds, were able to maneuver better. Among the babies who went naked or wore the thinner disposable diapers only four fell. Once they switched to the fuller cloth diapers, 8 fell. Both of the age groups took wider and shorter steps when wearing diapers as opposed to walking naked.
The study cannot predict if wearing diapers has any long-term impact, but it does suggests that giving baby a break from diaper wearing might speed up walking development.
Of course, that leaves a rather big problem what to do about the mess that your baby makes when left to wander the house au naturel. By the way, fresh air on the hiney is also good to cut back on diaper rash, so if you're inclined to give it a try you might wait till after your baby has a bowel movement or has urinated and then let him or her walk a bit without a diaper.
I remember when my child was between one and two years old and learning to walk " it was an exercise in futility trying to keep clothes on her because she loved toddling around naked. She rarely had diaper rash and learned to walk pretty quickly. Of course, diapers are necessary and she wore her fair share, but when we had some time to relax and hang out together off the diapers came. While I kept a close eye on her in case an accident should occur (actually there were only a few), she smiled, giggled and toddled around butt-
Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.
Could spending three more minutes at the dinner table really help lower childhood obesity? According to a new study published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, more time equals less weight.
Scientists at the University of Illinois looked at ways low-income families could help their kids achieve and maintain a healthy weight. They discovered family mealtimes together could be linked to the kid's weight.
The study involved 200 family mealtimes. Children who regularly sat down and had their meals with the family were more likely to have a normal weight than those who cut mealtimes short. Even three minutes more at the table had an impact.
"Children whose families engaged with each other over a 20-minute meal four times a week weighed significantly less than kids who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes. Over time, those extra minutes per meal add up and become really powerful," study author Barbara Fiese, director of the University of Illinois' Family Resiliency Program, said in a statement.
The findings suggest that families who have a positive attitude about mealtimes together and consider it an important part of family life, were less likely to have obese or overweight children. Behaviors such as talking and interacting together also seemed to contribute to the children's healthier weight.
Flese noted that teaching low-income families how to make the most of mealtimes together was worthwhile in helping families make the necessary changes needed to combat obesity.
"This is something we can target and teach. It's much more difficult to change such factors as marital status, maternal education, or neighborhood poverty," she said.
Our changing society also offers new challenges for families.
"It's also important to recognize the increasing diversity of families and their sometimes complex living arrangements that may challenge their abilities to plan ahead and arrange a single time to commun
A new study from Scotland suggests that the more you talk to and interact with your baby, the less likely it is that your child will develop ADHD later in life.
Researchers believe they have discovered a link between a lack of communication between a mother and her baby and a risk that the child will develop emotional problems and behavioral disorders as the child matures.
Scientists analyzed hundreds of videos of mothers interacting with their year-old babies. Study co-author Dr Clare Allely, a psychologist at Glasgow University's Institute Of Health And Wellbeing, said: "We used 180 videos for this study of mothers interacting with their 12-month-old infants " of which 120 were controls and 60 were of the children who were later diagnosed with disorders at seven years old."
They found that for every decrease of five vocalizations per minute by the mother the odds of the child developing ADHD by the age of seven increased by 44%. Vocalizations included everything from simple sounds to words.
Researchers said the findings did not mean that if you dont talk to your baby all the time that he or she will develop psychological and psychiatric problems. Instead they suggest that active parenting may offer a protective effect against these kinds of conditions.
Philip Wilson, study co-author and professor of primary care and rural health at the University of Aberdeen, said there are several theories on why the link may exist. "We have got the possibility that active parenting and active communication by the parents may have a protective effect against the development of problems with attention and conduct," he said.
"The other main hypothesis is to do with genetics. We know people who themselves have ADHD or conduct problems tend to be more under-active and communicate less later on in life. So the second possible explanation is that it may be the mothers themselves have ADHD and have become underactive and passed on the