Home maybe where the heart is, but it is also where disabilities often show up the most and where it often all hangs out. While there are times a child’s disability primarily shows up at school, a college students shows up for the first time when they go away to work, or an adult’s disability shows up primarily at work. Most often the disabilities show up in the home setting first. Sometimes in these settings the school staff is surprised to hear about the disability.
While the disability shows up most often at home first, that also means that it where, in some ways, the most can be done to help make a difference. It starts with making sure the home is a safe place. Not just safe in regards to being safe from physical harm, but safe in that the home and family are working on things that can stop disabilities from getting worse, and that they are aimed at trying to provide treatment for a disability. This DOES not mean, homes have to be therapy settings!
The example is lead in the drinking water. Lead is a neurotoxin. If you did not know you had lead in your water then there is nothing you can do about it. If you suspect it, or know it is there, then there are definite things you can do to stop the negative impact of lead.
Similarly bedtime reading for school age children is a vital skill. Yet, many children are instead watching screens at bedtime.
There is much a parent, a spouse, or a child in regards to an older parent can do. This page explores those things. Be sure to search through the posts and to search by category to find the latest information.
Building Healthy Brains
The Power of Play
Children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and manage toxic stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports the formation of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive.
Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allows us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.
New Research: Childhood Music Lessons Have Neural Benefits Decades Later
New research shows brain benefits from early music lessons decades later. Results of this study showed that the subjects in the study who had had early music training (between 4 to 14 years of music training early in life), had a faster neurologic response to the targeted speech sound, on the order of about 1 millisecond. This was despite the fact that many subjects in the study had not played an instrument in nearly 40 years.
In reviewing the study, Medscape reports that “Commenting on these findings in a press release issued by the Journal of Neuroscience, Michael Kilgard, Ph.D., who studies how the brain processes sound at the University of Texas at Dallas and was not involved in this study, said, “Being a millisecond faster may not seem like much, but the brain is very sensitive to timing and a millisecond compounded over millions of neurons can make a real difference in the lives of older adults.” “These findings confirm that the investments that we make in our brains early in life continue to pay dividends years later,” Dr. Kilgard added.”
Premature infants may get metabolic boost from mother's breast milk
NASAT reports that “The breast milk of mothers with premature babies has different amounts of microRNA than that of mothers with babies born at term, which may help premature babies catch up in growth and development, according to researchers. In a study, researchers compared the breast milk of mothers with babies born prematurely — between 28 and 37 weeks gestation — and at term — after 38 weeks. They examined whether there were differences in the composition of the breast milks’ microRNAs, snippets of RNA that affect gene expression and can be passed to the infant. “We found that there are differences in these microRNA profiles and that the majority of the altered microRNAs influence metabolism,” said Molly Carney, a medical student in the Penn State College of Medicine. “If those microRNAs are being transferred to the infant, that could potentially impact how the newborn processes energy and nutrients”
Breastfeeding protects against Diabetes
New research shows that “New evidence has emerged on the role that breastfeeding could have in preventing diabetes. Early results from a Canadian study suggest that breastfeeding reduces the risk of mothers and their offspring developing the condition.”
The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children
Children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and manage toxic stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports the formation of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive. Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allows us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.
Early Intervention Gives Babies and Toddlers with Delays and Disabilities the Help They Need
Utah babies and toddlers with delays and disabilities are getting assistance to move past their challenges and stop problems before they get too big. The Sammis family loves their time together. This Utah family has a happy home with five children, two of whom receive in-home therapy from DDI Vantage. Mom Sasha Sammis said, “What a blessing it is to find these different resources.”
Sasha and her family first found Early Intervention from DDI Vantage when their fourth child Pixie was born. Her first few days were normal until Pixie was rushed to the ER as a newborn.
Parents' behavior during playtime may affect toddler's weight later on
Parents who positively engage with their children during playtime — and gently steer them to clean up afterward — may help toddlers with low-self regulation have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) later on as preschoolers. In a study, researchers found that toddlers who had poor self-regulation skills — the ability to control their behaviors and emotions — went on to have lower BMIs as preschoolers if their mothers engaged with them during playtime and then helped direct them during clean up.
Cynthia Stifter, professor of human development and psychology, Penn State, said the results — recently published in the International Journal of Obesity — suggest that when parents help their child develop regulatory skills, it may help the child maintain a healthy weight.
Physical activity may reduce depression symptoms
Researchers found that sleep problems, lack of energy, and physical inactivity may lead to a depressed mood. The results reverse conventional wisdom that depression leads to physical inactivity.
Benefits of Play, and Big Body Play in Particular
Start active, stay active: report on physical activity in the UK
Exercise, daily, including cardio, is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and learning.
Green Space Near Home During Childhood Linked to Fewer Respiratory Problems in Adulthood
Children who have access to green spaces close to their homes have fewer respiratory problems, such as asthma and wheezing, in adulthood, according to new research presented today (Wednesday) at the European Respiratory Society International Congress . In contrast, children who are exposed to air pollution are more likely to experience respiratory problems as young adults.
Until now, little has been known about the association between exposure to air pollution as a child and long-term respiratory problems in adulthood. RHINESSA  is a large international study that has been investigating lung health in children and adults in seven European countries, and that has information on residential “greenness” and air pollution exposures from birth onwards from several study centers.
Flame retardant chemicals may affect social behavior in young children
“Some chemicals added to furniture, electronics and numerous other goods to prevent fires may have unintended developmental consequences for young children, according to a pilot study released today. Researchers from Oregon State University found a significant relationship between social behaviors among children and their exposure to widely used flame retardants, said Molly Kile, an environmental epidemiologist and associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU. “
When we analyzed behavior assessments and exposure levels, we observed that the children who had more exposure to certain types of the flame retardant were more likely to exhibit externalizing behaviors such as aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention, and bullying,” said Kile, the corresponding author of the study, which was published today in the journal Environmental Health. “
Healthy Homes, Healthy Families: A Guide to Protecting your Family's Health By Making Your Home A Safer Environment
The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning (CPLP) and the Rochester Healthy Homes Partnership is pleased to announce the publication of the newly revised “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families: A Guide to Protecting your Family’s Health By Making Your Home A Safer Environment.”
The full-color 32-page booklet includes practical tips for reducing environmental hazards in your home and regional information from organizations that offer resources to improve home health.
Available in English and Spanish, the “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families” guide covers ways to reduce asthma triggers, improve indoor air quality, reduce lead paint poisoning hazards, as well as reducing general home hazards including safe water temperatures, safe sleeping practices for babies, household chemicals, pesticides, and poisons. The guide also provides information about summer meal programs and regional farmers’ markets, legal and financial information, and national and state healthy housing resources.
To request free copies of the “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families” resource guide, please call (585) 224-3125.
Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth
NASAT reports that “For some young people, dealing with life stressors like exposure to violence and family disruption often means turning to negative, risky behaviors — yet little is known about what can intervene to stop this cycle. But one long-term study by the University of Cincinnati looks at the link between stressful life events and an increase in substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, and delinquency in a diverse population of 18- to 24-year-old youths. The research also sheds light on distinct coping strategies that can lead to more positive outcomes.
As part of a 10-year study looking at risk-taking and decision-making — or the lack thereof — Jacinda Dariotis, UC public health researcher, spent 12 months focusing on early life stressors as a predictor of risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and delinquency for more than 125 at-risk youths. Surprisingly, she found a small number of the youths were already engaging in constructive coping behaviors on their own that will have positive outcomes later in life.”
Women benefit from meditation more than men
Medscape reports that “Mindfulness meditation, a commonly used treatment for a broad spectrum of mental health disorders, shows significantly greater effects in reducing negative thinking patterns in women than men, new research shows.
A study conducted by investigators at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, found that women experienced significantly greater decreases in negative affect compared to their male counterparts.”
NIH: Meditation in Depth
DASH Diet Linked to Lower Risk for Depression
Medscape reports that “A diet previously shown to reduce hypertension and stroke risk may also help ward off depression, new research suggests. Participants who most closely adhered to the low-sodium Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were 11% less likely to become depressed over time than those least adherent to the diet, the study found.”
Olive Oil Key Ingredient in Alzheimer's Prevention?
Medscape reports that “Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) appears to protect memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of beta-amyloid (Aß) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain — the classic hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) — new animal research shows. The study, conducted by investigators at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, suggests that it is the olive oil component of the Mediterranean diet that likely promotes healthy brain aging.”
Lower Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet Linked to ADHD
Medscape reports that “A new cross-sectional study shows a higher risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children and adolescents who are less adherent to a Mediterranean diet than those who are more adherent to the diet. “Previous studies done in other countries showed that low-quality diets are persistently associated with a higher risk of ADHD [but] no studies had been done regarding the Mediterranean diet and ADHD,” senior author Maria Izquierdo-Pulido, PharmD, Ph.D., University of Barcelona, Spain, told Medscape Medical News.”
Prescribing a Diet to Treat Depression
Medscape reports that “Two researchers, Felice Jacka and Michael Berk, led a consortium of Australian Institutions based at the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. Over 3 years, they recruited several hundred patients with moderate to severe depression and entered 67 into a 12-week parallel-group trial. The treatment group received seven 60-minute sessions of dietary counseling. The parallel control group received a matching social support protocol. All but nine of the 67 participants were receiving another active treatment—either psychotherapy, medications, or both.”
Mediterranean Diet with Nuts, Olive Oil linked to better Cognition
Medscape reports that “Adding nuts and olive oil to a Mediterranean diet could protect cognitive function in older adults, new research suggests. The study showed that adding nuts to the Mediterranean diet boosted measures of memory, while supplementing the diet with extra-virgin olive oil improved global and frontal cognition. The results suggest that nutritional interventions to protect brain function should be started “at the preclinical stage, before any impairment,” even in older adults, said study author Emilio Ros, MD, PhD, consultant, Endocrinology Department, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain.”
Food Additives and Child Health
A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) raises concern that artificial food colors (AFCs), or artificial food dye, may impact ADHD symptoms. The report isn’t original research. Nor is it a reason for panic, experts say. However, it’s an important reminder to encourage kids to eat more natural and fewer processed foods.
AFCs are just one type of chemical discussed in the report. Others include bisphenol A (BPA), which is still found in some metal containers; phthalates used in clear food wrap; perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) used in cardboard; perchlorates used in food packaging; and nitrates used to preserve and enhance foods.
Diet for ADHD
Following a diet for ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) can help minimize symptoms and promote healthy brain function. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of the role of food and proper diet plays when it comes to their ADHD.
Healthy Eating Linked to Kids' Happiness
NASAT reports that “Healthy eating is associated with better self-esteem and fewer emotional and peer problems, such as having fewer friends or being picked on or bullied, in children regardless of body weight, according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Public Health. Inversely, better self-esteem is associated with better adherence to healthy eating guidelines, according to researchers from The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Dr. Louise Arvidsson, the corresponding author said: “We found that in young children aged two to nine years there is an association between adherence to healthy dietary guidelines and better psychological well-being, which includes fewer emotional problems, better relationships with other children and higher self-esteem, two years later. Our findings suggest that a healthy diet can improve well-being in children.”
Leafy Greens Good for the Eyes Also Boost Kids' Brain Function
Medscape reports that “Higher levels of retinal carotenoids are associated with superior academic achievement and increased efficiency in performing cognitive tasks, new research shows. A team of investigators led by Naiman Khan, Ph.D., RD, professor of kinesiology and community health, together with Anne Walk, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar, both of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, conducted two studies that used macular pigment optical density (MPOD) to measure concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are retinal carotenoids in the eyes.”
Omega 3s - The Ultimate (ADHD) Brain Food
There’s a reason why the American Psychiatric Association recommends that every man, woman, and child in America eat fish — particularly fatty fish, like salmon and tuna — two or more times a week. And why they also recommend that people with “impulse control disorders,” like attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), supplement their daily diets with at least 1 gram of fish oil. The reason: Omega-3 fatty acids really do help brains, particularly ADHD ones, function better.”
Weekly Fish Consumption by Children Linked to Better Sleep, Higher IQ
NASAT reports that “Children who eat fish at least once a week sleep better and have IQ scores that are 4 points higher, on average, than those who consume fish less frequently or not at all, according to new findings from the University of Pennsylvania published this week in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal. Previous studies showed a relationship between omega-3s, the fatty acids in many types of fish, and improved intelligence, as well as omega-3s and better sleep. But they’ve never all been connected before.
This work, conducted by Jianghong Liu, Jennifer Pinto-Martin and Alexandra Hanlon of the School of Nursing and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Adrian Raine, reveals sleep as a possible mediating pathway, the potential missing link between fish and intelligence.”
Fish-rich diet may significantly reduce depression risk
Medscape reports that “Eating fish may protect against depression, a new meta-analysis suggests. “Fish is rich in multiple beneficial nutrients, including n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Furthermore, fish have been hypothesized to protect against chronic diseases generally, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore, we suggest people should eat more fish,” first author Fang Li, from the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Medical College of Qingdao University, in China, told Medscape Medical News.”
Pregnant moms and their offspring should limit added sugars in their diets to protect childhood cognition
NASAT reports that “A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has determined that poorer childhood cognition occurred, particularly in memory and learning, when pregnant women or their offspring consumed greater quantities of sugar. Substituting diet soda for sugar-sweetened versions during pregnancy also appeared to have negative effects. However, children’s fruit consumption had beneficial effects and was associated with higher cognitive scores.
Research is increasingly focusing on the adverse impact of sugar consumption on health, especially high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar consumption among Americans is above recommended limits, and the Current Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize the importance of reducing calories from added sugars. They are incorporated into foods and beverages during preparation or processing, with sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) being the greatest contributor in Americans’ diets
Low-Carb Diets Boost Risk for Serious Birth Defects
HealthyDay reports that “Following a low-carbohydrate diet during pregnancy may increase a woman’s risk of having a baby with serious birth defects, a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests. Compared with pregnant women who didn’t restrict their carbohydrate intake, those on a diet that reduced or eliminated carbs were 30 percent more likely to have babies with neural tube defects. Those include spina bifida (spine and spinal cord malformations) and anencephaly (missing parts of the brain and skull).
These birth defects can cause death or lifelong disability, the study authors said. “We already know that maternal diet before and during early pregnancy plays a significant role in fetal development. What is new about this study is its suggestion that low carbohydrate intake could increase the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect by 30 percent,” study leader Tania Desrosiers said in a university news release. “
Drinking diet beverages during pregnancy linked to child obesity, NIH study suggests Skip sharing on social media links
NIH reports that “Children born to women who had gestational diabetes and drank at least one artificially sweetened beverage per day during pregnancy were more likely to be overweight or obese at age 7, compared to children born to women who had gestational diabetes and drank water instead of artificially sweetened beverages, according to a study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.
Childhood obesity is known to increase the risk of certain health problems later in life, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. The study appears online in the International Journal of Epidemiology. “
Dietary Supplement Kit may head off Postpartum blues
Medscape reports that “A dietary supplement kit containing tryptophan, tyrosine, and blueberry juice/extract appears to markedly reduce vulnerability to postpartum blues (PPB), a new open-label study suggests. “The supplement taken on days 3 to 5 postpartum had a very strong effect on preventing sad mood in postpartum,” Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, head of the neuroimaging program in mood and anxiety at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.”
Sleeplessness can make you angrier, more frustrated, new study shows
“You may have noticed that people who’ve had a sleepless night tend to be grumpy or irritable the next day. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General shows that losing even just a couple hours of sleep at night can make you angrier.
Earlier studies have reported an association between sleep and anger. However, it was not fully understood whether sleep loss caused a person to be angry or if anger was responsible for disrupted sleep.”
Children Looking at Screens in Darkness Before Bedtime are at Risk of Poor Sleep
NASAT reports that “Pre-teens who use a mobile phone or watch TV in the dark an hour before bed are at risk of not getting enough sleep compared to those who use these devices in a lit room or do not use them at all before bedtime. The study by researchers from the University of Lincoln, Imperial College London, Birkbeck, University of London and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland is the first to analyze the pre-sleep use of media devices with screens alongside the impact of room lighting conditions on sleep in pre-teens.
It found that night-time use of phones, tablets, and laptops is consistently associated with poor sleep quality, insufficient sleep, and poor perceived quality of life. Insufficient sleep has also been shown to be associated with impaired immune responses, depression, anxiety and obesity in children and adolescents. “
The Importance of Sleep for Teen Mental Health
NASAT reports that “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 41 million Americans get six or fewer hours of sleep per night. For teens, it’s even worse. For most adolescents, nine hours of sleep is ideal. Unfortunately, very few are actually managing that. In fact, surveys show that less than 9 percent of teens get enough sleep. And the amount of rest they get decreases as they progress through high school.
In fact, Cornell University psychologist James B. Maas, Ph.D., a leading sleep expert, goes so far as to call American teenagers “walking zombies” because they live on so little sleep. What’s preventing teens from getting the rest they need? An array of factors, including technology use, caffeine intake, heavy homework loads, extracurricular activities and schools with early start times. Plus, adolescents experience a shift in their internal biological clocks post-puberty; their circadian rhythms naturally keep them up later at night.”
New Study Shows Melatonin Effective Sleep Aid for Children with Autism
NASAT reports that “A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry disclosed that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have refractory insomnia will benefit from prolonged-release melatonin (PEDPRM).
The trial conducted was random, placebo-controlled, and double-blind. There were 125 participants in the trial aged 2 to 17.5 years. These were patients whose insomnia continued even after behavioral intervention. Such children were administered with 2 mg of PEDPRM once daily; the dosage was increased to 5 mg or placebo for the succeeding thirteen weeks. Trial participants included children who were diagnosed by physicians of ASD regardless of whether or not they had attention deficit and hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and other neurogenetic disorders. The common factor among all participants was sleep issues.”
Chronic Sleep Disturbances May Trigger ADHD Symptoms, Not Vice Versa
NASAT reports that “A new theory hypothesizes that ADHD symptoms may be caused by a lack of regular circadian sleep, positing that attention and sleep troubles may be “two sides of the same physiological and mental coin” – not just two sometimes-overlapping conditions.
The theory was presented by Professor Sandra Kooij at the 30th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress, held in early September in Paris, France. There, Kooji outlined extensive research linking ADHD to sleep problems and offered new evidence that distorted circadian rhythms and ADHD symptoms may be interrelated for many people with the disorder. “There is extensive research showing that people with ADHD also tend to exhibit sleep problems,” Kooij said. “What we are doing here is taking this association to the next logical step: pulling all the work together that leads us to say that, based on existing evidence, it looks very much like ADHD and circadian problems are intertwined in the majority of patients.”
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