Posts Tagged ‘ research studies ’

Secondhand Smoke Decreasing, But Kids Are Still at Risk!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

NoSmokingThe amount of Americans who are exposed to secondhand smoke has decreased by nearly half in the past 12 years, reports the CDC.

The decline— from 53 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012—is due to many cities and states banning cigarettes in public areas, which has also led smoking to become increasingly less socially accepted.

But secondhand smoke is not entirely a thing of the past—1 in 4 nonsmokers (or 58 million Americans) are still being exposed to these harmful chemicals.

And even more alarming is this statistic: 2 in 5 children, between the ages of 3 and 11, are still exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts also estimate that secondhand smoke has caused more than 400 infants to die from SIDS each year.

“Children are often exposed to smoke in their homes, and the report speculated that the sluggish decline in exposure of children might have to do with the fact that the fall in the adult smoking rate has slowed,”  reports The New York Times.

Infants and children are dependent on others to keep them out of harm’s way, so avoid smoking and exposing them to secondhand smoke at all costs—especially if they suffer from asthma—and everyone will be healthier as a result.

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

Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?

Image: NO Smoking via Shutterstock

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Vaccinating Kids Against Rotavirus Reduces Infection

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

baby getting rotavirus vaccine

Update (1/16/14): Our readers have pointed out that the original stock photo (which showed a needle vaccine) did not illustrate the rotavirus vaccine (which is taken orally) properly. We apologize for the error and confusion; the photo has been updated.

It’s no secret that vaccines are a hot-button topic for may parents, with many either for or against. But the latest research on vaccinations, specifically the rotavirus vaccine (which was only created in 2006), provides a good reason for parents to visit the pediatrician’s office.

Researchers at the Texas Children’s Hospital revealed in a new study that kids who did not receive the rotavirus vaccine were three times more likely to be infected by the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rotavirus is contagious and the leading cause of gastroenteritis (also know as the stomach flu) in babies and young children. The stomach and intestines become inflamed, which lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The study focused on young patients for over two years at the hospital and determined their rotavirus coverage, the highest being over 80 percent and the lowest being under 40 percent. Of those patients, only 10 percent in the high-coverage group contracted the rotavirus versus 31 percent in the low-coverage group. “This shows that there is an association between not being vaccinated and getting the disease,” said lead researcher Leila Sahni.

The rotavirus vaccine is only given orally, and babies must receive three doses in their first year. The study was funded by the CDC and published in Pediatrics, though this is not the first time the CDC has been involved in rotavirus research. Last year, the CDC also released a report that the rotavirus could cause “a small risk of a dangerous intestinal blockage,” but the benefits of the vaccine (including reduced children’s healthcare costs) outweighed the minimal issue.

Learn more about the rotavirus vaccine and the stomach flu. And make sure to print this free vaccine schedule for babies and toddlers and the one for preschoolers and older kids.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: Nurse giving baby Rotavirus vaccinevia Shutterstock

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Good News: Teen Pregnancy Is On the Decline!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Teenage Pregnancy Birth rates among teenagers have declined dramatically, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since reaching a peak height in 1957, birth rates have generally fallen in the U.S. since then, including a whopping 57 percent drop from 1991 to 2013. This decrease translates to an estimated 4 million fewer births to teens over the course of those years.

The CDC attributes this decline to a number of factors including a higher likelihood and more frequent use of contraception as well as decreased sexual activity overall among teens.

Bill Albert, chief program officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told CBS News that he believes popular MTV reality shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant have actually encouraged teens to avoid pregnancy, rather than glamourizing it.

“Many teens have described these shows as far more sobering than salacious, and they are watched by millions,” he said.

USA Today reports that while the national average for teen birth rates is 29.4 births per every 1,000 girls ages 15-19, birth rates remain well over that average in states in the South and Southwest. New Mexico has the highest teen birth rate with 47.5 births per every 1,000 teen girls.

Think you might be pregnant? Consider one of these 10 at-home pregnancy tests.

Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure

Photo of teenage girls courtesy of Shutterstock

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Study: Premature Birth Has Long-Lasting Effects

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

A review of research on preterm babies reveals that super-early preemies (those born between the 22 and 25 weeks gestation) face significant health risks years later. Compared with full-term babies, these preemies had increased risk of neurological problems at 4 to 8 years of age. Care of premature infants continues to improve, but this review points to the importance of trying to keep babies in the womb as long as possible, TIME.com reports.

More from TIME.com:

It’s not the first hint that preemies are at higher risk of health issues for being born before their development was completed. Some recent studies showed, for example, that babies who were born earlier had poorer test scores in reading and math compared with those born full term. A study published in 2011 that analyzed the long-term effects of premature birth on cognitive abilities such as memory and attention span in early adulthood revealed that people who were born extremely premature performed worse on executive function tests and took longer to complete higher-order intellectual tasks. As adults, these individuals also scored an average of 8.4 points lower on IQ assessments compared with people who were born at full term.

The fact that the effects of premature birth last into adulthood is concerning, since they are not only at a disadvantage in some cognitive functions, they even have a reportedly higher risk of death in early adulthood as well. Advancements in care of premature babies have undoubtedly improved, but lessening their health risks is still a task at hand. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University College London Institute for Women’s Health reported that death rates and health problems among extremely preterm babies has remained unchanged for decades.

While the parents of preemies may find this news less-than-reassuring, this research can help children by giving “parents and clinicians a heads-up for what to look out for during development,” TIME.com says.

Image: Premature baby’s foot, via Shutterstock

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Premature Baby Researchers Failed to Warn Parents of Risks

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

A large-scale study on the effects of oxygen levels on premature babies is under scrutiny by an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has issued a letter to parents warning them they were not cautioned that participating in the study could increase the risks of blindness of death afflicting their babies.  More from The New York Times:

The Office for Human Research Protections, which safeguards the people who participate in government-funded research, sent a letter to the University of Alabama at Birmingham last month, detailing what it said were violations of patients’ rights.

The university, which was a lead site for the study, had not detailed the risks in consent forms that were the basis of parents’ participation, the office said in the letter. Specifically, babies assigned to a high-oxygen group were more likely to go blind and babies assigned to a low-oxygen group were more likely to die than if they had not participated. Ultimately, 130 babies out of 654 in the low-oxygen group died, and 91 babies out of 509 in the high-oxygen group developed blindness.

Some of the 1,300 infants who participated in the study, which took place between 2004 and 2009, would probably have died or developed blindness even if they had not taken part. They were born at just 24 to 27 weeks gestation, a very high-risk category. But being assigned to one or the other oxygen group in the study increased their chances further, a risk that was not properly disclosed, the office said

Richard B. Marchase, vice president for research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a telephone interview that a similar group of infants born around the same time who did not participate in the study actually died at higher rates than those in the low-oxygen group. Those infants were not a control group in the study, but were roughly similar in number and in age to those in the study group; they had a 24 percent mortality rate, compared with a 20 percent mortality rate for the infants in the low-oxygen group.

He said the study kept the infants within the standard band of treatment for oxygen levels — 85 percent to 95 — and that its findings were forming the basis for a definition by the American Academy of Pediatrics about what the standard of care should be.

He said he had assured the Office for Human Research Protections that in the future, “we will to the best of our ability let the subjects or their parents know as thoroughly as possible what previous studies suggest in terms of risk.” He added, “We are going to be very sensitive to that going forward as we look at these consent forms.”

Image: Infant in incubator, via Shutterstock

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