Category Archives: Pediatrics
The Food and Drug Administration is delaying new sunscreen rules for smaller manufacturers until December 2012. That may result in some confusion at the sun protection counter since larger firms will have new labels in place by June while smaller labels will not be required to use them until December. Some private labels, including Target’s in-house brand, have already started using the new labels in anticipation of the guidelines coming into effect.
The basic new label requirements, decades in the making, include the new term “broad spectrum” for sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays, a ban on the terms “waterproof” and “sweatproof” to be replaced by how many minutes, based on testing, the product is water resistant. There is also a new requirement that only sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher will be able to post on the label that they help prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Read more on cancer prevention.
A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that 45,398 children under age three were treated in the hospital emergency department between 1991 and 2010 for injuries linked to bottles, pacifiers or sippy cups. Most injuries (86 percent) occurred from falls while using the products, and 83 percent of falls resulted in lacerations or contusions to the mouth and face. The authors also found that two-thirds of injuries occurred among one-year-olds, an age when children are unsteady on their feet and more likely to fall. The researchers recommend that given the high number of injuries, parents should help their children transition to a cup around age one.
A second study in Pediatrics found a very high rate of emergency room visits linked to babies and toddlers swallowing “button” batteries, such as those used in some toys and remote controls. Read more children's health news.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced availability of up to $75 million in new funding for the construction and renovation of school-based health centers, which provide care for children with chronic and serious illnesses as well as prevention and wellness programs for all school children. Read more on school health.
Pre-teens living in states that require vaccinations for incoming middle school students are more likely to be immunized than those in states that simply require parents to receive information about the vaccines, according to a study in Pediatrics.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed school entry requirements in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 2008-2009 school years and compared them to adolescent vaccination rates for three vaccines: TdaP, meningitis and HPV. Compared to states with no requirements, vaccination coverage was significantly higher for the meningitis (71 percent versus 53 percent) and TdaP (80 percent versus 70 percent) vaccines.
The Department of Transportation has announced a month-long web-based dialogue May 7 to June 8, to help facilitate discussion about local transportation needs, challenges and opportunities facing military veterans, wounded service people and military service members and their families. Military families, veterans and organizations that support them are invited to participate in the discussion to create options to improve access to transportation. Registered participants will be able to offer an idea, a comment or vote on ideas they see on the site. A public report will be issued after the dialogue period ends.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that at least sixteen people have been sickened by dry dog food made by Diamond Pet Foods that may be tainted by salmonella. Humans may have become infected by touching the food or a pet that ate the food. The company has recalled the products. CDC is advising that:
- Consumers should check their homes for recalled dog food products and discard them promptly. Contact Diamond Pet Foods for more information at (800) 442-0402 or www.diamondpetrecall.com.
- Follow tips listed on Salmonella from Dry Pet Food and Treats to help prevent an infection with Salmonella from handling dry pet food and treats.
- People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers. For sick animals, contact your veterinary-care providers.
Next week, young farm-workers from across the country will share their stories with officials and advocates in Washington, D.C., to discuss the challenges they face working in the fields from a very young age. The youth-led and youth-organized conference will also highlight communities that are working to empower farm-worker youth to achieve healthier lives. The topics of the conference were chosen by the participating youth as the most important issues in their lives:
- Health – Pesticide exposure, the effects of working in extreme weather conditions, safety issues in work with heavy machinery, the toll the job takes on one’s body, and drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms
- Work in the Fields – Wages, sexual assault in the fields and health issues that result from being in the fields
- Housing – The stress of migrating during the harvest, and the problems unaccompanied youth face when migrating
- Education – Barriers that migrant farm-worker youth face in finishing school, programs in place to help many farm-worker youth reach their educational goals
The event, hosted and organized by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, will take place on April 26 to April 27. Learn more about and register for the event. Registration is now free, and anyone interested in attending can email email@example.com.
A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health finds that Hispanics and blacks are less likely to be prescribed antidepressants than whites, and Medicare and Medicaid patients are less likely to receive the drugs than those with private insurance.
The study, published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, also found that Medicare and Medicaid patients were significantly less likely to receive newer antidepressants, which may have fewer side effects than older drugs and are often less expensive. Read more mental health news.
Ten states have received grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide early childhood support and home visits to families. The grants will help states expand or establish their home visiting programs.
Initiatives of the program include guidance and assistance in early learning and development, prevention and identification of child maltreatment, improvement of maternal and child health outcomes, and family engagement. Read more on children's health.
The fourth annual "GYT: Get Yourself Tested" campaign kicks off National STD Awareness Month (April) with new initiatives on TV, online and on the ground at college campuses and in more than 5,000 health centers across the U.S. GYT is an ongoing national campaign launched in 2009 between MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation to address the high rates of STDs among people under 25. Read more on sexual health.
Many low- and middle-income nations don’t have technologically advanced regulatory systems, which limits their oversight of food and drug safety, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The report recommends 13 steps that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies can take over the next three to five years to bolster the safety systems in developing nations. They include:
- Developed nations should share technical expertise, training, and tools to strengthen the surveillance systems in developing countries.
- The United States should work with Mexico, the host of the next meeting of the G20 nations, to add food and medical product safety to the G20 agenda.
- FDA should evaluate its pilot Secure Supply Chain pilot program, which rewards firms that can track their products from manufacture to market with expedited entry into the U.S. market. If successful, FDA should expand the program to more drug firms and to food companies.
Read more food safety news.
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education have launched a new website to encourage children, parents, educators and communities to take action to stop and prevent bullying.
The website provides a map with detailed information on state laws and policies, interactive webisodes and videos for young people, practical strategies for schools and communities to ensure safe environments, and suggestions on how parents can talk about bullying with their children. Read more on a recent documentary that tells the stories of kids who were bullied.
A new study by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health finds that neighborhood differences in rates of childhood asthma may be explained by varying levels of air pollution from trucks and residential heating oil. Read more on environmental health.
New regulations announced today by the Food and Drug Administration require tobacco companies to report levels of dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, chew and other tobacco products. This will be the first time cigarette makers will be required to report on the quantities of twenty ingredients that are associated with health problems such as cancer and lung disease. The FDA will make this information available to the public in a consumer-friendly format by April 2013. Read more tobacco news.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder. Researchers looked at data from 14 communities. Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls, and the largest increases in incidence were among Hispanic and black children. According to the CDC, the study shows an increase of 23 percent in children identified as having the condition since a previous report in 2009. It is unclear how much of that increase is due to increased awareness and diagnosis. Read more on children's health.
“They said he was a geek, he was worthless and that he should go and just hang hisself, and I think he just got to the point where enough was enough” – spoken by Kirk Smalley, father of Ty, in the forthcoming documentary, Bully. Ty, 11, hanged himself in 2010.
An astonishing thirteen million kids face bullying each year according to government surveys, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the United States. Bullying’s effects can impact every aspect of a child’s life from grades to self-esteem and, as Ty’s story shows, even the desire to live. The new documentary Bully, set to hit theaters across the U.S. on March 30, offers an intimate look at how bullying has affected five children and their families.
Parents and schools have been invited to sign on to a Twitter Town Hall on bullying to be hosted TODAY by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. EST. Follow the conversation using the hashtag #vetoviolence, or by following the CDC Injury Center on Twitter. The Town Hall will feature experts from the CDC, the Anti-Defamation League, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Department of Education.
Writer and pediatrician Perri Klass, MD, has long brought her sensibilities as a physician and parent to her writing, usually focused on the health needs of children. In a recent blog post for the New York Times, Dr. Klass asks why certain aspects of adult hospital care, including reduced blood draws and increased family time, aren’t as well thought-out as they often are for hospitalized children. “Illness, pain and the shadows of disability and death — all hospital familiars — make all of us vulnerable, at any age, and reassurance and comfort are welcome,” says Klass.
Read the article here.
What if kids and teens never started smoking? They’d likely never start as adults and be extraordinarily less likely to die of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and other conditions associated with smoking. That’s the gist of a report released today by the Surgeon General, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. It’s the 31st such report by a U.S. Surgeon General, and the first since 1994 to give detailed information on smoking—and the related health consequences—by children and young adults ages 12 to 25.
“We have made progress in reducing tobacco use among youth; however, far too many young people are still using tobacco,” says Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD. “Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes. Rates of decline for cigarette smoking have slowed in the last decade and rates of decline for smokeless tobacco use have stalled completely.”
The key driver for increases, according to the report, is ubiquitous marketing by tobacco companies, specifically targeted at children and young adults. “Messages and images that make tobacco use appealing to [young adults] are everywhere,” says Dr. Benjamin.
Suicides among U.S. soldiers rose 80 percent from 2004 to 2008, according to a study in the journal Injury Prevention. While 40 percent of the suicides may have been linked to combat experience in Iraq, nearly a third of the soldiers who committed suicide were not in combat, according to the study. The researchers also found that rates of suicide among Army personnel from 1977 to 2003 were similar to trends in the general population, but in 2004 suicides started to increase quickly, outpacing the suicide rates among civilians by 2008. Read more on military health.
A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health finds that treating HIV in order to avoid brain impairment may have a window of just the first year of life. Treatment begun later than that may not have as significant results in avoiding cognitive impairment. Read more HIV news.
One-third of American families are having trouble paying for health care, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Data for the first six months of 2011 found that one in five families had difficulty paying medical bills, one in four pays bills over time and one in 10 can't pay medical bills at all. Read more on access to health care.