Archive for the ‘Children’s Health’ Category

Parents’ perceptions can affect children’s health

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H

Can your own perceptions of your child’s health affect it?

Dr. Tracy Lieu, author of a study in the October 8, 2008, Pediatrics, thinks so.  She surveyed parents of 700 asthmatic children and found parents’ low expectations led to more poorly controlled asthma.

In a Science Daily interview, Dr. Lieu said: (more…)

Top children’s medical news stories within the past few months

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

I write on my top, must read, recent medical news stories about children at the Homemaker Barbi website.  They include:

  1. Kawasaki disease
  2. Vitamin D
  3. Cough and cold medicines
  4. Bisphenol A (BPA)
  5. Influenza vaccines

Do virginity pledges prevent premarital sex? What does? Influences and attitudes.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

by  James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The headlines read, “Study shows virginity pledgers as sexually active as peers,” or, “Virginity pledges don’t work.”  OK, I thought, I’m not too keen on public pledges myself.  They were probably done in the emotion and peer pressure of the moment.  I wish all programs would undergo similar scrutiny.

But, then, I read an interview with the study’s author and found ”the rest of the story,” to quote Paul Harvey.  I didn’t take my own advice and believed a headline without reading the details.


Death of a child. What we can learn from the Travolta family tragedy?

Monday, January 5th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

No one should have to bury their child.  A universal truth that will never be cliche.  There is nothing worse than the death of your son or daughter.  It haunts you forever.

I know from second-hand experience after my parents had to do just that when my sister died in an auto accident in her twenties.  The Travoltas know first-hand.  You can only try to cope.  But how?  What common lessons can be learned from such an unthinkable tragedy?


What is Kawasaki disease? Should I worry about my child?

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Whenever there is a public tragedy such as the death John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son, Jet, we are all sad, and some of us worry how it might relate to us. At least, I do.  It is a realty check. Don’t we all, sometimes, fear the worst for our children or is it just me?

We don’t know the cause of his death yet, but we do know that both parents have talked about their son getting Kawasaki disease when a child.  So, for now, if our own child gets sick we think, could it be Kawasaki Disease?  What if I, or the doctor miss the diagnosis?  How serious a threat is it to my family?

Knowledge and perspective may help a little.
photo CDC.strawberry tongue


How to warm up smarter to prevent injuries

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Everyone’s heard you should get a little loose and do some slow exercises before you start the real stuff.  But investigators in Norway went way beyond stretching and showed a significant decrease in injuries in teenage, female soccer players (pdf file)  by doing so.  They were concerned there were too many injuries in these young athletes and decided to try a rigid, 20-minute exercise program prior to practices and games, called the 11 Injury Prevention Program.


Tis the season … for colds, flu, weight gain … ah, holidays.

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The coming holidays turn our hearts and thoughts to family, friends, charity, good will, peace and kids with runny noses.  Check out the column I wrote for Homemaker Barbi on nine ways to keep your kids healthy during the winter. Anything to help, right?

Also, I collaborated with Carole Carson on a post at Basil & Spice titled “Is Holiday Weight Gain Inevitable?” A new study concludes, maybe it is.  Best prevention? Exercise.

Obama will not be able to select allergy-free First Dog.

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

President-elect Barack Obama says one of his first priorities will be to obtain a First Dog.

His daughter Malia has allergies and a canine club called the Association of Friends of Hairless Dogs of Peru has offered one they say is hypoallergenic.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology begs to differ, stating there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.  Not only more credible, the AAAI has two less “ofs” in their long name.

Here’s their press release, with my comments and a question below it.


Autism is higher in rainy counties of Washington, Oregon and California. Are you kidding?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

This new study, relating autism to increased precipitation, is a classic “scare of the day” news story.  You will see it everywhere.  Some people will latch onto it as a factual cause of autism, but you will never hear if it is disproven.  Don’t get me wrong.  The researchers should publish it.  It is interesting, but it is a starting point and nothing more.

We know little about causes or risk factors for autism.  So you have to start somewhere looking for clues.  The researchers started with a hypothesis that there could be some environmental trigger.  They scoured state records in Washington, Oregon and northern California, looking for autistic children 6 to 12 years old.  Then they looked at where the child was living and how much precipitation that area got when the child was under age 3. They found that more autistic children grew up on the rainy side of the states. (In case you didn’t know, it rains a lot on the coastal side of these areas, but much less east of the mountain range in the middle.)

But what does that really mean? Rain causes autism?  Nature is against us?  A few years back researchers found that more men with prostate cancer had undergone a vasectomy.  Later studies found it was just a coincidence.  So why do cross-sectional studies like this in the first place?


Bipolar Diagnoses Increase

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

According to the National Institutes of Health the actual diagnosis of bipolar disorder in teens and children has increased by 40 times over the last 10 years. During this same time period, in adults, the diagnosis has doubled. The study was published in the September 2007 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Now the big question is whether the increase of bipolar disorder in children and teens is from overdiagnosing the disorder, underdiagnosing it in the past, or a combination of the two. (more…)

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