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No TV for Children Under 2, Doctors’ Group Urges

posted 2011 Oct by Martha New

By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Published: October 18, 2011    Watching television or videos is discouraged for babies younger than 2 because studies suggest it could harm their development, a pediatricians’ group said Tuesday. Instead of allowing infants to watch videos or screens, parents should talk to them and encourage independent play, said the first guidelines on the subject issued in more than a decade by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The advice is the same as that issued in 1999 by the group, the country’s largest association of pediatricians, but this time it also warns parents that their own screen-watching habits may delay their children’s ability to talk.

“This updated policy statement provides further evidence that media — both foreground and background — have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years,” it said. “Thus the A.A.P. reaffirms its recommendation to discourage media use in this age group.”

The latest guidelines do not refer to interactive play like video games on smartphones or other devices, but to programs watched passively on phones, computers, televisions or any other kind of screen.

Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician in Austin, Tex., who is a member of the academy, said the update was needed because of the explosion of DVDs meant for the under-2 age group, and because as many as 90 percent of parents acknowledge that their infants watch some sort of electronic media.

“Clearly, no one is listening to this message,” she said. “In this ubiquitous screen world, I think we need to find a way to manage it and make it a healthy media diet.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics urges pediatricians to discuss media use with new parents, and says adults should be aware of how distracted they become when the television is on.

“I like to call it secondhand TV,” said Dr. Brown, who is the lead author of the guidelines.

Studies cited in the guidelines say that parents interact less with children when the television is on, and that a young child at play will glance at the TV — if it is on, even in the background — three times a minute.

“When the TV is on, the parent is talking less,” Dr. Brown said. “There is some scientific evidence that shows that the less talk time a child has, the poorer their language development is.”

Though about 50 studies have been done in the past decade on media viewing by young children, none have followed heavy television watchers into later childhood or adulthood, so any long-term effects are not known. Heavy media use in a household is defined as one in which the television is on all or most of the time.

The pediatrics group’s guidelines point out that research to date suggests a “correlation between television viewing and developmental problems, but they cannot show causality.”

Even so-called educational videos do not benefit children under 2 because they are too young to be able to understand the images on the screen, the doctors’ group said.

“The educational merit of media for children younger than 2 years remains unproven despite the fact that three-quarters of the top-selling infant videos make explicit or implicit educational claims,” it said.

Pediatricians are therefore discouraging any screen viewing for infants, and urging parents to limit media viewing to no more than two hours a day for children age 2 and older.

“Unstructured playtime is more valuable for the developing brain than any electronic media exposure,” the guidelines said.

Observatory In Birds, a Possible Clue to the Cycle of Abuse

posted 2011 Oct by Martha New

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR Published: October 10, 2011 Although it has never been definitively proven, many social scientists believe that abused children are more likely to become abusers as adults. Now for the first time, there is evidence of the phenomenon in animals in the wild. If you would like to read more please click HERE to go to the New York Times.

Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language

posted 2011 Oct by Martha New

By PERRI KLASS, M.D. Published: October 10, 2011 Once, experts feared that young children exposed to more than one language would suffer “language confusion,” which might delay their speech development. Today, parents often are urged to capitalize on that early knack for acquiring language. If you would like to read more please click HERE to go to the New York Times.

Delay Kindergarten at Your Child’s Peril

posted 2011 Sep by Martha New

By SAM WANG and SANDRA AAMODT Published: September 24, 2011, Sam Wang is an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton. Sandra Aamodt is a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience. They are the authors of “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows From Conception to College." THIS fall, one in 11 kindergarten-age children in the United States will not be going to class. Parents of these children often delay school entry in an attempt to give them a leg up on peers, but this strategy is likely to be counterproductive. If you would like to read more please click here to go to the New York Times.

Where All Work Is Created Equal

posted 2011 Sep by Martha New


September 15, 2011, 8:30 pm By TINA ROSENBERG  School went badly last year for José, Angel and Estefani.   The 8-year-old twins and their 7-year-old sister are recent immigrants to the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.   In part because they didn’t speak much English, late in 2010 all three were notified they were in danger of failing.But their fortunes changed in January. If you would like to read more please click here to go to the New York Times.

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

posted 2011 Sep by Martha New

By PAUL TOUGH Published: September 14, 2011 Most Riverdale students can see before them a clear path to a certain type of success. They’ll go to college, they’ll graduate, they’ll get well-paying jobs — and if they fall along the way, their families will almost certainly catch them, often well into their 20s or even 30s, if necessary. But despite their many advantages, Randolph isn’t yet convinced that the education they currently receive at Riverdale, or the support they receive at home, will provide them with the skills to negotiate the path toward the deeper success that Seligman and Peterson hold up as the ultimate product of good character: a happy, meaningful, productive life. Randolph wants his students to succeed, of course — it’s just that he believes that in order to do so, they first need to learn how to fail. If you would like to read more please click here to go to the New York Times.

A Child’s Nap Is More Complicated Than It Looks

posted 2011 Sep by Martha New

By PERRI KLASS, M.D. Published: September 12, 2011  What makes a child nap? Most parents cherish toddlers’ naps as moments of respite and recharging, for parent and child alike; we are all familiar with the increased crankiness that comes when a nap is unduly delayed or evaded. But napping behavior has been somewhat taken for granted, even by sleep scientists, and napping problems have often been treated by pediatricians as parents’ “limit-setting” problems. To read more of this article please click here to go to the NYTimes.

Nursing Bras That Show Mothers in More Than ‘Work Mode’

posted 2011 Sep by Martha New

By Published: August 31, 2011  MATERNITY and nursing bras have long been the ugly stepsisters to gorgeously constructed lingerie. If you became pregnant or nursed your child, scratchy, unadorned, matronly bras — probably colored inconspicuously “nude” or white — were your lot. Elisabeth Dale, the founder of the Web site The Breast Life, which has bra reviews and health information, says she thinks this was because functionality and sex appeal can seem incompatible.

Motherhood as a Retreat From Equality

posted 2011 Aug by Martha New

By KATRIN BENNHOLD Published: August 23, 2011

OSNABRÜCK, GERMANY — Playgrounds can tell you a lot about a society.I used to cycle to work through the Square des Batignolles, our local park in western Paris, and was always struck by the almost uniform ethnic segregation: mostly white toddlers chasing each other and their caregivers, brightly clad West African women chatting away on the benches rimming the sandpit. On those same benches on Sunday afternoons, I would socialize with other young, professional French mothers.Here in Germany, the only adults populating playgrounds on any day of the week appeared to be mothers — often mothers with a university education who not long ago earned a respectable income. Of the several social insights to be gleaned from this comparison, one is surely this: French mothers work, and many of them full-time.If you would like to read more of this article click HERE to go to the New York Times site.

The Kids Are Not All Right

posted 2011 Aug by natalie sampila

By JOEL BAKAN Published: August 21, 2011 Vancouver, British Columbia WHEN I sit with my two teenagers, and they are a million miles away, absorbed by the titillating roil of online social life, the addictive pull of video games and virtual worlds, as they stare endlessly at video clips and digital pictures of themselves and their friends, it feels like something is wrong.
No doubt my parents felt similarly about the things I did as a kid, as did my grandparents about my parents’ childhood activities. But the issues confronting parents today can’t be dismissed as mere generational prejudices. There is reason to believe that childhood itself is now in crisis. If you would like to read more of this article please click here to go to the New York Times site.

Antibacterial Chemical Raises Safety Issues

posted 2011 Aug by Martha New

Fred R. Conrad, The New York Times  The maker of Dial Complete hand soap says that it kills more germs than any other brand. But is it safe? Triclosan stands out on the label of Dial Complete.That question has federal regulators, consumer advocates and soap manufacturers locked in a battle over the active ingredient in Dial Complete and many other antibacterial soaps, a chemical known as triclosan. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of the chemical, which was created more than 40 years ago as a surgical scrub for hospitals. Triclosan is now in a range of consumer products, including soaps, kitchen cutting boards and even a best-selling toothpaste, Colgate Total. It is so prevalent that a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the chemical present in the urine of 75 percent of Americans over the age of 5. To read more of this article, please click here to read at the New York Times.

For Better Grades, Try Gym Class

posted 2011 Aug by Martha New

August 10, 2011, 12:01 am, By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, New York Times Christopher FutcherIf you want a young person to focus intently in school and perform well on tests, should you first send him or her to gym class? That question, which has particular relevance for school districts weighing whether to reduce or ax their physical education programs to save money, motivated a number of stimulating new examinations into the interplay of activity and attention. Some of the experiments studied children; others looked at laboratory rats bred to have an animal version of attention deficit disorder. For both groups, exercise significantly affected their ability to concentrate, although some activities seemed to be better than others at sharpening attention.To read more of this article, please read it at the New York Times.

Ancient Moves for Orthopedic Problems

posted 2011 Aug by Martha New

With the costs of medical care spiraling out of control and an ever-growing shortage of doctors to treat an aging population, it pays to know about methods of prevention and treatment for orthopedic problems that are low-cost and rely almost entirely on self-care. As certain methods of alternative medicine are shown to have real value, some mainstream doctors who “think outside the box” have begun to incorporate them into their practices. If you wish to read more of this article, please click here to go to the New York Times.

How Exercise Can Keep the Brain Fit

posted 2011 Jul by Martha New

July 27, 2011, 12:01 am, By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS  For those of us hoping to keep our brains fit and healthy well into middle age and beyond, the latest science offers some reassurance. Activity appears to be critical, though scientists have yet to prove that exercise can ward off serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease. But what about the more mundane, creeping memory loss that begins about the time our 30s recede, when car keys and people’s names evaporate? It’s not Alzheimer’s, but it’s worrying. Can activity ameliorate its slow advance — and maintain vocabulary retrieval skills, so that the word “ameliorate” leaps to mind when needed? If you would like to read more of this article please click here to go to the New York Times site

Patterns: How Milk Is Expressed Affects Nursing

posted 2011 Jul by Martha New

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR  Published: July 25, 2011 When a newborn fails to latch onto the breast or suck successfully, mothers can express their breast milk by hand or by using an electric pump. A new study suggests that those who express by hand are more likely to still be nursing two months later. If you would like to read more please click HERE to go to the New York Times site.

After Long Battle, Safer Cribs

posted 2011 Jul by Martha New

By Published: July 15, 2011  BAYONNE, N.J. — At the back of a cavernous warehouse along a rough-and-tumble waterfront here, an area has been swept clean of boxes and forklifts to make way for baby safety.
At a Delta Children's Products testing lab, a machine simulates a child's jumps. Joseph Shamie, a company president, and Cesar Guerra, right, a technician, hang an 80-pound weight on crib slats. Here is a testing laboratory for the largest crib maker in the world. Eight hours a day, five days a week, cribs are beaten and battered by machines, subjected to the kind of malevolence a demonic toddler could only dream of doling out.
“We look for structural problems,” said Joseph Shamie, co-president of the company, Delta Children’s Products. “And we look to see if screws loosen.” As of last month, the company does not have much of a choice. If you would like to read more of this article please click HERE to go to the NYT site.

Why Exercise Makes Us Feel Good

posted 2011 Jul by Martha New


July 6, 2011, 12:01 am By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS  Why does exercise make us happy and calm? Almost everyone agrees that it generally does, a conclusion supported by research. A survey by Norwegian researchers published this month, for instance, found that those who engaged in any exercise, even a small amount, reported improved mental health compared with Norwegians who, despite the tempting nearness of mountains and fjords, never got out and exercised. A separate study, presented last month at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, showed that six weeks of bicycle riding or weight training eased symptoms in women who’d received a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. The weight training was especially effective at reducing feelings of irritability, perhaps (and this is my own interpretation) because the women felt capable now of pounding whomever or whatever was irritating them. But just how, at a deep, cellular level, exercise affects anxiety and other moods has been difficult to pin down. The brain is physically inaccessible and dauntingly complex. But a recent animal study from researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health provides some intriguing new clues into how exercise intertwines with emotions, along with the soothing message that it may not require much physical activity to provide lasting emotional resilience. If you would like to read more please click HERE to go to the NYTimes site.

Patterns: No Lasting Problems Seen for Late Talkers

posted 2011 Jul by Martha New

By Published: July 4, 2011 Parents often worry when their toddlers are slow to start talking, but a long-term study has found that these children have no more emotional or behavioral problems than others by age 5 — as long as they are otherwise developing normally. If you would like to read more of this article please click HERE to go to NY Times site.

Prenatal Vitamns May Ward off Autism

posted 2011 Jun by Martha New

By RONI CARYN RABIN Published: June 13, 2011 Scientists have identified an unexpected factor that may play a significant role in the development of autism: prenatal vitamins. A new study reports that mothers of children with autism and autism spectrum disorders were significantly less likely than mothers of children without autism to have taken prenatal vitamins three months before conception and in the first month of pregnancy. The finding, published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology, suggests that taking vitamins in this period may help prevent these disorders, reducing the risk by some 40 percent. If you would like to read more of this article click HERE for NYT

Screen Time and Attention Deficit Disorder

posted 2011 May by Martha New

By PERRI KLASS, M.D. Published: May 9, 2011  The mother had brought in a note from her son’s elementary school teacher: Dear doctor, I think this child needs to be tested for attention “She’s worried about how he can’t sit still in school and do his work,” the mother said. “He’s always getting into trouble.” But then she brightened. “But he can’t have attention deficit, I know that.”Why? Her son could sit for hours concentrating on video games, it turned out, so she was certain there was nothing wrong with his attention span. It’s an assertion I’ve heard many times when a child has attention problems. Sometimes parents make the same point about television: My child can sit and watch for hours — he can’t have A.D.H.D.  If you would like to read more of this article, please click HERE to go to the New York Times site.