Tag Archives: Kids’
THURSDAY May 16, 2013 — As many as one in five American children under the age of 17 has a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to a new federal report.
Released Thursday, the report represents the government’s first comprehensive look at mental disorders in children. It focuses on diagnoses in six areas: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral or conduct disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, substance abuse, and Tourette syndrome.
The most common mental disorder among children aged 3 through 17 is ADHD. Nearly 7 percent — about one in 15 children — in that age group have a current diagnosis, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For other disorders, 3.5 percent of children currently have behavioral or conduct problems, 3 percent suffer from anxiety, about 2 percent have depression and about 1 percent have autism. About two children out of 1,000 aged 6 to 17 have Tourette Syndrome.
Among teens, about 5 percent had abused or were dependent on illegal drugs within the past year. More than 4 percent were abusers of alcohol, and nearly 3 percent reported being regular cigarette smokers.
The report, which supplements the May 17 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also noted gender differences in mental disorders.
“Boys are more likely than girls to have most of the disorders overall,” said Ruth Perou, the team leader for child development studies at the CDC.
Boys specifically are more prone to ADHD, behavioral or conduct problems, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety and Tourette syndrome, and are more likely to be smokers than girls, Perou said. They’re also more likely to die by suicide.
“On the other hand, girls are more likely to have depression or an alcohol-use disorder,” she said.
Although this is the first time the CDC has tried to compile prevalence estimates for some of the most common mental disorders in a single report, the agency has long tracked rates of many of these illnesses through population surveys.
“We are seeing increases across the board in a lot of mental disorders,” Perou said. Some of the biggest jumps have been in ADHD and autism. “We don’t know if it’s due to greater awareness, or if these conditions actually are going up,” she said.
Perou said that is a question they will try to answer as they continue to track children’s mental disorders going forward.
“The good news is that mental disorders are diagnosable and treatable,” she said. “If we act early, we can really make a huge difference in children’s live and in families’ lives overall.”
To find out more about children’s mental health, head to the U.S. National Institute for Mental Health.
Posted: May 2013
SATURDAY May 11, 2013 — Spending more time in physical education classes helps students develop muscle strength and doesn’t increase their risk of broken bones, a new study finds.
The study included more than 900 girls and boys at a school in Sweden who had up to 200 minutes of physical education a week for two years. A control group of students continued with the standard amount of 60 minutes of physical education each week.
The children who had more physical education time developed greater muscle mass and strength than those in the control group, according to the study, published in the May issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.
The findings “could have important implications on public health guidelines and recommendations for school-based physical activity,” study author Dr. Bjarne Lofgren, of Lund University in Sweden, said in a journal news release.
“Regular weight-bearing exercise has been shown to consistently improve bone mass, structure and strength during childhood and adolescence,” Lofgren said. “It can also help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal diseases later on in adult years.”
Previous research has shown that students who get more exercise do better in the classroom.
The Nemours Foundation has more about children and exercise.
Posted: May 2013
Conditions such as autism, ADHD appear to drive 16 percent increase in a decade
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Serena Gordon
SUNDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) — Significantly more U.S. children have a neurodevelopmental or mental health disability than did a decade ago, according to new research.
Disabilities that impair a child’s day-to-day living have risen 16 percent, with the greatest increase seen in richer families, according to the study. Conditions such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder appear to lie behind the increase, experts said.
But the surveys of parents in 2001-’02 and 2009-’10 also revealed some good news: The rate of disability due to physical conditions went down, according to the study, which is scheduled for presentation Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in Washington D.C. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
“This may mean there are differences in people getting early access to care,” said study lead author Dr. Amy Houtrow, vice chairwoman of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. For example, medications for children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a potentially debilitating inflammatory arthritis, have improved significantly in recent years, she said.
“For some conditions, it may be that medical care has improved so much that children may have a diagnosis but not a disability,” she said, adding that this particular example is from what she has seen in her practice, not from the study data.
For the study, Houtrow and colleagues reviewed data from two National Health Interview Surveys conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They included more than 102,000 parents of children from infancy through 17 years of age.
Parents were asked if their children had any limitations in play or activity, received special education services, needed help with personal care, had difficulty walking without supports, had trouble with memory or had any other limitation.
“It’s not enough to just have something like ADHD,” she said. “You have to be limited somehow by that diagnosis.”
The researchers found that nearly 6 million children were considered disabled at the end of the study. Children living in poverty had the highest rates of disability, although poor children didn’t experience the largest increases in the incidence of disability during the study period.
Families with incomes 300 percent above the federal poverty level — around $ 66,000 for a family of four — had a 28 percent increase in children with disabilities. Families whose income levels exceeded the poverty level by 400 percent — about $ 88,000 — saw a 24 percent increase in the number of children with disabilities.
Houtrow said it wasn’t clear exactly why this was the case, and the researchers suspect increases in neurodevelopmental disorders may be behind the rise.
In children under 6 years old, the trend was most evident, with almost double the rate of neurodevelopmental disorders — 36 cases per 1,000 children up from 19 a decade earlier.
MONDAY May 6, 2013 — Yearly flu vaccinations are safe for children with inflammatory bowel disease, but too few of these youngsters get a flu shot because their parents worry about possible side effects, researchers report.
Not only does vaccination help protect against the flu, it may even reduce inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms, according to the study, which was published May 6 in the journal Pediatrics.
Children with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, often experience chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, joint pain and other symptoms.
The researchers looked at all children under age 19 diagnosed with IBD in Ontario, Canada, between 1999 and 2009. They found that about 25 percent of the IBD patients received a flu shot from a doctor or nurse practitioner and that these youngsters had no increase in IBD-related health issues after being vaccinated.
The patients actually had fewer IBD-related doctor visits after receiving a flu shot.
“There is no risk of IBD flare following influenza immunization,” study lead author Dr. Eric Benchimol said in a Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario news release. “In the years they were immunized, children with IBD had lower rates of IBD-related outpatient physician visits compared to years they were not immunized. This may indicate that receiving the influenza vaccine protects against having a flare of IBD, or at least prevents visits to doctors for IBD-related symptoms.”
The study findings should reassure parents of children with IBD and improve flu vaccination rates among these children, the researchers said.
The Nemours Foundation has more about inflammatory bowel disease and children.
Posted: May 2013
Study author says parents need more support, better awareness
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
FRIDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) — Children with cancer often have complex medication regimens — sometimes as many as 20 drugs a day — that they take at home, and mistakes are common, a new study finds.
Errors often occur when parents don’t understand how to give the drugs, but mislabeled bottles and wrong prescriptions are also to blame, researchers say.
“Parents of children with cancer make many mistakes giving their children critical medicines, including chemotherapy at home,” said lead researcher Dr. Kathleen Walsh, of the departments of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester.
Injuries were often related to under-dosing pain medication, which was causing pain for the children, she said. “Sometimes parents wouldn’t fill prescriptions, or give the proper dose,” Walsh said.
“One thing that was surprising was the high rate of errors that go on,” she added. “This high rate of errors calls us to remind doctors and parents that they need to be aware that home medication use is fraught with error, so they need to give the medicines exactly as they are told to do.”
That’s not to blame parents, Walsh noted. “Usually parents weren’t aware they were making mistakes. They weren’t aware that what they were doing could be dangerous or could decrease the effectiveness of the medications they were using,” she said.
Parental “workarounds” to get kids to take medicines could make them less effective.
For example, one child wouldn’t take a chemotherapy drug, so the parent sprinkled it on his dinner not realizing the drug doesn’t work when taken with food, Walsh said.
“Another parent wasn’t using a pill cutter, but using a knife to cut the medication and so the chemotherapy was crumbling and much of it was left on the table,” she explained. “Parents didn’t realize this was a mistake.”
Walsh thinks parents need more support in how they use medications at home. “Parents need to understand you need to give medications exactly as prescribed and if you are going to change that in any way you need to tell the doctor,” she said.
The report was published in the May print issue of Pediatrics.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said that “when you are caught in the middle of the chaos and sadness of a sick child, it’s not uncommon to see significant mistakes made when [parents are] giving medications to their children.”
Many of the parents in the study were college educated, but no matter how well-educated the parents there are still many gaps in understanding how to administer chemotherapy at home, he said.
Lichtenfeld noted that these errors weren’t always the parent’s fault. “There were discrepancies between the labels on the drug and what the parents were supposed to do,” he said. It’s possible that the doctor changed the dose, but it was not reflected in the label from the pharmacy. This problem could be solved by better labeling, he added.