Friday, January 29, 2010

Career over Children?

This new research on the chances of getting pregnant after 35-years-old is pretty interesting. However, I would hate to think that women will start having babies before they are ready to care for them or with the wrong fellow. That would be even more alarming than this study!

My husband and I met when I was just turning 21-years old. We still didn't have children until I was 26 years old. So I guess women my age (32) are supposed to be like-"hey you like me, you wanna have kids?"Of course I am saying this tongue and cheek. I guess I just feel like most of the people I know who want kids and haven't had them yet are single.


Some medical research out today has a lot of women and men, for that matter talking. A new fertility study finds once a woman hits 30, she has only 12 percent of her eggs left. And by age 40, the decline is even more extreme. These are huge implications in a country where millions of career women put off marriage and children while their biological clocks tick.


The news and the numbers sure startled the women we met at this gym. “At 30 women have 12% of their eggs left." Lyssie Lakatos: Wow
Kate: So when I say that what runs through your head? Lyssie: That's shocking yeah. It makes me nervous." Amanda Galmiche: "I think that sounds a little extreme. I mean that surprises me yeah. Researchers used a complicated math formula to show that after the teenage years it's all downhill in terms of how many eggs a woman has left in her ovaries. Andi Barreiro: "I guess I better hurry up. Yeah that's scary."

In the past 30 years the number of women over 35 having their first child increased by eight fold. "There's so many examples of people having babies so much older that I think it makes it a lot easier for people my age to be like yeah I don't have to rush into getting married and having kids." Dr. Goldfarb: "Unfortunately, nature is what it is, and that once you get much beyond 35 the chance of getting pregnant are gonna go down quite a bit. But before you panic... A numbers check... It can vary a lot-- but on average a girl starts life with 300-thousand eggs. So what this study is saying is that by age 30 she has 36-thousand left. And it only takes one egg to get pregnant. By age 40, the study says women are down to three percent of their eggs... Or about 9-thousand.

Dr. Goldfarb: "The numbers are scary. The positive is that those 12 percent of eggs work very very well. By the time you get to 40 those 3% of eggs don't work very well.
In other words quality may matter more than quantity. Andi Barreiro "My moms friends they all ask me when I'm gonna have kids cause my eggs are getting old." K: "Well, I guesS they're not wrong according to the study we're looking at. And what do you tell them back? Andi: "That I have to have a boyfriend first."

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is Causing an Increase in Cavities?

My 6-year-old has already had two cavities! I think that's ridiculous. He brushes his teeth at least two times a day, sometimes three. We even have one of the kid's Sonicare toothbrushes features in this picture. However, we are not big flossers-even though we should be. I am just so tired by the time the kids go to bed, the last thing I want to do is fight with them to floss. That lack of motivation is probably why I have already paid for two fillings. If your kids haven't had any yet, be grateful! I think the fillings were more than $100 a piece!
I must brush my kids teeth more often and get them to start flossing. This story is my "hint!" Do you floss your kids' teeth? How often?


FROM NBC:Dentists are frustrated by a trend they're seeing in young patients. After years of steady decline, there's evidence that cavities are making a comeback. While many are quick to blame bottled water, one dentist says the reason might be even simpler.


For Dawson Depperschmidt, getting a cavity filled is just another part of growing up.
(Dawson Depperschmidt)
"It wasn't that bad." But for her mother, caring for the teeth of her four growing girls has been a painful experience.

Sarah Depperschmidt, mother
"Dawson has always been a good brusher, it's like pulling teeth to get Presley to brush her teeth and none of them like to floss." The Depperschmidts are among the growing number of American families whose kids are getting more cavities.

According to the CDC, pediatric cavities were at an all time low in the mid nineties - with 24% of kids ages 2 to 5 having at least one. But the latest data available suggests that number is up about 4%.

Dr. Melissa Rozas has a pediatric dental practice. She says most often, the cavities show up when kids start school and their diets change.

Dr. Melissa Rozas, Dentist: "They also are able to get some things that maybe they weren't able to get at home such as chocolate milk, strawberry milk, possibly some desserts that they can go through the school line and get." But she says the bacteria that causes those cavities forms much earlier. That's why dentists and doctors suggests dental visits starting at age 1, so parents can implement good dietary and dental hygiene habits from the moment the first tiny tooth appears.

Dr. Melissa Rozas, dentist
"Bacteria need a tooth and they need food. so if we can brush the bacteria away and we can prohibit certain kinds of foods from getting to that tooth, we can prevent cavities."

Sarah Depperschmidt says despite her efforts, her kids have had upwards of three dozen cavities collectively. Sarah Depperschmidt, mother
"How much money have you spent?"
"A lot of money. A whole lot of money. Don't you see this nice, pretty office?"

But all kidding aside, she says their smiles are worth every penny. The doctor says parents should only give their children milk and water, never let them sleep with a bottle or sippy cup and limit snacking and sugary foods.

She also says you should brush and floss their teeth as soon as they appear.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Teen Pregnancies are up

FROM NBC: After years of decline, the number of teen pregnancies in the U.S. rose in 2006. The question now is why -- and whether this increase signals a new, disturbing trend.

The teen years are a time of firsts -- first car, first love... and increasingly, first child. Heather Boonstra from the Guttmacher Institute said, "The teen pregnancy rates have actually jumped for the first time in the last few decades." A sexual and reproductive health think-tank called the Guttmacher Institute has released data that show the number of pregnant teens rose 3-percent in 2006. That's a reversal from sharp declines of more than 40-percent seen during the 1990's.

"That progress really came to a halt in the 2000s." The Institute's Heather Boonstra says a focus on abstinence-only sex education in the 2000's simply didn't work, and suggests adding birth control 101 to sex ed.

Heather Boonstra, Guttmacher Institute "Programs that teach about both actually show to help teens delay sexual activity, help them to have fewer sexual partners, and help them to use contraceptives more consistently."

Advocates for the abstinence-only programs say it's too simplistic to blame their message for the increase in teen pregnancies -- and instead cite a bombardment of the wrong messages from the media and pop culture... and no message at all from many parents who may be reluctant to talk about sex with their teens.

The new numbers echo previous data from the CDC, which found an uptick in the number of teens not only getting pregnant -- but carrying babies to full term. Heather Boonstra, Guttmacher Institute "An increase in teen birth rates could either mean that fewer teens are getting abortions, or it means that there are more pregnancies overall, and what this data show is that there are more pregnancies overall."

Indeed - the Guttmacher report also shows a 1-percent increase in teen abortions in 2006. The CDC is expected to release additional teen pregnancy data later this spring.

I find this alarming. What is going on? Is it cool or acceptable to be pregnant in high school these days? Why do you think more teenagers are getting pregnant?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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A possible reason for Infertility

I have several friends who had or are having trouble conceiving. I have no idea if this pertains to their situation, but I try to post infertility related stories when I see them. It is becoming so common!

FROM NBC: Exposure to flame retardants used in popular household items may hinder a woman's ability to conceive. Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley studied blood samples from over 200 pregnant women.

They were looking for PBDE chemicals, which are flame retardants used in foam furniture, plastics and electronics. They found women with the highest levels of these chemicals were 50 percent less likely to conceive in a given month than women with low levels.

All of the women in the study eventually became pregnant... researchers hope to expand their research to include infertile women to see if PBDEs may play a role.

The women included in the study were mostly young, mexican immigrants who lived in an agricultural community.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ewe! Dirty Soda

I don't know about you, but as a sleep deprived mom, I need a jolt of caffeine here and there. I have been depriving myself of the treat because I am breastfeeding. However, I am anxious to get a fountain soda as soon as the baby is done nursing. (not that you can't have caffeine while nursing. This baby just really seems to react to it.) After reading this story, I have no desire for fountain soda anytime soon! And why is it acceptable to have any poop in your soda? There has got to be something wrong with that law!

FROM NBC: Next time you use a fountain soda machine you may get more than you bargained for. A study of soda taken from thirty fountain machines in Roanoke, Virginia found nearly half of all beverages had coliform bacteria -- a group of bacteria indicative of fecal contamination.

Only 20 percent of the samples had higher than recommended levels of the bacteria, but experts say it could still be enough to cause an upset stomach. They tested the water and ice used in the machines and did not find bacteria. Experts suspect the plastic tubing inside the machines may be to blame -- they say it takes just one dirty hand to infect a nozzle, and the bacteria can spread throughout the soda fountain.

Restaurant owners are encouraged to flush the tubes once a month. Microbiologists say they are not surprised with the results, they say fecal matter contamination is more common than we think.


-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ambidextrous and Mental Health

It is super cool to be able to use both hands equally. I am shocked to hear there might be something negative about it. It kind of irritates me! It should be a good thing!

FROM NBC: The ability to write with both hands equally well is a pretty cool talent -- but a new study links being ambidextrous with behavioral and mental health problems. The study from researchers in the U.K. looked at 7-thousand 8-year olds.

Then followed up with them at age 16.
Compared to their right-handed peers -- ambidextrous children were twice as likely to have difficulty with language and school performance during their teen years. They were also more likely to have symptoms of ADHD. There's no right yet answer on the cause for this connection. Doctors say there's still a lot of research left to do. According to the researchers, about 1 in every 100 people is ambidextrous.

BTW-I am interviewing a nationally known doctor next week on diets for ADHD kids. I will post the information on the blog when I get a chance. I am really excited to get some tips. My oldest doesn't have ADHD, but I think he has ADHD tendencies.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do kids absorb vitamins?


We have discussed whether or not it is necessary to give kids vitamins a couple times on this blog. Some say it's a waste of money. Others say it is a security blanket for picky eaters. I saw this question and answer on CNN. I thought, if you do want to give your kids vitamins, this is some good information about which ones to choose.

FROM CNN:
"I've heard a lot about vitamins and supplements passing through the body unabsorbed, especially when in pill form. I've also heard that this can be a more common problem with low-cost and generic versions, even though the ingredient list is identical. My solution lately has been to crush the pill to powder and down it with some milk. Does this solve the problem or is there something inherent in cheaper supplements that inhibits absorption?" Dr. Melina Jampolis said: This is an interesting question that brings up several important points. First of all, price or brand do not necessarily determine the quality of a vitamin supplement. An independent testing lab, consumerlabs.com, found that several higher priced vitamins were among the worst offenders in terms of contaminants or not having the vitamin levels stated on the label. In my opinion, the best solution would be to go with a brand that carries the seal of USP or NSF, two nonprofit organizations that certify that vitamins are contaminant free and made according to good manufacturing practices. If products don't carry the seal, this does not necessarily mean that they are inferior; they may simply be untested so if they are made by a reputable company, they are most likely safe and well made.

While crushing pills may ensure that they break down appropriately in the stomach, taking them with milk is not great idea, as milk may interfere with the absorption of some of the nutrients in a multivitamin such as iron. Taking them with juice is a better idea, as the acid and vitamin C in juice may help with the absorption. Taking a vitamin supplement with a meal is the best approach as many of the vitamins and minerals are better absorbed by the body in the presence of fat and protein.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birth Control Warning

FROM CNN: New research finds that a particular kind of birth control may be harmful to women's bones. The birth control shot known as Deprovera is an attractive option for women because it can be taken just four times a year, rather than every day as is common with birth control pills.

But women receiving the shot should pay extra attention to their BONE HEALTH, new research finds. Doctors at the University of Texas followed 95 women using Deprovera for two years and periodically assessed their bone strength. HALF of users had a sizeable drop in mineral density in their spine or hip bones - which could lead to fracture risk.
The shot causes a long-term disturbance in hormones, which both prevents pregnancy and causes bone changes.

Past research suggests that the bone strength typically RECOVERS when women stop using Deprovera, but this can't be guaranteed and experts advise women
to limit the DURATION they are on the shot to no more than two years. SMOKERS run particular risk for bone loss, so women can reduce their odds by not smoking and doctors recommend taking calcium and vitamin D to boost bone strength as well. Source: published in Obstetrics & Gynecology

I tried Dep-provera once and it didn't sit right with me. But when it doesn't have side effects, I hear it's nice because you don't have to take a pill everyday. I can't say the convenience would be worth harming your bones though.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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More Child Abuse

This is so sad, but I do agree that winter is more stressful. The kids seem to go stir crazy because they can't run around outside. Obviously that is not a reason to hurt your kids though!

FROM MEDIA SOURCE: We’re in the dead of winter, holiday bills are rolling in and many families are struggling to make ends meet - could that be leading to a rise in child abuse and neglect?

Abuse and neglect cases have doubled at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Oh) over the past 18 months and experts there suspect that the trend holds true across the country.

The good news: there are programs that can help. Check out
http://msmediacenter.tv/story.php?id=22 to see how one nurse at Nationwide Children’s is trying to diffuse those dangerous situations through home visits, one family at a time. She also shares tips on how to handle stress constructively.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kids watching even more T.V.

I think most of us knew this was going to happen. New research shows kids have way too much T.V., video game and computer time. I admit, my kids probably do get too much of it. I think it's important for them to learn how to use the computer and some programming is good for them. However, I am sure we exceed the maximum media time for the week.

They have to do something while I get ready in the morning. I do try to push toys before turning on the tube, but I am by no means obsessed about how many hours they are watching. Maybe that should be my New Year's Resolution. Do you limit your kid's T.V. time? How many hours a week do they watch?

FROM NBC: Kids are consuming a whopping average of seven hours and 38 minutes per day of entertainment media... that's more than 53 hours a week. Also...most kids have become 'media multitaskers' meaning they use more than one type of media at a time.

Taking that into account, researches with the kaiser family foundation, say kids actually are seeing about 10-hours and 45-minutes worth of media content during a typical day. That's up from eight hours and 33 minutes in 2004. Researchers are hoping this study will help parents and scientists understand how today's media blitz is affecting our children.


-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Student Stress

Does this mean the entitlement generation is finally over?

FROM NBC: A new study finds five times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental issues than those studied in the great depression era.

It's what school counselors on campuses nationwide have long suspected.
This, as students struggle with the stresses of school and every day life. The study was conducted by researchers at five universities. The study did not look at why students have more anxiety, but mental health professionals speculate it's the effects of a society increasingly focused on the external... from wealth to looks and status.

I think there is more anxiety in society in general. I don't really think I was more anxious in high school and college than I am now. For me, it's not about wealth, looks and status. It's about providing for my family and doing the best job I can. Sometimes it's just about getting through the day! My almost three-year-old just told me he wants to pee in his pants again. Of course, just when I thought he was about potty trained! There is problem a lot of anxiety at my house, but it sure is fun too! You never know what will happen next!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Monday, January 18, 2010

BPA is still everywhere!


I feel like a broken record. It is hard to believe BPA is still on the market in so many plastic and food items. Here is the latest story from NBC. It makes me furious that I interview a lead researcher on BPA YEARS AGO who said it should be taken out of all food items. Yet his research is just now coming to light. How aggravating! Here's the link to my interview with Professor Frederick Vom Saal.

FROM NBC: Officials from the department of health and human services say the chemical Bisphenol-A might not be safe for young children -- and will invest 30-million dollars into more research on potential health concerns.

Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is a chemical used in plastics. It's found in water bottles, the lining of cans and many other household items. it's also found in some baby bottles and sippy cups.

The new stance represents a reversal from previous language from the Food and Drug Administration, which stated BPA is safe at low levels. The shift is partially based on a 2008 report from the national toxicology program that raised concerns that b-p-a might affect brain development, behavior and the prostate gland.

Because of this, there's been growing concern in recent years about BPA exposure among babies and young children. But while many manufacturers have introduced BPA-free bottles and sippy cups, the chemical is still found in the lining of some pre-mixed liquid formula containers.

Until more research is conducted, health officials say the benefits of using formula outweigh any potential risks from BPA exposure. the chemical is not usually found in the powdered formula containers, according to the FDA.

Meanwhile -- there are some things parents can do to reduce their child's exposure to BPA. the HHS recommends throwing out scratched and worn baby bottles and cups, which could release small amounts of BPA.

Also -- some studies have suggested BPA can leach into food and drinks when plastic containers are heated. officials recommend against heating up breast milk or formula, or adding boiling water to any containers that have BPA.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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online

Kids lower your blood pressure

So there is a benefit I didn't realize to all the madness at my house...

FROM ABC: From temper tantrums to messy rooms, children's behavior often stresses out their tired parents but new research finds over the long haul, raising kids may be good for you. Scientists had 200 married men and women wear blood pressure monitors for 24 hours.

Results showed the couples with children had lower blood pressure readings than those without kids.
The finding was particularly strong for women - mothers had the lowest blood pressure of all the groups, while childless women had the highest readings. Researchers suggest hormonal changes from pregnancy and childbirth may explain the differences. It did not matter how many children a couple had or how old the kids were - even babies with their crying and late-night habits were linked to lower blood pressure.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Born Free Coupon

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kids are staying heavy

FROM NBC: While childhood obesity is a serious problem, the number of American kids and teens who are overweight has remained steady over the past decade. BMI is a measurement of height and weight. Children are considered to have a high BMI if their growth chart places them at or above the 95th percentile.

10-percent of infants and toddlers have a high BMI, and roughly 18-percent of teenagers -- yet new research shows this number has remained stable for the past ten years.

The only exception is 6 to 19 year old boys -- who are heavier than ever before.
Children with high BMI's often become obese adults -- leading to chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

My comment on this story is a little random. I was watching the sitcom "The Middle" last night and it really bothered me that the family constantly eats fast food. I understand that it's supposed to be funny and I shouldn't take what they eat seriously. However, the show gives the impression that you can eat hamburgers and french fries for dinner every night and still look like the actors on the show (who are all thin.) I am probably being too sensitive, but I just don't like that part of the show. Has anyone else every noticed that?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is 35 the new 40?

Personally, I think this study is a little off. So many people are waiting to have children until they are in their late 30's these days. If they feel like they are already middle age, why would they wait so long? It just doesn't add up. I doubt all these people are having children and thinking they will be too old and unhealthy to raise them. What do you think?

FROM NBC: Is 35 the new 40? A study suggests these stressful times are making adults feel much older than they actually are. A study by the Philips Center for Health and Well-being finds 40 is no longer linked with middle age, rather many Americans feel they reach that milestone at age 35.

Their survey found more people in the 35 to 44 age bracket believe their health has changed for the worse.
They go to the doctor more often, and report much more stress than their younger counterparts. Most cited worries about the economy and healthcare costs as their reasons for feeling older. The survey also found Americans are more likely to rank their health as better than it really is -- 39 percent thought the Y were overweight -- far lower the the two-thirds number found by the National Center for Health Statistics.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

13 month old dies after swallowing battery

A 13 month old swallowed a watch battery. It became toxic and causes severe bleeding, which lead to his death. That is a scary thought. I hate to think about something like this happening, but I thought you would appreciate the warning. Here's the story that ran on NBC:

FROM NBC: An Ohio baby dies suddenly after swallowing something most of us have around the house. Michelle Truett/Aidan's mom said, "I feel empty there is a hole that will never close up he was my baby and he was precious." At 13 months Aidan Truett was like any toddler, into everything and everything in his mouth.

Michelle Truett/Aidan's Mom: "I never would have thought in a million years that a battery could have been so deadly." Michelle and her husband Lonnie first knew something was wrong when Aidan had trouble eating. They would later learn it was because he'd swallowed a battery the size of a dime. Lonnie Truett/Aidan's dad: "It's not just the acid it's the current passing through the tissues." The combination caused severe bleeding that eventually lead to death. Michelle Truett: "I did CPR did my best but he was going very quick."

Michelle Truett: "I feel like his spirit is telling me I need to do this that other parents need to know so they don't feel what we feel." The Truett's keep Aidan's cremated remains close. Michelle wears a heart. Lonnie a cross. "It's engraved with his name." "We go on vacation we go to the store, he's right here with us." Aidan's story, his short life Michelle and Lonnie hope: a lesson for all. Lonnie Truett: "We just want other parents to know the dangers and if they have these get rid of them they're not worth your child's life."

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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More Recalled Toys... Ugh!

Three years after the big lead toy debacle, and there is still no way to know whether the toys you are buying for your child contain toxic chemicals. This is ridiculous! The toys should be tested before they are put on store shelves instead of after a child gets sick!

FROM ABC: There is another warning tonight about products that could be a danger to your children. Once again, they come from China, this time in the form of jewelry made with a toxic metal. The government is investigating-- while stores-- including Walmart-- stop selling the suspect items.

They may look pretty.. but test results.. show certain pieces of children's jewelry.. contain alarming levels of the heavy metal cadmium. Ashland University Chemistry Professor Jeff Weidenhamer said, "Cadmium compared to lead is more toxic. It's a known carcinogen. It is highly toxic to adults and to children. There's recent research indicating that it affects the brain learning disabilities and loss of I.Q."

Some of the jewelry.. all made in China.. proved to be 80 to 90 per cent cadmium.. including best friends bracelets from claire's boutiques.. rudolph reindeer charms sold at a dollar store. and flip flop bracelets from wal-mart. Both Walmart and Claire's have pulled those items from shelves.

Weidenhamer said, "So it's a really significant toxin. It bio-accumulates in the body and it's a really nasty metal to put in jewelry." Experts say prices for cadmium have dropped.. making it a cheaper option in manufacturing.. not to mention.. using the heavy metal in children's jewelry is not * specifically* prohibited. China's product safety agency vows to examine the investigation's findings.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is launching an investigation.. of its own.. and circulating this warning to asian manufacturers.
Inez Tenebaum chairman, consumer product safety commission "I would highly encourage all of you to ensure that toy manufacturers and children's product manufacturers in your country are not substituting cadmium, antimony, barium in place of lead." What can parents do? Take all cheap costume jewelry *away* from their children.


-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Watch out for some Kid's Movies

FROM NBC: New research finds children's movies continue to show characters engaging in unsafe behaviors -- like not wearing a seatbelt, life jacket or bike helmet. The study looked at 67 "G" and "PG" rated movies marketed to children.

About half the scenes showed unsafe behavior -- often without consequences. Researchers say parents may want to draw kids' attention to those movie scenes - and use it as an opportunity to talk about staying safe. In October 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a policy statement on media violence that recommends parents actively monitor what their children are watching.

I noticed on Caillou the other day that the seat belts are not correct. It did bug me because I can just picture one of my kids saying, "but this is how Caillou does it." I have seen several Sesame Street episodes with three point harness car seats. They don't even make those anymore. I guess some of the shows were made so long ago that the safety standards have changed. Oh and when it comes to violence, it's crazy. The old Tom and Jerry cartoons and many of the new ones are so violent. I don't like how some cartoon characters call names like stupid and idiot. Why even make cartoons like that? It is not necessary and it's frustrating for parents!

The Impact of Media Violence:


Over the past 30 years there has been extensive research on the relationship between televised violence and violent behavior among youth. Longitudinal, cross-sectional, and experimental studies have all confirmed this correlation. Televised violence and the presence of television in American households have increased steadily over the years. In 1950, only 10% of American homes had a television. Today 99% of homes have televisions.

In fact, more families have televisions than telephones. Over half of all children have a television set in their bedrooms. This gives a greater opportunity for children to view programs without parental supervision. Studies reveal that children watch approximately 28 hours of television a week, more time than they spend in school. The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Television programs display 812 violent acts per hour; children's programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly.

How does televised violence result in aggressive behavior? Some researchers have demonstrated that very young children will imitate aggressive acts on TV in their play with peers. Before age 4, children are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy and may view violence as an ordinary occurrence. In general, violence on television and in movies often conveys a model of conflict resolution. It is efficient, frequent, and inconsequential. Heroes are violent, and, as such, are rewarded for their behavior. They become role models for youth.

It is "cool" to carry an automatic weapon and use it to knock off the "bad guys." The typical scenario of using violence for a righteous cause may translate in daily life into a justification for using violence to retaliate against perceived victimizers. Hence, vulnerable youth who have been victimized may be tempted to use violent means to solve problems. Unfortunately, there are few, if any, models of nonviolent conflict resolution in the media. Additionally, children who watch televised violence are desensitized to it. They may come to see violence as a fact of life and, over time, lose their ability to empathize with both the victim and the victimizer.

There are other, new forms of violence to which children and adolescents are exposed. In one recent study, it was demonstrated that 15% of music videos contain interpersonal violence. Still another new source of violent exposure is access to the Internet and video games. There is little data on the incidence of violence on the Internet; however, there is concern about sites that may advocate violence, provide information on the creation of explosive devices, or reveal how to acquire firearms. There is also little research on the impact of violent video games. We do know, however, that they are extensive and have a role-modeling capacity. The fact that the child gets to act out the violence, rather than to be a passive observer, as when viewing television or movies, is especially concerning to experts.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Pets and Kids

FROM CNN: Mixing babies and animals in a household can be difficult, especially if your pet isn't used to having an infant around. If you're pregnant and you own a pet, what can you do to bring peace between man and beast? Stephanie Shain lives with her husband, Adam, two daughters, two dogs and five cats. Everyone needs attention.

So when she was pregnant with her youngest, Mia, she knew she had to get her animals used to the idea of having a new baby in the house. Because of her work with the humane society she knew animals handle change slowly.
Two or three months out, start making those changes, so it's not a lot of changes all at once. That means setting up the baby's room in front of the pet, and if the pet isn't allowed in the room, keep the door shut. And know your pet. If your cat or dog is protective, try to wean yourself away, but let them know they are still loved. If you're primarily the one who walks the dog, have someone else walk the dog, if you're spending a lot of time playing with your cat every day, make sure that someone else starts playing with your cats.

And if you're pregnant and have a cat, experts say be aware of toxoplasmosis. a disease, caused by a parasite found in cat feces. It can cause birth defects.
Doctors say the disease can be avoided by practicing good hygiene . Usually the recommendation is to get somebody else to change the litter box. Shain says taking precautions has paid off. Five-year-old Mia loves her fuzzy house mates and they seem happy to share the house with her.

Do you have a cat or dog? We have neither. We talk about getting a dog often. I am allergic to dogs and cats, but I had a dog growing up. So I am hoping I won't be miserable. We are planning on waiting 4 years. I am hoping my oldest, who would be 10, will have the motivation to care for the dog. What do you think? Do you have a pet?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vaccine Refusal

FROM NBC: Children whose parents opt not to get their kids the chickenpox vaccine are 9 times as likely as other kids to develop the disease. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente studied more than 500 children for the new study.

Among the 133 children who got the chickenpox, 5-percent had parents who declined the vaccine.
Among children who did not develop the illness... just 0.6-percent of parents had declined the vaccine. Study authors say the number of parents who claim non-medical exemptions to school immunization requirements has risen significantly over the last decade. The study did not examine potential side effects of vaccines, which doctors say are generally mild.

FROM MEDICAL NET NEWS: Children of parents who refuse vaccines are nine times more likely to get chickenpox compared to fully immunized children, according to a new study led by a vaccine research team at Kaiser Permanente Colorado's Institute for Health Research. The study was published today in the January issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, this is the first study to examine the relationship between parental vaccine refusal and the risk of varicella infection in children, adding to the body of knowledge on the risk of vaccine refusal. The study used electronic health records of more than 86,000 children who were members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado between 1998 and 2008.

Varicella is one of the most commonly refused childhood vaccines, likely due to perceptions by parents and providers that chickenpox is the least severe of all vaccine-preventable diseases.

Childhood vaccinations have led to dramatic reductions in a number of serious childhood illnesses, but the number of parents refusing immunizations appears to be increasing in the United States. The study could not determine from the information available why parents elected to decline vaccines for their children. The study also did not evaluate the side effects of vaccines.

"Many parents question the need for vaccinations. This study provides evidence to counter the misperception among vaccine-refusing parents that their children are not at risk for potentially serious illness," said study lead author Jason Glanz, PhD, a senior scientist and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research. "It also provides further information to pediatric health care providers to help them convey the benefits and risks of vaccines. This evidence should assist parents and doctors when having discussions about vaccines and help parents make more informed decisions."

Varicella is a highly contagious disease that causes a high fever, an itchy rash and red spots or blisters all over the body. The disease can pose a severe risk for children, especially those with bad eczema, cancer, HIV, or other immune-compromising conditions. It can also cause serious complications in pregnant women and newborns. Prior to the widespread use of the varicella vaccine in 1995, there were four million cases of varicella infection annually, resulting in more than 10,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths per year in the U.S. Since then, immunization has reduced annual morbidity, mortality, and hospitalizations due to varicella by more than 80 percent.

The best way to prevent varicella is through vaccination. Most health experts recommend that all children 12 months of age and older who have not had chickenpox get one dose at 12 to 15 months and a second, booster dose at 4 to 6 years old. Adolescents and adults who are not already immune to the chickenpox virus need two doses at least 4 weeks apart. The varicella vaccine has been shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe infection, and 70 to 90 percent against mild infection.

"Varicella isn't necessarily a mild illness, and it's important for parents to know that choosing not to vaccinate their children not only places their child at risk for infection requiring medical care, but also places members of the community at risk. This study adds to the body of information showing that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks of this safe vaccine," Glanz said.

To assess the risk of varicella vaccine refusal, researchers reviewed the electronic health records of 86,993 children between the ages of 12 months and 8 years who were members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado between 1998 and 2008. First, investigators confirmed which children had varicella infections. Next, they verified whether parents had refused some or all varicella vaccines for their children.

The researchers found 133 physician-confirmed varicella cases that met the study's criteria. They compared these cases to 493 children of the same age and gender who were not infected with varicella. Based on this analysis, the researchers discovered that children of vaccine- refusing parents were nine times more likely to be infected with varicella than vaccinated children.

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente

I didn't have a bad case of chicken pox as a child. I remember itching, but I don't remember the disgusting pox part. I know people who refused the varicella vaccine for their kids, but I haven't heard of any of them getting the pox yet! Do you opt out of the varicella vaccine? Why or why not?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Potty Time

Every morning for the past two months I have been putting my second child on the toilet. He refuses to go. This morning something happened! I could hardly believe it. I may have only gotten four hours of sleep last night, but I found the energy to do a jig! It was so exciting! He couldn't wait to tell his teacher this morning he went potty like a big boy! Do you remember the first time you got your child to start using the big kid potty?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Childhood trauma causes adult illness

I think the part about emotional abuse being linked to irritable bowel, uterine fibroids and chronic fatigue is interesting. I wonder what constitutes emotional abuse. I know people who grew up with an alcoholic parents and they do have some of these illnesses.

FROM NBC: Children subjected to physical and emotional abuse may grow up to suffer from migraines and other painful conditions.


In a new study from the University of Toledo medical center, physical abuse was found to be associated with a higher incidence of arthritis. Emotional abuse was linked to more reports of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue. Women who'd suffered childhood abuse were more likely to develop endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

The findings are based on surveys of more than 13-hundred patients diagnosed with migraines.
Researchers "recruited a cross-sectional survey of headache clinic patients with physician-diagnosed migraine at 11 outpatient headache centers.

Childhood maltreatment was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CT.), a 28-item self-reported quantitative measure of childhood abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional) and neglect (physical and emotional). Self-reported physician-diagnosed history of comorbid pain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), interstitial cystitis (IC), and arthritis was recorded on the survey.


A total of 1,348 patients diagnosed with migraine completed the surveys. Researchers found migraineurs who reported childhood emotional abuse or physical neglect had a significantly higher incidence of comorbid pain conditions compared with those without a history of maltreatment."

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Women and Hair Loss

Every morning after my shower I brush through my hair and end up with gobs of it in my hands. I know it's normal to lose some hair after pregnancy, but I really must say I don't like it! Is it a sign that I will have thinning hair when I am older? Is there anything that I can do if that happens? Yikes! I was just thinking all these things this morning and today I found this story on the news wires. I hope it's not a sign! I have never even heard of a scalp prosthesis. It sounds painful!

FROM CNN: Losing one's hair can be devastating to a woman's self-esteem. As Susan Hendricks reports in today's health minute, getting to the 'root' of the problem is essential when deciding on a treatment plan. As a real estate broker, Judy Harper believes her appearance is critical. but 15 years ago Harper, who was in her early 40s, started losing her hair. Her doctor recommended medications to slow down the loss.

But when those didn't work she turned to something else.
It had progressed to the point to where I felt that I needed to have a scalp prothesis. Many women experience some hair thinning or hair loss before menopause but excessive hair loss is medically known as alopecia (prono: aloe-pee-sha). What might be very acceptable to men- not acceptable to women. Even a slight amount of loss is, is not acceptable. Dr. Edmond Griffin says hair thinning has many causes- often, genetics- but there can be other reasons.

Whether it's a thyroid problem or anemia problem, or medications, or an auto-immune. and each one of those problems is a different approach to their treatment. Griffin says a blood test or biopsy may be needed to make the diagnosis.
In order to grow more hair, many women use topical creams, oral medication, even surgery to replace hair follicles. Judy plans to continue treating her condition with both topical and oral medication, as she's now seeing some regrowth along her hairline.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Autism Clusters

FROM NBC: Researchers at UC Davis have identified ten locations in California where the incidence of autism is higher in than surrounding areas. The research project aimed to find environmental triggers associated with autism. What they found were clusters of autism cases in areas with white, highly-educated parents.

Many cases were also found near major autism treatment centers -- suggesting that improved access to healthcare led to those clusters.
Researchers say the search for environmental triggers will continue, and that potential causes could be more widespread. For example -- researchers will begin to examine dust samples from homes to look for common chemicals that might play a role. Autism affects as many as one in 110 U.S. children.

I was so hopeful until I read the line about the autism treatment centers....

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Children Taking Anti-psychotics

FROM NBC: More and more young children are being given anti-psychotic prescription medications for autism and other developmental disorders.

Researchers from Columbia Psychiatry and Rutgers compared children treated in 2000 to those treated in 2007 -- and found the rate of anti-psychotic medicine use doubled among 2- to 5-year olds.
Children in 2007 were more likely to receive a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which includes autism and asperger's. Risperidone was the most commonly prescribed anti psychotic -- often used to treat irritability associated with autism. While prescriptions went up, very few children received other mental health treatments, or were given a mental health assessment.

Most people I know who have children on the autism spectrum have their kids in speech, developmental and/or occupational therapy. The kids are seen by medical professionals more than most. I find it hard to believe that a parent would put their child on an anti-psychotic and not have him/her seen by a doctor on a regular basis. I feel like there must be more to this study.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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online.

Cleaning Invisalign Braces

I have been wearing Invisalign braces for the past 6-8 months(I can't remember how long. My brain is shot.) I have been searching on-line for how to clean them and every suggestion DID NOT work! It has been so aggravating. I finally tried a little bleach water the other day. It works great! I mean unbelievably great! I just had to spread the word to anyone who is searching this topic. I wasted so much time trying Efferdent, hydrogen peroxide and several other things.

My son says he wants Invisalign when he gets older instead of regular braces. They are not offered yet for kids, but my dentist, Dr. Michael Bentley, says he wants to do the trial Invisalign for kids in the next few years. So I will keep you all posted.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Taking Milk to School


A few weeks ago, a local mom and I discussed how long you can keep milk in a thermos before it goes bad. Her son wanted a different percentage of milk than what his school offered. She did some research and found most thermoses will keep things cool for 4-5 hours. So her son is now taking a thermos of milk with him to school. I know not all schools offer whole milk or fat free milk, so I thought some of you might need this information as well!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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online.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Delivering a baby by yourself

I understand the concept of having a home birth and why some women prefer it to the hospital. I do not understand why someone would have a home birth without a medical professional there. I was born at home. The doctor came to my parent's house. Everything went smoothly. I probably would have considered doing the same thing if I knew a doctor who delivered babies at home and if I could have talked my husband into it!

However, I had my kids at a hospital. I had an internal hematoma with the first child and almost bled to death. I had preterm labor and had to be put on magnesium sulfate to stop the second baby from coming early. The third birth was an emergency c-section and the baby needed oxygen right after he was born. I am healthy, average weight, with no known health concerns-like diabetes. Maybe I am just unlucky, but I needed medical help with all of my births.


FROM NBC: Jennifer Margulis thinks birth should be a private party — no doctors or midwives invited. So when her daughter Leone Francesca was born at home last month, only Margulis and her husband, James, were in attendance.

“My husband and I were the only ones there when she was conceived,” says the 40-year-old writer from Ashland, Ore. “I thought we should be the only ones there when she was born.”

Margulis is part of a very small but growing number of women who are choosing to deliver their babies at home without the presence of health professionals. Some choose to have a husband or another family member help, while others opt to deliver their babies completely on their own.

The number of home births unattended by either a doctor or a midwife jumped by nearly 10 percent between 2004 and 2006, climbing from 7,607 unassisted births to 8,347 births, according to most recent figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. About 60 percent of the nearly 25,000 home births logged in 2006 were attended by midwives, a figure that experts expect will also rise.

While do-it-yourself deliveries are still uncommon, many doctors and midwives consider them dangerous. Risks can range from hemorrhage in the mother to problems with the baby’s oxygen supply during delivery.

“Most births are not complicated but when something goes wrong, everything happens very quickly and things can go downhill very fast,” says Donna Strobino, a professor and deputy chair in the department of maternal and child health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

“If you look at data from developing countries where unattended births are more common, you see a higher rate of infant and maternal mortality with unattended births than with hospital births.”

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gender Issues with Kids

I know this is a strange topic. It is hard enough being a parent. I can't imagine if the doctor had said, "You choose. Is this child a girl or a boy?" Then every time the child did something that was stereotypically like a boy or like a girl you would be questioning your decision. How awful! That would be very challenging. I had no idea these surgeries and hormonal therapy were taking place. It is amazing what goes on as we live in our own little worlds.

FROM ABC: A procedure that some are mistakenly calling a sex change treatment for children has been drawn into the spotlight in recent days -- although it has been going on for many years.

In an interview with National Public Radio broadcast earlier this month, Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital in Boston, revealed that he has at least 10 pediatric transgendered patients to whom he has been giving a hormone-blocking treatment to delay puberty.

Citing recent unwanted media attention, Spack declined, through a spokesman, to be interviewed for this article. But other doctors say that while Spack may be the first to go public about what he is doing, he is not the first to help children delay their puberty so they can reach maturity before deciding if they would like to transition to the opposite sex..

Milton Diamond, a sexual development researcher and the director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society at the University of Hawaii, says he knows of doctors who have done this before, "but people don't generally advertise it," he says. He pointed to the Netherlands, where hormone-blocking therapy has been administered to transgendered youths for more than 20 years.

But Diamond says that the hormone-blocking therapy itself is not sex reassignment."It's a delaying tactic to allow the individual to come to terms with the direction he or she wants to go," he says. "What you're doing is allowing the individual more time to make a decision."

Is It Safe?

Jamie Newton, a spokesman for Children's Hospital, confirmed that the treatments are done in accordance with the Harry Benjamin guidelines (generally accepted clinical guidelines for treating transsexual patients), which call for fully reversible treatments for prepubescent children.

The therapy entails an injection of either luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) or medroxyprogesterone, which block estrogen or testosterone to delay the onset of puberty. The regimen is typically given to children (mostly girls) who reach puberty very early, when the parents and physician opt to delay the process a few years to aid with normal development.

Medroxyprogesterone is known commercially as Provera, a drug injected once every three months as a birth control medication. "LHRH has been used for 20 years, medroxyprogesterone probably that long, if not longer, so we know they're safe and effective," says Alan Rogol, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Riley Hospital of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of Virginia.

Also, he says, a child will undergo normal puberty following the hormone-blocking treatment, and it is fully reversible should a transgendered child choose not to undergo sex reassignment or transition once they reach adulthood. "There is no question that it's reversible, and I'm unequivocal about that," says Rogol.

In addition to delaying the onset of puberty, the hormone-blocking process does help patients avoid unwanted bodily features if they do decide to undergo a sex change upon reaching adulthood. It is the changes of puberty that often cause the most distress for transgendered children.

"We're talking about things that have a profound, significant influence on the child's life," says Diamond. Male transsexuals can avoid going through menstruation, while female patients can avoid growing body hair or developing a deep voice if they begin sex reassignment once their childhood hormone-blocking regimen ends.

Transitions and Follow-Ups

Although the treatment is reversible, Diamond says that most who reach that point will go on to transition."Almost all those who have gender identity disorder continue on to surgery, or at least continue on to transitions," says Diamond.

In his interview with NPR, Spack confirmed that assessment. "My confidence comes partly because I've yet to see one change their mind and partly because we're using the psychological testing methods the Dutch have perfected, and they've yet to see one person change their mind," he says.

While the procedure allows children to more easily undergo sex reassignment upon reaching adulthood, sex reassignment surgery is controversial. First performed in the first half of the 20th century, sex reassignment surgery gained prominence when former soldier George Jorgenson underwent the operations in Europe and became a media sensation as Christine Jorgenson.

In 1966, the Johns Hopkins Hospital announced that it was performing sex reassignment surgery through its Gender Identity Clinic. Those procedures were halted in 1979, when a study by Dr. Jon Meyer, a follow-up on patients who had undergone the operations, did not show any improvement in their wellbeing.

Dr. Paul McHugh, then the head of the psychiatry department at Hopkins, made the decision to halt the procedures, saying they destroyed healthy organs and that physicians needed to focus on healing transgendered persons' minds, rather than altering their bodies.

Many transgendered persons continue to undergo sex reassignment surgery, although a great number of them do so abroad. Because of a lack of reporting, exact numbers are hard or impossible to come by.

Since Johns Hopkins closed its clinic, no other hospital of that stature has made a public announcement of resuming the surgeries.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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