£6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical Mistakes

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 7 » £6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical Mistakes£6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical MistakesA 12-year-old boy is to receive medical negligence compensation after errors by hospital staff left him with serious brain injuries.On a morning in September 2006, the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth with stomach pains.Staff at the hospital failed to spot that the child, who was aged four at the time, was displaying signs of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.As a result, he did not get the required treatment on time and he suffered a cardiac arrest, which led to him experiencing significant brain damage and serious disabilities.The boy’s family therefore took legal action against Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the organisation that runs St Mary’s Hospital.A medical negligence compensation settlement in the amount of £6.7 million has now been agreed. This compensation will be used to fund the child’s extensive and long-term care needs, such as round-the-clock assistance and specialist technology to enable him to communicate.The boy will receive £3.2 million compensation in a lump sum up front, while he will be paid £265,000 compensation every year until he is 18. The compensation payments will then rise to £305,000 per annum for the rest of his life.Hospital Trust ApologisesPortsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has issued a formal apology to the boy and his family for the medical mistakes that were made at St Mary’s Hospital eight years ago. A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that since liability was resolved in 2012, each party has been working together to agree a suitable compensation package.This was designed with the intention of both compensating the boy and his parents and providing them with adequate financial security for the future.The spokesperson said, “The Trust can confirm that a medical negligence compensation settlement has been reached in this case and that this has been approved by the Court. The Trust wishes them well.”Doctors ‘Should Have Listened’Speaking after the compensation settlement was agreed, the boy’s parents said that doctors should have listened to the concerns they had raised about the condition of their son.In a statement, they insisted that if this had been done, this “tragic” event “would have been easily avoided”. The parents have therefore urged other mothers and fathers to trust their instincts if their child is not well.”If you believe that something is wrong, then insist that action is taken by the doctors,” they commented. “Nothing will ever make up for the life that has been taken away from him.”The boy’s parents said their son’s life has been “completely ruined”, as his condition means he will miss out on a whole host of experiences. For instance, they stated that he will never be able to play on a beach, kick a football around with his friends, or attend his school prom.The parents went on to note that their son and his “enormous daily battle” have proved to be a source of inspiration to everybody that knows or has met him.”This is an absolute tragedy caused by medical mistakes that should never have happened,” they added.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Education: States’ standardized tests have a negative impact on parents’ civic engagement

New research from a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found that parents of public school students in states with more extensive and stringent student assessment systems express lower trust in government, less confidence in government efficacy, and more negative views of their children’s schools, thereby threatening civic engagement and the potential for future education reform.In a study published by the journal Political Behavior, associate professor Jesse Rhodes merged data from an original survey of public school parents with quantitative measures of the scope and alignment of state standards, testing, and accountability policies, to determine whether and how education reforms influence the parents’ political attitudes and behaviors.He found that highly developed assessment policies alienate parents from government and discourage parental involvement in education, an effect he terms “demobilization.” Parental trust in government was 11 percent lower in states with the most extensive assessment policies, and parental assessments of government effectiveness were 15 percent lower, compared to states with less developed testing polices.Over the past decade, federal education policies such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have led states to develop and adopt education reforms, including content standards specifying what children should know and be able to do, assessments measuring student progress toward those standards and systems of policies holding schools accountable for performance. As years have passed these policies have extended to a greater number of subjects and a wider range of education levels, but there is considerable state-by-state variation in the policies.While previous studies have examined how these policies affect student achievement, Rhodes’ research is the first to assess how they affect the citizenship practices of public school parents — a key education stakeholder.”Today, with trust in government near an all-time low, government’s authority to accomplish collective objectives is arguably at low ebb,” Rhodes writes in the study. “My findings indicate that standards-based reform policies may be further threatening the foundation of public support that government needs to function effectively.”In addition to their negative views of government, Rhodes also found that parents in states with more developed assessment systems were less likely to become engaged in some parental involvement behaviors, especially contacting teachers and participating in school fundraisers. The likelihood that parents would contact their children’s teachers was 17 percent lower in states with the most stringent testing policies, and the chance they would participate in school fundraisers was 28 percent lower. Parents residing in states with more developed assessment systems were more likely to attend their local school board meetings, but Rhodes argues that this involvement is stimulated by anger and dissatisfaction with the perceived negative consequences of state assessments.He argues that these policies tend to depress civic engagement among parents because they provide few opportunities for parental input and can introduce undesirable changes into schools.”My findings suggest that a major reassessment of standards, testing, and accountability policies is necessary,” Rhodes concludes. “At a minimum, standards-based reforms must be redesigned so that they engage parents more directly in the process of policy design and administration and allay parental concerns about counter-productive consequences. However, given the seriousness of the problems identified here, it is possible that an even more searching reevaluation of the standards-based agenda is necessary. Today, the question for policymakers and citizens is how to design education policies that advance the objective of high achievement for all students while strengthening the practice of citizenship for all adults.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Obesity prevention programs can lower kids’ blood pressure, even if they don’t reduce body fat

One of the serious health consequences of obesity is elevated blood pressure (BP), a particular problem in children because research has found that high BP in children usually follows them into adulthood, carrying with it a wide range of possible negative consequences.Even modest elevations in the BP of adolescents, according to recent research, can pose cardiovascular problems later in life.A systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies of the effect of child obesity intervention programs on blood pressure has found that whether such programs prevented obesity or not, many of them reduced BP in children. It also found that the most effective programs in this regard promoted both healthy eating and physical activity.The study, one of the first of its kind, “Effect of Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs on BP: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was led by epidemiologist Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, of the University at Buffalo and conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, UB and other institutions.It was published online in the journal Circulation on Feb. 19, 2014 in advance of print publication.Wang said, “Of the 28 obesity interventions with complete data that we analyzed, 13 (46 percent) had a favorable effect on both adiposity and BP and 11 interventions (39 percent) had a significant effect on the reduction of BP, even if they did not affect adiposity. “It is important to identify obesity intervention programs that can help children develop healthy lifestyles and keep BP at an optimal level,” he says, “because these programs help them avoid many long-term health consequences.”Wang’s research team, now based at UB, is working on projects in the U.S. and abroad funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aim to assess the additional benefits of obesity prevention programs for children and to develop the most effective programs possible.The team also is using transnational comparison studies to analyze factors suspected of contributing to the global obesity epidemic.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. The original article was written by Pat Donovan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Quality early childhood programs help prevent adult chronic disease, research shows

High-quality early childhood development programs with health care and nutritional components can help prevent or delay the onset of adult chronic disease, according to a new study by Nobel laureate economist James Heckman and researchers at the University of Chicago, University College London and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina.Based on more than three decades of data from the landmark Abecedarian early childhood program in North Carolina, the study shows that children who participated in the intervention combining early education with early health screenings and nutrition had much lower levels of hypertension, metabolic syndrome and obesity in their mid-30s than a control group that did not participate in early learning program. The results are published in the March 28 issue of the journal Science.”Prior to this research, we had indications that quality early childhood development programs helped produce better health later in life,” said Heckman. “Abecedarian shows that investing in early learning programs that offer health components can boost education, health and economic outcomes. It also offers a different way to fight costly adult chronic diseases: Investing early in the development of children to build the knowledge and self-regulation necessary to prevent chronic disease and help them lead healthy, productive lives.”The Carolina Abecedarian Project, one of the oldest and most cited early childhood programs, was designed to test whether a stimulating early childhood environment could prevent developmental delays among disadvantaged children. The study involved 111 children from low-income families, born in or near Chapel Hill, N.C. between 1972 and 1977. It also included a health care and nutritional component. Children received two meals and an afternoon snack at an early learning center and were offered daily health screenings and periodic medical checkups. Participants who received this intervention, as well as those in the control group who did not, have been followed for more than 30 years to determine the effectiveness of the early intervention program.This is the first time their health outcomes have been analyzed. Researchers found that men in the treatment group had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure and were less likely to develop Stage I hypertension. …

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One out of two parents do not see their child’s weight problem

One out of two parents of children with overweight feel that their child’s weight is normal. Four out of ten parents of children with overweight or obesity are even worried that their child will get too thin. These are the findings of a European study of parents of more than 16,000 children, including 1,800 children from Sweden.The research is a part of a European study that comprises a total of 16,220 children in the ages 2-9, of which 1,800 live in Partille, Alingss and Mlndal in Sweden.Estimates of the weight statusIn Susann Regber’s dissertation, the parents were asked to estimate their child’s weight status and health, and to describe their own worries about their child’s becoming overweight or underweight. The parents’ perceptions were then compared with the children’s actual measurements.Worries about underweightAmong other findings, the studies show that:• Around 40 per cent of parents of children with both overweight and obesity are worried that the child will become underweight. Among parents of children who are already underweight, the proportion that are worried about it is 33 per cent.• One out of two parents of a child with overweight in Central and Northern Europe perceived their child’s weight as normal. In Southern Europe, the same figure was 75 per cent.Major significance”How parents perceive their child’s weight status is of major significance to being able to promote a healthy weight development. Our studies show that the parents’ insight into obesity in their children indeed grows in pace with the child’s age and higher BMI in the child, but also that a weight development at preschool age can go from overweight to obesity without necessary lifestyle changes being made,” says Susann Regber, who is presenting the findings in her dissertation:”Many parents simply do not see the increase in growth, and are dependent on objective information from, for instance, child welfare centers and school health care to act.” A simple measure may be to introduce a routine in pediatric and school health care to always show the child’s BMI curve to the parents.Many obstacles to healthy habitsAs a part of the studies, the researchers arranged group discussions with children and parents. In the talks, the parents emphasized that there are many obstacles to being able to maintain healthy eating habits: long working days, financial limitations, and the constant availability and marketing of unhealthy food and drinks.Another problem that was brought up was that other family members, like spouses and grandparents, broke the rules set up in the home.”But the parents also emphasized examples that promoted good eating habits, like children being served good, healthy food at day-care and in school,” says Susann Regber.The findings in this dissertation are based on the European research project IDEFICS, where researchers from various parts of Europe are studying lifestyle, diet and obesity as well as their health effects on children between the ages of 2 and 10 years.The dissertation Barriers and Facilitators of Health Promotion and Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood: A Focus on Parents- Results from the IDEFICS Study was defended on February 28.Link to dissertation: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/34815Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. The original article was written by Krister Svahn. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Lack of sleep, stress describe a mother’s experience after child’s ALL treatment

“It’s a whole new cancer world” and “I don’t remember what it’s like to have sleep” were the most common themes of mothers interviewed by University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers during the maintenance period after a child’s treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Results of this qualitative study are published in a recent issue of the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.A second study, published today in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, shows the quantitative differences between stress, anxiety and depression in these parents of chronically ill children and parents of healthy children. Many months after their child’s diagnosis and treatment, 46 percent of mothers exhibited symptoms of clinical anxiety and 26 percent of mothers showed depressive symptoms.”Even though these mothers were in the maintenance phase of their child’s illness and the prognosis was good, we heard them say over and over that things could never go back to what they were before,” says Madalynn Neu, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the CU College of Nursing, an education partner of the CU Cancer Center.”Many had lost their normal lives — lost jobs, houses, friends. Some were juggling their time around their child’s needs and they had fears about many things — fear of recurrence, fear of making a mistake with medication, fear their kids might get sick with an infection,” says Ellen Matthews, PhD, RN, CU Cancer Center investigator and associate professor at the CU College of Nursing.The researchers explain that they chose to work with mothers in this maintenance period of relative stability following treatment so as to avoid making further demands on mothers during the acute period of their child’s illness. This allowed Neu, Matthews and colleagues to look at the mid- and longer-term effects of a child’s diagnosis on a mother’s wellbeing. For example, the researchers found that once sleep arrangements changed during a child’s treatment, they frequently stayed changed rather than going back to what parents had seen as “normal” before treatment.”Mothers talked about the difficulty of sleep while giving steroid medication. And if the ill child got to stay up late watching movies, the siblings wanted to stay up too. The same was true of sleeping in a parent’s room: if an ill child wanted to sleep close to a parent (or if a parent wanted to sleep close to an ill child!), siblings tended to move in as well. Sleep can be challenging for parents of well children and our studies show it’s even more so for parents of children who have experience ALL,” Neu says.Interestingly, the researchers point out that while depression and stress was higher in mothers of children treated for ALL, anxiety levels as measured by salivary cortisol levels were similar to mothers of well children.”This may have been affected by the fact that even the control group wasn’t without anxiety. Financial, marital, social and career concerns mean that parents of young children experience anxiety even without ALL,” Matthews says.The group hopes that awareness of maternal concerns after a child’s treatment for ALL will help design interventions that will help mothers manage these lifestyle issues affected by their child’s illness.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. …

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New guidelines employ a team approach to autism diagnosis, care

Improving diagnosis and treatment for individuals with autism has been the focus of a growing body of research. New information from these studies led the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to revise key parameters for evaluating and treating autism. Researchers led by Yale Child Study Center director Fred Volkmar, M.D., have published the new practice parameters in the Feb. issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.”Early diagnosis of children with autism spectrum disorders means treatments will be introduced that lead to more positive outcomes for children,” said Volkmar the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the Yale School of Medicine.According to the parameters, clinicians should routinely look for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in young children undergoing developmental assessments, and in all psychiatric evaluations. If significant symptoms are detected, clinicians should then coordinate a careful medical, psychological, and communication evaluation. These evaluations should differentiate between autism and a variety of developmental and other disorders, as well as intellectual and behavioral disabilities.”Our goal was advocacy for individuals with autism and their families, and to ensure that services are coordinated across clinical care,” said Volkmar. “Our field is changing rapidly, and these parameters are meant to promote effective care and move professional medical methods closer to current practices.”Volkmar and his co-authors reviewed abstracts from 9,481 research articles on autism that were published between 1991 and 2013. They then fully studied 186 of those articles based on their quality and ability to be applied more generally.”Treatment should involve a team approach,” said Volkmar, who notes that under these treatment parameters, psychiatrists will closely coordinate diagnosis and treatment with teachers, behavioral psychologists, and speech and language pathologists, and look for commonly occurring conditions.A key addition to the new parameters is a focus on how clinicians should address the use of non-traditional therapies, like chelation and secretin. Clinicians are urged to ask families if they are using alternative/complementary treatments and to discuss the therapies’ risks and potential benefits. …

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Mutations in leukemia gene linked to new childhood growth disorder

Mutations in a gene associated with leukemia cause a newly described condition that affects growth and intellectual development in children, new research reports.A study led by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, identified mutations in the DNA methyltransferase gene, DNMT3A, in 13 children.All the children were taller than usual for their age, shared similar facial features and had intellectual disabilities. The mutations were not present in their parents, nor in 1,000 controls from the UK population.The new condition has been called ‘DNMT3A overgrowth syndrome’.The research is published today in the journal Nature Genetics and is a part of the Childhood Overgrowth Study, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, and aims to identify causes of developmental disorders that include increased growth in childhood. The DNMT3A gene is crucial for development because it adds the ‘methylation’ marks to DNA that determine where and when genes are active.Intriguingly, DNMT3A mutations are already known to occur in certain types of leukemia. The mutations that occur in leukemia are different from those in DNMT3A overgrowth syndrome and there is no evidence that children with DNMT3A mutations are at increased risk of cancer.Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), with colleagues at St George’s, University of London, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and genetics centres across Europe and the US, identified the mutations after analysing the genomes of 152 children with overgrowth disorders and their parents.Study leader Professor Nazneen Rahman, Head of Genetics and Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Head of Cancer Genetics at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our findings establish DNMT3A mutations as the cause of a novel human developmental disorder and add to the growing list of genes that appear to have dual, but distinct, roles in human growth disorders and leukemias.”The new discovery is of immediate value to the families in providing a reason for why their child has had problems. Moreover, because the mutations have arisen in the child and have not been inherited from either parent, the risk of another child in the family being similarly affected is very low. This is very welcome news for families.Study co-leader Dr Katrina Tatton-Brown, Clinical Researcher at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Geneticist at St George’s, University of London, said: “Having a diagnosis can make a real difference to families — I recently gave the result back to one of the families in which we identified a DNMT3A mutation and they greatly appreciated having a reason for their daughter’s condition after many years of uncertainty.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Prenatal Nicotine Exposure May Lead to ADHD in Future Generations

Prenatal exposure to nicotine could manifest as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children born a generation later, according to a new study by Florida State University College of Medicine researchers.Professors Pradeep G. Bhide and Jinmin Zhu have found evidence that ADHD associated with nicotine can be passed across generations. In other words, your child’s ADHD might be an environmentally induced health condition inherited from your grandmother, who may have smoked cigarettes during pregnancy a long time ago. And the fact that you never smoked may be irrelevant for your child’s ADHD.The researchers’ findings are published in the current issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.”What our research and other people’s research is showing is that some of the changes in your genome — whether induced by drugs or by experience — may be permanent and you will transmit that to your offspring,” said Bhide, chair of developmental neuroscience and director of the Center for Brain Repair at the College of Medicine.Bhide and Zhu, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, used a mouse model to test the hypothesis that hyperactivity induced by prenatal nicotine exposure is transmitted from one generation to the next. Their data demonstrated that there is a transgenerational transmission via the maternal, but not the paternal, line of descent.”Genes are constantly changing. Some are silenced and others are expressed, and that happens not only by hereditary mechanisms, but because of something in the environment or because of what we eat or what we see or what we hear,” Bhide said. “So the genetic information that is transmitted to your offspring is qualitatively different than the information you got from your parents. This is how things change over time in the population.”Building on recent discoveries about how things like stress, fear or hormonal imbalance in one individual can be passed along to the next generation, Bhide and Zhu were curious about a proven link between prenatal nicotine exposure and hyperactivity in mice.Their work at the Center for Brain Repair has included extensive research around ADHD, a neurobehavioral disorder affecting about 10 percent of children and 5 percent of adults in the United States. Researchers have struggled to produce a definitive scientific explanation for a spike in ADHD diagnoses in the last few decades.”Some reports show up to a 40 percent increase in cases of ADHD — in one generation, basically,” Bhide said. “It cannot be because a mutation occurred; it takes several generations for that to happen.”One possible contributing factor, though unproven, is that the current spike in ADHD cases correlates in some manner to an increase in the number of women who smoked during pregnancy as cigarettes became fashionable in the United States around the time of World War II and in the decades that followed.”Other research has shown a very high correlation between heavy smoking during pregnancy and the incidence of kids with ADHD,” Bhide said.”What’s important about our study is that we are seeing that changes occurring in my grandparents’ genome because of smoking during pregnancy are being passed to my child. …

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Foods and moods: Considering the future may help people make better food choices

Emotional eating is something we’re all familiar with. Maybe you had had a rough week at work and all you want on Friday night is to plop down and watch a movie with a giant bowl of buttery popcorn. Maybe you’re a student stressed about a big exam and you’re munching on candy as you study. Or maybe your child’s birthday party is coming up and you’ve bought an ice cream cake to serve a small army to celebrate. Happy or sad, up or down, there’s a plethora of media in the world that tells us our moods often dictate the foods we choose to eat.More recent studies, though, have shown that negative moods and positive moods may actually lead to preferences for different kinds of foods. For example, if given the choice between grapes or chocolate candies, someone in a good mood may be more inclined to choose the former while someone in a bad mood may be more likely to choose the latter.But what if we could make better choices in any emotional state?A forthcoming article by University of Delaware associate professor Meryl Gardner finds that there’s more to stress eating than simply emotion and in fact, thinking about the future may help people make better food choices.”We were interested in the ‘why,'” said Gardner. “Why when someone is in a bad mood will they choose to eat junk food and why when someone is in a good mood will they make healthier food choices?”Gardner, a faculty member in UD’s Lerner College of Business and Economics, with co-authors Brian Wansink of Cornell University, Junyong Kim of Hanyang University ERICA and Se-Bum Park of Yonsei University, found that a lot depends on our perspective of time.”In an evolutionary sense, it makes sense that when we feel uncomfortable or are in a bad mood, we know something is wrong and focus on what is close to us physically and what is close in time, in the here and now,” said Gardner. “We’re seeing the trees and not the forest, or how to do things and not why to do things.”To get at the “why,” the researchers married the theories of affective regulation (how people react to their moods and emotions) and temporal construal (the perspective of time) to explain food choice.They conducted four laboratory experiments to examine whether people in a positive mood would prefer healthy food to indulgent food for long-term health and well-being benefits and those in a negative mood would prefer indulgent foods to healthy foods for immediate, hedonistic mood management benefits.In the first study, the researchers investigated the effect of a positive mood on evaluations of indulgent and health foods by examining 211 individuals from local parent-teacher associations (PTAs).The findings indicated individuals in a positive mood, compared to control group participants in a relatively neutral mood, evaluated healthy foods more favorably than indulgent foods.”We expect this is possibly because they put more weight on abstract, higher-level benefits like health and future well-being,” said Gardner. “The remaining question was whether individuals in a negative mood would act differently.”Testing that question in a second study using 315 undergraduate students recruited from a large Midwestern university, the researchers found further support for their hypothesis that individuals in a negative mood liked indulgent foods more than healthy foods.According to Gardner, the finding that people in a positive mood liked the more nutritious options and also liked the idea of staying healthy in their old age is consistent with the hypothesis that time construal is important.”It suggests that positive mood makes people think about the future, and thinking about the future makes us think more abstractly,” said Gardner.The researchers were then left to eliminate goal achievement as an alternative explanation.”Our manipulations of mood in the first two studies involved having participants read positive, negative or neutral articles,” said Gardner. “As it turned out, the positive articles involved someone who had a great life and achieved lots of goals, and the negative articles involved someone who had a sad life and did not achieve goals. …

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Child abuse rises with income inequality

As the Great Recession deepened and income inequality became more pronounced, county-by-county rates of child maltreatment — from sexual, physical and emotional abuse to traumatic brain injuries and death — worsened, according to a nationwide study by Cornell University.The income inequality-child maltreatment study, to be published in the March 2014 edition of the peer-review journal Pediatrics, covers all 3,142 American counties from 2005-09, and is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and the first to target child abuse in places with the greatest gap between rich and poor.”Our study is the first to demonstrate that increases in income inequality are associated with increases in child maltreatment,” said John J. Eckenrode, professor of human development and director of the Family Life Development Center in the College of Human Ecology. “More equal societies, states and communities have fewer health and social problems than less equal ones — that much was known. Our study extends the list of unfavorable child outcomes associated with income inequality to include child abuse and neglect.”Nearly 3 million children younger than 18 are physically abused, sexually abused, physically neglected or emotionally abused each year in the United States, the Cornell researchers noted. That is about 4 percent of the youth population — and those are just the officially documented cases.”Certainly, poor counties with general, overall poverty have significant problems with child abuse,” Eckenrode said. “We were more interested in geographic areas with wide variations in income — think of counties encompassing affluent suburbs and impoverished inner cities, or think of rich/poor Brooklyn, New York — that’s where income inequalities are most pronounced. That’s where the kids are really hurting.” The hurt doesn’t stop when kids graduate — if they do — from school, the Cornell researchers observed.”Child maltreatment is a toxic stressor in the lives of children that may result in childhood mortality and morbidities and have lifelong effects on leading causes of death in adults,” they wrote. “This is in addition to long-term effects on mental health, substance use, risky sexual behavior and criminal behavior … increased rates of unemployment, poverty and Medicaid use in adulthood.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Melissa Osgood. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Will your child be a slim adult? Crowdsourcing novel childhood predictors of adult obesity

Will your child be a slim adult? A novel new study published in PLOS ONE asked 532 international English speaking adults to submit or “crowd-source” predictors of whether a child is going to be an overweight or a slim adult. Each participant offered what they believed to be the best predictor of what a child would weigh as an adult and submitted it in the form of a question. Questions were related to factors of participants’ childhood experience including home environment, psychosocial well-being, lifestyle, built environment, and family history. Each participant also supplied his or her height and weight (to determine BMI) and answered questions generated by other participants about their own childhood behaviors and conditions. Several of the questions asked had a significant correlation with participants’ current BMI as listed below.Adults who reported a lower BMI also reported having the following childhood experiences in common:Their families prepared meals using fresh ingredients. Their parents talked with them about nutrition. They frequently engaged in outdoor physical activity with their families. They slept a healthy number of hours on weeknights. They had many friends. …

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Rest can be best medicine but difficult for young athletes

Billy Kuhl, age 14, is no stranger to bumps and bruises having been involved in numerous sports, including football and hockey, for several years. But last fall on his way to football practice a bicycle accident made him realize how important it is to take injuries seriously. While biking to football practice, Kuhl’s football spikes caused him to lose his footing. He was thrust forward over the front of the bike. The handle bars were jammed into his upper thigh causing a deep muscle injury.”It blew up like a grapefruit, but I’ve had lots of bruises so I didn’t think anything about it. I thought I just needed to work through it, but the bruise just kept getting bigger and bigger,” said Kuhl.Though he didn’t take part in practices that week, he did play in the football game as well as three hockey games that weekend. Kuhl’s parents noticed that instead of getting better the bruise was getting worse and had become hard in the middle.”We realized it should’ve gone down by now, but it was just getting worse so we decided to take him in for an X-ray,” said William Kuhl, Billy’s father. Kuhl saw Jerold Stirling, MD, pediatric sports medicine expert at Loyola University Health System and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.”When a large muscle is injured by bruising, it may cause bleeding into the muscle itself. On occasion, as the body is healing itself from the bleeding it can calcify in the muscle causing bone to form inside the muscle. This is called myositis ossificans,” said Stirling. …

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Caring for animals may correlate with positive traits in young adults

Young adults who care for an animal may have stronger social relationships and connection to their communities, according to a paper published online today in Applied Developmental Science.While there is mounting evidence of the effects of animals on children in therapeutic settings, not much is known about if and how everyday interactions with animals can impact positive youth development more broadly.”Our findings suggest that it may not be whether an animal is present in an individual’s life that is most significant but rather the quality of that relationship,” said the paper’s author, Megan Mueller, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and research assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “The young adults in the study who had strong attachment to pets reported feeling more connected to their communities and relationships.”Mueller surveyed more than 500 participants aged 18-26 and predominately female about their attitudes and interaction with animals. Those responses were indexed against responses the same participants had given on a range of questions that measure positive youth development characteristics such as competence, caring, confidence, connection, and character, as well as feelings of depression, as part of a national longitudinal study, the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, which was led by Tufts Professor of Child Development Richard Lerner, Ph.D., and funded by the National 4-H Council.Young adults who cared for animals reported engaging in more “contribution” activities, such as providing service to their community, helping friends or family and demonstrating leadership, than those who did not. The more actively they participated in the pet’s care, the higher the contribution scores. The study also found that high levels of attachment to an animal in late adolescence and young adulthood were positively associated with feeling connected with other people, having empathy and feeling confident.”We can’t draw causal links with this study but it is a promising starting point to better understanding the role of animals in our lives, especially when we are young,” said Mueller.To learn more about how and if interacting with animals is linked with positive youth development future studies need to look at specific features of human experiences with animal experiences, as well as how these relationships develop over time, and include a larger, more diverse sample, Mueller noted.Mueller has a unique vantage point from which to study human-animal interaction. As both a developmental psychologist and a faculty member at the Cummings School, she has insight into both sides of the relationship between people and animals, and is a leader in bringing the developmental perspective to the field.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Parents want e-mail consults with doctors, but don’t want to pay for them

Oct. 21, 2013 — Most parents would love to get an e-mail response from their kids’ health care provider for a minor illness rather than making an office visit, but about half say that online consultation should be free, according to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.In the poll this month, 77 percent of parents said they would be likely to seek email advice for their children’s minor illness if that service were available. Only 6 percent of parents said they could currently get that e-mail advice from their child’s health care provider.Parents in the poll reported a range of co-pays charged for office visits, from nothing to $30 per visit. But about half of those polled felt any charge for an e-mail consultation should be less than that of an office visit. And 48 percent of those polled felt an online consultation should be free.The poll surveyed 1,420 parents with a child aged 0 to 17 years old.”Most parents know it can be inconvenient to schedule and get to an office visit for a sick child. An email consultation would prevent the hassles of scheduling and allow sick children to remain at home. Email also could be available after hours when their caregiver’s office is closed, says Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H. , associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics.”But many health care providers don’t have co-pays established for this kind of consultation, so we decided to ask parents what they think.”Clark says the results of this poll mirror concerns that health care providers have expressed about email consultation. …

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People with depression may struggle with parenthood

Oct. 15, 2013 — An article by researchers at the University of Exeter has shed light on the link between depression and poor parenting. The article identifies the symptoms of depression that are likely to cause difficulties with parenting. The findings could lead to more effective interventions to prevent depression and other psychological disorders from being passed from parent to child.Share This:Although the link between depression and poor parenting has previously been identified, this is the first time that researchers have brought together multiple studies in order to identify the reasons behind the parenting difficulties.The editorial, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, indicates that parents who experience depression might be emotionally unavailable and as a consequence feel shame and guilt towards their parenting role.The work also indicates that problems with memory — a symptom of depression — may affect a parent’s ability to set goals for their child at the appropriate developmental stage.In the weeks after birth a mother’s interaction with her child leads to structural changes in the brain which helps her respond to the needs of the infant. These changes may also occur in fathers. If depressed parents have not had optimal and frequent interactions with their newborns they may not develop these brain changes, resulting in parenting difficulties that can ultimately lead to a child with behavioural problems.Dr Lamprini Psychogiou from the University of Exeter said: “We have looked at a wide range of research studies and identified multiple factors that link depression in adults to difficulties in their parenting role.”This work will help identify areas in which future research is necessary in order to develop interventions that will prevent mental health issues from being transmitted from one generation to the next. We hope that this will go some way towards helping both depressed parents and their children.”Future research will test the mechanisms that link depression in adults with the difficulties they may have with parenting. An improved understanding of these processes will aid the development of more specific and potentially more effective treatments.Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. …

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Not enough milk: one mother’s story

A blog reader, Michelle, sent me her breastfeeding stories. She has four children and was never able to nurse exclusively, despite trying everything. I’m so glad she was willing to share her experiences. Some women cannot produce enough milk for their babies. For those who want to nurse but cannot, the regret and frustration can be overwhelming.Michelle commented to me: “I am very grateful that I was able to nurse my girls for however long I could. I wish I were still nursing my fourth! I am glad to that I finally decided to pursue all solutions because I needed to realize that nothing I did would help. That knowledge helped alleviate a lot of guilt. If I ever have another child, I won’t beat myself …

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Infant Sleep Obsession

From a reader. It’s official; we care more about how long a baby sleeps than any other aspect of their growth or development. Sleep length is the ultimate measure of baby goodness and parent competence.This makes me feel kind of sad, I have to admit. Because really, babies are so much more than just sleep. My feelings on infant sleep have run the gamut over the years as I have made my way through four different babies with four very different sleep habits.In fact, as I type my kids are one by one (or two by two) making their slap-footed way out of their room to disturb my nighttime typing. Yeah- slightly irritating.Baby one- I was a Dr Sears devotee and baby had…

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Canadian NICU puts parents in charge

At Mount Sinai Hospital in Ontario, Canada, the NICU has implemented a new program putting parents in charge of their baby’s care. From an article at CTV News: Parents have long been encouraged to spend time with their babies in the NICU, but they were typically more observers than participants, often feeling helpless and lost as they sat by their child’s isolette watching every breath, trying to make sense of the monitors and startling at every bell or buzzer around them.”With family integrated care, we have done something quite different,” explains Dr. Shoo Lee, pediatrician-in-chief and director of the Maternal-Infant Care Research Centre.”What we’ve done is to say that for all babies in the NICU, the parents should be the primary …

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Immune system discovery could lead to vaccine to prevent mono, some cancers

Oct. 12, 2013 — Development of a vaccine against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has taken a step forward with the Canadian discovery of how EBV infection evades detection by the immune system.EBV causes infectious mononucleosis and cancers such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which is the most common cancer in China, as well as opportunistic cancers in people with weakened immune systems. A member of the herpes virus family that remains in the body for life, the virus infects epithelial cells in the throat and immune cells called B cells.The researchers discovered that the virus triggers molecular events that turn off key proteins, making infected cells invisible to the natural killer T (NKT) immune cells that seek and destroy EBV-infected cells.”If you can force these invisible proteins to be expressed, then you can render infected cells visible to NKT cells, and defeat the virus. This could be key to making a vaccine that would provide immunity from ever being infected with EBV,” says Dr. Rusung Tan, the study’s principal investigator. Dr. Tan is a scientist and director of the Immunity in Health & Disease research group at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital, and a professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of British Columbia.The findings were published this week in the print edition of the scientific journal Blood.For this study, the researchers looked at cells from infected tonsils that had been removed from patients at BC Children’s Hospital by Dr. Frederick Kozak. The researchers infected the tonsillar B cells with EBV, and then combined some of these cells with NKT cells. They found that more NKT cells led to fewer EBV-infected cells, while an absence of NKT cells was associated with an increase in EBV-infected cells.

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