Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Should courts force minors to have medical treatment?

daniel hauser

AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Kyndell Harkness

Latest update: In today’s hearing, the judge returned custody of Daniel Hauser to his parents as they have agreed to continue the court-ordered chemotherapy treatments. The judge will allow them to use alternative treatments in conjunction with the chemotherapy.

The case of
Daniel Hauser, the 13-year-old with Hodgkin’s lymphoma
who is refusing chemotherapy treatment has sparked a national debate. The child and his mother spent a week on the run from law enforcement in order to avoid further court-ordered treatment. A judge ruled that Daniel’s parents medically neglected Daniel after the child did not return for more treatments after completing one round of chemotherapy. Due to their religious beliefs, Daniel’s family seeks legal permission to use alternative, non-invasive treatments to battle their son’s cancer.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a 90 percent cure rate in children if treated with chemotherapy and radiation, but according to …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Autism and your child

By Catherine Trapani, Ph.D.

Media coverage has heightened awareness of autism. Consequently, novice and seasoned parents alike are increasingly vigilant about their children’s development. While some children meet motor, language, and social milestones according to schedule, others are slow to demonstrate the skills that parents anticipate. Sometimes, there is a fine line between children who are developing normally, and children who are exhibiting developmental delays.

So here’s a word of caution.

The cause of autism in not yet known. It affects each child differently. Some children are mildly affected while others experience severe symptoms. Therefore, autism is considered to be a spectrum of disorders.

According to the CDC, currently, one in 150 children is diagnosed with autism. Identifying one in 94 males, boys are four times more likely than girls to be on the autism spectrum. Despite the strides that geneticists have made in identifying genetic markers, there is no …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Bad economic times means more child abuse

By Stephen Messner, M.D.

Child abuse — a term that encompasses neglect, physical and sexual abuse — increases with the presence of stressors in the home. These stressors can vary from economic tensions to a crying baby in the middle of the night.

In times of economic distress, the rate of child abuse increases; neglect being the highest. According to Georgia’s Protective Services Data System, 83 percent of abused children experienced neglect.

At Children’s, one of the child advocacy centers in Georgia, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of infants admitted to the hospital as a result of physical abuse. One of the most serious occurrences of this is abusive head trauma, also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome. This form of abuse is most commonly seen in 3- to 8-month-old infants at the hands of a caregiver.

Caregivers become upset under various types of stressors. This frustration can lead some of them to do things they normally would never think of doing — be …

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DOCTOR IS IN: ADHD over-diagnosed?

By Thomas G. Burns, Psy.D., ABPP

First, consider these startling facts about the Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The rates of diagnosis for ADHD – previously known as ADD – have been on the rise over the past few decades. Research shows a 700 percent increase in medication being used to treat ADHD in the 1990s alone. A 2005 report by the CDC found 4.4 million children aged 4 to 17 years were reported to have a history of ADHD diagnosis.

Of these, 2.5 million (56 percent) were reported to be taking medication for the disorder. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls, and the rate of incidence is almost twice as common in Caucasian children when compared with their African-American peers.

While the country seems to have a tendency for over-prescription, ADHD does not appear to be over-diagnosed in the U.S. as a whole.

There are three types of ADHD:

  1. predominantly inattentive type
  2. predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type
  3. a combination of …

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Should court ruling end autism debate?

What do you make of the court ruling that says vaccines are not the cause of autism in children. The ruling went against parents who believe that vaccinations caused the neurological disorder in their children.

Judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

If you recall, last fall federal health officials agreed that vaccines contributed to an autistic Georgia girl’s symptoms.(Hannah Poling, at left, with parents Jon and Terry Poling)

– By Fran Jeffries

Do you think this court ruling will now end the debate? Should it?

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Eating dirt is good for kids?


As the mother of an inquisitive 4-year-old who seems to put everything in his mouth, my interest was immediately piqued when I saw a recent article. It said eating dirt is good for kids. 

In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers said organisms like bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system, according to the article. 

One researcher said that children raised in an ultra-clean environment are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.  

Researchers stressed that intestinal worms, which have been all but eliminated in developed countries, are “likely to be the biggest player” in regulating the immune system to respond appropriately. Most worms are harmless, especially in well-nourished people, the researchers said. My first response was “ewwww!!” Then I felt somewhat relieved about all the times my son ate dirt before …

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