Tag Archives: child

Normal or not? When temper tantrums become a disorder

Angry kids who throw excessive, explosive tantrums now have their own disorder: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Whereas this new addition to the mental health dictionary, the DSM, has prompted protests that psychiatrists are turning a normal part of childhood into a mental disorder, proponents say it will address the skyrocketing rate of another diagnosis that is leading to the inappropriate use of powerful medications on children. The soaring diagnoses belong to pediatric cases of bipolar disorder. Between 1994-1995 and 2002-2003, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children grew by 40-fold, according to research published in 2007 in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry. [11 New Warning Signs Help Spot Mental Illness in Children] Many of these children exhibited a pattern not consistent with a bipolar diagnosis. Specifically, bipolar disorder involves episodes of mania, which can show up in children as irritability. However, many of the children diagnosed did not have clear-cut episodes of irritability, instead, they were constantly irritable. As a result, experts believe many children are being misdiagnosed. Bipolar disorder is often treated with medications that bring worrisome side effects that are worse in children, according to the advocacy group the National Alliance on Mental Illness. These include weight gain that brings increased risk of diabetes or heart problems later in life, movement abnormalities and other problems. When it came time to put together the new edition of the mental health manual, called the DSM-5, officials at the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the manual, wanted to include a better-fitting diagnosis for kids with persistently angry, irritable dispositions, hence the addition of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). However, the addition is controversial. Allen Frances, who chaired the task force for the previous edition of DSM, charges that this new DMDD diagnosis “will exacerbate, not relieve, the already excessive and inappropriate use of medicationin young children.” The addition of DMDD could prove helpful, because it will enable researchers to study these symptoms in children who have previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but who dont fit the profile for that disorder, said Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the psychology textbook “Abnormal Psychology” (Worth Publishers, 2009). “The concern is that it will lower the threshold for diagnosing kids who are just having a hard time,” Rosenberg said. “There is a gain and there is a risk. If it becomes overly diagnosed, it will prevent us from figuring out what is going on with kids who really have this persistent problem with mood and behavior and, more importantly, needlessly put children on dangerous medications.” Tantrums and bad moods are normal parts of childhood. But to receive a DMDD diagnosis, a child must have rages that are “grossly out of proportion” three or more times per week, on average. The child's mood between outbursts must be “irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day,” according to the DMDD criteria, which set a threshold of at least 12 months. Kids who might qualify for this new diagnosis may come to the attention of mental health professionals because they have serious behavioral trouble at school or their parents may be unable to control them at home, Rosenberg said. Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/17/normal-or-not-when-temper-tantrums-become-disorder/

Sibling bullying is under-recognized, study finds

Across the U.S., parents, educators, doctors and other experts have rallied to protect children from bullies. However, bullying by brothers and sisters is often chalked up to normal sibling behavior. Now a new study finds that sibling aggression, like peer aggression, causes mental distress, which can lead to anger, depression and anxiety in the child who is being targeted. The researchers found that 32 percent of the children and adolescents had experienced one type of sibling aggression during the previous year. Further, the study showed that regardless of whether the aggression was mild or severe, bullied kids had significantly worse mental health than children who were not bullied. “There is a natural emotional intensity to sibling relationships,” said lead author Corinna Jenkins Tucker, an associate professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire. “There is a lot of love, but also the potential for a lot of conflicts.” More from LiveScience The researchers analyzed information from telephone interviews with nearly 3,600 adolescents ages 10 to 17, and with adult caregivers of children 9 and under. Each youngster had at least one sibling under 18 who was living at home. The data were obtained as part of The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, which documents the incidence and prevalence of youngsters' exposure to violence. During the interviews, the researcher asked if the adolescent or child had been bullied by a sibling during the past year. As the researchers defined it, bullying included physical assault, property victimization (such as forcibly taking something a child was wearing, or destroying something belonging to the child), or psychological aggression (such as name-calling, or telling the child he or she wasn't wanted around). In addition, researchers asked the youngsters if they had experienced anger, depression or anxiety during the previous month. Eight percent of the children interviewd had experienced two or more types of sibling bullying duringthe previous year. Children who were even mildly physically assaulted by a sibling had greater mental distress than adolescents who were not assaulted. However, all the kids were similarly affected by the other types of sibling aggression. Tucker said that parents and other adults often downplay sibling aggression. As a result, it's “under-recognized and under-estimated,” she said. “Our work is showing that in some cases, the mental distress associated with sibling aggression is similar to what we see with peer aggression. It is something to be taken seriously.”  Mark E. Feinberg, a research professor at the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University, said “while our society has been working to eliminate bullying, it has not touched the relationship that is most violent — the sibling relationship.” The findings are “are not news to those of us who have been paying attention to sibling relationships,” but because the study involved a large, nationally representative sample, the findings should focusattention on sibling aggression, said Feinberg, who was not involved with the study. “The question then is, what do we do about it?” he said. “Nobody yet has the answer on how to deal with this problem.” According to Tucker, when parents notice bullying, they should step in. “It is an opportunity for parents to act as a mediator, and teach constructive conflict skills,” she said. Parenting programs, Tucker added, should include discussions about sibling bullying as well. “There is a big push now to stop aggression, particularly between peers, and we are suggesting that these programs include a focus on siblings,” she said. The study is published June 17 in the journal Pediatrics. Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/17/sibling-bullying-is-under-recognized-study-finds/

Bosnians mourn baby who died for lack of ID number

Thousands of Bosnians gathered in front of parliament on Sunday evening to mourn a three-month-old baby who died after failing to get timely surgery because a parliamentary wrangle prevented her getting a passport. Berina Hamidovic was the first victim of politicking over identity numbers, which has united Bosnians in protests against the institutional paralysis that has blocked post-conflict reforms and the country's path towards the European Union. The somber gathering followed days of protests in Sarajevo and other towns over lawmakers' failure to agree new legislation on citizens' identity numbers. The row has left babies born since February unregistered, and therefore denied passports or medical cards. The protesters this time did not carry banners or posters, but encircled parliament with a ring of candles placed on the ground, and stood or walked in silence. The baby's parents said the time they had wasted persuading Serbian border police to let her in without a passport to go to a hospital in Belgrade for surgery had cost her her chance of life. The baby was diagnosed with tracheoesophageal fistula - a hole between her gullet and windpipe - and had already had an unsuccessful operation in Sarajevo. “We practically had to take the child across the border illegally, although she was legally allowed to travel for urgent health reasons,” the baby's father Emir Hamidovic said. When the baby was finally admitted to hospital in Belgrade, Bosnian authorities refused to pay for the surgery. Though the Serbian doctors agreed to carry out the procedure, the baby contracted an infection and died. “She perhaps had a chance to stay alive, but this is an obvious example how the state does not take care of its citizens,” said Hamidovic, 31, who is unemployed. The protests over ID numbers started two weeks ago after another 3-month-old baby was unable to leave for urgent surgery abroad because lawmakers could not agree how to redraw the districts that determine the 13-digit identification number assigned to each citizen. Similar ethnic wrangles have plagued Bosnia since the end of its 1992-95 war, which left it divided along ethnic lines with a weak central government and a system of ethnic quotas that has stifled development. The Serbs are pressing for a new registration arrangement along territorial lines. Muslims, known as Bosniaks, say that would only cement the ethnic divide.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/17/bosnians-mourn-baby-who-died-for-lack-id-number/

Secretary Sebelius, stop hiding behind bureaucratic rules and save a child’s life

Many are calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl dying of cystic fibrosis, to be allowed on the adult organ transplant list.  According to current federal policy, the minimum age for her to be included on the list is 12. Currently, Sarah cannot receive an adult lung transplant until the available organs are offered to adult patients first. Of course, Secretary Sebelius could always make an exception by allowing this girl to be put on the transplant list.  Exceptions to federal regulations are made every day by the Department of Health and Human Services, whether you’re talking about the use of non-FDA approved drugs to treat cancer or the use of new technical equipment for surgical therapies. In this specific case, however, we’re talking about saving a child whose only hope is to compete among other patients for a transplant.  It is a perfect example of how rules are sometimes meant to be changed – or broken completely – especially when you’re talking about saving a person’s life. Secretary Sebelius has only ordered a revision of the policy, which could take a lengthy amount of time – something Sarah does not have.  To me, this shows lack of leadership and, certainly, lack of compassion.  Doctors and nurses make instant decisions when it comes to helping others in need, and I believe that someone who is in charge of the largest health care agency on the planet should have a more proactive approach when dealing with these kinds of emergency situations. The field of medicine has changed dramatically when it comes to the surgical techniques that transplant surgeons use.  From minimally invasive therapy to partial organ transplants, new technical miracles continue to develop. Therefore, the argument that an adult organ may not be usable in a 10-year-old is no longer valid, and certainly open for discussion in our clinical community.  As reports have told us, Sarah’s surgeons do agree that in her case, an adult transplant just might work. The rule not allowing a child to be eligible for a transplant from an adult organ until the age of 12 is archaic, and it should not have taken a case like this for Secretary Sebelius – whose tenure has lasted for the past four years – to ask for a revision today. I agree with many who have said that this child is a victim of age discrimination.  But I also agree that Sarah has been ignored by our federal health leaders and has been placed in a bureaucratic Neverland.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/04/secretary-sebelius-stop-hiding-behind-bureaucratic-rules-and-save-childs-life/

Check young kids for motor delays, pediatricians suggest

Doctors should regularly screen babies and young children for delays in motor skill development - including trouble sitting, standing and speaking - at well-child visits, pediatricians said today. In a clinical report, an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) panel said diagnosing and treating those problems early on may ultimately improve kids' outlook and help families gain additional support. “Identifying children with delays and motor abnormalities, theoretically or hopefully would set them on a better trajectory,” said Meghann Lloyd, who studies motor development at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Canada. Lloyd, who was not involved in the new report, called it “a really big step forward for the field.” Dr. Garey Noritz and colleagues on the AAP's neuromotor screening expert panel lay out the skills that a child should have developed by office visits at ages 9, 18, 30 and 48 months. For example, a 9-month-old baby should be able to roll to both sides, sit well without support and grasp objects. At 18 months, that child should be able to walk, sit and stand on its own. Pediatricians should also ask parents open-ended questions about their child's development and watch the child play for signs of delays or loss of motor skills at well-child visits, the panel said. On a general exam, it recommended that doctors measure head size and look at children's muscle tone, reflexes and eye movements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed expert panel, said in 2006 there wasn't enough evidence to recommend for or against screening instruments designed to detect speech and language delays in young kids. The task force does not have screening recommendations for motor delays in general. “The AAP… recognized that we as a profession weren't necessarily doing a good job screening for motor problems,” Noritz, from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told Reuters Health. Cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy are two of the most common motor-related diseases and could both be picked up and treated earlier than they typically are now, according to Noritz. He said families often refer to the “diagnostic odyssey” involved in getting a definitive diagnosis for a sick child. “We're hoping that people can get to a specialist more quickly and thus get diagnosed more quickly, but that primary care clinicians at the same time as they're looking for a diagnosis, will refer (kids) to therapy,” he said. Promoting movement There is normal variation in how kids develop, Lloyd said - so if a child is a couple of months late to walk, for example, parents shouldn't be overly concerned. But longer delays, or combinations of multiple motor problems, are a good reason for a visit to the pediatrician, she told Reuters Health. “Other types of movements that don't seem right, like a tremor or a rigidity or some sort of repetitive motor movement would be another red flag for me,” Lloyd added. Typical motor delays that aren't a result of more serious underlying conditions are treated with physical or occupational therapy. Parents can bring their children to an early movement program such as Kindergym to promote development of motor skills, Lloyd said, regardless of other treatments and whether or not they are delayed. Having poor motor skills in general “sets you on a trajectory for low levels of physical activity, which of course is related to obesity,” she said. “The prevention of these delays or the promotion of motor ability can actually impact your health for your lifespan.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/28/check-young-kids-for-motor-delays-pediatricians-suggest/

How to keep your kid healthy this summer

Summer’s right around the corner and as the weather warms up and your kids get ready for endless days at the beach, pool and park, keeping them healthy is your top priority. Find out how to prevent and treat the most common ailments so your kids will be healthy all summer long. Sunburn According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one blistering sunburn before the age of 18 doubles your child’s chances of developing melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—later on in life. “The most important thing is prevention,” said Dr. Gary Goldenberg, medical director of the dermatology faculty practice at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.  Goldenberg recommended checking the UV index to find out what your your risk for sunburn is. “It’s not enough to just look outside and say, ‘It’s hot, but it’s cloudy so the chance of sunburn is low,’” he said. Thirty minutes before heading outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50. Since the FDA doesn’t measure higher numbers, you might be getting an SPF 50 anyway, Goldenberg said. Be sure to reapply every time your kid comes out of the water and every few hours. Keep your kid in the shade when possible, and dress him in clothing with UPF protection. If your kid does get a sunburn, Vaseline, aloe or Aquaphor can help to ease discomfort. If the burn is severe, a pediatrician might prescribe a topical or oral steroid. Poison ivy, oak, sumac If your kid comes into contact with any of these plants—through skin or clothing—the potent oil urushiol can cause a rash of linear streaks or blisters that is extremely itchy. Depending on how much your child has been exposed to, the rash can show up right away on one part of the body and then on another a few days later, Goldenberg said.  Plus, scratching the rash can help transfer it to another part of the body. Applying calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream is usually the best way to treat the rash, yet sometimes a topical or oral steroid might be needed. Be sure to wash your child’s clothing several times in hot water, because the oil can live on clothing for months, according to Dr. JJ Levenstein, a retired, board certified pediatrician and founder MDMoms.com The best way to prevent getting this nasty rash? Follow the old saying: Leaves of three, let it be. Mosquito bites These little bugs, which start to emerge as the sun sets, can be super itchy when they bite. Long sleeves and pants are best to keep them at bay, but if it’s too hot outside, a bug spray with DEET is most effective.  A word of caution: Since DEET has been shown to be toxic to the central nervous system, experts agree it shouldn’t be used on young children.  Apply DEET carefully so your child doesn’t inhale it, and be sure to bathe him or her before bedtime. Hydrocortisone is usually the best way to treat mosquito bites, although your pediatrician might prescribe a topical steroid. Bee stings A bee sting might hurt, but in some kids, it can cause an allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which can cause the airways to close. If your kid has been stung and he or she is having trouble breathing, go to the emergency room immediately. If you notice the welt getting larger and larger after each bee sting, speak with his or her pediatrician about carrying an EpiPen, Goldenberg said. Protective clothing, repellent sprays and staying away from bees are the best prevention. Ticks If your kid will be walking through wooded areas or through tall grasses, a tick could possibly latch onto his or her skin, putting them at risk for Lyme disease.  This condition is most common among children ages 5 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tucking pants into socks, hair into hats and wearing long sleeves can help. Be sure to check your kid from head to toe for ticks, because the sooner you catch one, the easier it is to remove. If you’re unable to remove it, your child’s pediatrician might run some tests and prescribe antibiotics. Dehydration and heat stroke If your child doesn’t drink enough fluids, long, hot days in the sun can spell trouble for your kid in the form of dehydration, or worse, heat stroke. “Heat stroke means that you’re overheated to a point where you actually start to become a little delirious,” said Levenstein. “Your pulse is rapid, you feel dizzy and incoherent and your core body temperature could rise above 98.6 degrees. You lose your ability to cool yourself down because you’re out of sweat.” Kids under the age of 6 should pre-hydrate 30 minutes before heading outdoors with two to three large cups of water; older kids should drink a liter of water. They should re-hydrate every 30 to 60 minutes and urinate every three to four hours.  If your kid is playing sports, every second or third drink should have electrolytes in it to replace the sodium lost through sweat.Julie Revelant is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, health, food and women's issues and a mom. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/26/how-to-keep-your-kid-healthy-this-summer/

Childhood ADHD tied to obesity decades later

Boys who are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in elementary school are more likely to grow up to be obese adults than those who don't have the condition, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed two groups of 41-year-old men and found those with a history of ADHD were 19 pounds heavier than their non-ADHD counterparts, on average. The findings are consistent with past studies that looked only at children or only at adults and linked ADHD to extra pounds, researchers said. “There's definitely been enough research now where it does appear there is some connection between these two disorders,” said Sherry Pagoto, who has studied ADHD and obesity at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Data for the new study came from 207 white boys with ADHD who were referred to a research clinic at around age eight and followed as they grew up. Ten years later another group of teenage boys without ADHD, who were otherwise similar to the original participants, were added to the study. By the time they were asked to report their weight at age 41, 111 men from each group were still in the study. On that survey, men with a history of ADHD reported weighing 213 pounds, on average, and 41 percent of them were obese. In comparison, men without ADHD weighed in at an average of 194 pounds, and 22 percent qualified as obese, Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos from the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York and his colleagues wrote in Pediatrics. “As we learn more about the regions of the brain that may be implicated in obesity, they overlap with brain regions implicated in ADHD,” Castellanos told Reuters Health. “The reward system seems to be relevant to both conditions.” In addition, he added, “There is the speculation that the obesity is at least partly reflecting some of the impulsivity, poor planning and the difficulty in making choices” that come with ADHD. Pagoto, who was not involved in the new research, agreed that young people with the disorder could be more impulsive when it comes to their food choices and may also spend more time in front of screens than their peers. “Parents of children who have ADHD should pay special attention to how that child's weight is changing over time, knowing that they may be at greater risk for becoming obese,” she told Reuters Health. “If they're at higher risk of obesity, that may bring other things with it,” such as type 2 diabetes, she added. Contrary to the study team's hypothesis, they found that men who no longer had their childhood ADHD symptoms were especially likely to be obese - not those who still had persistent attention and hyperactivity problems. Pagoto agreed that finding was unexpected and said the study may simply have been too small to tease out reliable differences among adults with a history of ADHD. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents report that close to one in ten kids and teenagers has been diagnosed with ADHD. Boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls. Castellanos recommended parents of children with ADHD make sure their kids are getting enough exercise and help them cut back on sugary drinks and other high-calorie food choices.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/20/childhood-adhd-tied-to-obesity-decades-later/