Menu

Plants Will Not Boost Your Home’s Air Quality: Study

TUESDAY, Nov. 12, 2019 — Don’t count on potted plants to keep your home’s air clean.

Dispelling a common belief, researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia found that natural ventilation does a far better job than houseplants in maintaining air quality in homes and offices.

“This has been a common misconception for some time. Plants are great, but they don’t actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office environment,” said Michael Waring, head of Drexel’s indoor environment research group.

His team analyzed dozens of studies conducted over 30 years. Their findings were published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

The researchers said air-exchange rates indoors — either natural or from ventilation — dilute concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) far faster than plants can pull them from the air. VOCs are the air pollutants that plants are supposed to clean.

Many of the studies reviewed did find that plants reduced concentrations of VOCs over time. This likely led to the widespread belief that plants can purify indoor air, the study authors said.

But it would take between 10 and 1,000 plants per square meter of floor space to match the air cleaning capacity of a building’s air-handling system or even just a couple of open windows in a house, the investigators found.

“This is certainly an example of how scientific findings can be misleading or misinterpreted over time,” Waring said in a university news release.

“But it’s also a great example of how scientific research should continually reexamine and question findings to get closer to the ground truth of understanding what’s actually happening around us,” he added.

More information

The American Lung Association has more on indoor air quality.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Close Friendships Boost Your Self-Esteem, and Vice Versa: Study

SATURDAY, Sept. 28, 2019 — People with strong self-esteem are more likely to develop deep, supportive friendships, and new research suggests that the connection works the other way, too.

“For the first time, we have a systematic answer to a key question in the field of self-esteem research: Whether and to what extent a person’s social relationships influence his or her self-esteem development, and vice versa,” study author Michelle Harris said in an American Psychological Association news release. She’s a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

It turns out, Harris said, that self-esteem and friendship are mutually reinforcing.

That conclusion comes from a review of 52 studies that examined the impact of self-esteem and friendships among more than 47,000 men and women. The studies were conducted between 1992 and 2016, across a wide range of countries, including the United States.

Six out of 10 participants were white, and ages ranged from early childhood to seniors.

For both men and women of all ages, having strong social support and acceptance translated into having strong self-esteem. And vice versa.

The reverse also appeared to hold: Poor self-esteem undermined one’s ability to develop strong social connections, the team found. And weak friendships appeared to undermine one’s sense of self-esteem.

The cycle may have deep roots in the way kids are raised, the study authors said. Parents who instill a strong self-esteem in their kids may be helping them to develop healthier friendships later on, the researchers suggested. And, in turn, such friendships end up further boosting self-esteem.

“The reciprocal link between self-esteem and social relationships implies that the effects of a positive feedback loop accumulate over time and could be substantial as people go through life,” Harris said in the news release.

Researchers said much remains unknown, and more study will be needed.

The findings were published online Sept. 26 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

More information

The U.S. Department of Education has more about helping kids gain confidence.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Heavy Exposure to Pesticides May Boost Stroke Risk

FRIDAY, Sept. 27, 2019 — Working around high levels of pesticides may translate into a high risk for heart trouble later, a new study suggests.

That was the case for a group of Japanese-American men in Hawaii who were followed for more than three decades. Compared to men who had not worked around pesticides, those who had the greatest exposure had a 45% higher risk for heart disease or stroke, researchers found.

“This study emphasizes the importance of using personal protective equipment during exposure to pesticides on the job and the importance of documenting occupational exposure to pesticides in medical records, as well as controlling standard heart disease risk factors,” said study co-author Dr. Beatriz Rodriguez.

She’s a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The findings stem from data on more than 6,000 men on Oahu who took part in the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program. Because only men of Japanese descent were involved, the findings may not apply to women or other populations, the researchers noted.

Since pesticides have a long half-life, their effects on health may show up years after exposure. In this case, the greatest effects were seen within 10 years of exposure.

“After following the men for 34 years, the link between being exposed to pesticides at work and heart disease and stroke was no longer significant,” Rodriguez said in a news release. “This was probably because other factors tied to aging became more important, masking the possible relation of pesticides and cardiovascular disease later in life.”

Researchers found no significant link between exposure to low to moderate amounts of pesticides and the risk of heart disease or stroke.

The report was published online Sept. 25 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

More information

For more on heart disease and stroke, visit the American Heart Association.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Could Exercise in Pregnancy Boost Baby’s Health, Too?

THURSDAY, Aug. 1, 2019 — Women who keep moving during pregnancy may have infants with more advanced motor skills, a small study suggests.

Researchers discovered the difference among 1-month-olds: Those whose moms got regular aerobic exercise during pregnancy tended to have stronger movement skills, versus babies whose mothers did not.

The movement tests included things like head turning, said researcher Linda May, an associate professor at East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C.

What’s the significance of those first motor skills? According to May, past research has suggested that infants who are quicker in developing motor skills are more likely to be “movers” as kids. So, it’s possible that exercise during pregnancy might make for more active children.

May and her colleagues reported their findings in the August issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Long gone are the days when pregnant women were advised to stay off their feet. Experts now recommend that, unless there are medical reasons not to, women should get regular moderate-intensity exercise throughout pregnancy.

That, May said, means activity that’s vigorous enough to get the heart rate up and blood flowing — but not so intense that you’re breathless and can’t have a conversation.

A brisk walk, swimming, a ride on a stationary bike, or a low-impact aerobics class would all fit the bill.

Studies have found many benefits of exercise during pregnancy, such as healthier weight gain for mothers-to-be and lower risks of preterm delivery and macrosomia — where a newborn is abnormally large and may need to be delivered by C-section.

For the new study, May’s team looked at whether the benefits extended to infants’ movement abilities.

The researchers started by randomly assigning 71 healthy pregnant women to either have supervised aerobic exercise sessions or to be in a “control” group. Women in the exercise group worked out three days a week for about an hour; they could choose to use a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical, or do aerobics.

Women in the control group were limited to light-intensity exercise, and could attend supervised sessions on stretching and breathing exercises.

When their babies were 1 month old, a physical therapist assessed their motor skills. It turned out that infants of exercising moms did a bit better — though all babies scored within the range of typical development.

As for why moms’ exercise habits might matter, the researchers pointed to some possibilities: Exercise might feed fetal brain development by boosting the flow of blood and oxygen to the womb. And it might aid overall growth and development through the release of proteins called growth factors.

In this study, though, much of the benefit of exercise appeared to be among female infants: Baby boys had somewhat higher scores than baby girls, on average — and there were few differences between boys whose moms exercised and those whose mothers did not.

The study cannot answer the question of why. But, May said, it hints that prenatal exercise might benefit girls more when it comes to motor skills.

A researcher not involved in the work offered some caveats.

First, it’s unclear what these differences at 1 month of age will mean later in life, said James Pivarnik, director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State University.

It’s also uncertain whether exercise is the sole reason for the group differences. There are other factors, like nutrition, that weren’t accounted for, Pivarnik said. Women in the exercise group gained more weight, he noted — an average of 13 pounds more. That’s a bit of a surprise that’s unexplained, Pivarnik said.

In addition, he said, there were no details on birth weight — an important factor in infant development.

Still, Pivarnik said it’s important to have studies like this that delve into the effects of prenatal exercise on babies’ development. And its results support what’s already recommended, he noted.

“I think the message for pregnant women is, if you’re exercising, keep it up,” Pivarnik said. “And if you’re not exercising, you should start.”

Guidelines suggest women strive for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, May said. That can be spread out across three to seven days.

More information

The March of Dimes has more on exercise during pregnancy.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Obesity May Boost Odds for MS in Kids

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Obese children may be twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

And once obese children are diagnosed, they tend to have a poorer response to their initial treatment than average-weight kids do.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder caused by a misguided immune system attack on the body’s myelin — the protective sheath around nerve fibers in the spine and brain. Depending on where the damage occurs, symptoms include vision problems, muscle weakness, numbness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Although the disease mainly affects adults, it can strike early in life. In the United States, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 children and teenagers have MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

A number of studies have found a connection between obesity and higher MS risk in adults, though the reasons why are unclear.

The new study is the largest to link obesity and MS in children — and the first to suggest it might affect their treatment response, said senior researcher Dr. Peter Huppke. But the study did not prove that obesity causes MS risk to rise.

The precise cause of MS in children is unknown, noted Huppke, who is based at the University Medical Center Gottingen, in Germany. But, he said, it’s thought to be a combination of genetic vulnerability and various environmental factors.

In theory, there are several reasons obesity might be one risk factor, according to Huppke. Obesity causes body-wide inflammation, and may alter vitamin D levels in the body or the bacterial composition in the gut; research suggests those mechanisms, in turn, are involved in MS.

Those are plausible explanations, agreed Kathleen Costello, associate vice president of health care access for the National MS Society.

Costello said the new findings build on evidence that obesity is a risk factor for MS. “That’s an important observation,” she said, “because it’s a risk factor that is modifiable.”

As for the finding on obesity and kids’ medication responses, Costello called it “interesting” — though the implications are unclear right now.

Continued

“It’s certainly something that needs further research,” she said.

The findings, published online July 15 in JAMA Neurology, are based on medical records from 453 children diagnosed with MS at one medical center. Huppke’s team compared them with nearly 15,000 German children who were involved in a separate health study.

Overall, obese children had twice the risk of being diagnosed with MS, with the findings being consistent in girls and boys. Overweight kids, meanwhile, were 37% more likely to develop MS than their average-weight peers.

Is it possible that early MS symptoms could have caused some kids to gain excess weight? Huppke said he thinks it’s “highly unlikely.” One reason is, the children did not have substantial weight gain after their diagnosis.

When it came to medication, obese kids were less likely to do well on their first therapy. They had a higher rate of symptom relapses on the standard medications interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate. And they were more likely to need a “second-line” therapy — 57% did, versus 39% of normal-weight kids.

Again, it’s not clear why. But body fat levels are known to affect absorption of some non-MS medications.

According to Huppke, that suggests that weight loss might improve obese kids’ response to MS drugs. It also raises the question of whether it would be helpful to adjust children’s medication doses according to weight, he said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Peter Huppke, M.D., University Medical Center Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany; Kathleen Costello, M.S., C.R.N.P., associate vice president, health care access, National Multiple Sclerosis Society; July 15, 2019,JAMA Neurology, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Is Green Tea a Fad or a Real Health Boost?

MONDAY, June 24, 2019 — Green tea is a popular health trend, with many people sipping in hopes of deriving benefits from the brew.

There’s nothing wrong with that, dietitians say — green tea is a healthy drink loaded with antioxidants. But the jury’s still out on many of its purported health benefits.

“Clinical trials related to green tea are still in their early stages,” said Nancy Farrell Allen, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Fredericksburg, Va. “I say drink it, enjoy it. It’s not going to hurt, and it might have worthy benefits to it. But nutrition is a science, and it takes time for our understanding to evolve.”

Green tea’s potential health benefits derive from catechins, which are powerful antioxidant compounds known as flavonoids, said Chelsey Schneider, clinical nutrition supervisor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Cancer Center in New York City.

One catechin in particular, known as EGCG, is found at higher levels in green tea than in either white or black tea, she said.

“This compound can be even stronger than vitamin C and E, which are very, very strong antioxidants,” Schneider said. Antioxidants help prevent damage to cells.

Green, black and white tea all come from the same plant, said Allen, who is a spokeswoman for the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition.

Green tea is made from the leaves of the mature plant, while white tea is made of leaves plucked early in development. Black tea is made from green tea leaves that are laid out and covered with a damp cloth, she said.

“They dry and blacken and ferment a little, giving black tea that darker, richer flavor,” Allen said. But this process also reduces levels of catechins in black tea.

Weight loss has been associated with green tea, with experts suggesting that its mixture of caffeine and catechins can enhance a person’s metabolism and processing of fat, according to the University of California-Davis Department of Nutrition.

But it appears that folks have to drink a lot of green tea to get substantial weight loss benefits and carefully watch the rest of their diet, UC-Davis says.

Green tea also has been tied to heart health.

For example, green tea was shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol in a 2018 study of more than 80,000 Chinese published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Evidence suggests catechins in green tea also could lower risk of heart attacks, help blood vessels relax and reduce inflammation, UC-Davis says.

Green tea even has been associated with a lower risk of some cancers.

The American Cancer Society says studies have linked green tea to a reduction in ovarian cancer risk. And UC-Davis said experimental models have shown that green tea might reduce risk of a variety of other cancers.

But a 2016 evidence review by the Cochrane Library concluded that there is “insufficient and conflicting evidence to give any firm recommendations regarding green tea consumption for cancer prevention.”

Schneider said the research is limited. “Some small studies say green tea can maybe be preventative for certain cancers, like breast, ovarian, endometrial, pancreatic and oral cancers, but there aren’t so many conclusive human trials that support that,” she said.

Green tea also might help keep your brain younger. A 2014 study in the journal PLOS One found that Japanese who drank more green tea had significantly less decline in brain function, although researchers couldn’t rule out the possibility that these folks might have other healthy habits that helped keep them mentally sharp.

One caveat with all of this research is that it tends to take place in Asian countries, where people drink much more green tea. There might be significant differences for Americans.

And the way you take your green tea could diminish any potential positive effects, Schneider added.

“A lot of people are adding processed white sugar to their green tea, which really makes something beautiful and healthy into something unhealthy,” she said.

Adding milk or cream to your tea also might not be a good idea.

“There are some studies that say having milk in green tea can actually block the effects of you absorbing the antioxidant,” Schneider said. “If it was me, I’d drink it straight up.”

More information

The University of California-Davis has more about catechins.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Bedroom Light at Night Might Boost Women’s Weight

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Women, beware: Sleeping with a light on or the TV going in your bedroom could make you put on weight.

That’s the finding of new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. While the study doesn’t prove that sleeping with a light on causes weight gain, it suggests the two may be linked, the researchers said.

“Turning off the light while sleeping may be a useful tool for reducing a possibility of weight gain and becoming overweight or obese,” said lead author Dr. Yong-Moon Mark Park. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Park said that exposure to artificial light at night may suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle.

“It also may disturb day-to-day variations of stress hormones and affect other metabolic processes in ways that contribute to weight gain,” Park added.

Keeping a light on might also result in poorer sleep. Shorter sleep could prompt you to exercise less and eat more, he noted.

For the study, Park’s team relied on self-reported data from nearly 44,000 women, aged 35 to 74. They weren’t shift workers, daytime sleepers or pregnant when the study began.

Women who slept with a light on were 17% more likely to gain 11 pounds or more over five years, the study found. And the level of artificial light seemed to matter, Park said.

“For example, using a small nightlight was not associated with weight gain, whereas women who slept with a light or television on were,” he explained.

The findings didn’t change when researchers accounted for women’s diet and physical activity, which suggests that light during sleep may be important in weight gain and obesity.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., reviewed the findings. He said the link between exposure to artificial light at night and obesity may not indicate that one causes the other.

“As with any study of association, two findings are true — true, but not directly related,” he said.

The key takeaway relates to poor sleep, Katz suggested.

“Sleep deficiency and impairment is a known obesity risk factor, for reasons ranging from mood and reduced restraint, to changes in hormonal balance,” he said.

It’s also possible that reliance on artificial light at night and obesity are both linked to other factors, such as “loneliness, anxiety or some form of social insecurity,” Katz said.

The report was published online June 10.


WebMD Health

Mastectomy Seems to Boost Advanced HER2+ Survival

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A new study may help resolve a longstanding debate around the impact of surgery for a common form of advanced breast cancer.

The study found that mastectomy may indeed boost the chances of survival for women with stage 4 (advanced) HER2-positive breast cancer.

Twenty to 30% of all newly diagnosed stage 4 breast cancer cases are HER2-positive. This type of tumor has cells that test positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, which promotes the growth of cancer cells.

Many patients with this type of breast cancer receive “systemic” therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted drug therapies such as trastuzumab (Herceptin), or hormonal therapy.

Mastectomy is sometimes offered to these patients, but it’s long been unclear whether it actually improves a patient’s odds for survival.

But the new study “suggests that in addition to standard HER2-targeted medications and other adjuvant therapy, if a woman has stage 4 HER2-positive breast cancer, surgery to remove the primary breast tumor should be considered,” study senior author Dr. Sharon Lum said in an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) news release. She’s medical director of the Breast Health Center at Loma Linda University Health in California.

The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the AACR, in Atlanta. It should be noted that findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The new study included more than 3,200 U.S. women with stage 4 HER2-positive breast cancer. Of those, nearly 90% received chemotherapy or targeted drug therapies, nearly 38% had received hormonal therapy, 35% had received surgery, and nearly 32% had received radiation.

Surgery was associated with a 44% increased chance of survival, assuming that most patients were also treated with systemic therapies, the study found.

Still, further research is needed to confirm that surgery can increase the chances of survival in patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, the study authors stressed.

And other factors — including financial ones — came into play as well. The researchers found that patients with Medicare or private insurance were more likely to have surgery and therefore less likely to die of their disease than those with Medicaid or no insurance. Also, white patients were more likely than black patients to have surgery and less likely to die of their cancer.

Continued

Two breast cancer specialists who reviewed the new findings said the study brings much needed information to the table.

“When a breast cancer patient has disease that has spread beyond the breast to other organs [stage 4], it is not currently thought to be curable,” explained Dr. Alice Police, regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

However, “chemotherapy and other drugs that control the disease throughout the body are increasing effective,” she said, so “in many cases it has been thought that surgery on the original tumor in the breast is not necessary — particularly in more aggressive disease subtypes such as tumors that have the HER2-Neu protein [HER2-positive].”

“This very important study suggests that these patients should have surgical treatment also,” Police said, “and that this could improve overall survival by 44%. This is good news for the patients as it gives us another treatment tool for this disease.”

Dr. Lauren Cassell, chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed, noting that “now that we have improved targeted therapy in addition to chemotherapy, it is more often used prior to surgery.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Alice Police, M.D., Westchester regional director, breast surgery, Northwell Health Cancer Institute, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.;  Lauren S. Cassell, M.D., chief, breast surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York  City; American Association for Cancer Research, news release, April 2, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

App May Boost Social Skills in Kids With Autism

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A smartphone application that works with Google Glass might help kids with autism build their social skills, a small clinical trial suggests.

Researchers found that over six weeks, kids who used the app at home with their families made greater gains in certain social abilities, compared to those who stuck with their usual therapy alone.

Experts said the findings, published online March 25 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, are only an initial step. It’s not yet clear how the app — which is not commercially available — might affect kids’ development in the long run.

But the study highlights the promise of digital technology in supporting face-to-face therapies for autism, said senior researcher Dennis Wall.

“We do think it’s going to be a helpful augmentation,” said Wall, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, in California. “We hope this sets the stage for more to come.”

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects about one in 59 U.S. children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It varies widely in severity: One child might have mild problems with communication and social skills, while another might be profoundly affected — speaking little and getting wrapped up in repetitive, obsessive behaviors.

But difficulty with socializing is a hallmark across the board.

Standard behavioral therapy, including applied behavioral analysis (ABA), aims to help kids with autism build social skills. But therapists are in short supply, and families can be on waitlists for up to 18 months, Wall said.

He pointed to other issues, too: The quality of ABA is “variable,” and in general, kids can have difficulty translating what happens in therapy to everyday life.

If smartphones can help families practice skills at home, Wall said, that could help fill those gaps.

For the study, his team enrolled 71 children with autism who were already in ABA therapy. The children, aged 6 to 12, were randomly assigned to stick with ABA only, or add the digital therapy.

Wall noted that the therapy was designed with feedback from families to get a sense of what worked and what kids enjoyed.

Continued

The therapy involves a smartphone app that is wirelessly linked to Google Glass — a wearable computer with a display that is worn like eyeglasses. The frame has a camera that captures the wearer’s field of view, plus a small screen and speaker that gives the wearer visual and audio information.

In this case, when children wear the glasses, the app encourages them to find and recognize facial expressions. First, a green box lights up when a child focuses on someone’s face.

“Basically,” Wall said, “it’s saying, ‘Good job, you’ve found a face.'”

Then the child receives a visual cue (an emoticon) or an audio one, identifying the emotion in that person’s expression.

The app also includes games. In one, parents ask their child to guess the emotion they’re acting out; in another, kids try to “find” an emotion — making mom smile by telling a joke, for instance.

“The kids loved it,” Wall said. “They said it was like putting their ‘superpowers’ on.”

In the trial, families in the app group were asked to use it four times a week, for 20 minutes.

After six weeks, the researchers found, children in that group were showing gains in their everyday social interactions — based on parents’ responses to a standard questionnaire. Their socialization scores rose almost five points compared to kids in the comparison group.

That improvement is “interesting and notable,” said Katherine Sullivan, an assistant professor of child psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

The question is: What will that mean in the long run?

“More research is needed to see how this will play out,” said Sullivan, who was not involved in the study. “How long-lasting are these skills? Are these temporary improvements?”

She agreed, though, that digital technology has the potential to support standard therapies, because it’s accessible — and kids like it.

“When families are just going for a weekly appointment with a therapist, it’s challenging to see progress,” Sullivan said. “Practicing skills outside the therapy room is an important piece.”

Wall agreed that larger, longer studies are necessary.

Continued

“We’re working to get this to commercial availability,” he said. “But we wouldn’t put it out there without proper validation.”

The study was funded by government and private grants. Google supplied the glasses.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Dennis Wall, Ph.D., associate professor,   pediatrics, psychiatry and biomedical data sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.; Katherine Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor, child and adolescent psychiatry, NYU Langone Health, New York City; March 25, 2019,JAMA Pediatrics, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Why It’s Important to Boost Baby’s Vocabulary Now