Stanford School of Medicine study: Brain scans may predict math ability

25 Aug

Jacob Vigdor wrote the interesting Education Next article, Solving America’s Math Problem:

American public schools have made a clear trade-off over the past few decades. With the twin goals of improving the math performance of the average student and promoting equality, it has made the curriculum more accessible. The drawback to exclusive use of this more accessible curriculum can be observed among the nation’s top-performing students, who are either less willing or less able than their predecessors or their high-achieving global peers to follow the career paths in math, science, and engineering that are the key to innovation and job creation. In the name of preparing more of the workforce to take those jobs, we have harmed the skills of those who might have created them. Although there is some evidence of a payoff from this sacrifice, in the form of marginally better performance among average students, some of the strategies used to help these students have in fact backfired…

Not all children are equally prepared to embark on a rigorous math curriculum on the first day of kindergarten, and there are no realistic policy alternatives to change this simple fact. Rather than wish differences among students away, a rational policy for the 21st century will respond to those variations, tailoring lessons to children’s needs. This strategy promises to provide the next generation of prospective scientists and engineers with the training they need to create jobs, and the next generation of workers with the skills they need to qualify for them. http://educationnext.org/solving-america%E2%80%99s-math-problem/#.UG25FCk_6rE.email

One way of looking at Vigdor’s conclusions is to ask whether high performance preschool programs and early intervention can affect student achievement?

Maggie Fox of NBC News reported in the story, Brain Scans May Predict Math Gains in Children, Study Finds:

Brain scans may be able to predict which kids are likely to improve their math skills in school and which ones are not, and they do it better than IQ or math tests, researchers reported Tuesday.
The researchers have been working with a group of kids who started getting brain scans at the age of 8, and who have followed up with tests into their mid-teens.

To their surprise, the researchers found that certain patterns of brain activity when the kids were not doing anything at all at age 8 predicted how much they would improve their math skills over the years. And these scans did so with far more accuracy than did intelligence tests, reading tests or math tests, they report in the Journal of Neuroscience.
While it’s far too soon to stick every kid into a brain scanner, the findings may eventually lead to ways to identify the children who’d benefit most from intensive math coaching, the researchers said…. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/brain-scans-may-predict-math-gains-study-finds-n412141

Citation:

• Abstract

J Neurosci. 2015 Aug 19;35(33):11743-50. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0216-15.2015.
Brain Structural Integrity and Intrinsic Functional Connectivity Forecast 6 Year Longitudinal Growth in Children’s Numerical Abilities.
Evans TM1, Kochalka J2, Ngoon TJ2, Wu SS2, Qin S2, Battista C2, Menon V3.
Author information
Abstract
Early numerical proficiency lays the foundation for acquiring quantitative skills essential in today’s technological society. Identification of cognitive and brain markers associated with long-term growth of children’s basic numerical computation abilities is therefore of utmost importance. Previous attempts to relate brain structure and function to numerical competency have focused on behavioral measures from a single time point. Thus, little is known about the brain predictors of individual differences in growth trajectories of numerical abilities. Using a longitudinal design, with multimodal imaging and machine-learning algorithms, we investigated whether brain structure and intrinsic connectivity in early childhood are predictive of 6 year outcomes in numerical abilities spanning childhood and adolescence. Gray matter volume at age 8 in distributed brain regions, including the ventrotemporal occipital cortex (VTOC), the posterior parietal cortex, and the prefrontal cortex, predicted longitudinal gains in numerical, but not reading, abilities. Remarkably, intrinsic connectivity analysis revealed that the strength of functional coupling among these regions also predicted gains in numerical abilities, providing novel evidence for a network of brain regions that works in concert to promote numerical skill acquisition. VTOC connectivity with posterior parietal, anterior temporal, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices emerged as the most extensive network predicting individual gains in numerical abilities. Crucially, behavioral measures of mathematics, IQ, working memory, and reading did not predict children’s gains in numerical abilities. Our study identifies, for the first time, functional circuits in the human brain that scaffold the development of numerical skills, and highlights potential biomarkers for identifying children at risk for learning difficulties.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:
Children show substantial individual differences in math abilities and ease of math learning. Early numerical abilities provide the foundation for future academic and professional success in an increasingly technological society. Understanding the early identification of poor math skills has therefore taken on great significance. This work provides important new insights into brain structure and connectivity measures that can predict longitudinal growth of children’s math skills over a 6 year period, and may eventually aid in the early identification of children who might benefit from targeted interventions.
Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/3511743-08$15.00/0.
• Received January 15, 2015.
• Revision received July 15, 2015.
• Accepted July 15, 2015.

Here is the press release from Stanford:

Brain scans better forecast math learning in kids than do skill tests, study finds
Gray matter volume and connections between several brain regions better forecast 8-year-olds’ acquisition of math skills than their performance on standard math tests.
Vinod Menon and his colleagues found that scans of brain structures indicated which childen would be the best math learners over the next six years.

Brain scans from 8-year-old children can predict gains in their mathematical ability over the next six years, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The research tracked 43 children longitudinally for six years, starting at age 8, and showed that while brain characteristics strongly indicated which children would be the best math learners over the following six years, the children’s performance on math, reading, IQ and memory tests at age 8 did not.

The study, published online Aug. 18 in The Journal of Neuroscience, moves scientists closer to their goal of helping children who struggle to acquire math skills.
“We can identify brain systems that support children’s math skill development over six years in childhood and early adolescence,” said the study’s lead author, Tanya Evans, PhD, postdoctoral scholar in psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

“A long-term goal of this research is to identify children who might benefit most from targeted math intervention at an early age,” said senior author Vinod Menon, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “Mathematical skills are crucial in our increasingly technological society, and our new data show which brain features forecast future growth in math abilities.”
At the start of the study, the children received structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans. None of the kids had neurological or psychiatric disorders, and their intelligence fell in a range considered normal for their age. The scans were conducted while the children lay quietly in the scanner; the scans measured brain structure and intrinsic functional connections between brain regions, and were not tied to performance on any particular math task.

The 8-year-olds also took standardized tests (given outside the scanner) to measure IQ, as well as reading, math and working-memory skills. All of the children returned for at least one follow-up assessment of these skills before age 14, and many children had other additional follow-ups.

Surprising results

The scientists were surprised by the extent and nature of the connections between brain regions that predicted the development of the children’s math skills. Greater volume and connectivity of two areas forecast skill development: the ventro-temporal occipital cortex, which is a brain region that supports visual object perception, and the intra-parietal sulcus, which helps people compare and make judgements about numbers, such as understanding that four is more than three. The strength of these regions’ interconnections with the prefrontal cortex was also predictive. The work identifies a network of brain areas that provides a scaffold for long-term math skill development in children, Menon said.

The 8-year-olds’ initial IQ, reading, working-memory and math scores did not predict long-term learning in math. The lack of predictive ability of standard math tests taken at age 8 suggests that brain features more precisely predict children’s math learning, Evans said. The brain scans capture many different aspects of information processing, thus better forecasting which children will fall behind and which will excel, Menon added.
Just because a child is currently struggling doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be a poor learner in the future.
“Next, we are investigating how brain connections change over time in children who show large versus small improvements in math skills, and designing new interventions to help children improve their short-term learning and long-term skill acquisition,” Menon said. Although it is still impractical to give brain scans to children on a large scale, the team’s studies provide a baseline understanding of normal development that will help experts develop and validate remediation programs for children with learning disabilities, he noted.
In the meantime, the team’s findings suggest that parents and teachers should encourage children to exercise their mental math muscles. “Just because a child is currently struggling doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be a poor learner in the future,” Evans said.

Other Stanford co-authors were research assistants John Kochalka, Tricia Ngoon and Sarah Wu; instructor Shaozheng Qin, PhD; and postdoctoral scholar Christian Battista, PhD.

All brain scans were conducted at the Richard M. Lucas Center for Imaging at the School of Medicine.
The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (grants HD047520, HD059205 and HD080367), Stanford’s Child Health Research Institute, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, Stanford’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (NIH grant UL1RR025744) and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Menon is a member of Stanford’s Child Health Research Institute.
Information about Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, which also supported the research, is available at http://med.stanford.edu/psychiatry.html.

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/
http://drwilda.com/2012/08/08/oregon-state-university-study-ability-to-pay-attention-in-preschool-may-predict-college-success/

Related:

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls
http://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

Girls and math phobia
http://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers
http://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?                                                                                     http://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Penn State study: Ethnic students and students of color underrepresented in special education classes

24 Jun

The University of Michigan Health System has a great guide, Learning Disabilities:

What are learning disabilities (LD)? 

If your child is not doing as well in school as they have the potential to, they may have a learning disability. Having a learning disability means having a normal intelligence but a problem in one or more areas of learning.

A learning disability is a neurobiological disorder; people with LD have brains that learn differently because of differences in brain structure and/or function.  If a person learns differently due to visual, hearing or physical handicaps, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage, we do not call it a learning disability.

Some people with LD also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder orADHD.

LDs can affect many different areas:

  • Spoken language—problems in listening and speaking
  • Reading—difficulties decoding or recognizing words or understanding them
  • Written language—problems with writing, spelling, organizing ideas
  • Math—trouble doing arithmetic or understanding basic concepts
  • Reasoning—problems organizing and putting together thoughts
  • Memory—problems remembering facts and instructions
  • Social behavior—difficulties with social judgment, tolerating frustration and making friends
  • Physical coordination—problems with handwriting, manipulating small objects, running and jumping
  • Organization—trouble with managing time and belongings, carrying out a plan
  • Metacognition (thinking about thinking)—problems with knowing, using and monitoring the use of thinking and learning strategies, and learning from mistakes

Why is early diagnosis and treatment so important?

When LDs are not found and treated early on, they tend to snowball.  As kids get more and more behind in school, they may become more and more frustrated, feeling like a failure. Often, self-esteem problems lead to bad behavior and other problems.  High school dropout rates are much higher for students with LDs than for those without [1].   These educational differences, in turn, affect the job and earnings prospects for people with LDs.  When LD is not noticed or not treated, it can cause adult literacy problems.   By identifying LDs early, your child will get the help they need to reach their potential.

How common are learning disabilities?

Educators estimate that between 5 and 10 percent of kids between ages 6 and 17 have learning disabilities [2]. More than half of the kids receiving special education in the United States have LDs [3]Dyslexia is the most common LD; 80 percent of students with LDs have dyslexia [4].

What causes learning disabilities? 

Because there are lots of kinds of learning disabilities, it is hard to diagnose them and pinpoint the causes. LDs seem to be caused by the brain, but the exact causes are not known. Some risk factors are:

         Heredity

         Low birth weight, prematurity, birth trauma or distress

         Stress before or after birth

         Treatment for cancer or leukemia

         Central nervous system infections

         Severe head injuries

          Chronic medical illnesses, like diabetes or asthma

          Poor nutrition

 LDs are not caused by environmental factors, like cultural differences, or bad teaching.

When your child is diagnosed with a LD, the most important thing is not to look back and try to figure out if something went wrong. Instead, think about moving forward and finding help .http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/ld.htm

Once a learning disability has been diagnosed there are steps parents can take to advocate for their child. Scholastic has great advice for parents in the article, Falling Behind With a Learning Disability.http://www.scholastic.com/resources/article/learning-disability/

Schools often test children to determine whether a child has a learning disability. Often parents may want to have an independent evaluation for their child. http://drwilda.com/2012/09/02/survey-most-people-dont-know-what-a-learning-disability-is/

Joy Resmovits reported in the Huffington Post article, More Minority Students Should Be In Special Ed, Study Says:

study released Wednesday, led by Penn State education professor Paul Morgan, suggests that’s the case. Schools have been identifying too few minority students for placement in special education, he claims — in some cases, by a margin as large as 60 percent.

According to a U.S. Education Department study, in fall 2012, 1.08 million black students and 1.24 million Hispanic students ages 6 to 21 were receiving special education services. Of the 5.7 million total special education students, black students comprised 19 percent and Hispanic students 21.8 percent. That same year, 11.3 percent of black students and 8.2 percent of Hispanic students were placed in special education, compared with 8.2 percent of white students.

Morgan bases his conclusion on the assertion that civil rights activists and educators who say too many minority students are in special education have been relying on simple comparisons.

“If general school age population is 14 percent black, you would expect 14 percent of students who are black would be represented in special education,” Morgan said. “But 19 percent of the special ed population is black. That’s been taken as a disparity.”

This reported disparity led the federal government to mandate monitoring of the percentages of minority students placed in special education. School districts found exceeding expected percentages “due to inappropriate identification” are required to allocate 15 percent of a specific funding stream to reducing that number through early intervention, a program to help kids when they’re younger, instead of putting them in separate educational programs for their entire academic lives.

“Children who are minorities are more likely to be exposed to the risk factors that contribute to having a disability: more likely to be exposed to lead, born into poverty, fetal alcohol syndrome,” Morgan said. “You have to take that into account in terms of understanding who is under- or over-represented in special education. Research has not done that — it has relied on simple unadjusted contrasts….”                                             http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/special-education-minorities_n_7649330.html

See, Minority students are underrepresented in special education        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150624100331.htm

Citation:

Minority students are underrepresented in special education

Date:               June 24, 2015

Source:           American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Summary:

A new federally funded study finds that racial, ethnic, and language minority elementary- and middle-school students are less likely than otherwise similar white, English-speaking children to be identified as having disabilities and, as a result, are disproportionately underrepresented in special education. These findings differ from most prior education research and contrast with current federal legislation and policies.

Journal Reference:

  1. L. Morgan, G. Farkas, M. M. Hillemeier, R. Mattison, S. Maczuga, H. Li, M. Cook. Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education: Longitudinal Evidence Across Five Disability ConditionsEducational Researcher, 2015; DOI:10.3102/0013189X15591157

Here is the press release from the American Educational Research Association:

For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2015

Contact:
Tony Pals, tpals@aera.net
office: (202) 238-3235
cell: (202) 288-9333
Bridget Jameson, bjameson@aera.net
office: (202) 238-3233

Study Finds Minority Students Are Underrepresented in Special Education
Finding Conflicts with Current Federal Legislation and Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2015—A new federally funded study finds that racial, ethnic, and language minority elementary- and middle-school students are less likely than otherwise similar white, English-speaking children to be identified as having disabilities and, as a result, are disproportionately underrepresented in special education. These findings differ from most prior education research and contrast with current federal legislation and policies. The study was published online today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Authors Paul L. Morgan of the Pennsylvania State University, George Farkas of University of California, Irvine, and Marianne M. Hillemeier, Richard Mattison, Steve Maczuga, Hui Li, and Michael Cook, all of the Pennsylvania State University, found that racial and ethnic minority children are less likely than otherwise similar white, English-speaking children to be identified as disabled across all five of the surveyed disability conditions—learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, intellectual disabilities, other health impairments, or emotional disturbances—and, so, are less likely to receive potentially beneficial special education services. Language minority children are less likely than otherwise similar children from English-speaking homes to be identified as having learning disabilities or speech or language impairments.

Long-standing and ongoing federal legislation and policymaking has attempted to reduce what has been repeatedly reported to be minority overrepresentation in special education. The U.S. Department of Education is currently considering issuing further compliance monitoring guidelines regarding minority overrepresentation.

“Our findings indicate that federal legislation and policies currently designed to reduce minority over-representation in special education may be misdirected,” said Morgan. “These well-intentioned policies instead may be exacerbating the nation’s education inequities by limiting minority children’s access to potentially beneficial special education and related services to which they may be legally entitled.”

The authors analyzed multiyear longitudinal and nationally representative data from the U.S. Department of Education. The analyses extensively controlled for child-, family-, and state-level variables. These included children’s own academic achievement and behavior, whether they were born with low birth weight, family socioeconomic status and access to health insurance, and their state of residence, among other factors.

“Prior studies have mostly looked at simple, unadjusted comparisons between the general population and the special education population, or differences among minority and non-minority students with controls only at the district or school level,” said Morgan. “Yet these studies have often not accounted for minority children’s greater exposure to factors that increase the risk for disabling conditions. In contrast, our study corrects at the child- and family-levels for minority children’s greater exposure to these risk factors, including the strong predictors of academic achievement or behavior for a school-based disability diagnosis.”

The study’s findings indicated that the underrepresentation of minority children was evident throughout elementary and middle school.

Additional results include:

  • African American children have odds of learning disability identification that are 58 percent lower than those of otherwise similar white children. African American children’s odds of identification for speech or language impairments, intellectual disabilities, health impairments, and emotional disturbances are, respectively, 63 percent, 57 percent, 77 percent, and 64 percent lower than otherwise similar white children.
  • Hispanic children have odds of learning disability, speech or language impairments, or other health impairments that are, respectively, 29 percent, 33 percent, and 73 percent lower than otherwise similar white children.
  • Children from non-English-speaking households have odds of learning disabilities as well as speech or language impairment identification that are, respectively, 28 percent and 40 percent lower than otherwise similar children from English-speaking households.
  • Children from families without health insurance are less likely to be identified as having speech or language impairments.
  • Children from families with lower levels of education and income are less likely to be identified as having other health impairments.

“This underrepresentation may result from teachers, school psychologists, and other education professionals responding differently to white, English-speaking children and their parents,” said Morgan. “Education professionals should be attentive to cultural and language barriers that may keep minority children with disabilities from being appropriately identified and treated.”

“Untreated disabilities increase children’s risk for many adversities, including persistent academic and behavioral difficulties in school,” Morgan said. “As a matter of social justice, we should work to ensure that all children with disabilities, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or language use, receive the care they need.”

Funding Note
Funding for this study was provided by the National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Infrastructure support was provided by Penn State’s Population Research Institute through funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.

About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national professional organization devoted to the scientific study of education. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/NewsReleasesandStatements/StudyFindsMinorityStudentsAreUnderrepresentedinSpecialEducation/tabid/16001/Default.aspx

All Children Have A Right to A Good Basic Education.

Resources:

Early warning signs of a learning disability

http://www.babycenter.com/0_early-warning-signs-of-a-learning-disability_67978.bc

How to know if your child has a learning disability

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/advice/how-to-know-if-your-child-has-a-learning-disability/2012/05/08/gIQAvzLvAU_story.html

If You Suspect a Child Has a Learning Disability

http://www.ncld.org/parents-child-disabilities/ld-testing/if-you-suspect-child-has-learning-disability

Learning Disabilities in Children

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/learning_disabilities.htm

Learning Disabilities (LD)

http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/ld

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART ©

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Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study: Exposure to pesticide linked to ADHD in boys

17 Jun

Many parents will be presented with a diagnosis of ADHD regarding their child. Yahoo medical reported in the article, Top 10 Myths About ADHD:

Myth #1: Only kids have ADHD.
Although about 10% of kids 5 to 17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD, at least 4% of adults have it, too — and probably many more, since adult ADHD is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. That’s partly because people think only kids get it.

Myth #2: All kids “outgrow” ADHD.
Not nearly always. Up to 70% of children with ADHD continue to have trouble with it in adulthood, which can create relationship problems, money troubles, work strife, and a rocky family life.

Myth #3: Medication is the only treatment for ADHD.
Medication can be useful in managing ADHD symptoms, but it’s not a cure. And it’s not the only treatment. Lifestyle changes, counseling, and behavior modification can significantly improve symptoms as well. Several studies suggest that a combination of ADHD treatments works best.

Myth #4: People who have ADHD are lazy and lack intelligence and willpower.
This is totally not true. In fact, ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or determination. It’s a neurobehavioral disorder caused by changes in brain chemicals and the way the brain works. It presents unique challenges, but they can be overcome — which many successful people have done. Even Albert Einstein is said to have had symptoms of ADHD.

Myth #5: ADHD isn’t a real disorder.
Not so. Doctors and mental-health professionals agree that ADHD is a biological disorder that can significantly impair functioning. An imbalance in brain chemicals affects brain areas that regulate behavior and emotion. This is what produces ADHD symptoms.

Myth #6: Bad parenting causes ADHD.
Absolutely not! ADHD symptoms are caused by brain-chemical imbalances (see #4 and #5) that make it hard to pay attention and control impulses. Good parenting skills help children deal with their symptoms.

Myth #7: Kids with ADHD are always hyper.
Not always. ADHD comes in three “flavors”: predominantly inattentive; predominantly hyperactive-impulsive; and combined, which is a mix of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Although kids with hyperactive-impulsive or combined ADHD may be fidgety and restless, kids with inattentive ADHD are not hyper.

Myth #8: Too much TV time causes ADHD.
Not really. But spending excessive amounts of time watching TV or playing video games could trigger the condition in susceptible individuals. And in kids and teens who already have ADHD, spending hours staring at electronic screens may make symptoms worse.

Myth #9: If you can focus on certain things, you don’t have ADHD.
It’s not that simple. Although it’s true that people with ADHD have trouble focusing on things that don’t interest them, there’s a flip side to the disorder. Some people with ADHD get overly absorbed in activities they enjoy. This symptom is called hyperfocus. It can help you be more productive in activities that you like, but you can become so focused that you ignore responsibilities you don’t like.

Myth #10: ADHD is overdiagnosed.
Nope. If anything, ADHD is underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. The pressures and responsibilities of adulthood often exacerbate ADHD symptoms, leading adults to seek evaluation and help for the first time. Also, parents who have children with ADHD may seek treatment only after recognizing similar symptoms in themselves.
http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/top-10-myths-about-adhd-2528710.html

 Whether drug or behavior therapy is chosen to treat ADHD depends upon the goals of the parents.

Science Daily reported in Study links exposure to common pesticide with ADHD in boys:

A new study links a commonly used household pesticide with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens.

The study found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, rather than inattentiveness. The association was stronger in boys than in girls.

The study, led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is published online in the journal Environmental Health.

“Given the growing use of pyrethroid pesticides and the perception that they may represent a safe alternative, our findings may be of considerable public health importance,” says Tanya Froehlich, MD, a developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s corresponding author.

Due to concerns about adverse health consequences, the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the two most commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use in 2000-2001. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. They also are used increasingly in agriculture.

Pyrethroids have often been considered a safer choice because they are not as acutely toxic as the banned organophosphates. Animal studies, on the other hand, suggested a heightened vulnerability to the effects of pyrethroid exposure on hyperactivity, impulsivity and abnormalities in the dopamine system in male mice. Dopamine is a neurochemical in the brain thought to be involved in many activities, including those that govern ADHD.

The researchers studied data on 687 children between the ages of 8 and 15. The data came from the 2000-2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is a nationally representative sample of the United States population designed to collect information about health.

The 2000-2001 cycle of NHANES was the only cycle of the study that included a diagnostic interview of children’s ADHD symptoms and pyrethroid pesticide biomarkers. Pesticide exposure measurements were collected in a random sample of the urine of half the 8-11 year olds and a third of the 12-15 year olds.

ADHD was determined by meeting criteria on the Diagnosic Interview Schedule for Children, a diagnostic instrument that assesses 34 common psychiatric diagnoses of children and adolescents, or by caregiver report of a prior diagnosis. The DISC is administered by an interviewer…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150601122535.htm

Citation:

Study links exposure to common pesticide with ADHD in boys

Date:              June 1, 2015

Source:           Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Summary:

A new study links a commonly used household pesticide with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and young teens. The study found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, rather than inattentiveness. The association was stronger in boys than in girls.

Journal Reference:

  1. Melissa Wagner-Schuman, Jason R Richardson, Peggy Auinger, Joseph M Braun, Bruce P Lanphear, Jeffery N Epstein, Kimberly Yolton, Tanya E Froehlich.Association of pyrethroid pesticide exposure with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a nationally representative sample of U.S. childrenEnvironmental Health, 2015; 14 (1) DOI: 1186/s12940-015-0030-y

Here is the press release from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center:

Study Links Exposure to Common Pesticide With ADHD in Boys

Monday, June 01, 2015

A new study links a commonly used household pesticide with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens.

The study found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, rather than inattentiveness. The association was stronger in boys than in girls.

The study, led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is published online in the journal Environmental Health.

“Given the growing use of pyrethroid pesticides and the perception that they may represent a safe alternative, our findings may be of considerable public health importance,” says Tanya Froehlich, MD, a developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s corresponding author.

Due to concerns about adverse health consequences, the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the two most commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use in 2000-2001. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. They also are used increasingly in agriculture.

Pyrethroids have often been considered a safer choice because they are not as acutely toxic as the banned organophosphates. Animal studies, on the other hand, suggested a heightened vulnerability to the effects of pyrethroid exposure on hyperactivity, impulsivity and abnormalities in the dopamine system in male mice. Dopamine is a neurochemical in the brain thought to be involved in many activities, including those that govern ADHD.

The researchers studied data on 687 children between the ages of 8 and 15. The data came from the 2000-2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is a nationally representative sample of the United States population designed to collect information about health.

The 2000-2001 cycle of NHANES was the only cycle of the study that included a diagnostic interview of children’s ADHD symptoms and pyrethroid pesticide biomarkers. Pesticide exposure measurements were collected in a random sample of the urine of half the 8-11 year olds and a third of the 12-15 year olds.

ADHD was determined by meeting criteria on the Diagnosic Interview Schedule for Children, a diagnostic instrument that assesses 34 common psychiatric diagnoses of children and adolescents, or by caregiver report of a prior diagnosis. The DISC is administered by an interviewer.

Boys with detectable urinary 3-PBA, a biomarker of exposure to pyrethroids, were three times as likely to have ADHD compared with those without detectable 3-PBA. Hyperactivity and impulsivity increased by 50 percent for every 10-fold increase in 3-PBA levels in boys. Biomarkers were not associated with increased odds of ADHD diagnosis or symptoms in girls.

“Our study assessed pyrethroid exposure using 3-PBA concentrations in a single urine sample,” says Dr. Froehlich. “Given that pyrethroids are non-persistent and rapidly metabolized, measurements over time would provide a more accurate assessment of typical exposure and are recommended in future studies before we can say definitively whether our results have public health ramifications.”

This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01ES015991, R01ES015991-04S1, P30ES005022, K23 MH083881, K24 MH064478, R00 ES020346, and R01ES015517-01A1.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org. Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebookand on Twitter.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656, Jim.Feuer@cchmc.org

http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/news/release/2015/study-links-pesticide-ADHD-in-boys-06-01-2015/

If you suspect that your child might have ADHD, you should seek an evaluation from a competent professional who has knowledge of this specialized area of medical practice.

Reference Links:

Edge Foundation ADHD Coaching Study Executive Summary

http://edgefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Edge-Foundation-ADHD-Coaching-Research-Report.pdf

Edge Foundation ADHD Coaching Study Full Report

http://edgefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Edge-Foundation-ADHD-Coaching-Research-Report.pdf

ADHD and College Success: A free guide

http://www.edgefoundation.org/howedgehelps/add-2.html

ADHD and Executive Functioning

http://edgefoundation.org/blog/2010/10/08/the-role-of-adhd-and-your-brains-executive-functions/

Executive Function, ADHD and Academic Outcomes

http://www.helpforld.com/efacoutcomes.pdf

Related:

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests

http://drwilda.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Studies: ADHD drugs don’t necessarily improve academic performance

http://drwilda.com/2013/07/14/studies-adhd-drugs-dont-necessarily-improve-academic-performance/

ADHD coaching to improve a child’s education outcome

http://drwilda.com/2012/03/31/adhd-coaching-to-improve-a-childs-education-outcome/

An ADHD related disorder: ‘Sluggish Cognitive Tempo’

http://drwilda.com/2014/04/12/an-adhd-related-disorder-sluggish-cognitive-tempo/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Yale study: Internet makes folks feel smarter than they are

7 Jun

Sarah D. Sparks wrote good synopsis of the report, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century in the Education Week article, Study: ’21st-Century Learning’ Demands Mix of Abilities:

The committee found these skills generally fall into three categories:

  • Cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and analytic reasoning;
  • Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and complex communication; and
  • Intrapersonal skills, such as resiliency and conscientiousness (the latter of which has also been strongly associated with good career earnings and healthy lifestyles).

Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who was not part of the report committee, said developing common definitions of 21st-century skills is critical to current education policy discussions, such as around Common Core State Standards.

“Unless we want to have just a lot of hand-waving on 21st-century skills,” Ms. Darling-Hammond said, “we need to get focused and purposeful on how to learn to teach and measure these skills, both in terms of research investments and in terms of the policies and practice that would allow us to develop and measure these skills.”

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/study_deeper_learning_needs_st_1.html

The National Research Council published the report, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century  Technology does not replace the need for critical thinking skills.

Moi wrote in In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person:

The key is developing the idea that facts should be used to support an opinion.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
    precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
    interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought,
    recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008). http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766 http://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Cruising the Internet is not critical thinking.

Poncie Rutsch of NPR reported in Searching Online May Make You Think You’re Smarter Than You Are:

Using the Internet is an easy way to feel omniscient. Enter a search term and the answers appear before your eyes.

But at any moment you’re also just a few taps away from becoming an insufferable know-it-all. Searching for answers online gives people an inflated sense of their own knowledge, according to a study. It makes people think they know more than they actually do.

“We think the information is leaking into our head, but really the information is stored somewhere else entirely,” Matthew Fisher, a doctoral student in cognitive psychology at Yale University, tells Shots. Fisher surveyed hundreds of people to get a sense of how searching the Internet affected how they rate their knowledge. His study was published Tuesday in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General…. http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/xge/

The results kept coming back the same: searching online led to knowledge inflation.

There are practical consequences to this little exercise. If we can’t accurately judge what we know, then who’s to say whether any of the decisions we make are well-informed?

“People are unlikely to be able to explain their own shortcomings,” says Fisher. “People aren’t aware of the quality of explanation or the quality of arguments they can produce, and they don’t realize it until they encounter the gaps.”

The more we rely on the Internet, Fisher says, the harder it will be to draw a line between where our knowledge ends and the web begins. And unlike poring through books or debating peers, asking the Internet is unique because it’s so effortless….http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/02/396810355/searching-online-may-make-you-think-youre-smarter-than-you-are

Here is the press release:

Internet Searches Create Illusion of Personal Knowledge, Research Finds

Inflated sense of personal knowledge may have negative effects, study concludes

Read the journal article

WASHINGTON — Searching the Internet for information may make people feel smarter than they actually are, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world’s knowledge at your fingertips,” said lead researcher Matthew Fisher, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in psychology at Yale University. “It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source. When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet.”

In a series of experiments, participants who searched for information on the Internet believed they were more knowledgeable than a control group about topics unrelated to the online searches. In a result that surprised the researchers, participants had an inflated sense of their own knowledge after searching the Internet even when they couldn’t find the information they were looking for. After conducting Internet searches, participants also believed their brains were more active than the control group did. The research was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General®.

For nine experiments, a range of 152 to 302 participants were recruited online, with different participants taking part in each experiment. In one experiment, the Internet group used online searches to research four questions (e.g., “How does a zipper work?”) and provided a website link with the best answer. The control group was given the exact text from the most common website used by the Internet group to answer the questions. Both groups then rated their ability to answer other questions (e.g., “Why are cloudy nights warmer?”) on topics unrelated to the Internet searches, although they didn’t have to answer those questions. The Internet group members consistently rated themselves as more knowledgeable than the control group about those unrelated topics.

The Internet group reported an inflated sense of personal knowledge after Internet searches even when its members could not find complete answers to very difficult questions (e.g., “Why is ancient Kushite history more peaceful than Greek history?”) or when they found no answers at all because of Google filters that were used. The cognitive effects of “being in search mode” on the Internet may be so powerful that people still feel smarter even when their online searches reveal nothing, said study co-author Frank Keil, PhD, a psychology professor at Yale.

In another experiment, participants who did online searches thought their brains would be more active than the control group, and they chose magnetic resonance images of a brain with more active areas highlighted as representative of their own brains. This result suggests that the participants searching the Internet believed they had more knowledge in their heads, rather than simply thinking they knew more because they had access to the Internet, Fisher said.

The use of Internet searches, not just access to the Internet, appeared to inflate participants’ sense of personal knowledge. When the Internet group members were given a particular website link to answer questions, they didn’t report higher levels of personal knowledge on the unrelated topics than the control group.

People must be actively engaged in research when they read a book or talk to an expert rather than searching the Internet, Fisher said. “If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s very apparent to you that you don’t know, and it takes time and effort to find the answer,” he said. “With the Internet, the lines become blurry between what you know and what you think you know.”

The growing use of smartphones may exacerbate this problem because an Internet search is always within reach, Keil said, and the effects may be more pronounced when children who are immersed in the Internet from an early age grow up to be adults.

An inflated sense of personal knowledge also could be dangerous in the political realm or other areas involving high-stakes decisions, Fisher said.

“In cases where decisions have big consequences, it could be important for people to distinguish their own knowledge and not assume they know something when they actually don’t,” he said. “The Internet is an enormous benefit in countless ways, but there may be some tradeoffs that aren’t immediately obvious and this may be one of them. Accurate personal knowledge is difficult to achieve, and the Internet may be making that task even harder.”

Article: “Searching for Explanations: How the Internet Inflates Estimates of Internal Knowledge;” Matthew Fisher, MA, Mariel K. Goddu, BA, and Frank C. Keil, PhD; Yale University; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; online March 31, 2015.

Matthew Fisher can be contacted by email or by phone at (260) 519-1736.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

See, Online illusion: Unplugged, we really aren’t that smart  http://news.yale.edu/2015/03/31/online-illusion-unplugged-we-really-aren-t-smart

Technology can be a useful tool and education aid, BUT it is not a cheap way to move the masses through the education system without the guidance and mentoring that a quality human and humane teacher can provide.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: AAPD and UW ‘Dental Home Day’

25 May

Moi was very pleased to be invited to Dental Home Day which was held at the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry in conjunction with Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC), and the foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). She would like to acknowledge Erika J. Hoeft, AAPD Public Relations, Dr.Beverly Largent, President of the AAPD Foundation, Paul Amundsen, MNA, CFRE of Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children and Steve Steinberg, UW School of Dentistry Director of Communications. They were extremely informative and gracious in answering moi’s questions.

Readers may ask, what is the purpose of Dental Home Day. According to the HSHC site:

Sponsored by Sunstar Americas, Inc., Dental Home Day is our annual service day held in conjunction with the AAPD Annual Session. In partnership with a clinic or dental school in the AAPD host city, AAPD members from across the country volunteer and HSHC provides grants covering the cost of the event and ongoing dental care for participating children. Dental Home Day applications are by invitation only. http://www.healthysmileshealthychildren.org/

Since the AAPD Annual Meeting was in Seattle, they partnered with the UW Dental School. A shout out to San Antonio, the AAPD 69th Annual Session will be held May 26-29, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. Since referrals to Dental Home Day are limited, children who may qualify should be referred early. http://www.aapd.org/join/benefits/

Readers may ask why children need a pediatric dentist and why is dental care so important for children. According to the AARP:

The statistics are alarming. The rate of tooth decay in primary (baby) teeth of children aged 2 to 5 years increased nearly 17 percent from 1988-1994 to 1999-
2004. Based on the most recent data, 28 percent of children aged 2 to 5 years in the entire U.S. population are affected by tooth decay. 19 By the age of 3, 5 percent
to 10 percent of U.S. children have oral health issues. 19 By age 5, about 60 percent of U.S. children will have had caries at some point, including the 40 percent of children who have it when they enter kindergarten. 4,20

The issue is not just that kids have caries—it’s that, for many kids, caries is not being treated and is turning into more serious problems….http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/State_of_Little_Teeth_Final.pdf

See, Frequently Asked Questions http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/#37
A pediatric dentist tends to the special needs of children.

One group who may be more comfortable with a pediatric dentist are those with special needs:

The AAPD defines special health care needs as “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity. Health care for individuals with special needs requires specialized knowledge acquired by additional training, as well as increased awareness and attention, adaptation, and accommodative measures beyond what are considered routine…”3
http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_SHCN.pdf

It was emphasized that pediatric dentists want to see children smile because the children are not only healthier, but feel more confident.

The UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry hosted Dental Home Day. Here is the press release:

May 14, 2015

Dental Home Day kicks off year of care for 150 local children
About 150 Seattle-area children will receive a year’s fully subsidized dental care as part of Dental Home Day, an event on May 20 conducted by the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry and Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC), the Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

Dental Home Day, which takes place in conjunction with AAPD’s annual session, calls attention to the importance of giving every child a “dental home” – a continuing relationship with a dentist that addresses oral health in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way. The AAPD convenes in Seattle this year from May 21 to May 24.

Dental Home Day, which is sponsored by Sunstar Americas Inc., will take place at The Center for Pediatric Dentistry in Seattle’s Magnuson Park. The Center, a clinical partnership between the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, opened in 2010, thanks to a $5 million founding gift from Delta Dental of Washington and the Washington Dental Service Foundation. Its mission is to provide not only a high standard of pediatric dentistry but also to conduct research and identify best practices in children’s oral health.

“We’re delighted to be hosting this event to provide care for dozens of children who have limited access to dental services,” said Dr. Rebecca Slayton, director of the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry. “Dental Home Day is an extension of our goal of making dental care as accessible as possible for all children, especially those who have the greatest need.”

The participating children – who have already been selected – will receive not only checkups, cleanings and restorative work as time permits on May 20, but follow-up care for a year thereafter. The care will be funded by $30,000 in grants from HSHC. Children received invitations to Dental Home Day through schools, social service agencies, pediatricians and other referral sources. The Center’s dental faculty and dental residents will be joined for the day by about 60 volunteer AAPD member dentists who will consult with the local dentists and guide patients through the clinic.

“This is the third year of our collaboration with Sunstar on Dental Home Day, and the UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry has pulled out all the stops,” said Dr. Beverly Largent, the HSHC president and a pediatric dentist from Paducah, Ky., who will be a Dental Home Day volunteer. “Not only do we anticipate this year’s Dental Home Day to be the largest turnout yet, but our grant to The Center will help support ongoing care for the next year.”
In addition to dental treatment, the young patients will enjoy some entertaining diversions on May 20. Appearances are scheduled by Seattle professional sports mascots including Mariners Moose and the Seahawks’ Blitz, plus Captain Amerigroup and Dr. Health E. Hound of United Healthcare. There will also be games, prizes, story time and a photo booth.

“This will be a lot of fun for the children, but there’s a very serious message behind Dental Home Day,” said Dr. Joel Berg, dean of the UW School of Dentistry and AAPD past president. “One of the most important things we can do with events like this is to spread awareness of the toll that dental disease takes on children. Caries, or tooth decay, is the most common childhood disease, and what’s truly frustrating is that most of it is preventable.”

Dr. Berg added: “We want to let people know that with early treatment, prevention and good dental habits, most children can have a lifetime of great dental health. And establishing a dental home is a key part of that.” http://thecenterforpediatricdentistry.com/dental-home-day-kicks-off-year-of-care-for-150-local-children/

Moi’s observation was the day was well organized and ran smoothly. There are a couple of key observations moi would make about what is a civil and civilized society.
Moi will frame this review with three quotes:

1. “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

2. Luke 12:48 For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more.

3. The Boy and the Starfish
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.
As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,”I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,
“I made a huge difference to that one!”
~Author Unknown~

150 children were cared for during Dental Home Day. This figure represents a small percentage of the children who need help. The pediatric dentists who give their time and treasure to support the AAPD Foundation came to their profession from many paths and circumstances, but they now represent the privileged in America. They are given the privilege of leadership, of course much is expected. People in helping professions may not be able to help everyone, but they can do their best to make a difference to those whose lives they touch. There are some very hard questions for any society, particularly one with the resources of a country like the U.S., about how the society treats its weakest and smallest members. Dental Home Day is like the little boy and the starfish, not every child is helped, but it makes a huge difference to those who are chosen. See, Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Partners With 22 Organizations And Commits More Than $1.1 Million in Grants To Underserved Childrenhttp://www.aapd.org/healthy_smiles_healthy_children_partners_with_22_organizations_and_commits_more_than_11_million_in_grants_to_underserved_children/

Dr. Wilda gives a thumbs up to Dental Home Day. A shout out to San Antonio in 2016 to begin getting the word out to poor children in need of dental care.

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Mercy Children’s Hospital study: Children with asthma often have undiagnosed peanut allergy

17 May

More children seem to have peanut allergies. Ross Brenneman wrote in the Education Week article, How Peanuts Became Public Health Enemy #1:

Researchers aren’t sure why, but over the past several years, the number of children reported to have allergies has doubled, to 5 percent of children in the United States. Yet at the same time, in schools and elsewhere, allergies have drawn what some see as an oversized amount of attention. A new paper out of Princeton University explores why that may have happened.

Allergy attacks are awful. I’ve been there plenty of times. Eyes swollen shut, coughing, hacking, sneezing—and that’s just garden-variety pollen. But severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxia, can cause death, even for the constantly vigilant. That’s why the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously last week in favor of a bill that would incentivize states, through a pre-existing grant program, to make sure their schools have a supply of epinephrine (usually an EpiPen) on hand, as well as staff members trained in using it…

One percent. That’s it. One estimate pegs it closer to 1.4 percent for children, but only .6 percent for adults. Either way, it’s small. Not all of those affected are seriously allergic, either. One percent isn’t nothing, but it’s not the kind of number that would suggest a strong cultural reaction, either.
Why, then, have peanut allergies become such a well-known public health menace? Maybe it’s partly from the mystery surrounding all allergies; scientists don’t know why allergies exist and why some people grow out of them. It’s also not clear how much an allergy attack may be exacerbated by asthma; the two often go hand in hand….
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/08/how_peanuts_became_public_health_enemy_number_one.html?intc=es

Kids With Food Allergies has some excellent resources.
http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=62&title=Peanut_allergy_avoidance_list&gclid=CJTC7sfLuLICFWdxQgodxHcAJQ

Science Daily reported in Many children with asthma have reaction to peanuts, but do not know it:

A new study has shown that many children who have asthma have a sensitivity to peanuts, but did not know it. Conducted by researchers in the U.S., the study specifically looked at pediatric asthma patients at a pediatric pulmonary clinic.

The study will be presented at the ATS 2015 International Conference.

“Many of the respiratory symptoms of peanut allergy can mirror those of an asthma attack, and vice versa. Examples of those symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing,” said study lead author Robert Cohn, MD, MBA. “This study aimed to evaluate the proportion of asthmatic children who also demonstrated a sensitivity to peanuts.”

For the study, the researchers looked at 1,517 children from the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. They determined if the children’s charts had a documented peanut allergy and if they had undergone a blood test for antibodies demonstrating a potential reaction to peanuts, known as IgE. Children were considered positive if they had a documented history of peanut allergy or a specific IgE blood test that showed a level higher than normal.

What they found was that of the 1,517 charts that were reviewed, 163, or about 11%, had a documented history of peanut allergy. Nearly 44% (665) had specific IgE testing at some point to test for peanut allergy. Out of that group, 148, or approximately 22%, had a positive test to peanut sensitivity. However, more than half of these children and their families did not suspect there was any sensitivity to peanuts. The prevalence of positive tests varied across age groups but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups…

Citation:

Many children with asthma have reaction to peanuts, but do not know it

Date: May 17, 2015

Source: American Thoracic Society (ATS)

Summary:

In recent years and months, peanut allergies in children have been in the news frequently, as scientists reveal new insights into why more and more children are developing them and what can be done to avoid them. However, until now, few have studied the connection between peanut allergy and childhood asthma.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150517143400.htm

Here is the press release:

Public Release: 17-May-2015 Many children with asthma have reaction to peanuts, but do not know it

American Thoracic Society

ATS 2015, DENVER – In recent years and months, peanut allergies in children have been in the news frequently, as scientists reveal new insights into why more and more children are developing them and what can be done to avoid them. However, until now, few have studied the connection between peanut allergy and childhood asthma.
A new study has shown that many children who have asthma have a sensitivity to peanuts, but did not know it. Conducted by researchers in the U.S., the study specifically looked at pediatric asthma patients at a pediatric pulmonary clinic.

The study will be presented at the ATS 2015 International Conference.

“Many of the respiratory symptoms of peanut allergy can mirror those of an asthma attack, and vice versa. Examples of those symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing,” said study lead author Robert Cohn, MD, MBA. “This study aimed to evaluate the proportion of asthmatic children who also demonstrated a sensitivity to peanuts.”

For the study, the researchers looked at 1,517 children from the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. They determined if the children’s charts had a documented peanut allergy and if they had undergone a blood test for antibodies demonstrating a potential reaction to peanuts, known as IgE. Children were considered positive if they had a documented history of peanut allergy or a specific IgE blood test that showed a level higher than normal.

What they found was that of the 1,517 charts that were reviewed, 163, or about 11%, had a documented history of peanut allergy. Nearly 44% (665) had specific IgE testing at some point to test for peanut allergy. Out of that group, 148, or approximately 22%, had a positive test to peanut sensitivity. However, more than half of these children and their families did not suspect there was any sensitivity to peanuts. The prevalence of positive tests varied across age groups but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups.
“This study demonstrates children with asthma might benefit from a test for peanut sensitivity, especially when control of wheezing and coughing is difficult to achieve. If a physician is having this problem, or if a parent notices it in his or her asthmatic child, they should consider testing, even if they believe their child is not sensitive to peanuts,” said Dr. Cohn. “There should be continued investigation to learn more about the connection between asthmatic children and peanut sensitivity.”
###
* Please note that numbers in this release may differ slightly from those in the abstract. Many of these investigations are ongoing; the release represents the most up-to-date data available at press time.
Abstract 61468
Prevalence of Peanut Sensitivity Among Children with Asthma
Type: Scientific Abstract
Category:01.21 – Pediatric Epidemiology: Risk Factors, Outcomes and Management (PEDS)
Authors: R.C. Cohn, A. Al-Yazji; Mercy Children’s Hospital/University of Toledo – Toledo, OH/US

Abstract Body
Introduction: The prevalence of childhood asthma in the US is increasing. Coexistence of peanut allergy with asthma could be a risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality. Also some asthma medications should be avoided in children with peanut allergy. Few studies are available assessing the relationship between peanut allergy and asthma. In this study we set out to determine the prevalence of peanut sensitivity among children with asthma who were active patients in a large pediatric pulmonary clinic.
Methods: All charts of children who carried the diagnosis of asthma and who were actively seen in the pediatric pulmonary clinic at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio were retrospectively reviewed for documented peanut allergy and the presence or absence of peanut IgE testing. Children were considered positive if they had a documented history of peanut allergy or a specific IgE blood test >0.35 ku/l. Children who had a positive test and who did not report a peanut allergy before testing were labeled as”unsuspected”. Data were analyzed collectively and by age groups.

Results: 1517 charts of children diagnosed with asthma were reviewed; 163 (10.7%) had a documented h/o peanut allergy. 665 patients of the 1517 (43.8%) had specific IgE testing at some point. Of the 665, 148 (22.3%) had a positive test to peanut. 53% of these children and their families did not suspect peanut sensitivity. The prevalence of positive tests varied across age distributions but the prevalence of known peanut allergy was strikingly similar across age groups.

Conclusion: In this select group of asthma patients the prevalence of peanut sensitivity was high. Many children/families did not suspect a peanut sensitivity. We speculate that children with asthma might benefit from peanut sensitivity screening especially when control is difficult to achieve.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Media Contact
Nathaniel Dunford
ndunford@thoracic.org

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A physical examination is important for children to make sure that there are no health problems. The University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics has an excellent article which describes Pediatric History and Physical Examination http://www.peds.arizona.edu/medstudents/Physicalexamination.asp The article goes on to describe how the physical examination is conducted and what observations and tests are part of the examination. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital describes the Process of the Physical Examination http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/p/exam/
If children have allergies, parents must work with their schools to prepare a allergy health plan. See, Journal of American Medical Association study: Consumption of nuts by pregnant woman may reduce nut allergies in their children http://drwilda.com/tag/peanut-allergy/

Resources:

Micheal Borella’s Chicago-Kent Law Review article, Food Allergies In Public Schools: Toward A Model Code
http://www.cklawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/vol85no2/Borella.pdf

USDA’s Accomodating Children With Special Dietary Needs
http://www.k12.wa.us/ChildNutrition/pubdocs/SpecialDietaryNeeds.PDF

Child and Teen Checkup Fact Sheet
http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fh/mch/ctc/factsheets.html

Video: What to Expect From A Child’s Physical Exam

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Everyone is focused on race, social class may be as or more important

15 May

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity; one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.
A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html

Sarah Garland wrote in the Atlantic article, When Class Became More Important to a Child’s Education Than Race:

On a weekday afternoon in July, Jessica Klaitman pulled her 16-month-old daughter Hannah out of a stroller in the lobby of the New York Kids Club, a “child-enrichment center” with four classrooms, a dance studio, and gym space in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.

Hannah was sleepy after a nap, but her face lit up as she was let loose with several other toddlers and their nannies. She grabbed some blocks and then headed to a table stocked with piles of a pink, play-dough-like sculpting material. For 45 minutes, the children wandered around wielding dolls and blocks, grabbing at each others’ toys and taking turns on a miniature slide. When time was up, they sang along with the “Clean-Up Song” and helped put away the mess.

A drop-in class at the New York Kids Club costs about $47, according to an employee. Hannah’s playgroup that day was free, but only because Klaitman, 40, and her husband, Jordan Small, 39, have enrolled their three children in package deals for classes in karate and preschool–which run about $650 per child for 17 once-a-week sessions. Klaitman estimates she’s dropped thousands of dollars at the club over the years, not to mention what she spends on the private preschool her oldest son attends, additional classes in Spanish and music elsewhere, and the family’s museum memberships.

The Klaitman-Smalls’ considerable investment in their children is becoming the norm for families like theirs who are in the top tiers of the country’s income distribution. The resources the affluent are pouring into their children are also driving a growing divide between academic outcomes of the children of the well-to-do and those of everyone else’s kids. That widening academic divide means that kids who are born poor and kids who are born rich are increasingly likely to stay that way once they reach adulthood….

Researchers say the expanding class gap in education is likely a byproduct of the country’s widening income inequality. There’s been an explosion in spending by well-to-do parents on their children: The amount has more than doubled in the last 30 years, according to work by Columbia University School of Social Work researchers Neeraj Kaushal and Jane Waldfogel and Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin.

Parents in the top quintile of income in the U.S. (households earning at least $102,000 in 2011, according to census data compiled by the Tax Policy Institute, a nonprofit research group) now spend more than double what parents in the second quintile (earning at least $62,000) spend on trips for their children-about $2,000 per year compared with $800, the Kaushal study found. They also spend significantly more on childcare, computers, books, and private-school tuition than their non-wealthy peers…. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/08/when-class-became-more-important-to-a-childs-education-than-race/279064/

See, How do upper-class parents prepare their kids for success in the world? http://sandiegoeducationreport.org/talkingtokids.html

Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids. It is worth reviewing that post. http://drwilda.com/tag/class-segregation/ Lindsey Layton wrote in the Washington Post article, Schools dilemma for gentrifiers: Keep their kids urban, or move to suburbia?
When his oldest son reached school age, Michael Petrilli faced a dilemma known to many middle-class parents living in cities they helped gentrify: Should the family flee to the homogenous suburbs for excellent schools or stay urban for diverse but often struggling schools?

Petrilli, who lived in Takoma Park with his wife and two sons, was torn, but he knew more than most people about the choice before him. Petrilli is an education expert, a former official in the Education Department under George W. Bush and executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education think tank.
He set out to learn as much as he could about the risks and benefits of socioeconomically diverse schools, where at least 20 percent of students are eligible for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. And then he wrote about it….

Petrilli said he wanted his son to have friends from all backgrounds because he believes that cultural literacy will prepare him for success in a global society.

But he worried that his son might get lost in a classroom that has a high percentage of poor children, that teachers would be focused on the struggling children and have less time for their more privileged peers.
As Petrilli points out in the book, this dilemma doesn’t exist for most white, middle-class families. The vast majority — 87 percent — of white students attend majority white schools, Petrilli says, even though they make up just about 50 percent of the public school population.

And even in urban areas with significant African American and Latino populations, neighborhood schools still tend to be segregated by class, if not by race. In the Washington region, less than 3 percent of white public school students attend schools where poor children are the majority, according to Petrilli.

Gentrification poses new opportunities for policymakers to desegregate schools, Petrilli argues….

In the end, Petrilli moved from his Takoma Park neighborhood school — diverse Piney Branch Elementary, which is 33 percent low-income — to Wood Acres Elementary in Bethesda, where 1 percent of the children are low-income, 2 percent are black and 5 percent are Hispanic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/schools-dilemma-for-urban-gentrifiers-keep-their-kids-urban-or-move-to-suburbia/2012/10/14/02083b6c-131b-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.html

Often, schools are segregated by both race and class. Class identification is very important in education because of class and peer support for education achievement and the value placed on education by social class groups. Moi does not condemn Mr. Petrilli for doing what is best for his family because when the rubber meets the road that is what parents are supposed to do. His family’s situation is just an example of the intersection of race and class in education.

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