Kids Health

Resolve Personal Issues before Baby Comes
A new study relays a simple message: If you are pregnant and have unresolved personal issues, try to resolve them or it may rub off on your child.

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Texas-Austin found that mothers with unresolved trauma or deaths in their past were more likely to show potentially harmful maternal behaviors to their babies. The study showed that it was not the traumatic events themselves that had an effect, but how the mothers had dealt with the events in their minds. For example, women who had lost a parent and had not completed the grieving process were more likely to demonstrate “frightened” (appearing afraid of the infant) or “frightening” (sudden voice changes or movements that are scary, not playful) behavior toward their infants.

Past studies have shown that frightened/frightening behavior on the part of parents has been related to “disorganized attachment” in children, which may be associated with later problems such as poor peer relationships, aggression, anxiety or depression. Researchers say a combination of therapy and training in appropriate parenting would be beneficial to parents with unresolved trauma and loss.

Ask Questions about Your Pap Test
Approximately 15,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 5,000 die of the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. There is now a vaccine to help guard against the virus that causes cervical cancer; however, the vaccine only protects against four types of HPV, which are responsible for only 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

Women still need to visit their OB-Gyns for regular Pap tests. Cervical cancer is almost 100 percent curable if detected early, and the ThinPrep Imaging System — recently implemented by Paladin Lab in Burlington — is the best method for early detection. Studies have shown that the ThinPrep Pap Test has improved diagnosis of low-grade and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions compared to conventional Pap smears.

This integrated, interactive computer system provides more accurate results within a faster turnaround time, leading to earlier detection of precancerous changes. Approximately 70 percent of all Pap tests in the U.S. utilize the ThinPrep Pap Test, so ask your doctor what type of test you are getting.

5 Dos and Don’ts to Help Kids Deal with Tragedy
All too often, we must talk to our kids about horrific violence. Most recently it was the shooting at Virginia Tech that brought children’s sadness and fears to the forefront. Psychologist Dr. Ken Druck, author of the book “How to Talk to Your Kids about School Violence,” recommends the following Dos and Don’ts when violence permeates the news.

1. Don’t panic. Your child may already be upset. Avoid saying or doing anything that will make your child more upset or scared. Do be up-front with your child. Address his questions and concerns truthfully but sensitively.

2. Don’t expect you’ll have all the answers. The best way to talk is to listen first. Try to understand what your child is going through. Do act as a sounding board. Allow your child to ask unanswerable questions. Even more than answers, he needs to struggle with the “whys” that accompany tragedies like this.

3. Don’t present yourself as the all-knowing parent. There are no quick fixes or easy answers. Do learn and understand all the facts before you make judgments about what happened.

4. Don’t make blanket assurances like “This will never happen again.” Kids and teens don’t buy it. If your child tells you he feels frightened, and his concerns are dismissed, he won’t bring them up again. Do send the message that it’s OK to feel the way he feels. Discuss his school’s current disaster plan and ways to improve on it. Make it clear that you will work to make his school a safer place.

5. Don’t force your child to talk about the incident. They’ll talk when they are ready to. Do talk about the incident when your child begins to open up. Provide your child with opportunities to grieve and express his emotions for as long as necessary.

Whooping Cough Transmits Easily — Get Your Booster Shot
Infants with whooping cough (pertussis) were most likely infected by the people they live with, according to a multi-county study led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

In 55 percent of infants, parents were the source of pertussis, according to the study. In all, household members including siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were responsible for 75 percent of pertussis cases among infants for whom a source could be identified.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may start as a mild cold or dry cough that persists and eventually worsens. Infants who haven’t received any or all of their vaccines are particularly vulnerable and are at highest risk for pertussis-related complications, including seizures, swelling of the brain, severe ear infection, anorexia and dehydration.

The pertussis vaccination has reduced the number of reported cases by more than 95 percent since the 1950s; however, the number of reported cases has tripled in the past two decades, particularly in adolescents and adults. The pertussis immunity from early childhood vaccinations wears off, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible to the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that adults and adolescents be given a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster (Tdap) in place of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster.

DIYers Beware: Nail Gun Injuries Spike
Ouch! The number of nail gun injuries has almost doubled since 2001, reports the April Morbidity and Mortality Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the Do-It-Yourselfers are at risk. According to an analysis by Duke University Medical Center and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the number of weekend carpenters treated each year for nail gun injuries in emergency rooms in U.S. hospitals more than tripled between 1991 and 2005, increasing to about 14,800 per year. Researchers say that many injuries caused by nail guns could be prevented by using tools that fire only when the nosepiece is depressed before the trigger is pulled as opposed to tools that allow the user to rapidly “bounce fire” nails.

A User-Friendly Guide to Cancer Treatment
Cancer patients can now arm themselves with complete information to help them battle the disease with a comprehensive cancer guide: Patient Resource: A Cancer Treatment and Facilities Guide for Patients and Their Families.
Patients today are proactive advocates for themselves, looking for answers and opportunities for their treatment and survival.

The “Patient Resource” is an annual publication that provides survivor stories, as well as extensive lists and contact information for cancer specialists, treatment, clinics, terminology and clinical trials. It also includes tips for navigating the insurance maze and explains the importance of second and third opinions.

Patient Resource is available in physicians’ offices, or you can order by logging on to www.patientresource.net.

Sleeker, Smarter Device for Diabetes Management
Today, approximately 21 million Americans have diabetes, and about 4 million of those use insulin to manage their blood sugar. A new insulin delivery system, the HumaPen Memoir, allows people with diabetes to manage their condition with more confidence.

Created by Eli Lilly and Co. and Battelle Medical Device Solutions, the Memoir is an advanced, reusable delivery pen that allows the user to catalogue and retrieve the time, date and amount of their 16 previous insulin injections, including the primary dosage. The pen’s subtle look is more discreet and less scary compared to pumps and syringes. For more information, visit www.humalog.com or call (800) LillyRx.

Exercise the Muscles of the Body . . . and Brain
Fitness expert Michael Gonzalez-Wallace has developed a new exercise technique to improve the balance, coordination and academic achievement of young adults and children. The program on DVD is called the “Brain-Muscle Workout” ($16.95), and by continuously teasing the body with balance and coordination challenges, the workout simultaneously stimulates the brain, muscles and nervous system. The workout progresses through four increasingly difficult phases during a 12-week period, so kids with even the shortest attention spans do not get tired of the routine. Purchase instructional DVDs at www.thebrainmuscleworkout.com/.