Monday, September 9th, 2013
Children who have diagnosed behavioral problems or who experience “adverse events” in their lives before age 8 may be more likely to develop physical inflammation later in adolescence and adulthood, putting them at greater risk for inflammation-related disorders including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. More from ScienceDaily.com on the findings of a new study, which was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology:
[Children with behavioral problems or who had suffered "adversities" by age 8] had higher levels of two proteins (C-reactive protein — CRP; and Interleukin 6 — IL-6) in their blood when tested at the age of 10. This was the case even after a large number of other factors, including sex, race, background, and medication use, were taken into account.
Having raised levels of CRP and IL-6 can be an early warning sign that a person may be at risk of chronic or inflammatory conditions later in life.
Previous research has shown that children with behavioral problems can go on to develop health problems during adulthood, but this is the first time that a link has been found between mental health and inflammation in childhood.
The researchers believe the link may be due to the fact that many behavioral problems are associated with how the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis works. The HPA axis plays a major role in controlling reactions to stress and the immune system and, if it malfunctions, it can stimulate the release of the two proteins that cause chronically elevated levels of inflammation, which is tissue’s response to injury.
Speaking about the findings, Karestan Koenen, PhD, the report’s senior author and associate professor of Epidemiology, said: “This new research shows for the first time that having behavioral problems in childhood can put children on the path to ill health much earlier than we previously realized. The important message for healthcare professionals is that they need to monitor the physical health as well as the mental health of children with behavioral problems in order to identify those at risk as early as possible.”
Image: Sad child, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
A new study of children with type 1 diabetes suggests that insulin pumps are better at controlling the disease than insulin injections. Kids who use an insulin pump may also experience fewer complications, the researchers said. Here’s more from HealthDay News:
[The researchers] compared outcomes for 345 children, aged 2 to 19, who were using insulin pumps to control their type 1 diabetes to a similar number of children who were receiving insulin injections.
The children were followed for a median of three and a half years.
During the follow-up period, episodes of dangerously low blood sugar levels (severe hypoglycemia) in the insulin-pump group fell by about half, the researchers said. In contrast, episodes of severe hypoglycemia in the insulin-injection group rose, from about seven events per 100 patients per year to more than 10 events by the end of the study.
The researchers also looked at rates of hospital admission for diabetic ketoacidosis, a shortage of insulin that causes the body to switch to burning fats and to produce acidic ketone molecules that cause complications and symptoms. This a frequent complication in children with type 1 diabetes.
Admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis were lower in the insulin-pump group than in the insulin-injection group — 2.3 and 4.7 per 100 patients per year, respectively, according to the study.
Of the 345 patients with insulin pumps, 38 stopped using them at some point during the study: six in the first year, seven in the second year, 10 in the third year and the remainder after three years.
The study authors said some children stop because they tire of the extra attention needed to manage the pump, or are concerned about the physical sight of the pump. Other children sometimes take a temporary “pump holiday” and then start using a pump again.
Image: Insulin pump, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
A New York State Supreme Court judge has issued a decision striking down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks. In a move that is sure to get families talking about the relationship between sugary beverages and childhood obesity–and the government’s role in regulating both–State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling said that the rule is invalid because it isn’t applied consistently. More from The Associated Press:
‘‘The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,’’ Tingling wrote in a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants and other business groups that called the rule unfair and wrong-headed.
In addition, the judge said the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health intruded on City Council’s authority when it imposed the rule.
The city vowed to appeal the decision, issued by New York state’s trial-level court.
‘‘We believe the judge is totally in error in how he interpreted the law, and we are confident we will win on appeal,’’ Bloomberg said. He added: ‘‘One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America.’’
For now, though, the ruling it means the ax won’t fall Tuesday on supersized sodas, sweetened teas and other high-sugar beverages in restaurants, movie theaters, corner delis and sports arenas.
‘‘The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,’’ the American Beverage Association and other opponents said, adding that the organization is open to other ‘‘solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.’’
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The first of its kind in the country, the restriction has sparked reaction from city streets to late-night talk shows, celebrated by some as a bold attempt to improve people’s health and derided by others as another ‘‘nanny state’’ law from Bloomberg during his 11 years in office.
Image: Sodas, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
The American Academy of Pediatrics has, for the first time, issued guidelines for managing weight-related diabetes in children. The move is attributed to the rise in childhood obesity in America. The two major recommendations are that pediatricians should screen every child for diabetes, and take care to distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. More from Time.com:
Children have long been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, in which the body fails to make enough insulin-producing cells to process glucose in the blood, but doctors are now seeing an increasing number of children with type 2 diabetes, in which fat cells that enlarge with weight gain thwart the body’s ability to break down sugars. Up to a third of cases being diagnosed in kids these days are Type 2, which generally develops later in life, generally after age 40. “We’re seeing it much more than we did before,” says Dr. Janet Silverstein, co-author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on diabetes and professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida. “Many pediatricians were never trained in managing Type 2 because it just wasn’t a disease we used to see. It was a disease of adulthood. But as we’re seeing more obesity in kids, we’re seeing adult diseases in childhood.”
The guidelines, which are the first of their kind for kids between the ages of 10 and 18, were developed in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
They emphasize the importance of distinguishing between type 1 and type 2 to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Children with type 2 don’t necessarily need insulin. They may initially be treated with medication that increases their sensitivity to insulin. And they should be encouraged to move: doctors should advise them to exercise at least an hour a day and limit screen time that’s not related to schoolwork to under two hours a day.
Image: Candy, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Children who have televisions in their bedrooms have higher risks of developing health problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found. More from NBC News:
“Specifically, youngsters ages 5 to 18 who had TVs in their rooms were up to 2.5 times more likely than others to have bigger waists and more fat mass. Those who watched TV more than five hours a day were at twice the risk for fat around their internal organs, a dangerous precursor for disease.
“It’s really troubling to see these kids with fat around their heart and liver,” said Amanda Staiano, a scientist with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Staiano and her colleagues knew that previous studies had shown a link among bedroom TVs, longer TV viewing and being overweight or obese, which affects two-thirds of U.S. youth. But in a country where 70 percent of kids have TVs in their rooms, according to a 2010 study, Staiano said they wanted to understand exactly where the kids were adding fat, and whether they were at risk for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
“We wanted to see kind of a more precise relationship between TV and health,” said Stainao, who studied 369 children and teens in Louisiana. Her findings are reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
They took the kids’ height, weight and waist measurements, logged their blood pressure, analyzed their blood and examined the fat deposits in their bodies using special scanners, among other exams.
Nearly 66 percent of the young people in the study had TVs in their rooms and about a third watched at least five hours of TV a day. There wasn’t a distinction by age, so even the youngest kids — 5-year-olds — had their own TVs, Staiano said.
Those with bedroom TVs had the higher odds for being in the top tiers of kids with extra belly fat, bigger waists, greater risk of heart disease and diabetes and elevated triglycerides, or fat in their bloodstream.
While Stainano’s study couldn’t say whether bedroom TV and long hours in front of the screen actually causes the extra fat and disease risk, it renews the debate about whether TVs should be allowed in kids’ rooms at all.
The American Academy of Pediatrics frowns on the practice, saying children’s TV viewing should be limited to less than two hours a day, ideally in a central location with parents watching, too.”
Image: Kids watching TV in bed, via Shutterstock
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