WBEZ | children's health http://www.wbez.org/tags/childrens-health Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en After the Diagnosis: How Families Experience Autism http://www.wbez.org/news/after-diagnosis-how-families-experience-autism-114534 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/savanannah-4c88a756757a000b603a8f74987f052f0794a4e6-s1200.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463368014" previewtitle="The Hammetts smooth out stray strands of hair on Francis' head."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Hammetts smooth out stray strands of hair on Francis' head." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/17/hammett-9_custom-b5f78102f80c6cb2d25735b97450037af5d93a82-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="The Hammetts smooth out stray strands of hair on Francis' head. (Meredith Rizzo/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Raising kids is rewarding and raising kids is hard. That work is compounded when you have a child with autism. And each of these families experiences the disorder differently.</p></div></div></div><p>On Saturday,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/15/463221381/families-describe-how-they-felt-hearing-about-an-autism-diagnosis">we heard four parents</a>&nbsp;share the moment they learned their children had autism, and the signs that led them to seek a doctor&#39;s opinion. Now, we learn their experience following the diagnoses, the resources they found and help they still need.</p><p>Hear more from two of these parents about the trying journey that follows the diagnosis.</p><p>This week on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/tags/399382645/for-the-record">For the Record</a>: caring for a child with autism.</p><p><img alt="Ronald Hampton, his son Quintin and wife Quintina Hampton pose for a family picture." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/17/hamptons-c9626bbcc2e64cfae8b1f00ee160af28680334b4-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Ronald Hampton, his son Quintin and wife Quintina Hampton pose for a family picture. (Courtesy of Quintina Hampton)" /></p><h3><span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:#808080;">Ronald Hampton (Washington, D.C.) on&nbsp;son Quintin, 31</span></span></h3><div id="res463368009" previewtitle="Ronald Hampton, his son Quintin and wife Quintina Hampton pose for a family picture."><div><div><p>Quintin was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;His name is Ronald Quintin Hampton,&quot; Ron Hampton says. &quot;We call him Ron, we call him Quintin, we call him Boo. He has such a personality so, I think that&#39;s why he has, these variety of names.&quot;</p><h3><span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:#808080;">Christy Hammett&nbsp;(Bowie, Md.) on son Francis, 12</span></span></h3><p>&quot;Francis is a sweet, loving kid,&quot; says Christy Hammett. &quot;He is just awesome. He is a big boy and he is quite a lover.&quot;</p><p>She&#39;s been learning how to navigate the behavioral challenges of autism for more than a decade now.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Everyday Challenges</span></strong></p><p>&quot;That&#39;s terrible when they start taking off their clothes like in the middle of like the store or school or anything,&quot; says Hammett. &quot;Francis&#39;s biggest thing was the shoes. The shoes would come off and they&#39;d get thrown across the classroom or thrown across daycare.&quot;</p><p>Ron Hampton&#39;s son is 31 years old and things like this still happen.</p><p>When Ron took Quintin to the ENT clinic recently, he needed to go to the bathroom, so he went in his diaper.</p><p>&quot;The Depends caught most of it, but some of it came out, you know ran over, and so he was standing there once he realized and felt the wetness on his leg he took his stuff off,&quot; he says. &quot;Fortunate, for me, there was a bathroom nearby so I rushed him into the bathroom wiped him up a little bit and I put the fresh stuff on him and then we went to our appointment.&quot;</p><p>Ron says he doesn&#39;t get frustrated or embarrassed by his son&#39;s behavior. It doesn&#39;t help because it doesn&#39;t change anything.</p><p>Beyond emotional pressures, the financial pressures are also very real. Christy had to leave her job for a while to cut costs. She carries a flip phone and for a while her family didn&#39;t have Internet at home. Ron and his wife worked full-time while caring for Quintin.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Finding A Routine</span></strong></p><p>But both the Hampton and the Hammett families had to get outside help to deal with the pressure of the daily routine. It goes something like this.</p><p>After Francis picks out his own clothes, Christy makes him breakfast.</p><p>&quot;I make him a waffle, maybe sausage bacon salmon cakes, he likes to put it in his oatmeal sometimes,&quot; she says. &quot;Usually the bus comes around 7:30-ish. So he goes to a service center so he&#39;s not sitting in the house all day doing nothing. And then he&#39;s usually home between 4 and 4:30. And then he&#39;s ready for bed. So then we start all over again the next day.&quot;</p><p>Christy says it&#39;s not easy for her and her husband to accept that her son may need this kind of supervised routine forever.</p><p>&quot;I would hope that he could make it into a group home eventually and that he could be able to get a job, you know something that he would enjoy, maybe working at a pool because he likes water,&quot; she says. &quot;I don&#39;t know what else you know he could do.&quot;</p><p>These pressures have weighed on the Hammetts&#39; almost 22-year marriage.</p><p>&quot;[My husband and I] need each other and we depend on each other far more than I think we even realize,&quot; Christy says. &quot;We&#39;re getting through this, because this is what God has given us and we were designed to be Francis&#39;s parents.&quot;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Savannah&nbsp;Logsdon-Breakstone (Venango Co., Penn.), 28</span></strong></p><p><strong>Another Perspective</strong></p><p>Like Quintin and Francis, Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, now a social media contractor, struggled a lot as a child. But she didn&#39;t get her diagnosis as quickly as they did.</p><div id="res463368012" previewtitle="Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone visits the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) office in Washington, D.C."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone visits the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) office in Washington, D.C." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/17/savanannah-4c88a756757a000b603a8f74987f052f0794a4e6-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 463px; width: 620px;" title="Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone visits the Autistic Self Advocacy Network office in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;I would do things like charge at people, not intending to hurt them, but because I wanted to get past&nbsp;them,&quot; she says. &quot;I would tap my head on walls, I would hide under things ... I was what some parents describe as &#39;scary kids.&#39; &quot;</p></div></div></div><p>While the signs were there, it took a while to figure out what was going on.</p><p>&quot;They were changing mental health diagnoses about every six months,&quot; she says. &quot;And it got to the point where I did not really feel attached to any specific diagnosis because I knew it would change. I was put on a lot of different psychotropic medications and that would change every three months.&quot;</p><p>With a lot of help, Savannah graduated from high school. She was eventually diagnosed with autism. She tried college, but it was too hard to be on her own and moved back home into her own place. Still, having her parents nearby is a big help.</p><p>&quot;When I am not getting help, my kitchen becomes dangerous. There ends up being garbage everywhere, and dishes don&#39;t get done,&quot; she says. &quot;My family will come in and help clean and help organize things, they&#39;ll make sure the garbage goes out, that sort of thing. My mom&#39;s current husband actually manages my finances because it is not something that I am able to do.&quot;</p><p>She has some ideas in mind for her future, too.</p><p>&quot;I know I want a big enough yard so I can have chickens,&quot; she says. &quot;I hope that I can have a significant other who compliments me in ways so that I&#39;d be able to have children someday, so I mean those are pretty vague goals for the most part but you know that&#39;s what I want my future to be.&quot;</p><p><em>We&#39;d like to hear about your experience with autism. If you&#39;re willing to share, you can&nbsp;<a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/133BpPIE2mh2UpNXeJ7b2035RV0JY4SfvpPR7_3ma2eE/viewform">add it here</a>.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463359369/after-the-diagnosis-how-families-experience-autism?ft=nprml&amp;f=463359369" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 20 Jan 2016 14:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-diagnosis-how-families-experience-autism-114534 How to Help Kids in Poverty Adjust to the Stability of School After Break http://www.wbez.org/news/how-help-kids-poverty-adjust-stability-school-after-break-114421 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/poverty-baggage_custom-5ca2ff6402cc89fde25abd5a4bf3a90a44f614fb-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res462170498" previewtitle="Poverty's Baggage"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Poverty's Baggage" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/06/poverty-baggage_custom-5ca2ff6402cc89fde25abd5a4bf3a90a44f614fb-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="Poverty's Baggage (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>The first day back from winter break can be restless.</p><p>Many children are still coming down from the excitement of the holidays. Two unstructured weeks away from school &mdash; with strange food, rituals and relatives &mdash; can be overwhelming for many children, especially when it grinds to a halt after the new year and normality resumes.</p><p>But for students whose families are struggling in poverty, time away from school isn&#39;t an exciting blip on an otherwise calm school year. For them, it can be a crippling time of insecurity when it comes to food and shelter.</p><p>And teachers can tell.</p><p>&quot;They come back to school and it is super obvious how exhausted they are,&quot; says Sonya Romero Smith, a kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque, N.M., where she has worked with many families in poverty.</p><p>Romero Smith leads a course for her local union on how teachers can work with the most vulnerable students, like those living in poverty. She says fatigue is just one sign that a student&#39;s break might have been chaotic.</p><p>&quot;Clothes are dirty at this point,&quot; Romero Smith says. &quot;There&#39;s an inability to stay focused &mdash; sometimes that&#39;s hunger or some form of neglect.&quot; A student might become aggressive or clingy, she says, or might not want to go home at the end of the day.</p><p>With&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html">1 in 5</a>&nbsp;children in the U.S. living below the poverty line, this scenario plays out in classrooms nationwide every January.</p><p>Living in poverty is often stressful, with families grappling to find the next meal, a warm place to sleep or quality child care. Those experiences, repeated over and over again, can actually change a child&#39;s brain.</p><p>Chronic stress can inhibit a child&#39;s ability to manage his or her behavior, says Ross Thompson, a University of California, Davis professor who studies child social-emotional development. It can also affect language and memory skills.</p><p>Children &mdash; regardless of home life &mdash; manage behavior by predicting their environment, Thompson says. After an unpredictable winter break, teachers need to give students room to ease back into school &mdash; and this might be harder for those from chronically stressful homes.</p><p>&quot;Expecting that young children are going to be capable of sitting in circle time is probably not the best expectation,&quot; says Thompson, who added that shortening time spent sitting still and adding more active lessons into the day might ease students back into the school routine.</p><p>Using verbal transitions and songs &mdash; like a cleanup song &mdash; helps remind students how school works, he says.</p><p>On a larger scale, Thompson says training teachers to be aware of what might be going on in some students&#39; lives can build empathy. Instead of kicking disruptive students out of the classroom, administrators can prepare teachers with strategies that address some of the issues that chronic stress can bring.</p><p>In Sonya Romero Smith&#39;s classroom, however, some students still have a hard time readjusting, despite the added reminders and slower pace.</p><p>She says tangible securities go a long way &mdash; like having some food and clothes available.</p><p>&quot;Those first few days, make that environment safe again. It&#39;s OK that they&#39;re tired,&quot; says Romero Smith, who became the foster parent to two of her former students.</p><p>Not all teachers can foster a student, but they can point families to resources like shelters, community centers, libraries and public transportation options, says Romero Smith.</p><p>There&#39;s also a simple message that teachers can use before the break begins: &quot;You&#39;re going to come back. Don&#39;t worry. We&#39;ll be together again in this many days,&quot; she says, showing them exactly what that looks like on a calendar.</p><p>She says she considers this extra work an ethical responsibility.</p><p>&quot;If school is the place where you&#39;re supposed to get knowledge and realize what the world has to offer,&quot; she says, &quot;it should be the safest place, where you have the ability to show your greatness.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/01/07/461595631/how-to-help-kids-in-poverty-adjust-to-the-stability-of-school-after-break?ft=nprml&amp;f=461595631" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 08 Jan 2016 11:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-help-kids-poverty-adjust-stability-school-after-break-114421 A Peek At Brain Connections May Reveal Attention Deficits http://www.wbez.org/news/peek-brain-connections-may-reveal-attention-deficits-113921 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/adhd_custom-c48f2fc521995d9fce44626b3bf579b5a9fc67cc-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457142622" previewtitle="Brain imaging experiments found patterns associated with attention span."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Brain imaging experiments found patterns associated with attention span." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/23/adhd_custom-c48f2fc521995d9fce44626b3bf579b5a9fc67cc-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Brain imaging experiments found patterns associated with attention span. (iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>A look at the brain&#39;s wiring can often reveal whether a person has trouble staying focused, and even whether he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD.</p></div></div></div><p>A team led by researchers at Yale University&nbsp;<a href="http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nn.4179">reports</a>&nbsp;that they were able to identify many children and adolescents with ADHD by studying data on the strength of certain connections in their brains.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s an intrinsic signature,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://psychology.yale.edu/people/monica-rosenberg">Monica Rosenberg</a>, a graduate student and lead author of the study in&nbsp;Nature Neuroscience.&nbsp;But the approach isn&#39;t ready for use as a diagnostic tool yet, she says.</p><p>The finding adds to the evidence that people with ADHD have a true brain disorder, not just a behavioral problem, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kennedykrieger.org/patient-care/faculty-staff/mark-mahone">Mark Mahone</a>, director of neuropsychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. &quot;There are measurable ways that their brains are different,&quot; he says.</p><p>The latest finding came from an effort to learn more about brain connections associated with attention.</p><p>Initially, the Yale team used&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC162295/">functional MRI</a>, a form of magnetic resonance imaging, to monitor the brains of 25 typical people while they did something really boring. Their task was to watch a screen that showed black-and-white images of cities or mountains and press a button only when they saw a city.</p><p>&quot;It gets really dull after a while,&quot; Rosenberg says, &quot;so it&#39;s really hard to pay attention to over a long period of time.&quot;</p><p>During the test, the team measured the strength of thousands of connections throughout the participants&#39; brains. And they were able to identify certain patterns that predicted a person&#39;s ability to stay focused.</p><p>What&#39;s more, these connection patterns were present even when the person wasn&#39;t trying to keep track of cities and mountains, or anything else, Rosenberg says. &quot;We could actually look at that signature while they were resting and we could still predict their attention,&quot; she says.</p><p>The team wanted to know whether this signature could be used to assess younger people, especially those with ADHD. So they reviewed data on 113 children and adolescents whose brains had been scanned by scientists in China as part of an unrelated study. The children had also been assessed for ADHD.</p><p>The team used the information about brain connections to predict how well each child would do on the attention task with cities and mountains.</p><p>&quot;And what we found was really surprising, and I think really cool,&quot; Rosenberg says. &quot;When we predicted that a child would do really well on the task, they had a low ADHD score. And when we predicted they would do really poorly on the task, they had a high ADHD score, indicating that they had a severe attention deficit.&quot;</p><p>For many of the children, the researchers were able to predict not only whether they had ADHD, but how severe the problem was.</p><p>The test isn&#39;t perfect but does provide useful information, Rosenberg says. Eventually, she says, it might help psychologists and psychiatrists assess children with attention problems.</p><p>One potential limitation of the approach is that attention deficits aren&#39;t found only in people with ADHD, says Mahone. Individuals with anxiety, depression, learning disabilities and autism also have trouble staying focused, he says.</p><p>Regardless of the diagnosis, though, Mahone says, &quot;knowing how the brain is different in a disorder, we can look at ways to help &#39;normalize&#39; the brain.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/23/457139705/a-peek-at-brain-connections-may-reveal-attention-deficits?ft=nprml&amp;f=457139705" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/peek-brain-connections-may-reveal-attention-deficits-113921 Common ADHD Medications Do Indeed Disturb Children's Sleep http://www.wbez.org/news/common-adhd-medications-do-indeed-disturb-childrens-sleep-113922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/adhd-sleep_custom-e9340e2576e9308325674866f871739028e579b2-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457144752" previewtitle="Boy sleeping in bed"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Boy sleeping in bed" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/23/adhd-sleep_custom-e9340e2576e9308325674866f871739028e579b2-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(iStockphoto)" /></div><div><p>For a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, meeting the daily expectations of home and school life can be a struggle that extends to bedtime. The stimulant medications commonly used to treat ADHD can cause difficulty falling and staying asleep, a study finds. And that can make the next day that much harder.</p></div></div><p>As parents are well aware, sleep affects a child&#39;s emotional and physical well-being, and it is no different for those with ADHD. &quot;Poor sleep makes ADHD symptoms worse,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://psychology.unl.edu/pediatrichealthlab/people">Katherine M. Kidwell</a>, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who led the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/ADHD-Medications-Make-it-Harder-For-Children-to-Sleep.aspx">study</a>. &quot;When children with ADHD don&#39;t sleep well, they have problems paying attention the next day, and they are more impulsive and emotionally reactive.&quot;</p><p>Stimulant medications boost alertness, and some studies have found a detrimental effect on children&#39;s sleep. They include amphetamines such as Adderall and methylphenidate such as Ritalin. However, other studies have concluded that the stimulants&#39; ameliorating effects improve sleep.</p><p>To reconcile the mixed results on stimulants and children&#39;s sleep, Kidwell and her colleagues undertook a meta-analysis, a type of study that summarizes the results of existing research. The team found nine studies that met their criteria. These studies compared children who were taking stimulant medication with those who weren&#39;t. The studies also randomly assigned children to the experimental group or the control group and used objective measures of sleep quality and quantity, such as assessing sleep in a lab setting or with a wristwatch-like monitor at home rather than a parent&#39;s report.</p><p>Taking a stimulant medication leads to poor sleep overall for children, the researchers reported online Monday in&nbsp;Pediatrics. They found that the more doses of medication a child took per day, the longer it took for that child to fall asleep at night. The study suggests that extended-release versions of stimulants, which are taken once a day, have less of an impact on how long it takes to fall asleep than immediate-release formulas, which are sometimes taken three times a day, with the last dose close to bedtime.</p><p>Furthermore, the quality of sleep, or sleep efficiency &ndash; the percentage of time one is asleep while in bed &mdash; was worse for those on stimulant medications, although those kids who had been on the drugs longer fared better than those who had just begun taking the medication. There was also a gender difference, with boys on stimulant medication getting poorer quality sleep than girls.</p><p>Finally, stimulants reduced the total amount of sleep children got at night. &quot;Families and pediatricians need to be aware that sleep problems are a real effect of stimulant medication,&quot; says Kidwell.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really good to see this,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="https://psychology.fiu.edu/faculty/william-pelham/">William E. Pelham</a>, a clinical psychologist and Director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, who studies ADHD in children and adolescents. Pediatricians are often quick to prescribe a medication without adequate follow-up, he says, and &quot;assessing sleep side effects is important &mdash; it needs to be something that pediatricians routinely do.&quot;</p><p>For families, Kidwell says that the bedtime routines all parents use &mdash; reading stories, sharing news about the day, quiet activities like coloring&mdash;are very helpful for kids with ADHD too. &quot;But parents may need to provide more structure, support, and simpler reminders for children with ADHD.&quot;</p><p>Aimee Cunningham is a freelance science journalist based in the Washington, D.C., area.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/24/457137288/common-adhd-medications-do-indeed-disturb-childrens-sleep?ft=nprml&amp;f=457137288" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/common-adhd-medications-do-indeed-disturb-childrens-sleep-113922 Could Atropine Eyedrops Help Reduce Nearsightedness In Children? http://www.wbez.org/news/could-atropine-eyedrops-help-reduce-nearsightedness-children-113841 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/eye-drops-15dd1c4e4786deec9a2e182be8eea32a5a1d3d0c-s1300-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456355556" previewtitle="Atropine is a drug used to treat multiple eye disorders including nearsightedness and farsightedness."><div><div><p>If you peek into classrooms around the world, a bunch of bespectacled kids peek back at you. In some countries such as China, as much as 80 percent of children are nearsighted. As those kids grow up, their eyesight gets worse, requiring stronger and thicker eyeglasses. But a diluted daily dose of an ancient drug might slow that process.</p></div></div></div><p>The drug is atropine, one of the toxins in deadly nightshade and jimsonweed. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, atropine was known as belladonna, and fancy Parisian ladies used it to dilate their pupils, since big pupils were considered alluring at the time.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1902/11/30/page/47/article/what-famous-parisian-beauties-endure-to-remain-beautiful" width="540"></iframe></p><p>A few decades later, people started using atropine to treat&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001014.htm">amblyopia</a>, or lazy eye, since it blurs the stronger eye&#39;s vision and forces the weaker eye to work harder.</p><p>As early as the 1990s, doctors had some evidence that atropine can slow the progression of nearsightedness. In some countries, notably in Asia, a 1 percent solution of atropine eyedrops is commonly prescribed to children with myopia. It&#39;s not entirely clear how atropine works. Because people become&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001023.htm">nearsighted</a>&nbsp;when their eyeballs get too elongated, it&#39;s generally thought that atropine must be interfering with that unwanted growth.</p><p>But as Parisians discovered long ago, the drug can have some inconvenient side effects.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="500" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1966/05/06/page/10/article/belladonna-warning" width="450"></iframe></p><p>Because it dilates pupils and blurs vision, atropine makes it hard to see up close or to stand bright lights. &quot;The children had difficulty reading. They would wear photochromatic glasses to shade against the glare,&quot; says Dr. Donald Tan, senior adviser at the Singapore National Eye Center. &quot;We realized, yeah, atropine does work, but we&#39;ve got to reduce the dose so we can reduce some of these side effects. Otherwise it will never be practical.&quot;</p><p>So Tan and a group of collaborators started testing out different doses of atropine on a group of 400 nearsighted children in Singapore. The participants took the eye drops every day for two years. Since some patients&#39; eyes will go into a growth spurt after going off the atropine, the researchers monitored the participants for a year off eyedrops. Patients whose nearsightedness rebounded during that year went back on the low-dose atropine for another year or two.</p><p>The children getting the lowest dose, eyedrops that were just 0.01 percent atropine, had the least worsening of nearsightedness compared with any other group after a five-year period. &quot;We slowed the progression of myopia by 50 percent [in this group],&quot; Tan says.</p><p>He and his colleagues have been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11874738">researching atropine</a>&nbsp;as a treatment for eye problems since the 1990s. Part of the reason this formulation did better, he says, is that these children&#39;s eyeballs had virtually no growth spurt after the initial two-year treatment period.</p><p>And the children on 0.01 percent atropine had almost no uncomfortable side effects from the eyedrops, the researchers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26271839">reported</a>&nbsp;Monday at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting in Las Vegas.</p><p>&quot;That was a surprise. You&#39;d think 0.01 percent would be completely worthless as a concentration, but it turned out to be slightly better.&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.childrenseyecare.org/content.php?id=106">Dr. David Epley</a>, a pediatric ophthalmologist and a former president of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, who wasn&#39;t involved in the study. &quot;The beauty of it was basically no kids had side effects.&quot;</p><p><img alt="Atropine is a drug used to treat multiple eye disorders including nearsightedness and farsightedness." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/17/eye-drops-15dd1c4e4786deec9a2e182be8eea32a5a1d3d0c-s1300-c85.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 225px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Atropine is a drug used to treat multiple eye disorders including nearsightedness and farsightedness. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></p><p>That opens atropine back up as a practical treatment for myopia, Epley says. &quot;This gives us a tool to slow down that progression of myopia that we didn&#39;t have in a safe way before.&quot;</p><p>Epley has been prescribing 0.01 percent atropine for some children in his own practice. He says he recommends it for children whose eyesight is rapidly getting worse and need new eyeglasses every few months, but not for patients who have only mild vision impairment.</p><p>If low-dose atropine can be made available to more people around the world, then that&#39;s likely to reduce the number of people at risk for developing a retinal detachment or retinal degeneration because of extreme nearsightedness. That&#39;s more important now, since the prevalence of nearsightedness has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/02/05/383765377/why-is-nearsightedness-skyrocketing-among-chinese-youth">increasing dramatically</a>&nbsp;over the years, Epley says. About 40 percent of people in the U.S. are nearsighted, up from 25 percent in the 1970s.</p><p>But making the drug available to a lot of people might not be so easy. Right now, only eyedrops with 1 percent atropine are commercially available in the United States, though 0.01 percent is available in places like Hong Kong, where myopia is especially common. To get the diluted version, families and physicians in other locales need to get a compounding pharmacy to create it, and the Food and Drug Administration has approved only the 1 percent solution so far.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://bc.ca/radio/q" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 14:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/could-atropine-eyedrops-help-reduce-nearsightedness-children-113841 More babies are dying because of congenital syphilis http://www.wbez.org/news/more-babies-are-dying-because-congenital-syphilis-113771 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/syphilis_wide-b388ef1516c9a9a65bcb6b0e42e8d00b490d7319-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455770081"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The bacterium that causes syphilis is spread through sexual contact. It's easily cured with antibiotics, but can be hard to diagnose." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/12/syphilis_wide-b388ef1516c9a9a65bcb6b0e42e8d00b490d7319-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="The bacterium that causes syphilis is spread through sexual contact. It's easily cured with antibiotics, but can be hard to diagnose. (CDC/Phanie/Science Source)" /></div><div><div><p>The number of babies born with syphilis has shot up, and it&#39;s taking a toll.</p></div></div></div><p>Of the 458 babies born last year with syphilis, 33 of were stillborn or died shortly after birth. From 2012 to 2014, there&#39;s been a 38 percent increase in cases of congenital syphilis. The spike reverses a previously falling trend in the rates of babies with syphilis from 2008 to 2012, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6444a3.htm?s_cid=mm6444a3_w">report</a>&nbsp;released Thursday in&nbsp;Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.</p><p>As rates of new syphilis infections rise and fall, rates of fetal and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm">congenital syphilis&nbsp;</a>tend to follow suite, says Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author on the study. If a pregnant woman carries the bacteria, syphilis can infect the unborn fetus. When that happens, a lot of things can go awry. &quot;Up to 40 percent of babies will die in utero or shortly after delivery,&quot; Bowen says. &quot;Or they might have a severe illness like blindness or deafness or other types of damage.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s hard to know the reason behind the recent surge in syphilis cases, Bowen says. &quot;The only thing I can say is syphilis is going up right now across the board,&quot; she says. &quot;From &#39;13 to &#39;14, we are seeing syphilis going up everywhere, including among the women, and we don&#39;t have the answers as to why.&quot;</p><p>The rising rates in congenital syphilis might betray a larger problem among health care for women and pregnant women, Bowen says. &quot;There are a lot of barriers to getting into the door at the prenatal care provider. That could be related to insurance status, stigma or discrimination.&quot; If women aren&#39;t getting adequate prenatal care, then they can&#39;t be screened for syphilis.</p><p>Access to care can be particularly hard for certain populations, says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/3b0b0dd8-3ad5-11e5-8d53-005056b104be">Dr. Martha Rac</a>, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at Ben Taub Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who was not involved with the study. &quot;African-American women are more disproportionately affected by syphilis than any other race,&quot; she says. And 57 percent of children with congenital syphilis were born to African-American women.</p><p>Lack of prenatal care is probably the greatest contributor to the upturn in congenital syphilis, Rac says. &quot;It seems to be the common theme that women having congenitally infected babies overwhelmingly have, if any, late, poor prenatal care. That is a big area which can be targeted from a public health standpoint.&quot;</p><p>Some states have been harder hit than others. California went from 35 cases in 2012 to 99 in 2014, while Texas continued to see a slight decline in the overall number of babies born with syphilis. &quot;In April, I designated Fresno County as an area of high syphilis, so providers are required to screen for syphilis three times during pregnancy,&quot; says Dr. Ken Bird, health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.</p><p>There are states that have free health coverage for pregnant women. &quot;In California, every pregnant female has coverage for prenatal care [through the Medi-Cal program]. Many don&#39;t realize that, and they&#39;re not sure how to access that care,&quot; Bird says. Other states may cover prenatal visits through state Children&#39;s Health Insurance Programs.</p><p>Syphilis is a difficult disease to diagnose, Bowen says. Many people become asymptomatic after the first lesions or rashes appear, but can still pass the infection on to their unborn children. But as long as the infection is caught early enough, a simple course of antibiotics is enough to ensure a healthy baby. &quot;Of the 458 cases we had last year, every single one of them is considered preventable,&quot; she says.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/12/455768422/more-babies-are-dying-because-of-congenital-syphilis?ft=nprml&amp;f=455768422"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 11:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-babies-are-dying-because-congenital-syphilis-113771 Are you hungry? Pediatricians add a new question during check-ups http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-hungry-pediatricians-add-new-question-during-check-ups-113477 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/pediatrician-9aad8eb1de359366f35e149ed02fcd28e953defd-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res450952827" previewtitle="Kids and parents often shy away from talking about their struggles at the doctor's office. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is now urging its members to screen kids for food insecurity during well-child visits."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Kids and parents often shy away from talking about their struggles at the doctor's office. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is now urging its members to screen kids for food insecurity during well-child visits." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/22/pediatrician-9aad8eb1de359366f35e149ed02fcd28e953defd-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Kids and parents often shy away from talking about their struggles at the doctor's office. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is now urging its members to screen kids for food insecurity during well-child visits. (iStockphoto)" /></div><div><p>An&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/key-statistics-graphics.aspx">estimated</a>&nbsp;7.9 million kids in the U.S. live in &quot;food-insecure&quot; households. This means there&#39;s not always enough to eat at home.</p></div></div><p>But when these kids go to the doctor for a check-up, or a well-child visit, the signs of malnutrition are not always apparent. So pediatricians say it&#39;s time to start asking about it.</p><p>Kids and parents often shy away from talking about their struggles. &quot;They&#39;re embarrassed, or they don&#39;t think the doctor will care,&quot; says pediatrician&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uofmchildrenshospital.org/providers/bio/d_121283">Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg</a>&nbsp;of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children&#39;s Hospital.</p><p>To get families talking, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity by asking questions like this:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>Within the past 12 months, the food we bought didn&#39;t last, and we didn&#39;t have money to get more. Yes or No?</em></p></div></blockquote><p>As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/18/441143723/people-on-food-stamps-eat-less-nutritious-food-than-everyone-else">reported</a>, America&#39;s wealth gap manifests on our dinner plates. Families who rely on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap">SNAP</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps &mdash; tend to eat about the same number of calories as higher-income Americans. But when it comes to nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, SNAP recipients eat less.</p><p>&quot;Some families do rely on starchy, filling foods that may not provide all the vitamins and minerals they need,&quot; says Schwarzenberg, who co-authored the AAP&#39;s new policy.</p><p>There are myriad health problems linked to poor nutrition. &quot;Hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity are tied to adult cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes,&quot; Schwarzenberg says.</p><p>And that&#39;s not all. According to the AAP policy statement:</p><blockquote><ul><li>Children who live in households that are food insecure, even at the lowest levels, get sick more often, recover more slowly from illness, have poorer overall health and are hospitalized more frequently.</li><li>Children and adolescents affected by food insecurity are more likely to be iron deficient, and preadolescent boys dealing with hunger issues have lower bone density. Early childhood malnutrition also is tied to conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.</li><li>Lack of adequate healthy food can impair a child&#39;s ability to concentrate and perform well in school and is linked to higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems from preschool through adolescence.</li></ul></blockquote><p>The new AAP policy statement, which is published in the journal&nbsp;<em>Pediatrics</em>, also recommends that pediatricians keep on hand a list of community resources, such as food banks.</p><p>&quot;Pediatricians can have this information at their fingertips&quot; to share with their patients in need, Schwarzenberg says.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/23/450909564/are-you-hungry-pediatricians-add-a-new-question-during-check-ups?ft=nprml&amp;f=450909564" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 23 Oct 2015 09:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-hungry-pediatricians-add-new-question-during-check-ups-113477 Doctors help devise a plan to keep kids healthy this school year http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/doctors-help-devise-plan-keep-kids-healthy-school-year-101556 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/doctor%20office%20flickr.jpeg" title="(flickr/myfuture.com)" /></div><p>As kids scramble to squeeze the last ounce out of their summer vacation, health professionals say mom and dad should save a few drops for a check up. At home, parents have some control over their child&#39;s environment, diet and schedule &mdash; but all bets are off once that first school bell rings. So before parents send their kids back to school, Northwestern Memorial Hospital&#39;s <a href="http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/emergencymed/faculty/Khare.Rahul.html" target="_blank">Dr. Rahul Khare </a>and <a href="http://www.nmh.org/nm/physician_terry_michael_a_11529" target="_blank">Dr. Michael Terry</a> share their tips for keeping kids out of the nurse&#39;s office (and in one piece) this year. If you have a question for the good doctors, call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> during <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> Wednesday or join the conversation on Twitter at #848.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>Emergency department physician Dr. Khare&#39;s back to school safety tips:</strong></span></p><p><strong>&bull; Beware of heavy back packs</strong>: Backpacks exceeding 15 percent of the child&rsquo;s weight can cause back pain. A heavy bag can also throw off a child&rsquo;s balance making it easier for them to fall over.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; When looking for a backpack remember these three things:</strong></p><ol><li><strong>Use two straps.&nbsp;</strong>Backpacks with only one strap put all the strain on one shoulder causing unevenness. Make sure the straps are a good fit. The straps should not be too high where they pull on the shoulders, but not too low where it strains the back.</li><li><strong>Opt for thicker shoulder pads.</strong>&nbsp;Shoulder straps with padding will provide more comfort. If the straps are causing too much strain, look into backpacks with wheels.</li><li><strong>10 percent rule.</strong>&nbsp;Aim for your student to carry 10 percent or less of their body weight. Remember, kids can carry their books in their arms as well to forgo some of the weight.</li></ol><p><strong>&bull; Check ups</strong>: Start the new year with a physical exam. Make an appointment before the school year starts to avoid missing class time.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Speak to your doctor about:</strong></p><ul style=""><li><strong>Immunizations.</strong>&nbsp;Make sure your child is up to date and your school has a copy. Ask for a copy of their records so you have them on file just in case after school programs or daycare facilities request them.</li><li><strong>Growing pains.</strong>&nbsp;If your child is experiencing growing pains make sure they are not something more serious like scoliosis or troubled knees.</li><li><strong>Nutrition.</strong>&nbsp;Ask your doctor how many calories your child should be consuming during lunch. The number varies drastically during puberty.</li></ul><p>&bull; <strong>Allergies:</strong> Before school begins make sure to call their teacher before and learn their allergy policy. It&rsquo;s also important to speak to your child about how to handle emergency situations.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Make an action plan</strong></p><ul><li>Discuss their medicine and emergency plan with their teacher</li><li>Make a card including your child&rsquo;s allergic reaction symptoms, picture, and treatment. Give copies to all the lunch room and all of their elective teachers</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>If your child has a severe allergy:</strong></p><ul><li>Give them a medical ID bracelet that cannot be easily removed</li><li>Provide the school with multiple doses of emergency medicine</li><li>Encourage the school to create allergen free lunch table</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Remember to be careful around these accidental triggers:</strong></p><ul><li>Homemade play dough made with peanut butter</li><li>Icing containing egg whites</li><li>Classroom crafts using nuts</li><li>Classroom birthday treats</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>&bull; Bacteria and Viruses</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Easy ways to stay germ free</strong></p><ul><li>Teach your children to wash their hands correctly. Use warm soapy water and wash until they have sang the happy birthday song twice.</li><li>Wash your hands before and after you touch your mouth, eyes and nose.</li><li>Talk to their teachers about their disinfecting policies. If they don&rsquo;t already sanitize the desk regularly, have your child wipe down their desk with antibacterial wipes.</li><li>Keep hand sanitizer in your child&rsquo;s backpack, desk or locker.</li><li>Avoid the community pencil sharpener. Opt for a handheld one. It will work better, quieter, and won&rsquo;t spread bacteria.</li><li>Avoid borrowing crayons when coloring.</li><li>Get the flu shot! It is the best and easiest way to protect against the flu.</li></ul><p>NOTE: If your child is not feeling well, has a cold or the flu, do not send them to school. This will only spread the germs, get other children sick, and prolong their road to recovery.</p><p><strong>&bull; At home</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Prepare for the new school year at home</strong></p><ul><li>Start putting your children to bed earlier and waking up earlier as it gets closer to the start of school year.</li><li>Designate an area in the house to keep backpacks, lunches, and other things for school. Put a list of things to remember next to this area.</li><li>Create a family calendar that your children can easily access. They can add their own dates such as homework or play dates. It will encourage great organizational skills.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>&bull; Back to college/high school</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; For students going to high school or college</strong></p><ul><li>Make sure their immunizations are up to check, and look into meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) and HPV vaccines for both girls and boys.</li><li>Talk to your teen about the dangers and consequences of binge drinking and unprotected sex.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Terry (team doctor for the Chicago Blackhawks) tips for student athletes:</strong></span></p><ul><li><strong>Preparation for fall sports season should begin even before the start of the school year </strong><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li>Athletes should work with their coaches or school athletic trainers to develop a conditioning program that will gradually build endurance and strength.</li><li>Diving into intense workouts may cause injuries which may delay the start of the sports season or even force the athlete to sit out entirely.</li></ul></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>When in training, young athletes should focus on three major factors that affect sport performance: hydration, nutrition, and rest</strong><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li>When practicing or competing in the heat, drink water before, during and after activity to decrease the risk of heat-related illness.</li><li>Athletes should choose healthy, nutrient-rich foods to fuel their bodies during athletic participation.</li><li>Young athletes also need plenty of rest and adequate sleep to perform at a competitive level.</li><li>Too little sleep and unhealthy food choices make young athletes prone to injury and limits their ability to perform.</li></ul></li></ul></p> Wed, 08 Aug 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/doctors-help-devise-plan-keep-kids-healthy-school-year-101556 Fewer tots go to ER since baby cold meds pulled from market http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/fewer-tots-go-er-baby-cold-meds-pulled-market <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cough syrup.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Emergency room visits for kids under the age of 2 for cold and cough med-related problems have dropped by more than half since drugmakers took those treatments off the shelves a couple years ago.</p><p>"It's impressive and hopeful," Raymond Pitetti of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh tells <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/parenting-family/babies/2010-11-22-coldmeds22_st_N.htm"><em>USA Today</em></a>. "Parents are much more aware of the issue and becoming more savvy."</p><p>But there's more to do. Despite this drop for tots, older kids' ER visits remain unchanged, the authors of the study, published today in the journal <a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/121/4/783?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=%22adverse+events+from+cough%22&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT"><em>Pediatrics</em></a> say.</p><p></p><p>Every year, nearly 3,000 kids under 2 get taken to the ER for overdoses or other problems related to cough and cold medicine. To combat this, the FDA <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/PublicHealthAdvisories/ucm051137.htm">recommended</a> parents stop giving babies cold medicines because they sometimes can cause rashes, hyperactivity, or behavior and breathing difficulties. There's a long history <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14971288">here</a>.</p><p>Then the over-the-counter-drug <a href="http://www.chpa-info.org/issues/Childrens_CC_Overview.aspx">industry</a> voluntarily took those products off the market, and voila - ER visits were cut in half. The industry has since made new label changes warning parents not to give cold medicines to kids under 4.</p><p>But the problem of kids and these meds is far from solved. The number of toddlers to teenagers sent to the ER after taking the meds remained unchanged, the study says. Two-thirds of those visits were chalked up to accidental or "unsupervised" slurping of the cough syrup that got left on the counter.</p><p>However, as we've reported before, parents have lots of <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/09/careful_with_tamiflu_dosing_in.html">problems</a> figuring out proper dosing, too.</p><p>The FDA's <a href="http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048515.htm">advice</a>? Read the directions, use the dosing guide on the package for your child's age and size, talk to the doctor, and remember that cold medicine doesn't cure a cold - it only helps relieve symptoms.</p><p>And grandma's advice might worth remembering too - bring the babies in the shower with you for good old-fashioned steam relief from a stuffy nose. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1290540300?&gn=Fewer+Tots+Go+To+ER+Since+Baby+Cold+Meds+Pulled+From+Market&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Hospitals,Your+Health,FDA,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Pharmaceuticals,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Medical+Treatments,Health,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=131507720&c7=1030&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1030&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20101122&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126567794,126567525,126567486,126567402,126567381,126567378,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 22 Nov 2010 10:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/fewer-tots-go-er-baby-cold-meds-pulled-market Chicago recruitment begins for decades-long national health study http://www.wbez.org/story/childrens-health/chicago-recruitment-begins-decades-long-national-health-study <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//kids playing.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Recruitment for participants in the National Children&rsquo;s Study in the Chicago area has just begun. The study will follow children from birth to age 21 to look at how environmental and genetic factors affect health and disease.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to the National Institutes of Health, this is the largest and longest study of its kind. NIH received approval by Congress for the study in 2000 and has since established seven Vanguard centers that have already begun recruitment and research. These centers will serve as models for later locations as the multi-year study rolls on.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>NIH will partner with the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control, to study a total of 100,000 women in 105 locations across the U.S.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Jane Holl, the principle investigator for the Greater Chicago Study Center, researchers are looking for a total of 4,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 who are pregnant, or expecting to become pregnant, to participate in the study. Researchers hope to find 2,000 women in Cook County over the next four years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Holl said recruitment will begin next year in Will and DuPage counties to find 2,000 more participants. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re pretty confident that we will find the number of births we need to find in the community,&rdquo; Holl said.</div><p>The study is modeled after earlier long-term health studies, such as the 1948 <a href="http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/">Framingham Heart Study</a>, and the 1976 <a href="http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs/">Nurses Health Study</a>. The decades-long National Children&rsquo;s Study will look at a multitude of environmental factors that influence health, growth and development.</p><p>Participants in the study will be asked to volunteer information regarding their family health history, health care, social environment, and socio-economic status. Holl said questions like this seek to take a broad approach to what are usually considered environmental factors.&nbsp;Biological and environmental samples will also be taken in order to determine relationships between the physical environment and health in different geographic locations.</p><p>&ldquo;The study will also be able to provide probably some of the most comprehensive information about women&rsquo;s fertility and pregnancy in the United States,&rdquo; Holl said.</p></p> Tue, 09 Nov 2010 22:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/childrens-health/chicago-recruitment-begins-decades-long-national-health-study