Posts Tagged ‘ new research ’

Not Sure Why Your Child Is Acting Out? This Might Be Why

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Screaming boyIf your child is particularly aggressive these days and you can’t seem to figure out why, new research might have the answer: An international study from Duke University suggests that if children are hypersensitive to hostility from others, they are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior themselves.

Researchers examined 1,299 8-year-old children and their parents in nine countries (representing 12 cultural groups) for four years. One universal pattern was found across all cultures: “When a child infers that he or she is being threatened by someone else and makes an attribution that the other person is acting with hostile intent, then that child is likely to react with aggression,” said the study’s lead author, Kenneth A. Dodge M.D.

The findings, which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that the way a child is socialized is key. If children are socialized to be defensive, there is a greater chance for aggressive behavior.

When it came to the countries with the highest and lowest rates of child aggressive behavior problems, children from the United States (Durham, N.C. to be exact) who participated in the study came out somewhere in the middle.

“By teaching our children to give others the benefit of the doubt, we will help them grow up to be less aggressive, less anxious and more competent,” Dodge notes.

Related: Genetics May Determine Toddlers’ Aggression

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.

Handling Aggressive Behavior
Handling Aggressive Behavior
Handling Aggressive Behavior

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Why Some Kids Recover From Concussions Faster Than Others

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Boy fellWe know that concussions are a serious—and increasingly common—injury. Signs and symptoms tend to vary, which is why no head bump should be taken lightly.

But according to new research from the University of California, Los Angeles, children also recover from concussions at different rates depending on the amount of damage brain nerve fibers have experienced.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that kids who suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury recovered more slowly due to extensive damage to the protective coating (myelin) around brain nerve fibers.

Data was collected from 32 kids and teens (ages 8–19) who had experienced a moderate to severe brain injury within the past five months. Researchers examined the rate at which each individual processed and recalled information. Additionally, they recorded the speed that patients’ brain nerve fibers transmitted information.

Related: Kids, Sports, and Concussion Symptoms: What Parents Need to Know

Half of the patients were found to have extensive damage to myelin while the other patients’ myelin was almost completely intact. The group with intact myelin did 9 percent better on mental skills tests than the other group, and processed information as quickly as children who had not previously suffered any brain injury.

So what’s the takeaway? The study’s findings prove how important it is for doctors and medical professionals to identify brain injuries that may be higher-risk in order to monitor them more closely.

Related: 11 Concussion Myths That Could Hurt Your Child

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.

Prevent High Chair Injuries: How to Keep Your Child Safe
Prevent High Chair Injuries: How to Keep Your Child Safe
Prevent High Chair Injuries: How to Keep Your Child Safe

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Study: Experiencing Argumentative Parents Impacts Kids’ Brains

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Arguing parentsTiffs between you and your partner could have more of an impact on your children than you think.

A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that kids who often experience their parents arguing process emotions differently and are more observant of other people’s feelings than children who don’t witness their parents fighting as much.

Scientists studied a number of families and labeled participants’ home environments as either high-conflict or low-conflict based on questionnaire answers from the mothers. Researchers then looked at the brain activity of the children when they looked at photos of adults using different expressions—angry, happy and neutral.

Children classified as being from a high-conflict home showed a greater response when viewing the angry photos, compared to children from low-conflict homes. The response was based on an EEG test called P-3, which examines the brain’s ability to focus and give meaning to stimuli.

A higher P-3 amplitude was also found when children from high-conflict homes looked at happy faces, but had been asked to identify an angry couple.

“The pattern suggests children from high-conflict homes, by training their brains to be vigilant, process signs of interpersonal emotion, either anger or happiness, differently than children from low conflict homes,” said Alice Schermerhorn, study author and assistant professor in UVM’s Department of Psychological science, in a press release.

Further research is needed to determine whether these cautionary responses to anger lead to problems in social relationships in the future.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.

How to Talk to Kids: The Importance of Communication
How to Talk to Kids: The Importance of Communication
How to Talk to Kids: The Importance of Communication

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Brain Scans Reveal Babies Feel Pain the Same Way Adults Do

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Brain scansUntil now, some people have argued that a baby’s brain isn’t developed enough yet developed to feel pain, but recent research has showed that babies not only feel pain when they get shots. And a new study shows that babies and adults share the same pain threshold.

Through the use of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered that babies’ brains react similarly to adult brains when exposed to the same degree of pain.

Related: Yes, Babies CAN Feel Pain When Getting Shots

These findings could potentially alter current guidelines dealing with infants and pain management during painful procedures. “As recently as the 1980s, it was common practice for babies to be given neuromuscular blocks but no pain relief medication during surgery,” reports Science Daily.

As of now, this is a small-scale study; in total, researchers have only examined 20 healthy individuals: 10 infants between one and six days old, and 10 adults between 23- and 36-years-old. Of the 20 brain regions that are active when adults experience pain, 18 were also active in babies (see the MRI image here).

In fact, scans showed that babies’ brains that were given a weak “poke” had the same response as adults who were given a “poke” that was four times as strong. This suggests that babies are not only feeling pain, but they also have a significantly lower tolerance for the feeling. Of course, further research will be needed to draw a better conclusion.

However, because babies are unable to verbalize when and how badly they experience pain, this information is especially important in establishing the best ways to deal with pain relief in the future.

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Baby's First Year
Baby's First Year
Baby's First Year

Image: Doctors examining brain scans via Shutterstock

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Most Americans Believe Kids Should NOT Be Exposed to Medical Marijuana

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Medical MarijuanaMore than 20 states have legalized marijuana in the United States, but that does not make it any less of a complicated topic. A new poll reveals that Americans are not keen on medical marijuana being used by children, or even being used around them.

The Mott National Poll on Children’s Health represented a national sample of adults in the United States—10 percent of which either have a marijuana card or know someone who does.

Almost two-thirds of people believe that medical marijuana should be used by adults, but only half as many (a third) believe that children should use it.

Related: The AAP’s Current Stance on Marijuana for Kids

Most adults (80 percent) also believe that marijuana should not be used in the presence of children, and that belief was especially strong among adults with children under the age of 18. This is not entirely surprising because the number of children who have mistakenly ingested medical marijuana products has increased as the amount of prescriptions have increased.

This poll comes only a few months after the American Academy of Pediatrics updated it’s policy on medical marijuana and acknowledged that it could be beneficial for children with “debilitating or life-limiting diseases.”

“Our findings suggest that not only is the public concerned about the use of medical marijuana among children, but that the majority of Americans worry that even exposure to it may be harmful to kids’ health,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., professor and director of the National Poll on Children’s Health. “As is typical with anything involving health, the public’s standards are much higher when it comes to protecting children’s health.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns

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