This is a recap of recent health news featuring Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. We hope you enjoy this week’s edition of collected news, and please feel free to offer comments below – we really do listen!
Something is coming between preschoolers and their playground equipment. A new Cincinnati Children’s study has identified three main barriers to children getting the exercise they need: injury concerns, academic focus and financial constraints.
The research team, led by Dr. Kristen Copeland, found stricter licensing codes – meant to reduce injuries – have resulted in less challenging and interesting playgrounds. The study also showed some child care centers operating on limited income lacked adequate play equipment. Meanwhile, child care providers also felt pressure from state mandates and parents to focus on academics at the expense of physical activity.
“We were surprised to hear that parents – both low-income and upper-income – were focusing on traditional ‘academics’ (letters, numbers, colors) instead of outdoor play, even for children as young as 3 years old,” Copeland said. “Children learn on the playground. They learn about nature, weather and the seasons, motion, concepts of distance and speed, and cause and effect. They learn how to negotiate and talk with their peers. And they learn fundamental gross motor skills, like how to throw and catch a ball, and how to skip.”
New parents might find themselves tossing and turning a little over a new sleep study by Cincinnati Children’s. The study suggests that babies with sleep problems are at greater risk of having sleep disorders when they are toddlers.
Researchers found that one in 10 children under age three has a sleep problem like nightmares, waking, trouble falling asleep or inability to sleep in the child’s own bed. They found that the types of sleep problems persisted as the kids got older. If the children started out with no sleep problems, chances were good that none would develop, the study found.
Parents are often told children will outgrow sleep problems. But the study lead by Pediatric Psychologist Kelly Byars indicates otherwise.
“The data indicate that sleep problems in children are not an isolated phenomenon,” he says. “If you have it early and it’s not remedied, then it’s likely to continue over time.”
Cincinnati Children’s Testing Smart Phone Apps
Cincinnati Children’s is conducting the first test of a new technology that uses a smart phone application to monitor patients’ health.
The technology, called “Ginger.io,” is being used to study teens and young adults suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The chronic condition causes occasional diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever. The hope is that Ginger.io can detect exactly when an attack ends by, say, noticing when someone leaves the house for the first time after several days at home, reducing the time patients are on steroids.
A handful of patients started using the app in the fall, and Michael Seid – the researcher leading the study – expects to have 50 enrolled by early 2012. It should be “an effortless way to get a much finer-grained continuous measure of health status,” he says.
Click here to read more about how the technology was developed.
As the government considers tightening the definition of lead poisoning in children, it is expected to bring increased awareness to the problem with special focus on lead paint in older homes.
Though there has been a significant drop in childhood lead poisonings in the U.S. over the past few decades, new research shows lower lead levels than previously thought may harm developing brains. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now being urged to reexamine lead poisoning levels.
Dr. Nicholas Newman, director of the Environmental Health and Lead Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s, stresses the importance of prevention. He advises common-sense precautions before potential exposure such as during home renovations.