Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary study: Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs

14 May

Kathleen Doheny wrote the WebMD article, What You Should Know About ‘Superbug’ CRE:

Feb. 20, 2015 — The ”superbug” infection at the heart of an outbreak at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles is sometimes called “the nightmare bacteria” because it’s so resistant to antibiotics.
Two deaths at the California medical center are linked to the bacteria, known as CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Five other patients are infected and nearly 200 may have been exposed, the center says. Exposure stemmed from two contaminated instruments used during procedures done over the past few months at the facility…
What is CRE and how does it spread?
CRE is in a family of bacteria that are normally found in the gut and have become resistant to antibiotics. They are resistant to most of the available antibiotics, says Stephen Calderwood, MD. He’s the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and chief of the infectious disease division at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
The devices linked with the UCLA outbreak, known as duodenoscopes, are used in more than 500,000 procedures a year in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The scope is inserted into the mouth and through the throat, stomach, and the top of the small intestine. It helps doctors diagnose and treat diseases of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas. The FDA warned that the scopes might still carry a risk of infection even after proper cleaning procedures.
The problems can start when the bacteria leave the intestine and live in other areas, such as the urinary tract, lungs, skin, and on medical equipment, Calderwood says. “They mainly cause infections when they get to a certain number and the ability of the body to fight off infection breaks down.”
Who is most at risk?
“Most healthy people don’t get these infections,” says Robert Glatter, MD. He’s an emergency medicine doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York. “It’s the people living in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or who have long hospital stays.”
Those who get infected often have other diseases, are on antibiotics, and have had a procedure involving a medical device, Calderwood says…. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20150220/superbug-cre-infections#1

Resources:

What is a Superbug? http://www.livescience.com/32370-what-is-a-superbug.html

Medical Definition of Superbug http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38448

Superbug: What it is, how it spreads, what you can do http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cre-outbreak-carbapenem-resistant-enterobacteriaceae-20150218-story.html

Science Daily reported in Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs:

Leading hospital “superbugs,” known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years — about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study led by researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Published online today in Cell, the study authors shed light on the evolutionary history of these pathogens, which evolved nearly indestructible properties and have become leading causes of modern antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals.
Antibiotic resistance is now a leading public health concern worldwide. Some microbes, often referred to as “superbugs,” are resistant to virtually all antibiotics. This is of special concern in hospitals, where about 5 percent of hospitalized patients will fight infections that arise during their stay. As researchers around the world are urgently seeking solutions for this problem, insight into the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance will help inform their search.
“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today” said co-corresponding author Ashlee M. Earl, Ph.D., group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread.”
The picture the researchers pieced together begins with the dawn of life. Bacteria arose nearly 4 billion years ago, and the planet has teemed with them ever since, including the sea. Animals first arose in the sea during the time known as the Cambrian Explosion, 542 million years ago. As animals emerged in a sea of bacteria, bacteria learned to live in and on them. Some bacteria protect and serve the animals, as the healthy microbes in our intestines do today; others live in the environment, and still others cause disease. As animals crawled onto land about 100 million years later, they took their microbes with them.
The authors of the Cell study found that all species of enterococci, including those that have never been found in hospitals, were naturally resistant to dryness, starvation, disinfectants and many antibiotics. Because enterococci normally live in the intestines of most (if not all) land animals, it seemed likely that they were also in the intestines of land animals that are now extinct, including dinosaurs and the first millipede-like organisms to crawl onto land. Comparison of the genomes of these bacteria provided evidence that this was indeed the case. In fact, the research team found that new species of enterococci appeared whenever new types of animals appeared. This includes when new types of animals arose right after they first crawled onto land, and when new types of animals arose right after mass extinctions, especially the greatest mass extinction, the End Permian Extinction (251 million years ago)…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170511142012.htm

Citation:

Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs
Survival of mass extinctions helps to explain near indestructible properties of hospital superbugs
Date: May 11, 2017
Source: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Summary:
Leading hospital ‘superbugs,’ known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years — about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study.
Journal Reference:
1. François Lebreton, Abigail L. Manson, Jose T. Saavedra, Timothy J. Straub, Ashlee M. Earl, Michael S. Gilmore. Tracing the Enterococci from Paleozoic Origins to the Hospital. Cell, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.027

Here is the press release from Massachusetts Eye and Ear:
The Prehistory of Antibiotic Resistance
Hospital “superbugs” evolved from an ancient ancestor

An artist’s rendering of what life may have looked 335 million years ago, well before the age of By Suzanne Day May 12, 2017
Leading hospital “superbugs” known as the enterococci arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years—about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Published in Cell, the study authors shed light on the evolutionary history of these pathogens, which evolved nearly indestructible properties and have become leading causes of modern antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals.
Antibiotic resistance is now a major public health concern worldwide. Some microbes, often referred to as “superbugs,” are resistant to virtually all antibiotics. This is of special concern in hospitals, where about 5 percent of hospitalized patients will fight infections that arise during their stay. As researchers around the world are urgently seeking solutions to this problem, insight into the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance will help inform their search.
“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today” said co-corresponding author Ashlee Earl, group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad. “Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread.”
The picture the researchers pieced together begins with the dawn of life. Bacteria arose nearly 4 billion years ago, and the planet has teemed with them ever since. Animals first arose in the sea during the period known as the Cambrian Explosion, around 542 million years ago. As animals emerged in a sea of bacteria, the bacteria learned to live in and on them. Some bacteria protect and serve the animals, as the healthy microbes in our intestines do today; others live in the environment and still others cause disease. As animals crawled onto land about 100 million years later, they brought their microbes with them.
“We now know what genes were gained by enterococci hundreds of millions of years ago, when they became resistant to drying out.” —Michael Gilmore
The authors of the Cell study found that all species of enterococci, including those that have never been found in hospitals, are naturally resistant to dryness, starvation, disinfectants and many antibiotics. Because enterococci normally live in the intestines of most (if not all) land animals, it seemed likely that they were also in the intestines of land animals that are now extinct, including dinosaurs and the first millipede-like organisms to crawl onto land. Comparisons of the genomes of these bacteria provided evidence that this is indeed the case. In fact, the research team found that new species of enterococci appeared whenever new types of animals appeared.
Sea animals excrete intestinal microbes into the ocean, which usually contains about 5,000 mostly harmless bacteria per drop of water. These organisms sink to the seafloor into microbe-rich sediments and are consumed by worms, shellfish and other sea scavengers. Those are then eaten by fish, and the microbes continue to circulate throughout the food chain. However, on land, intestinal microbes are excreted in feces, where most dry out and die over time.
Not the enterococci, however. These microbes are unusually hardy and can withstand drying out and starvation, which serves them well on land and in hospitals where disinfectants make survival difficult for a microbe.
“We now know what genes were gained by enterococci hundreds of millions of years ago, when they became resistant to drying out, and to disinfectants and antibiotics that attack their cell walls,” said principal investigator and co-corresponding author Michael Gilmore, the HMS Sir William Osler Professor of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and director of the Harvard Infectious Disease Institute.
“These are now targets for our research to design new types of antibiotics and disinfectants that specifically eliminate enterococci, to remove them as threats to hospitalized patients,” added Francois Lebreton, HMS instructor in ophthalmology, first author of the study and project leader for the Gilmore team.
This research study was supported by Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (grants AI072360, AI083214, HHSN272200900018C and U19AI110818).
Adapted from a Mass. Eye and Ear news release. http://www.masseyeandear.org/news/press-releases/2017/05/antibiotic-resistant-microbes-date-back
https://hms.harvard.edu/news/prehistory-antibiotic-resistance

Appropriate use of antibiotics is crucial in limiting the danger of superbugs.

National Institutes of Health in the News reported in the 2014 article, Stop the Spread of Superbugs: Help Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria:

Unfortunately, many antibiotics prescribed to people and to animals are unnecessary. And the overuse and misuse of antibiotics helps to create drug-resistant bacteria.
Here’s how that might happen. When used properly, antibiotics can help destroy disease-causing bacteria. But if you take an antibiotic when you have a viral infection like the flu, the drug won’t affect the viruses making you sick. Instead, it’ll destroy a wide variety of bacteria in your body, including some of the “good” bacteria that help you digest food, fight infection, and stay healthy. Bacteria that are tough enough to survive the drug will have a chance to grow and quickly multiply. These drug-resistant strains may even spread to other people.
Over time, if more and more people take antibiotics when not necessary, drug-resistant bacteria can continue to thrive and spread. They may even share their drug-resistant traits with other bacteria. Drugs may become less effective or not work at all against certain disease-causing bacteria.
“Bacterial infections that were treatable for decades are no longer responding to antibiotics, even the newer ones,” says Dr. Dennis Dixon, an NIH expert in bacterial and fungal diseases. Scientists have been trying to keep ahead of newly emerging drug-resistant bacteria by developing new drugs, but it’s a tough task.
“We need to make the best use of the drugs we have, as there aren’t many in the antibiotic development pipeline,” says Dr. Jane Knisely, who oversees studies of drug-resistant bacteria at NIH. “It’s important to understand the best way to use these drugs to increase their effectiveness and decrease the chances of resistance to emerge.”
You can help slow the spread of drug-resistant bacteria by taking antibiotics properly and only when needed. Don’t insist on an antibiotic if your health care provider advises otherwise. For example, many parents expect doctors to prescribe antibiotics for a child’s ear infection. But experts recommend delaying for a time in certain situations, as many ear infections get better without antibiotics.
NIH researchers have been looking at whether antibiotics are effective for treating certain conditions in the first place. One recent study showed that antibiotics may be less effective than previously thought for treating a common type of sinus infection. This kind of research can help prevent the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
“Treating infections with antibiotics is something we want to preserve for generations to come, so we shouldn’t misuse them,” says Dr. Julie Segre, a senior investigator at NIH.
In the past, some of the most dangerous superbugs have been confined to health care settings. That’s because people who are sick or in a weakened state are more susceptible to picking up infections. But superbug infections aren’t limited to hospitals. Some strains are out in the community and anyone, even healthy people, can become infected.
One common superbug increasingly seen outside hospitals is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These bacteria don’t respond to methicillin and related antibiotics. MRSA can cause skin infections and, in more serious cases, pneumonia or bloodstream infections.
A MRSA skin infection can appear as one or more pimples or boils that are swollen, painful, or hot to the touch. The infection can spread through even a tiny cut or scrape that comes into contact with these bacteria. Many people recover from MRSA infections, but some cases can be life-threatening. The CDC estimates that more than 80,000 aggressive MRSA infections and 11,000 related deaths occur each year in the United States.
When antibiotics are needed, doctors usually prescribe a mild one before trying something more aggressive like vancomycin. Such newer antibiotics can be more toxic and more expensive than older ones. Eventually, bacteria will develop resistance to even the new drugs. In recent years, some superbugs, such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococci bacteria, remain unaffected by even this antibiotic of last resort.
“We rely on antibiotics to deliver modern health care,” Segre says. But with the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, “we’re running out of new antibiotics to treat bacterial infections,” and some of the more potent ones aren’t working as well…. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/feb2014/feature1

Like opioids, antibiotics must be carefully prescribed by a competent medical professional who is careful not to overprescribe.

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Queens University Belfast study: New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods

7 May

The U.S. has a child obesity problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Child Obesity facts:

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.1, 2
The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.1, 2
In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1
Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

Moi discussed child nutrition in Dr. Wilda Reviews book: Super Baby Foods https://drwilda.com/tag/baby-food/

Science Daily reported in New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods:

In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504161538.htm

Citation:

New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods
Date: May 4, 2017
Source: Queen’s University Belfast
Summary:
Almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU, new research concludes.
Journal Reference:
1. Antonio J. Signes-Pastor, Jayne V. Woodside, Paul McMullan, Karen Mullan, Manus Carey, Margaret R. Karagas, Andrew A. Meharg. Levels of infants’ urinary arsenic metabolites related to formula feeding and weaning with rice products exceeding the EU inorganic arsenic standard. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (5): e0176923 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176923

Here is the press release from Queens University:

Queen’s Research Shows Illegal Levels of Arsenic Found in Baby Foods
4/05/2017

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have found that almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU
In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic.
In this new study, researchers at Queen’s also compared baby food products containing rice before and after the law was passed and discovered that higher levels of arsenic were in fact found in the products since the new regulations were implemented. Nearly 75 per cent of the rice-based products specifically marketed for infants and young children contained more than the standard level of arsenic stipulated by the EU law.
Rice and rice-based products are a popular choice for parents, widely used during weaning, and to feed young children, due to its availability, nutritional value and relatively low allergic potential.
Professor Meharg explained: “Products such as rice-cakes and rice cereals are common in babies’ diets. This study found that almost three-quarters of baby crackers, specifically marketed for children exceeded the maximum amount of arsenic.”
Previous research led by Professor Meharg highlighted how a simple process of percolating rice could remove up to 85 per cent of arsenic. Professor Meharg adds: “Simple measures can be taken to dramatically reduce the arsenic in these products so there is no excuse for manufacturers to be selling baby food products with such harmful levels of this carcinogenic substance.
“Manufacturers should be held accountable for selling products that are not meeting the required EU standard. Companies should publish the levels of arsenic in their products to prevent those with illegal amounts from being sold. This will enable consumers to make an informed decision, aware of any risks associated before consuming products containing arsenic.”
Find out more about the ground-breaking research taking place at the The Institute for Global Food Security.
Media inquiries to Suzanne Lagan, Communications Office at Queen’s University Belfast on Tel: 028 90 97 5292 or email suzanne.lagan@qub.ac.uk

Parents may wish to consider making their own baby food.

WebMD offers advice on preparing baby food in Starter Guide to Baby Food & Nutrition http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-food-nutrition-9/making-baby-food?page=3

Parenting offers the following advice in 10 Best Ways to Feed Your Baby:

Here are 10 strategies that, from that first spoonful of solids, will help you to raise a child who will learn to eat—and love—everything.

1 Time those first bites right “The best time to feed your baby solids for the first time is when he’s feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed—in the morning or right after a nap,” says Karen Ansel R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in Long Island, New York, and co-author of the upcoming book The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start….
2 Bombard her with variety After your baby has gotten used to the act of eating, introduce new foods rapidly, suggests Dr. Greene. Be creative….
3 Try, try again The carrots were a bust—so try again in a couple of days. Repeat as necessary. Studies say about three out of four moms throw in the towel after their baby refuses a new food five or fewer times. The problem is, research shows it can take up to 15 tries before a child will accept a new food….
4 Spice things up “There’s no research that says we have to give babies a bland diet,” says Jeannette Bessinger, co-founder of realfoodmoms.com and author of Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler. “Once they’re enjoying a food plain, introduce it with mild herbs and spices.” Blend cilantro into avocado, nutmeg into sweet potatoes, cinnamon into apples, suggests Tracy…..
5 Help him connect to food Hand your baby an avocado and say “avocado.” If learning and using any signs with your baby, also make the sign for it. “Naming foods—and signing them—helps kids recognize those foods really early on,” says Dr. Greene….
6 Keep her close in the kitchen If you’ve ever felt guilty for parking your baby in an exersaucer while you made dinner, hear this: It may make her a better eater. She sees your relationship with food; she smells the garlic roasting, the soup simmering, which helps build that familiarity with foods. Get your child involved in cooking early…..
7 Sit down together Bringing your baby to the dinner table allows him to see you enjoying food. Plus, research links regular family meals with a slew of benefits for kids, including higher self-esteem and better academic performance. If eating together Monday through Friday is impossible, do it on the weekends…..
8 Be a supermodel Research shows clearly that when it comes to encouraging your child to eat something, it’s what you do—not what you say—that matters. So what if you are a picky eater? Don’t call attention to it, advises Ansel….
9 Make meals enticing When you’re dealing with a “discriminating” toddler, it’s tempting to push her to eat some broccoli or even to bribe her with dessert. Instead, encourage her to eat things by making them look delicious—and fun. Serve foods in colorful bowls. Offer dips—try hummus, yogurt and cottage cheese. Make faces on pancakes and sandwiches with cut-up fruits and vegetables….
10 Relax So what if your neighbor’s toddler eats sushi? This is not a competition. “All kids are different, and that includes their taste preferences,” notes Johnson….
Superfoods to make part of your menu:

One of the main reasons we want our kids to love eating everything is that a varied diet delivers a range of healthful nutrients. Here are three nutritious foods your kid should eat—but might be resistant to trying—and delicious serving suggestions from chef Geoff Tracy, co-author of Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler.

Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for babies’ growing brains….
Lentils provide fiber, protein and iron, an important nutrient for infants and toddlers….
Green vegetables deliver a variety of nutrients, including beta carotene (important for a healthy immune system) and folate (a B vitamin that supports the healthy growth of new cells)….
http://www.parenting.com/article/best-ways-to-feed-baby

Many hospitals offer free or low-cost parenting classes. Love-to-know offers this advice in Parenting Classes in My Area:

How to Find Parenting Classes in Your Area
The approach you take to finding nearby courses may be dictated somewhat by the area in which you live; the denser the population, the more classes will be available.
Hospital Outreach Programs
Many hospitals cultivate partnerships with the community by offering a variety of outreach and educational programs. Parenting classes are sometimes offered. Many of these courses focus on how to parent newborns and how to help children adjust to a new baby in the home. In addition, parenting classes that are held at hospitals often include CPR classes and other first aid instruction. For more information, or to find out if the hospital or hospitals in your area offer any type of parenting class, contact the hospital and keep an eye on your local newspaper. Hospitals typically promote outreach and educational programs in the newspapers and online; check the hospital’s website as well.
Doctor’s Advice
In many cases, pediatricians and family physicians are quite knowledgeable regarding family programs in the area. Contact your doctor and your child’s pediatrician to find out if any classes or programs currently exist. In addition, sometimes several doctors who run a practice together may promote community seminars that focus on a variety of topics, including family related subjects.
Health Departments
People often overlook the wide variety of resources available at their local health departments. From free and reduced-fee vaccinations to physical exams and educational seminars, the health department’s goal is to serve the public. Contact your local health department to find out if it offers any parenting classes. In addition, ask to be placed on the health department’s mailing list, if available, to learn about all of the programs that offered throughout the year.
YMCA and Other Health Clubs
The YMCA, as well as other health clubs in the area, is often an excellent source for family activities. While these classes will probably charge a fee, there may be financial help available for those who can’t afford to pay but are in need of a parenting class in the area.
School Guidance Programs
Many schools reach out to the community through a variety of programs, including free parenting classes. These classes are typically led by local psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers. Contact your local school system’s central office for more information.
PTA, PTO, and Other Organizations
In addition to parenting programs that are promoted by a local school system, parent-teacher organizations, like a PTA or PTO, as well as other civic organizations in the area may offer parenting classes. These will typically be well advertised through the newspaper, radio stations, local marquees, and online, but if you still aren’t sure, contact your local school or chamber of commerce for more information.
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/child-behavior-development-parenting/parenting-classes-my-area

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child living in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood.

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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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University of Wisconsin – Madison study: Gender differences in depression appear at age 12

30 Apr

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.
http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

It is important to diagnose and intervene early when an individual exhibits signs of depression.

Science Daily reported in Gender differences in depression appear at age 12:

An analysis just published online has broken new ground by finding gender differences in both symptoms and diagnoses of depression appearing at age 12.
The analysis, based on existing studies that looked at more than 3.5 million people in more than 90 countries, confirmed that depression affects far more females than males.
The study, published by the journal Psychological Bulletin, should convince doubters that depression largely, but not entirely, affects females, says co-author Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We found that twice as many women as men were affected. Although this has been known for a couple of decades, it was based on evidence far less compelling than what we used in this meta-analysis. We want to stress that although twice as many women are affected, we don’t want to stereotype this as a women’s disorder. One-third of those affected are men.”
The gender gap was evident in the earliest data studied by co-authors Hyde; Rachel Salk, now a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Lyn Abramson, a professor of psychology at UW-Madison. “The gap was already present at age 12, which is earlier than previous studies have found,” says Hyde. We used to think that the gender difference emerged at 13 to 15 years but the better data we examined has pushed that down to age 12.”
The gender difference tapers off somewhat after adolescence, “which has never been identified, but the depression rate is still close to twice as high for women,” Hyde says.
Puberty, which occurs around age 12 in girls, could explain the onset, Hyde says. “Hormonal changes may have something to do with it, but it’s also true that the social environment changes for girls at that age. As they develop in puberty, they face more sexual harassment, but we can’t tell which of these might be responsible.”
Although the data did not cover people younger than 12, “there are processes going on at 11 or 12 that are worth thinking about, and that matters in terms of intervening,” Hyde says. “We need to start before age 12 if we want to prevent girls from sliding into depression. Depression is often quite treatable. People don’t have to suffer and face increased risk for the many related health problems.”
The results described averages across the nations covered in the study, Hyde says, but similar results emerged from the studies focusing on the United States….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170427130629.htm

Citation:

Gender differences in depression appear at age 12
Date: April 27, 2017
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
A new analysis has broken new ground by finding gender differences in both symptoms and diagnoses of depression appearing at age 12.
Journal Reference:
1. Rachel H. Salk, Janet S. Hyde, Lyn Y. Abramson. Gender Differences in Depression in Representative National Samples: Meta-Analyses of Diagnoses and Symptoms.. Psychological Bulletin, 2017; DOI: 10.1037/bul0000102

Here is the press release from University of Wisconsin – Madison:

Analysis: Gender differences in depression appear at age 12

April 27, 2017 By David Tenenbaum
– See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/analysis-gender-differences-in-depression-appear-at-age-12/#sthash.LW4qASXy.dpuf

An analysis just published online has broken new ground by finding gender differences in both symptoms and diagnoses of depression appearing at age 12.
The analysis, based on existing studies that looked at more than 3.5 million people in more than 90 countries, confirmed that depression affects far more females than males.

The study, published by the journal Psychological Bulletin, should convince doubters that depression largely, but not entirely, affects females, says co-author Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

“We found that twice as many women as men were affected. Although this has been known for a couple of decades, it was basd on evidence far less compelling than what we used in this meta-analysis. We want to stress that although twice as many women are affected, we don’t want to stereotype this as a women’s disorder. One-third of those affected are men.”

The gender gap was evident in the earliest data studied by co-authors Hyde; Rachel Salk, now a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Lyn Abramson, a professor of psychology at UW–Madison. “The gap was already present at age 12, which is earlier than previous studies have found,” says Hyde. We used to think that the gender difference emerged at 13 to 15 years but the better data we examined has pushed that down to age 12.”

The gender difference tapers off somewhat after adolescence, “which has never been identified, but the depression rate is still close to twice as high for women,” Hyde says.

Puberty, which occurs around age 12 in girls, could explain the onset, Hyde says. “Hormonal changes may have something to do with it, but it’s also true that the social environment changes for girls at that age. As they develop in puberty, they face more sexual harassment, but we can’t tell which of these might be responsible.”
Although the data did not cover people younger than 12, “there are processes going on at 11 or 12 that are worth thinking about, and that matters in terms of intervening,” Hyde says. “We need to start before age 12 if we want to prevent girls from sliding into depression. Depression is often quite treatable. People don’t have to suffer and face increased risk for the many related health problems.”
The results described averages across the nations covered in the study, Hyde says, but similar results emerged from the studies focusing on the United States.
The UW–Madison researchers looked at both diagnoses of major depression, and at symptom measure of depression, Hyde says. “Symptoms are based on self-reported measures — for example, ‘I feel blue most of the time’ — that do not necessarily meet the standard for a diagnosis of major depression. To meet the criteria for major depression, the condition must be evaluated much more rigorously.”
The researchers looked at the relationship between depression and gender equity in income. Surprisingly, nations with greater gender equity had larger gender differences — meaning women were disproportionately diagnosed with major depression. “This was something of the opposite of what was expected,” says Hyde. “It may occur because, in more gender-equitable nations, women have more contact with men, and therefore compare themselves to men, who don’t express feelings of depression because it doesn’t fit with the masculine role.”

Curiously, no relationship in either direction appeared for depression symptoms.
Despite the prevalence of and growing concern about depression, “this was the first meta-analysis on gender differences in depression,” Hyde says. “For a long while, I wondered why nobody had done this, but once I got into it, I realized it’s because there is too much data, and nobody had the courage to plow through it all. We did, and it took two years.”
– See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/analysis-gender-differences-in-depression-appear-at-age-12/#sthash.LW4qASXy.dpuf

See, School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children https://drwilda.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/
Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

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Virginia Tech study: Does social media reduce corruption?

24 Apr

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace described by corruption in government is important:

Corruption is decried across cultures and throughout history. It has existed as long as government has; but, like other crimes, it has grown increasingly sophisticated over the last several decades, with devastating effects on the wellbeing and dignity of countless innocent citizens.
For starters, corruption cripples prospects for development. When, say, public-procurement fraud is rampant, or royalties for natural resources are stolen at the source, or the private sector is monopolized by a narrow network of cronies, populations are unable to realize their potential.
But corruption also has another, less-recognized impact. As citizens watch their leaders enrich themselves at the expense of the population, they become increasingly frustrated and angry – sentiments that can lead to civil unrest and violent conflict.
Many current international security crises are rooted in this dynamic. Indignation at the highhanded behavior of a corrupt police officer helped to drive a Tunisian fruit seller to set himself on fire in 2010, touching off revolutions across the Arab world. Protesters demanded that specific ministers be arrested and put on trial, and they called for the return of pilfered assets – demands that were rarely met…. http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/05/06/why-corruption-matters-pub-63527
See, Transparency International: http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016

Science Daily reported in Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption, researchers find:

A Virginia Tech College of Science economics researcher says the popular social media website Facebook — and its open sharing of information — is a vital and often a significant tool against government corruption in countries where press freedom is curbed or banned.
In new research recently published in the journal Information Economics and Policy, Sudipta Sarangi of the Virginia Tech Department of Economics said his cross-country analysis using data from more than 150 countries shows the more Facebook penetrates public usage, the higher the likelihood of government corruption meeting protest. In short, Sarangi said social media serves as peer of the press.
“This study underscores the importance of freedom on the internet that is under threat in many countries of the world,” Sarangi said, adding that social media is negatively correlated with corruption regardless of the status of the freedom of the press. In other words, Facebook likewise helps reduce and/or lessen corruption in governments where press freedom is low…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170422101714.htm

Open Data Charter wrote in Tackling Corruption Together: How Open Data Can Help Fight Corruption:

When information on government activities is limited, there are opportunities for the corrupt to take advantage of public resources for private gain. To build transparency, accountability and integrity in government, an international shift towards openness is vital. The core principles of the Open Data Charter provide governments with guidance to become ‘Open By Default’ and to ensure shared data is in line with best practices. Building on the principles of open data, new technologies, such as blockchain, present additional opportunities to enhance transparency.
The use of data, especially open data, in law enforcement is a recent development but has the potential to be of great impact. Many questions still need to be answered around the mechanisms in which data can be utilized by law enforcement for anti-corruption efforts, including how to effectively communicate what is done with the data. Open data can only be unlocked when citizens are confident that openness will not compromise their right to privacy and law enforcement must protect personal data while ensuring that privacy and security do not become arguments for opacity. As seen in the Panama Papers release, mechanisms such as bank secrecy laws have been being used as loopholes by companies and individuals to engage in tax evasion…. http://opendatacharter.net/tackling-corruption-together-open-data-can-help-fight-corruption/

Citation:

Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption, researchers find

Date: April 22, 2017
Source: Virginia Tech
Summary:
An economics researcher says the popular social media website – and its open sharing of information – is a vital and often a significant tool against government corruption in countries where press freedom is curbed or banned.
Journal Reference:
1. Chandan Kumar Jha, Sudipta Sarangi. Does social media reduce corruption? Information Economics and Policy, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2017.04.001

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech researchers: Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption
April 23, 2017
A Virginia Tech College of Science economics researcher says the popular social media website Facebook – and its open sharing of information – is a vital and often a significant tool against government corruption in countries where press freedom is curbed or banned.
In new research recently published in the journal Information Economics and Policy, Sudipta Sarangi of the Virginia Tech Department of Economics said his cross-country analysis using data from more than 150 countries shows the more Facebook penetrates public usage, the higher the likelihood of government corruption meeting protest. In short, Sarangi said social media serves as peer of the press.
“This study underscores the importance of freedom on the internet that is under threat in many countries of the world,” Sarangi said, adding that social media is negatively correlated with corruption regardless of the status of the freedom of the press. In other words, Facebook likewise helps reduce and/or lessen corruption in governments where press freedom is low.
“By showing that social media can negatively impact corruption, we provide yet another reason in favor of the freedom on the net,” he said.
The study took into account a number of control variables including other economic, democratic, and cultural factors, said Sarangi. It also comes on the heels of a volatile American election in which Facebook and other social media platforms were seen as culprits in the spread of “fake news,” especially tied to politics.
Sarangi began the study in 2012 while at Louisiana State University, with co-author Chandan Kumar Jha, now an assistant professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. At the time, Sarangi said social media was being used to organize anti-corruption protests in his and Jha’s home country of India. It also followed the 2011 rise of Arab Spring across the Middle East where large protests toppled governments.
“Our initial results were encouraging in that we found a significant, negative correlation between Facebook penetration and corruption across a small sample of countries,” Sarangi said.
Several qualitative studies have touched on the use of social media to oust corruption before, and many other studies have focused on internet or e-government and its impact on corruption. Sarangi said, however, that few quantitative studies have looked specifically looked at social media and its impact on corruption because country specific data is hard to acquire.
Sarangi and Jha’s study is the first of its kind to establish a link between social media and corruption across more than 150 countries, showing the complimentary role of social media along with the press in open countries, and its greater impact in countries that are oppressive. The study features a falsification test which checked whether the results would be true for a pre-Facebook era in the same countries.
Findings showed that this was not the case. Also considered were government-sanctioned social media platforms.
“Establishing causality is a difficult thing in the corruption literature, simply because corrupt governments might also control social media,” Sarangi said.
He added that much of the anti-corruption content posted on Facebook is user-created and shared individually, its audience growing with each share or repost.
In other words, Sarangi and Jha report that social media as an information and communication technology tool allows multi-way communication as opposed to traditional media such as TV and print media that allow for only one-way communication. The back and forth of communication is harder to control by government censors.
“Indeed, the role of social media and the internet in providing unbiased and independent news in several countries such as China, Russia, and Malaysia has widely been recognized by scholars,” added Sarangi.
“Social media provides cheap and quick means of sharing information and reaching a larger audience to organize public protests against the corrupt activities of government officials and politicians. It is therefore not a surprise that despotic governments favor controlling social media.”
Additionally, interaction in social media platforms typically is shared among friends and family, thus adding a personal connection and therefore more perceived credibility to shared information. Sarangi said individuals may feel compelled to act on such information to show solidarity with family or friends.
As of February 2017, Facebook was estimated to have 2 billion users worldwide, according to CNN. Among the countries studied by Sarangi and Jha: Denmark, the least corrupt; and Somalia, the most.
“As social media evolves to be an increasingly important part of our daily lives, it is important for continued research to help us understand how these tools are impacting our lives,” said Brandi Watkins, an associate professor in the Department of Communication, part of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Watkins was not involved in this study but researches the use of social media.
“Related to this study, it is important to look at how platforms like Facebook can be used to improve societal issues, especially in the area of corruption,” Watkins said. “This study highlights the need for information, whether from traditional media or social media, in reducing corruption.”
Contacts:
• Jordan Fifer
540-231-6997
• Steven Mackay
540-231-4787

Corruption costs the population ruled by a corrupt government economic growth, Rule of Law, safety and security and denied individual aspirations.

There is no compromise when it comes to corruption. You have to fight it.
A. K. Antony

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New York University study: Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school: A double dose of disadvantage

16 Apr

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander wrote in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Science Daily reported in Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school: A double dose of disadvantage:

Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.
“Children may go from a home with limited physical and psychological resources for learning and language to a school with similar constraints, resulting in a double dose of disadvantage,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Our study suggests that neighborhoods matter and can have a powerful influence on nurturing success or failure.”
Research shows that children’s academic achievement is predicted not only by their family’s socioeconomic status, but also by the socioeconomic status of their school. These two factors together have an impact on children’s access to learning resources, including adults who create language-rich opportunities when they speak with children.
“Children’s early exposure to a rich set of language practices can set in motion the processes that they use for learning to read, including the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for language and reading comprehension,” Neuman said. “Consequently, children who have limited experience with these kinds of linguistic interactions may have fewer opportunities to engage in the higher-order exchanges valued in school….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170414105818.htm

Citation:

Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school
A double dose of disadvantage
Date: April 14, 2017
Source: New York University
Summary:
Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study.
Journal Reference:
1. Susan B. Neuman, Tanya Kaefer, Ashley M. Pinkham. A Double Dose of Disadvantage: Language Experiences for Low-Income Children in Home and School.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2017; DOI: 10.1037/edu0000201

Here is the press release from NYU:

News Release
A Double Dose of Disadvantage: Low-income Children Missing Out on Language Learning Both at Home and at School

Apr 14, 2017

Education and Social Sciences Research Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York City
Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.
“Children may go from a home with limited physical and psychological resources for learning and language to a school with similar constraints, resulting in a double dose of disadvantage,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Our study suggests that neighborhoods matter and can have a powerful influence on nurturing success or failure.”
Research shows that children’s academic achievement is predicted not only by their family’s socioeconomic status, but also by the socioeconomic status of their school. These two factors together have an impact on children’s access to learning resources, including adults who create language-rich opportunities when they speak with children.
“Children’s early exposure to a rich set of language practices can set in motion the processes that they use for learning to read, including the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for language and reading comprehension,” Neuman said. “Consequently, children who have limited experience with these kinds of linguistic interactions may have fewer opportunities to engage in the higher-order exchanges valued in school.”
In this study, Neuman and her colleagues examined language-advancing resources in both the homes and schools of 70 children who recently made the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Half of the families lived in poor neighborhoods in Detroit, while the other half lived in more demographically diverse Michigan communities that were largely working class.
The researchers followed the children through their kindergarten year, conducting targeted observations in both home and school settings. During four hour-long home visits, the researchers observed the engagement between parents and their children to understand the degree of cognitive stimulation in the home and the quality of the interactions. They also conducted four half-day observations in kindergarten classrooms during which the teachers’ speaking was recorded. The researchers analyzed the language spoken by parents and teachers for both quantity (number of words spoken) and quality (using varied vocabulary and complex sentences).
These observations were combined with assessments of the children’s school readiness skills, including vocabulary knowledge and letter and word identification.
The researchers found that children in low-income neighborhoods had fewer supports for language and early literacy developments than did those in working class communities. In both settings, there were significant differences in the quality of language directed at children, but there was no difference in the quantity of language overall.
At home, parents in low-income neighborhoods used shorter sentences, fewer different words, and had lower reading comprehension than did parents from working class neighborhoods. In the classroom, children from the low-income communities attended kindergartens characterized by more limited language opportunities. Teachers used simpler sentences, less varied vocabulary, and fewer unique word types, potentially oversimplifying their language for students.
Children in all neighborhoods experienced learning across their kindergarten year, but children in the working class communities outpaced their counterparts from low-income communities, particularly in expressive vocabulary.
“We found that the quality of one’s educational opportunities is highly dependent on the streets where you live. Tragically, the children who need the greater opportunity to learn appear to be the least likely to get it,” Neuman said.
The results suggest that no matter the strength of the early boost children receive in preschool, differences in later environmental influences can either support or undermine this early advantage.
“Too often we have focused on what happens within early childhood programs instead of the environmental supports that surround them. We need to account for the multiple contexts of home and school in our understanding of children’s early development,” Neuman said.
Tanya Kaefer of Lakehead University and Ashley M. Pinkham of West Texas A&M University coauthored
the study. The research was funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, US Department of Education (R305A110038).
About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (@nyusteinhardt)
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School’s mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.
Press Contact
Rachel Harrison
Rachel Harrison
(212) 998-6797

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

Related:

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Baby Sign Language: Does It Work?
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-sign-language-does-it-work

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You http://psychcentral.com/lib/teaching-your-baby-sign-language-can-benefit-both-of-you/0002423

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
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Dr. Wilda ©
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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences study: Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy

20 Mar

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explained why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy:

Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines.

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.

“Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “While attention should be given to improving nutritional counseling at doctor appointments, overarching societal and policy changes that help women to make healthy dietary choices may be more effective and efficient.”

Bodnar and her colleagues analyzed the results of questionnaires completed by 7,511 women who were between six and 14 weeks pregnant and enrolled in The Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers to Be, which followed women who enrolled in the study at one of eight U.S. medical centers. The women reported on their dietary habits during the three months around conception.

The diets were assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures 12 key aspects of diet quality, including adequacy of intake for key food groups, as well as intake of refined grains, salt and empty calories (all calories from solid fats and sugars, plus calories from alcohol beyond a moderate level).

Nearly a quarter of the white women surveyed had scores that fell into the highest scoring fifth of those surveyed, compared with 14 percent of the Hispanic women and 4.6 percent of the black women. Almost half — 44 percent — of black mothers had a score in the lowest scoring fifth….   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170317082514.htm

Citation:

Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy

Date:       March 17, 2017

Source:    University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Summary:

Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines. The study also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Journal Reference:

  1. Uma M. Reddy, MD et al. Racial or Ethnic and Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adherence to National Dietary Guidance in a Large Cohort of US Pregnant Women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.01.016

Here is the press release from U Pitt:

Women, Particularly Minorities, Do Not Meet Nutrition Guidelines Shortly Before Pregnancy

PITTSBURGH, March 17, 2017 – Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines.

The study, published today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.

“Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “While attention should be given to improving nutritional counseling at doctor appointments, overarching societal and policy changes that help women to make healthy dietary choices may be more effective and efficient.”

Bodnar and her colleagues analyzed the results of questionnaires completed by 7,511 women who were between six and 14 weeks pregnant and enrolled in The Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers to Be, which followed women who enrolled in the study at one of eight U.S. medical centers. The women reported on their dietary habits during the three months around conception.

The diets were assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures 12 key aspects of diet quality, including adequacy of intake for key food groups, as well as intake of refined grains, salt and empty calories (all calories from solid fats and sugars, plus calories from alcohol beyond a moderate level).

Nearly a quarter of the white women surveyed had scores that fell into the highest scoring fifth of those surveyed, compared with 14 percent of the Hispanic women and 4.6 percent of the black women. Almost half—44 percent—of black mothers had a score in the lowest scoring fifth.

The scores increased with greater education levels for all three racial/ethnic groups, but the increase was strongest among white women. At all levels of education—high school or less through graduate degree—black mothers had the lowest average scores.

When scores were broken down into the 12 aspects of diet, fewer than 10 percent of the women met the dietary guideline for the whole grains, fatty acids, sodium or empty calories categories.

Approximately 34 percent of the calories—or energy—the women consumed were from empty calories. Top sources of energy were sugar-sweetened beverages, pasta dishes and grain desserts. Soda was the primary contributor to energy intake among black, Hispanic and less-educated women. Women with a college or graduate degree consumed more energy from beer, wine and spirits than any other source.

Juices and sugar-sweetened beverages combined for a much larger proportion of vitamin C intake than solid fruits or vegetables for black, Hispanic and less-educated women. The opposite was true for white women or more-educated women.

For all groups, green salad was the only vegetable in the top 10 sources of iron. Green salad and processed cereals were the top two sources of folate for all groups except black women, whose second highest folate source was 100 percent orange or grapefruit juice. Folate and iron are important nutrients for developing fetuses and healthy pregnancies.

“Our findings mirror national nutrition and dietary trends.  The diet quality gap among non-pregnant people is thought to be a consequence of many factors, including access to and price of healthy foods, knowledge of a healthy diet, and pressing needs that may take priority over a healthy diet,” said Bodnar, also an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Pitt’s School of Medicine. “Future research needs to determine if improving pre-pregnancy diet leads to better pregnancy and birth outcomes. If so, then we need to explore and test ways to improve the diets for everyone, particularly women likely to become pregnant.”

Additional authors on this research include senior author Uma M. Reddy, M.D., of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; as well as Hyagriv N. Simhan, M.D., of Pitt; Corette B. Parker, Dr.P.H., and Heather Meier, both of RTI International; Brian M. Mercer, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University; William A. Grobman, M.D., and Alan M. Peaceman, M.D., both of Northwestern University; David M. Haas, M.D., and Shannon Barnes, R.N., both of Indiana University; Deborah A. Wing, M.D., and Pathik D. Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D., both of the University of California Irvine; Matthew K. Hoffman, M.D., of the Christiana Care Health System; Samuel Parry, M.D., and Michal Elovitz, M.D., both of the University of Pennsylvania; Robert M. Silver, M.D., and Sean Esplin, M.D., both of the University of Utah; George R. Saade, M.D., of the University of Texas; Ronald Wapner, M.D., of Columbia University; and Jay D. Iams, M.D., of The Ohio State University.

This study is supported by grant funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as RTI International grant U10 HD06336, Case Western Reserve University grant U10 HD063072, Columbia University grant U10 HD063047, Indiana University grant U10 HD063037, Pitt grant U10 HD063041, Northwestern University grant U10 HD063020, University of California Irvine grant U10 HD063046, University of Pennsylvania grant U10 HD063048 and University of Utah grant U10 HD063053.

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http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2017/Pages/bodnar-pregnancy-nutrition.aspx

Humans have free will and are allowed to choose how they want to live. What you do not have the right to do is to inflict your lifestyle on a child. So, the responsible thing for you to do is to get birth control for yourself and the society which will have to live with your poor choices. Many religious folks are shocked because moi is  mentioning birth control, but most sluts have few religious inklings or they wouldn’t be sluts. A better option for both sexes, if this lifestyle is a permanent option, is permanent birth control to lessen a contraception failure. People absolutely have the right to choose their particular lifestyle. You simply have no right to bring a child into your mess of a life. I observe people all the time and I have yet to observe a really happy slut. Seems that the lifestyle is devoid of true emotional connection and is empty. If you do find yourself pregnant, please consider adoption.

Let’s continue the discussion. Some folks may be great friends, homies, girlfriends, and dudes, but they make lousy parents. Could be they are at a point in their life where they are too selfish to think of anyone other than themselves, they could be busy with school, work, or whatever. No matter the reason, they are not ready and should not be parents. Birth control methods are not 100% effective, but the available options are 100% ineffective in people who are sexually active and not using birth control. So, if you are sexually active and you have not paid a visit to Planned Parenthood or some other agency, then you are not only irresponsible, you are Eeeevil. Why do I say that, you are playing Russian Roulette with the life of another human being, the child. You should not ever put yourself in the position of bringing a child into the world that you are unprepared to parent, emotionally, financially, and with a commitment of time. So, if you find yourself in a what do I do moment and are pregnant, you should consider adoption.

Children need stability and predictability to have the best chance of growing up healthy. Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Unless there was a rape or some forcible intercourse, the answer to the question is a woman who gets preggers with a “deadbeat dad” a moron – is yes.

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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American College of Pediatrics statement: Transgenderism of children is child abuse

4 Mar

The Gender Spectrum says this:

Parents have a very powerful role to play in a gender-expansive youth’s life. Research has shown that supportive parenting can significantly affect our children’s positive outlook on their lives, their mental health and their self-esteem. On the other hand, rejecting parenting practices are directly correlated to gender-expansive and transgender youth being more depressed and suicidal. Research shows that the most crucial thing we as parents can do is to allow our children to be exactly who they are.…                  https://www.genderspectrum.org/explore-topics/parenting-and-family/

A key question is how much the parental role affects gender identification? The American College of Pediatrics released a statement regarding transgender identity.

Here is the statement:

Gender Ideology Harms Children

Updated January 2017 

The American College of Pediatricians urges healthcare professionals, educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.

  1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident. The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs (also referred to as “intersex”) do not constitute a third sex.1
  2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one. No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.2,3,4
  3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such. These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V).5 The psychodynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved.2,4,5
  4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty- blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.6
  5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.5
  6. Pre-pubertal children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. This combination leads to permanent sterility. These children will never be able to conceive any genetically related children even via artificial reproductive technology. In addition, cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.7,8,9,10,11
  7. Rates of suicide are nearly twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBTQ – affirming countries.12What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate knowing that after puberty as many as 88% of girls and 98% of boys will eventually accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health?
  8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.

Michelle A. Cretella, M.D.
President of the American College of Pediatricians

Quentin Van Meter, M.D.
Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians
Pediatric Endocrinologist

Paul McHugh, M.D.
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital

Originally published March 2016
Updated August 2016
Updated January 2017

CLARIFICATIONS in response to FAQs regarding points 3 & 5:

Regarding Point 3: “Where does the APA or DSM-V indicate that Gender Dysphoria is a mental disorder?”

The APA (American Psychiatric Association) is the author of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition(DSM-V). The APA states that those distressed and impaired by their GD meet the definition of a disorder. The College is unaware of any medical literature that documents a gender dysphoric child seeking puberty blocking hormones who is not significantly distressed by the thought of passing through the normal and healthful process of puberty.
From the DSM-V fact sheet:

“The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”
“This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

Regarding Point 5:  “Where does the DSM-V list rates of resolution for Gender Dysphoria?”

On page 455 of the DSM-V under “Gender Dysphoria without a disorder of sex development” it states: Rates of persistence of gender dysphoria from childhood into adolescence or adulthood vary. In natal males, persistence has ranged from 2.2% to 30%. In natal females, persistence has ranged from 12% to 50%.”  Simple math allows one to calculate that for natal boys: resolution occurs in as many as 100% – 2.2% = 97.8% (approx. 98% of gender-confused boys)  Similarly, for natal girls: resolution occurs in as many as 100% – 12% = 88% gender-confused girls

The bottom line is this:  Our opponents advocate a new scientifically baseless standard of care for children with a psychological condition (GD) that would otherwise resolve after puberty for the vast majority of patients concerned.  Specifically, they advise:  affirmation of children’s thoughts which are contrary to physical reality; the chemical castration of these children prior to puberty with GnRH agonists (puberty blockers which cause infertility, stunted growth, low bone density, and an unknown impact upon their brain development), and, finally, the permanent sterilization of these children prior to age 18 via cross-sex hormones. There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging young GD children to impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. If a boy who questions whether or not he is a boy (who is meant to grow into a man) is treated as a girl, then has his natural pubertal progression to manhood suppressed, have we not set in motion an inevitable outcome? All of his same sex peers develop into young men, his opposite sex friends develop into young women, but he remains a pre-pubertal boy. He will be left psychosocially isolated and alone. He will be left with the psychological impression that something is wrong. He will be less able to identify with his same sex peers and being male, and thus be more likely to self identify as “non-male” or female. Moreover, neuroscience reveals that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for judgment and risk assessment is not mature until the mid-twenties. Never has it been more scientifically clear that children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions. For this reason, the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves, and secondly, for all of their non-gender-discordant peers, many of whom will subsequently question their own gender identity, and face violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety.

For more information, please visit this page on the College website concerning sexuality and gender issues.

A PDF version of this page can be downloaded here: Gender Ideology Harms Children

References:

  1. Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Development, “Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.” Intersex Society of North America, March 25, 2006. Accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.dsdguidelines.org/files/clinical.pdf.
  2. Zucker, Kenneth J. and Bradley Susan J. “Gender Identity and Psychosexual Disorders.” FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry. Vol. III, No. 4, Fall 2005 (598-617).
  3. Whitehead, Neil W. “Is Transsexuality biologically determined?” Triple Helix (UK), Autumn 2000, p6-8. accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transsexuality.htm; see also Whitehead, Neil W. “Twin Studies of Transsexuals [Reveals Discordance]” accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transs_stats.htm.
  4. Jeffreys, Sheila. Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. Routledge, New York, 2014 (pp.1-35).
  5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (451-459). See page 455 re: rates of persistence of gender dysphoria.
  6. Hembree, WC, et al. Endocrine treatment of transsexual persons: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94:3132-3154.
  7. Olson-Kennedy, J and Forcier, M. “Overview of the management of gender nonconformity in children and adolescents.” UpToDate November 4, 2015. Accessed 3.20.16 from http://www.uptodate.com.
  8. Moore, E., Wisniewski, & Dobs, A. “Endocrine treatment of transsexual people: A review of treatment regimens, outcomes, and adverse effects.” The Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2003; 88(9), pp3467-3473.
  9. FDA Drug Safety Communication issued for Testosterone products accessed 3.20.16: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm161874.htm.
  10. World Health Organization Classification of Estrogen as a Class I Carcinogen: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/ageing/cocs_hrt_statement.pdf.
  11. Eyler AE, Pang SC, Clark A. LGBT assisted reproduction: current practice and future possibilities. LGBT Health 2014;1(3):151-156.
  12. Dhejne, C, et.al. “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden.” PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(2). Affiliation: Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Accessed 3.20.16 from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885.

http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children

It would be interesting to study the mental health orientation of parents whose children identify as transgender along with the family dynamic.

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