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Posts for: April, 2014

April 28, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Dr Kenny has several openings for appointments including physical’s on this Friday, May 2nd in our Amherst office.  Please call the office to book an appointment. 

April 28, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
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Child Immunization Schedule: Why Is It Like That?

SourceAmerican Academy of Pediatrics

Q1: Who decides what immunizations children need?
A: Each year, top disease experts and doctors who care for children work together to decide what to recommend that will best protect U.S. children from diseases. The schedule is evaluated each year based on the most recent scientific data available. Changes are announced in January, if needed. The schedule is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Q2: How are the timing and spacing of the shots determined?
A: Each vaccine dose is scheduled using 2 factors. First, it is scheduled for the age when the body’s immune system will work the best. Second, it is balanced with the need to provide protection to infants and children at the earliest possible age.

Q3: Why are there so many doses?
A: Researchers are always studying how well vaccines work. For many vaccines three or four doses are needed to fully protect your child. The doses need to be spaced out a certain amount to work the best.

Q4: Why is the schedule “one size fits all?” Aren’t there some children who shouldn’t receive some vaccines?
A: Your child’s health and safety are very important to your child’s doctor. The schedule is considered the ideal schedule for healthy children but there may be exceptions. 

For example, your child might not receive certain vaccines if she has allergies to an ingredient in the vaccine, or if she has a weakened immune system due to illness, a chronic condition, or another medical treatment. Sometimes a shot needs to be delayed for a short time, and sometimes not given at all. Your pediatrician stays updated about new exceptions to the immunization schedule. This is one reason your child’s complete medical history is taken at the pediatrician’s office, and why it is important for your child’s health care providers to be familiar with your child’s medical history.

Q5: Why can’t the shots be spread out over a longer period of time? There are 25 shots recommended in the first 15 months of life; why not spread these out over 2 or 3 years?
A: First, you would not want your child to go unprotected that long. Babies are hospitalized and die more often from some diseases, so it is important to vaccinate them as soon as it is safe. Second, the recommended schedule is designed to work best with a child’s immune system at certain ages and at specific times. There is no research to show that a child would be equally protected against diseases with a very different schedule. Also, there is no scientific reason why spreading out the shots would be safer. But we do know that any length of time without immunizations is a time without protection.

Q6: I’ve seen another schedule in a magazine that allows the shots to be spread out. It was developed by a pediatrician. Why can’t I follow that schedule? My child would still get his immunizations in time for school.
A: There is no scientific basis for such a schedule. No one knows how well it would work to protect your child from diseases. And if many parents in any community decided to follow such a schedule, diseases will be able to spread much more quickly. Also, people who are too sick or too young to receive vaccines are placed at risk when they are around unvaccinated children. 

For example, following one nonstandard schedule would leave children without full polio protection until age 4. Yet it would take only one case of polio to be brought into the U.S. for the disease to take hold again in this country. This schedule also delays the measles vaccine until age 3. We have already seen outbreaks of measles in some parts of the country because children were not immunized. This is a highly infectious disease that can cause serious harm--even death. The reason we recommend vaccines when we do is because young children are more vulnerable to these diseases. Pediatricians want parents to have reliable, complete, and science-based information, so that they can make the best decision for their child about vaccination.

Q7: Isn’t it possible that my child has natural immunity to one or more diseases? If he does, can’t he skip the shot?
A: Tests that check for immunity to certain diseases do not work well in young children.

Q8: Isn’t it overwhelming to a child’s immune system to give so many shots in one visit?
A: Infants and children are exposed to many germs every day just by playing, eating, and breathing. Their immune systems fight those germs, also called antigens, to keep the body healthy. The amount of antigens that children fight every day (2,000-6,000) is much more than the antigens in any combination of vaccines on the current schedule (150 for the whole schedule). So children’s immune systems are not overwhelmed by vaccines.

Q9: There are no shots given at 9 months, other than maybe flu vaccine or catch-up vaccines. Why not give some at that visit instead of at 6 months or 12 months?
A: Waiting until 9 months would leave the child unprotected from some diseases, but 9 months is too early for some of the 12-18 month vaccines. For example, it is too early for the live measles, mumps and rubella and varicella vaccine since some infants might have a bit of protection left from their mother during the pregnancy
, and that protection could make the vaccine less effective.

April 22, 2014
Category: In the News
Tags: Untagged

Screen time tied to poor wellbeing among kids
NEW YORK Tue Mar 18, 2014

 (Reuters Health) - Spending too much time in front of a television, computer or other devices with screens may signal problems in a child's family and personal wellbeing, according to a new study.

Based on data for more than 3600 children in eight European countries, researchers found that family functioning and emotional wellbeing were especially linked to changes in the amount of time kids spent in front of screens.

The study's lead author said they can't say what factors may be behind the associations. "We really need to do a little bit more digging in this area before we can answer some of the basic questions," Trina Hinkley told Reuters Health.

Hinkley is a research fellow at the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University in Melbourne.

Several recent studies have highlighted the possible negative effects of kids spending too much time watching televisions, playing video games and working on computers.

Specifically, screen time has been linked to differences among children in weight and sleep quality (see Reuters Health stories of March 17, 2014 here: and March 12, 2014 here:

Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also urged parents to keep tabs on their children's media use and limit screen time to no more than one to two hours of high quality programming (see Reuters Health story of October 28, 2014

For the new study, researchers from the Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants Consortium analyzed data on kids who were between two and six years of age when they entered the study between September 2007 and June 2008.

At that time, the parents completed questionnaires about their children's media use and wellbeing - including the child's emotional and peer problems, self-esteem and family and social functioning. Parents answered another questionnaire two years later.

Overall, the researchers found that for social and peer-related measures, screen time had no effect. But for each additional hour or so of screen time parents reported, a child's risk of emotional and family problems rose up to two-fold.

"We found that family functioning and emotional problems did seem to have some association with electronic media, but the others didn't show any association at all," Hinkley said.

Linda Pagani, who was not involved in the new study but has researched screen time among children, cautioned that there may be other explanations behind some of the results. "It could be that families who used screen time more were families who weren't functioning that well to begin with," she said.

Pagani is psychologist and senior researcher at Saint-Justine's Hospital Research Center at the University of Montreal in Canada. She also cautioned that the results are based on the parents' reports, which are subject to inaccuracies.

Despite the study's limitations, however, Pagani said there are several drawbacks to letting children have a lot of screen time, including sleep disturbances and lost face-to-face communication time.

"My message is, the brain is very dependent on human social interaction and this excessive screen time on a computer or television may be at the detriment of time for other people," she said.

She also endorsed the two-hour rule set by the AAP, but cautioned that screen time shouldn't be right before bed. "As a clinician, as a parent and a psychologist, use that two-hour rule, but make sure those two hours don't occur right before bed, because they're losing precious sleep time," she said.

SOURCE: JAMA Pediatrics, online March 17, 2014.

April 03, 2014
Category: In the News
Tags: Untagged

Activity levels in mums and children 'directly linked'
March 24, 2014  BBC News

The more active a mother is, the more physically active her child will be, suggests a UK study of 500 mums and four-year-olds.

But many mothers' exercise levels fell way below recommended levels, it said.

Researchers from Cambridge and Southampton universities used heart-rate monitors to measure activity levels over seven days.

The study, published in Pediatrics, said policies to improve children's health should be aimed at mothers.

Children are not "just naturally active", it concluded, and parents have an important role to play in developing healthy exercise habits early on in life.

Run Around

As part of the study, 554 four-year-olds and their mothers from Southampton wore a lightweight combined heart-rate monitor and accelerometer on their chests, for up to seven days.

Participants wore it continuously, including while sleeping and doing water-based activities.

Kathryn Hesketh, now a research associate at the Institute of Child Health at University College London, co-led the study and said the data from mothers and children showed a direct, positive association between physical activity in children and their mothers.

"The more activity a mother did, the more active her child. Although it is not possible to tell from this study whether active children were making their mothers run around after them, it is likely that activity in one of the pair influences activity in the other."

She said that for every minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity a mother engaged in, her child was more likely to engage in 10% more of the same level of activity.

For every minute the mother was sedentary, children were 0.18 minutes more sedentary, so one hour of sedentary time in mums would result in 10.8 minutes in children.

These small differences may seem trivial but over the course of a month or a year they could be significant, she added.

Factors which influenced a mother's activity levels included whether she worked or not and whether the child had brothers or sisters.

Co-study author Dr. Esther van Sluijs, from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge, said the link between a mother and child's activity levels was stronger for mothers who left school at 16, compared to those who left at 18.

Changes in Motherhood

The study recognized that once women become mothers their activity levels fell and often failed to return to previous levels.

This lack of activity could then influence their young children, it said.

Miss Hesketh said: "There are many competing priorities for new parents and making time to be active may not always be top of the list. However, small increases in maternal activity levels may lead to benefits for mothers and children."

Simply walking and moving more each day can be all it takes to create these benefits.

Dr. Ann Hoskins, director of children, young people and families at Public Health England, said it was committed to increasing physical activity in families and children to improve overall health.

"Active play is an important way to develop coordination and motor function skills in the pre-school early years and there are lots of activities like parent and toddler swims, buggy fit and baby gym which provide opportunities for mums to socialise, be active and support their child's development."

Their Change4Life campaignencourages families to eat well, move more and live longer. For children, that means being active for an hour a day and two and a half hours a week for adults.

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