Friday, October 24, 2008

Stink or Stroke?: Relevant Health News

A catch-up edition of health news for kids and families:

  • A common assumption is that children lack health coverage because their parents aren't covered. A new report reveals that in actuality many parents are covered through their workplace, but aren't able to add their children because the costs are prohibitive, adding for the calls for programs that ease access for the nation's children.
  • The lack of childhood access to medical care exacerbates the issue of declining national health and increasingly expensive tax on the health care system contributing to a destructive cycle of escalating costs and even more people without health care coverage. Adding to the urgency of a comprehensive reevaluation of health, especially amongst the youth, a new report from the CDC now reveals that "About 3 million U.S. children have a food or digestive allergy -- an 18 percent increase over the past 10 years."
  • As the numbers of children with special needs grows, more is being written to help the mainstream public understand the challenges these children and families face. The New York Times Magazine recently ran an in depth look at approaches now being taken to reach autistic children and adolescents. Also, parenting a special needs child increases the already normal challenges parenting poses to a marital relationship, and some relationships unfortunately are not able to withstand the strain. A report now has revealed that "Parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are almost twice as likely as other parents to divorce by the time their child is 8 years old, a new study suggests," and increasingly doctors are recommending that families and couples who experience the challenge of raising a special needs child seek counseling to maintain the overall health of the family.
  • Sensory processing difficulties are especially pernicious to effectively address in the typical clinical settings, so an innovative program called "snoezelen" (pronounced "snooze-a-lan") from the Dutch that means "explore" and "relax," which is used in Europe and approximately 30 countries, is starting to appear in the U.S. "A strange-sounding therapy of flashing lights, music, water bubble tubes and other fascinating sights and sounds is helping young psychiatric patients learn how to contain agitated, aggressive, angry or anxious minds...Instead of putting frustrated or impulsive patients in a bare seclusion room, staff of the REACH outpatient psychiatric child program instead have directed them into the snoezelen room."
  • I'm not to sure about the recent story that suggests that Internet and cell phones are perhaps strengthening the family unit, but I suppose there is something to be said for using the always connected phenomenon, and some say malady, to the advantage of the family.
  • Can you believe that we have had planning in place for what to do with our pets in the case of major disasters following the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, but only recently has the National Council on Children and Disasters convened it's very first meeting to address how we handle the needs of children in a disaster?
  • 2.5 children is not the one size fits all of the American family. Those bucking the cultural norms since the 1970s of shrinking family size are subject to scrutiny and some amusing, and at times pernicious comments. One mother writes about the blessings of a larger family and the lessons children learn from a big gang of siblings.
  • Significant reduction in a woman's risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis has been reported recently as a benefit of breastfeeding at least to one year of age.
  • I had to save this little health tidbit for last. As the only female in a house full of boys, I am subjected to a lot of commentary about flatulation. It turns out from some recent research results that flatulation may be one of the body's methods of keeping blood pressure low. I can hear my husband now...a big stink, or a big stroke, you decide.

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