23 Sep

When Adults Show Determination, Babies Copy

View Parent's Guide to Crying and Colic

News Picture: When Adults Show Determination, Babies CopyBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Grit and determination are not necessarily ingrained. Rather, they’re qualities learned from a very young age, a new lab experiment demonstrates.

Latest Healthy Kids News

Children as young as 15 months old learn tenacity from watching their parents, and will try harder after watching an adult struggle to succeed at a task, said lead researcher Julia Leonard.

Toddlers in her lab tried twice as hard to make a new toy work if they first saw an adult strive and strain to complete a different chore, as opposed to watching an adult effortlessly achieving, said Leonard, a doctoral candidate with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of brain and cognitive sciences.

“There’s some pressure that parents need to make everything look effortless at times. I think this study shows that it’s OK to let your kid see you sweat,” Leonard said. “Infants are watching your behavior intently and actually learning from what you do.”

In the experiment, researchers showed 15-month-olds one of two situations.

One set of toddlers watched an adult fumble for 30 seconds before accomplishing a task — either removing a plastic frog from a container, or taking a keychain off a carabiner. The other group watched an adult easily complete the same chore three times during the same half-minute.

The toddlers then were given a toy that appeared to play music.

“It had a big button on top that looked like it could be pressed to make music, but it actually did nothing,” Leonard said. “We observed how many times they pressed that button before giving up.”

The children who watched an adult toil away wound up pushing the button about twice as many times as those who watched an adult easily reach their goal, Leonard said.

“We found that infants who watched an adult really struggle and then succeed pushed the button more times than kids who watched an adult effortlessly succeed,” Leonard said.

The music toy was completely different from the carabiner and container handed to adults, so researchers ruled out the possibility that the toddlers might just be mimicking grown-up actions.

“They’re not just imitating because the adult never showed button presses or trying to activate a music player,” Leonard said.

“We often think of persistence as a trait or characteristic inherent to who we are,” she added. “I think persistence is more than that. We can learn and modify our effortful actions based on social context.”

In the last decade, there has been a change in the way we consider a child’s potential for future success, said Lucas Butler, an assistant professor with the University of Maryland College of Education.

Talents and abilities are valuable, but educators and researchers now also look at the importance of the beliefs and mindsets that help motivate children, said Butler, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It’s not just how smart or skilled you are,” he said. “It’s also how you approach challenges and difficulties and setbacks.”

The new study “tells us these beliefs or orientations towards hard work and effort may be starting really, really young,” Butler said.

“It should lead parents to think, ‘Hey, my 1-year-old child is already learning about what’s easy and what’s difficult, and learning that when things are difficult, that doesn’t mean they’re impossible,'” he said.

Rather than plop children in front of a TV or tablet when it’s chore time, parents might consider letting the kids watch them clean the house or cook a meal, Butler said.

“Kids are inherently interested in what their parents are doing, especially at that age,” Butler said. “Let them see there are things like everyday household activities that you kind of have to work at, and then they pay off. They might learn something about working hard.”

The new paper appears in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Science.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Julia Leonard, Ph.D. candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, department of brain and cognitive sciences, Cambridge; Lucas Butler, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Maryland College of Education, College Park; Science, Sept. 22, 2017

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23 Sep

Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not All

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

News Picture: Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not AllBy Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks — but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Latest Infectious Disease News

The study was done in the United Kingdom, where experts recommend that blood donors wait 12 to 16 weeks before giving again.

That’s in contrast to the United States, where blood donations are already allowed at eight-week intervals.

The study — a large clinical trial involving more than 45,000 blood donors — was set up to answer a critical question: Do frequent donors suffer ill health effects?

The answer, researchers found, was “nuanced.”

There was no evidence that frequent donations caused “major adverse effects,” such as draining donors’ physical energy, dimming their mental sharpness or harming their general quality of life.

“Frequent,” in this trial, meant every eight weeks for men and every 12 weeks for women, over two years.

On the other hand, one-quarter of frequent donors did develop iron deficiency by the two-year mark. And some complained of symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and trouble breathing.

The study results were published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet.

What does it all mean? According to the researchers, the report suggests that strategic use of frequent blood donations could work.

“This study suggests that more frequent blood donation is a feasible and safe option for donors in the U.K.,” said senior researcher Dr. John Danesh, a professor at the University of Cambridge in England.

It could be a good “short-term option” at times when the donor blood supply falls, or demand rises, Danesh said in a journal news release.

On the other hand, donating frequently on a routine basis may be needlessly risky, according to an expert who was not involved in the study.

“The shorter interval between donations is probably not ideal,” said Dr. Edward Murphy, a researcher with the Blood Systems Research Institute, in San Francisco.

Blood donors give about a pint of blood each time, explained Murphy, who co-authored an editorial published with the study. That depletes them of about 200 to 250 milligrams of iron, he said. And it takes the average donor about six months to fully recover those iron stores, if no supplements are used.

That window shrinks to around 90 days if a donor takes a standard daily iron pill, according to Murphy.

Yet the currently recommended blood-donation intervals do not reflect that.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has set eight weeks as the minimum for men and women. In France and Germany, men can donate every eight weeks, and women every 12 — while the United Kingdom has longer wait times.

Why? The recommendations are actually “poorly supported” by scientific evidence, Murphy said.

And historically, practical concerns — like maintaining an adequate donor blood supply — have entered the picture, he said.

The new study is the first clinical trial to test the effects of different donation intervals. “That’s the innovation of this research,” Murphy said.

Danesh and his colleagues randomly assigned more than 45,000 U.K. donors to different intervals: Men donated every 12, 10 or eight weeks over two years; women gave every 16, 14 or 12 weeks.

At the two-year mark, the donors took standard tests of memory, attention and other mental skills. They also filled out questionnaires on their physical activity habits and quality of life.

Overall, the study found, frequent blood donors did just as well on those measures as other donors.

But they were more likely to say they’d had symptoms that could be due to donation — including fatigue, dizziness and “restless legs” (uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them). Those problems affected a minority of donors overall.

There was no correlation, however, between those symptoms and depleted iron stores.

“That’s part of the problem,” Murphy said. Donors cannot rely on symptoms to know whether their iron stores have dropped too low.

Murphy said some U.S. blood banks have started measuring donors’ iron levels, and shifting to longer donation intervals for people who are deficient. Another solution would be to provide donors with iron supplements, he suggested.

The typical blood donor probably gives two or three times a year, Murphy said.

“But,” he added, “there are those people who come back religiously, six or seven times a year.”

He suggested that frequent donors talk to their blood bank about the risk of iron deficiency, and decide whether they should be tested and/or donate less often.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Edward Murphy, M.D., M.P.H., professor in residence, laboratory medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and senior investigator, Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco; Sept. 20, 2017, The Lancet, online

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Source: MediciNet

23 Sep

Chlorine and Pee May Cause Breathing Troubles

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

News Picture: Chlorine + Pee = Breathing Trouble for Waterpark Workers

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Another summer ends, and at least some of America’s waterpark attendants may be breathing easier, a new report finds.

Latest Infectious Disease News

The research — conducted at an unnamed indoor waterpark in Ohio last year — found that high levels of chlorine in water can mix with patrons’ sweat and urine to create a toxic atmospheric brew.

In fact, the investigation “found that waterpark employees were approximately four times more likely to have work-related [eye] and respiratory symptoms than were employees in other resort areas,” said a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the 91 workers at the park who agreed to participate in the study, a third (29) were affected with at least three work-related symptoms such as irritated eyes and nose, coughing, wheezing, sore throat, shortness of breath or chest tightness.

Twenty-four of those 29 workers were employed in and around the waterpark facilities. According to the researchers, those facilities included “a children’s play area, activity pool, rain fortress with a splash area and bucket periodically dumping 1,000 gallons of water, four waterslides, and a hot tub and spa.”

Poor ventilation is key to outbreaks of illness like these, the CDC team said.

In enclosed pools and other spaces, hazardous airborne chemicals such as “chloroform and chloramines are formed when chlorine, the most commonly used disinfectant in aquatic venues [e.g., pools], reacts with other chemicals in the water,” explained a team led by CDC epidemiologist Dr. Sophia Chiu.

Those “chemicals in the water” are nitrogen-bearing substances that originate with patrons’ bodies — the “urine, sweat, skin cells and personal-care products of swimmers,” as the researchers explained.

Chemical byproducts created by this mix of chlorine and body fluids can be dispersed if waterparks are well-ventilated, however.

But the inspection the CDC team carried out at the indoor park found that “HVAC systems, which play an important role in removing air contaminants, were poorly maintained and not operating properly.”

In fact, “the fans of five of the waterpark’s six HVAC units were not operational, substantially reducing airflow in the waterpark,” the researchers said.

Chiu’s group stressed that the respiratory symptoms were transient — employees got better when they left the work environment. But the team also noted that by 2015, millions of Americans were visiting the nation’s 192 waterparks annually, so toxic air could be affecting many.

The CDC recommends that employees quickly report symptoms to management, so parks can take steps to improve airflow.

And what about the patrons, young and old, who frequent these aquatic playgrounds?

Besides showering before entering waterpark pools, the CDC “recommends that swimmers take regular bathroom breaks.”

The study was published Sept. 21 in the CDC journal Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

— E.J. Mundell

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 21, 2017

Subscribe to MedicineNet’s General Health Newsletter

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Source: MediciNet

23 Sep

When Adults Show Determination, Babies Copy

View Parent's Guide to Crying and Colic

News Picture: When Adults Show Determination, Babies CopyBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Grit and determination are not necessarily ingrained. Rather, they’re qualities learned from a very young age, a new lab experiment demonstrates.

Latest Healthy Kids News

Children as young as 15 months old learn tenacity from watching their parents, and will try harder after watching an adult struggle to succeed at a task, said lead researcher Julia Leonard.

Toddlers in her lab tried twice as hard to make a new toy work if they first saw an adult strive and strain to complete a different chore, as opposed to watching an adult effortlessly achieving, said Leonard, a doctoral candidate with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of brain and cognitive sciences.

“There’s some pressure that parents need to make everything look effortless at times. I think this study shows that it’s OK to let your kid see you sweat,” Leonard said. “Infants are watching your behavior intently and actually learning from what you do.”

In the experiment, researchers showed 15-month-olds one of two situations.

One set of toddlers watched an adult fumble for 30 seconds before accomplishing a task — either removing a plastic frog from a container, or taking a keychain off a carabiner. The other group watched an adult easily complete the same chore three times during the same half-minute.

The toddlers then were given a toy that appeared to play music.

“It had a big button on top that looked like it could be pressed to make music, but it actually did nothing,” Leonard said. “We observed how many times they pressed that button before giving up.”

The children who watched an adult toil away wound up pushing the button about twice as many times as those who watched an adult easily reach their goal, Leonard said.

“We found that infants who watched an adult really struggle and then succeed pushed the button more times than kids who watched an adult effortlessly succeed,” Leonard said.

The music toy was completely different from the carabiner and container handed to adults, so researchers ruled out the possibility that the toddlers might just be mimicking grown-up actions.

“They’re not just imitating because the adult never showed button presses or trying to activate a music player,” Leonard said.

“We often think of persistence as a trait or characteristic inherent to who we are,” she added. “I think persistence is more than that. We can learn and modify our effortful actions based on social context.”

In the last decade, there has been a change in the way we consider a child’s potential for future success, said Lucas Butler, an assistant professor with the University of Maryland College of Education.

Talents and abilities are valuable, but educators and researchers now also look at the importance of the beliefs and mindsets that help motivate children, said Butler, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It’s not just how smart or skilled you are,” he said. “It’s also how you approach challenges and difficulties and setbacks.”

The new study “tells us these beliefs or orientations towards hard work and effort may be starting really, really young,” Butler said.

“It should lead parents to think, ‘Hey, my 1-year-old child is already learning about what’s easy and what’s difficult, and learning that when things are difficult, that doesn’t mean they’re impossible,'” he said.

Rather than plop children in front of a TV or tablet when it’s chore time, parents might consider letting the kids watch them clean the house or cook a meal, Butler said.

“Kids are inherently interested in what their parents are doing, especially at that age,” Butler said. “Let them see there are things like everyday household activities that you kind of have to work at, and then they pay off. They might learn something about working hard.”

The new paper appears in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Science.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Julia Leonard, Ph.D. candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, department of brain and cognitive sciences, Cambridge; Lucas Butler, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Maryland College of Education, College Park; Science, Sept. 22, 2017

Subscribe to MedicineNet’s Children’s Health & Parenting Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet’s Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet’s subscriptions at any time.

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Source: MediciNet

23 Sep

Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not All

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

News Picture: Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not AllBy Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks — but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Latest Infectious Disease News

The study was done in the United Kingdom, where experts recommend that blood donors wait 12 to 16 weeks before giving again.

That’s in contrast to the United States, where blood donations are already allowed at eight-week intervals.

The study — a large clinical trial involving more than 45,000 blood donors — was set up to answer a critical question: Do frequent donors suffer ill health effects?

The answer, researchers found, was “nuanced.”

There was no evidence that frequent donations caused “major adverse effects,” such as draining donors’ physical energy, dimming their mental sharpness or harming their general quality of life.

“Frequent,” in this trial, meant every eight weeks for men and every 12 weeks for women, over two years.

On the other hand, one-quarter of frequent donors did develop iron deficiency by the two-year mark. And some complained of symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and trouble breathing.

The study results were published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet.

What does it all mean? According to the researchers, the report suggests that strategic use of frequent blood donations could work.

“This study suggests that more frequent blood donation is a feasible and safe option for donors in the U.K.,” said senior researcher Dr. John Danesh, a professor at the University of Cambridge in England.

It could be a good “short-term option” at times when the donor blood supply falls, or demand rises, Danesh said in a journal news release.

On the other hand, donating frequently on a routine basis may be needlessly risky, according to an expert who was not involved in the study.

“The shorter interval between donations is probably not ideal,” said Dr. Edward Murphy, a researcher with the Blood Systems Research Institute, in San Francisco.

Blood donors give about a pint of blood each time, explained Murphy, who co-authored an editorial published with the study. That depletes them of about 200 to 250 milligrams of iron, he said. And it takes the average donor about six months to fully recover those iron stores, if no supplements are used.

That window shrinks to around 90 days if a donor takes a standard daily iron pill, according to Murphy.

Yet the currently recommended blood-donation intervals do not reflect that.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has set eight weeks as the minimum for men and women. In France and Germany, men can donate every eight weeks, and women every 12 — while the United Kingdom has longer wait times.

Why? The recommendations are actually “poorly supported” by scientific evidence, Murphy said.

And historically, practical concerns — like maintaining an adequate donor blood supply — have entered the picture, he said.

The new study is the first clinical trial to test the effects of different donation intervals. “That’s the innovation of this research,” Murphy said.

Danesh and his colleagues randomly assigned more than 45,000 U.K. donors to different intervals: Men donated every 12, 10 or eight weeks over two years; women gave every 16, 14 or 12 weeks.

At the two-year mark, the donors took standard tests of memory, attention and other mental skills. They also filled out questionnaires on their physical activity habits and quality of life.

Overall, the study found, frequent blood donors did just as well on those measures as other donors.

But they were more likely to say they’d had symptoms that could be due to donation — including fatigue, dizziness and “restless legs” (uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them). Those problems affected a minority of donors overall.

There was no correlation, however, between those symptoms and depleted iron stores.

“That’s part of the problem,” Murphy said. Donors cannot rely on symptoms to know whether their iron stores have dropped too low.

Murphy said some U.S. blood banks have started measuring donors’ iron levels, and shifting to longer donation intervals for people who are deficient. Another solution would be to provide donors with iron supplements, he suggested.

The typical blood donor probably gives two or three times a year, Murphy said.

“But,” he added, “there are those people who come back religiously, six or seven times a year.”

He suggested that frequent donors talk to their blood bank about the risk of iron deficiency, and decide whether they should be tested and/or donate less often.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Edward Murphy, M.D., M.P.H., professor in residence, laboratory medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and senior investigator, Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco; Sept. 20, 2017, The Lancet, online

Subscribe to MedicineNet’s General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet’s Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet’s subscriptions at any time.

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Source: MediciNet

23 Sep

Chlorine and Pee May Cause Breathing Troubles

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

News Picture: Chlorine + Pee = Breathing Trouble for Waterpark Workers

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Another summer ends, and at least some of America’s waterpark attendants may be breathing easier, a new report finds.

Latest Infectious Disease News

The research — conducted at an unnamed indoor waterpark in Ohio last year — found that high levels of chlorine in water can mix with patrons’ sweat and urine to create a toxic atmospheric brew.

In fact, the investigation “found that waterpark employees were approximately four times more likely to have work-related [eye] and respiratory symptoms than were employees in other resort areas,” said a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the 91 workers at the park who agreed to participate in the study, a third (29) were affected with at least three work-related symptoms such as irritated eyes and nose, coughing, wheezing, sore throat, shortness of breath or chest tightness.

Twenty-four of those 29 workers were employed in and around the waterpark facilities. According to the researchers, those facilities included “a children’s play area, activity pool, rain fortress with a splash area and bucket periodically dumping 1,000 gallons of water, four waterslides, and a hot tub and spa.”

Poor ventilation is key to outbreaks of illness like these, the CDC team said.

In enclosed pools and other spaces, hazardous airborne chemicals such as “chloroform and chloramines are formed when chlorine, the most commonly used disinfectant in aquatic venues [e.g., pools], reacts with other chemicals in the water,” explained a team led by CDC epidemiologist Dr. Sophia Chiu.

Those “chemicals in the water” are nitrogen-bearing substances that originate with patrons’ bodies — the “urine, sweat, skin cells and personal-care products of swimmers,” as the researchers explained.

Chemical byproducts created by this mix of chlorine and body fluids can be dispersed if waterparks are well-ventilated, however.

But the inspection the CDC team carried out at the indoor park found that “HVAC systems, which play an important role in removing air contaminants, were poorly maintained and not operating properly.”

In fact, “the fans of five of the waterpark’s six HVAC units were not operational, substantially reducing airflow in the waterpark,” the researchers said.

Chiu’s group stressed that the respiratory symptoms were transient — employees got better when they left the work environment. But the team also noted that by 2015, millions of Americans were visiting the nation’s 192 waterparks annually, so toxic air could be affecting many.

The CDC recommends that employees quickly report symptoms to management, so parks can take steps to improve airflow.

And what about the patrons, young and old, who frequent these aquatic playgrounds?

Besides showering before entering waterpark pools, the CDC “recommends that swimmers take regular bathroom breaks.”

The study was published Sept. 21 in the CDC journal Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

— E.J. Mundell

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 21, 2017

Subscribe to MedicineNet’s General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet’s Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet’s subscriptions at any time.

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Source: MediciNet

23 Sep

When Adults Show Determination, Babies Copy

View Parent's Guide to Crying and Colic

News Picture: When Adults Show Determination, Babies CopyBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Grit and determination are not necessarily ingrained. Rather, they’re qualities learned from a very young age, a new lab experiment demonstrates.

Latest Healthy Kids News

Children as young as 15 months old learn tenacity from watching their parents, and will try harder after watching an adult struggle to succeed at a task, said lead researcher Julia Leonard.

Toddlers in her lab tried twice as hard to make a new toy work if they first saw an adult strive and strain to complete a different chore, as opposed to watching an adult effortlessly achieving, said Leonard, a doctoral candidate with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of brain and cognitive sciences.

“There’s some pressure that parents need to make everything look effortless at times. I think this study shows that it’s OK to let your kid see you sweat,” Leonard said. “Infants are watching your behavior intently and actually learning from what you do.”

In the experiment, researchers showed 15-month-olds one of two situations.

One set of toddlers watched an adult fumble for 30 seconds before accomplishing a task — either removing a plastic frog from a container, or taking a keychain off a carabiner. The other group watched an adult easily complete the same chore three times during the same half-minute.

The toddlers then were given a toy that appeared to play music.

“It had a big button on top that looked like it could be pressed to make music, but it actually did nothing,” Leonard said. “We observed how many times they pressed that button before giving up.”

The children who watched an adult toil away wound up pushing the button about twice as many times as those who watched an adult easily reach their goal, Leonard said.

“We found that infants who watched an adult really struggle and then succeed pushed the button more times than kids who watched an adult effortlessly succeed,” Leonard said.

The music toy was completely different from the carabiner and container handed to adults, so researchers ruled out the possibility that the toddlers might just be mimicking grown-up actions.

“They’re not just imitating because the adult never showed button presses or trying to activate a music player,” Leonard said.

“We often think of persistence as a trait or characteristic inherent to who we are,” she added. “I think persistence is more than that. We can learn and modify our effortful actions based on social context.”

In the last decade, there has been a change in the way we consider a child’s potential for future success, said Lucas Butler, an assistant professor with the University of Maryland College of Education.

Talents and abilities are valuable, but educators and researchers now also look at the importance of the beliefs and mindsets that help motivate children, said Butler, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It’s not just how smart or skilled you are,” he said. “It’s also how you approach challenges and difficulties and setbacks.”

The new study “tells us these beliefs or orientations towards hard work and effort may be starting really, really young,” Butler said.

“It should lead parents to think, ‘Hey, my 1-year-old child is already learning about what’s easy and what’s difficult, and learning that when things are difficult, that doesn’t mean they’re impossible,'” he said.

Rather than plop children in front of a TV or tablet when it’s chore time, parents might consider letting the kids watch them clean the house or cook a meal, Butler said.

“Kids are inherently interested in what their parents are doing, especially at that age,” Butler said. “Let them see there are things like everyday household activities that you kind of have to work at, and then they pay off. They might learn something about working hard.”

The new paper appears in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Science.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Julia Leonard, Ph.D. candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, department of brain and cognitive sciences, Cambridge; Lucas Butler, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Maryland College of Education, College Park; Science, Sept. 22, 2017

Subscribe to MedicineNet’s Children’s Health & Parenting Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet’s Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet’s subscriptions at any time.

From WebMD Logo

Parenting Resources
Featured Centers
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet

23 Sep

Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not All

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

News Picture: Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not AllBy Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks — but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Latest Infectious Disease News

The study was done in the United Kingdom, where experts recommend that blood donors wait 12 to 16 weeks before giving again.

That’s in contrast to the United States, where blood donations are already allowed at eight-week intervals.

The study — a large clinical trial involving more than 45,000 blood donors — was set up to answer a critical question: Do frequent donors suffer ill health effects?

The answer, researchers found, was “nuanced.”

There was no evidence that frequent donations caused “major adverse effects,” such as draining donors’ physical energy, dimming their mental sharpness or harming their general quality of life.

“Frequent,” in this trial, meant every eight weeks for men and every 12 weeks for women, over two years.

On the other hand, one-quarter of frequent donors did develop iron deficiency by the two-year mark. And some complained of symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and trouble breathing.

The study results were published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet.

What does it all mean? According to the researchers, the report suggests that strategic use of frequent blood donations could work.

“This study suggests that more frequent blood donation is a feasible and safe option for donors in the U.K.,” said senior researcher Dr. John Danesh, a professor at the University of Cambridge in England.

It could be a good “short-term option” at times when the donor blood supply falls, or demand rises, Danesh said in a journal news release.

On the other hand, donating frequently on a routine basis may be needlessly risky, according to an expert who was not involved in the study.

“The shorter interval between donations is probably not ideal,” said Dr. Edward Murphy, a researcher with the Blood Systems Research Institute, in San Francisco.

Blood donors give about a pint of blood each time, explained Murphy, who co-authored an editorial published with the study. That depletes them of about 200 to 250 milligrams of iron, he said. And it takes the average donor about six months to fully recover those iron stores, if no supplements are used.

That window shrinks to around 90 days if a donor takes a standard daily iron pill, according to Murphy.

Yet the currently recommended blood-donation intervals do not reflect that.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has set eight weeks as the minimum for men and women. In France and Germany, men can donate every eight weeks, and women every 12 — while the United Kingdom has longer wait times.

Why? The recommendations are actually “poorly supported” by scientific evidence, Murphy said.

And historically, practical concerns — like maintaining an adequate donor blood supply — have entered the picture, he said.

The new study is the first clinical trial to test the effects of different donation intervals. “That’s the innovation of this research,” Murphy said.

Danesh and his colleagues randomly assigned more than 45,000 U.K. donors to different intervals: Men donated every 12, 10 or eight weeks over two years; women gave every 16, 14 or 12 weeks.

At the two-year mark, the donors took standard tests of memory, attention and other mental skills. They also filled out questionnaires on their physical activity habits and quality of life.

Overall, the study found, frequent blood donors did just as well on those measures as other donors.

But they were more likely to say they’d had symptoms that could be due to donation — including fatigue, dizziness and “restless legs” (uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them). Those problems affected a minority of donors overall.

There was no correlation, however, between those symptoms and depleted iron stores.

“That’s part of the problem,” Murphy said. Donors cannot rely on symptoms to know whether their iron stores have dropped too low.

Murphy said some U.S. blood banks have started measuring donors’ iron levels, and shifting to longer donation intervals for people who are deficient. Another solution would be to provide donors with iron supplements, he suggested.

The typical blood donor probably gives two or three times a year, Murphy said.

“But,” he added, “there are those people who come back religiously, six or seven times a year.”

He suggested that frequent donors talk to their blood bank about the risk of iron deficiency, and decide whether they should be tested and/or donate less often.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Edward Murphy, M.D., M.P.H., professor in residence, laboratory medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and senior investigator, Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco; Sept. 20, 2017, The Lancet, online

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23 Sep

Chlorine and Pee May Cause Breathing Troubles

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News Picture: Chlorine + Pee = Breathing Trouble for Waterpark Workers

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Another summer ends, and at least some of America’s waterpark attendants may be breathing easier, a new report finds.

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The research — conducted at an unnamed indoor waterpark in Ohio last year — found that high levels of chlorine in water can mix with patrons’ sweat and urine to create a toxic atmospheric brew.

In fact, the investigation “found that waterpark employees were approximately four times more likely to have work-related [eye] and respiratory symptoms than were employees in other resort areas,” said a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the 91 workers at the park who agreed to participate in the study, a third (29) were affected with at least three work-related symptoms such as irritated eyes and nose, coughing, wheezing, sore throat, shortness of breath or chest tightness.

Twenty-four of those 29 workers were employed in and around the waterpark facilities. According to the researchers, those facilities included “a children’s play area, activity pool, rain fortress with a splash area and bucket periodically dumping 1,000 gallons of water, four waterslides, and a hot tub and spa.”

Poor ventilation is key to outbreaks of illness like these, the CDC team said.

In enclosed pools and other spaces, hazardous airborne chemicals such as “chloroform and chloramines are formed when chlorine, the most commonly used disinfectant in aquatic venues [e.g., pools], reacts with other chemicals in the water,” explained a team led by CDC epidemiologist Dr. Sophia Chiu.

Those “chemicals in the water” are nitrogen-bearing substances that originate with patrons’ bodies — the “urine, sweat, skin cells and personal-care products of swimmers,” as the researchers explained.

Chemical byproducts created by this mix of chlorine and body fluids can be dispersed if waterparks are well-ventilated, however.

But the inspection the CDC team carried out at the indoor park found that “HVAC systems, which play an important role in removing air contaminants, were poorly maintained and not operating properly.”

In fact, “the fans of five of the waterpark’s six HVAC units were not operational, substantially reducing airflow in the waterpark,” the researchers said.

Chiu’s group stressed that the respiratory symptoms were transient — employees got better when they left the work environment. But the team also noted that by 2015, millions of Americans were visiting the nation’s 192 waterparks annually, so toxic air could be affecting many.

The CDC recommends that employees quickly report symptoms to management, so parks can take steps to improve airflow.

And what about the patrons, young and old, who frequent these aquatic playgrounds?

Besides showering before entering waterpark pools, the CDC “recommends that swimmers take regular bathroom breaks.”

The study was published Sept. 21 in the CDC journal Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

— E.J. Mundell

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 21, 2017

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23 Sep

When Adults Show Determination, Babies Copy

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News Picture: When Adults Show Determination, Babies CopyBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Grit and determination are not necessarily ingrained. Rather, they’re qualities learned from a very young age, a new lab experiment demonstrates.

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Children as young as 15 months old learn tenacity from watching their parents, and will try harder after watching an adult struggle to succeed at a task, said lead researcher Julia Leonard.

Toddlers in her lab tried twice as hard to make a new toy work if they first saw an adult strive and strain to complete a different chore, as opposed to watching an adult effortlessly achieving, said Leonard, a doctoral candidate with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of brain and cognitive sciences.

“There’s some pressure that parents need to make everything look effortless at times. I think this study shows that it’s OK to let your kid see you sweat,” Leonard said. “Infants are watching your behavior intently and actually learning from what you do.”

In the experiment, researchers showed 15-month-olds one of two situations.

One set of toddlers watched an adult fumble for 30 seconds before accomplishing a task — either removing a plastic frog from a container, or taking a keychain off a carabiner. The other group watched an adult easily complete the same chore three times during the same half-minute.

The toddlers then were given a toy that appeared to play music.

“It had a big button on top that looked like it could be pressed to make music, but it actually did nothing,” Leonard said. “We observed how many times they pressed that button before giving up.”

The children who watched an adult toil away wound up pushing the button about twice as many times as those who watched an adult easily reach their goal, Leonard said.

“We found that infants who watched an adult really struggle and then succeed pushed the button more times than kids who watched an adult effortlessly succeed,” Leonard said.

The music toy was completely different from the carabiner and container handed to adults, so researchers ruled out the possibility that the toddlers might just be mimicking grown-up actions.

“They’re not just imitating because the adult never showed button presses or trying to activate a music player,” Leonard said.

“We often think of persistence as a trait or characteristic inherent to who we are,” she added. “I think persistence is more than that. We can learn and modify our effortful actions based on social context.”

In the last decade, there has been a change in the way we consider a child’s potential for future success, said Lucas Butler, an assistant professor with the University of Maryland College of Education.

Talents and abilities are valuable, but educators and researchers now also look at the importance of the beliefs and mindsets that help motivate children, said Butler, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It’s not just how smart or skilled you are,” he said. “It’s also how you approach challenges and difficulties and setbacks.”

The new study “tells us these beliefs or orientations towards hard work and effort may be starting really, really young,” Butler said.

“It should lead parents to think, ‘Hey, my 1-year-old child is already learning about what’s easy and what’s difficult, and learning that when things are difficult, that doesn’t mean they’re impossible,'” he said.

Rather than plop children in front of a TV or tablet when it’s chore time, parents might consider letting the kids watch them clean the house or cook a meal, Butler said.

“Kids are inherently interested in what their parents are doing, especially at that age,” Butler said. “Let them see there are things like everyday household activities that you kind of have to work at, and then they pay off. They might learn something about working hard.”

The new paper appears in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Science.

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Julia Leonard, Ph.D. candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, department of brain and cognitive sciences, Cambridge; Lucas Butler, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Maryland College of Education, College Park; Science, Sept. 22, 2017

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