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Study: Mom’s nurturing can stimulate intelligence

July 19, 2000 Web posted at: 9:16 AM EDT (1316 GMT) (AP) — Be grateful for the times Mom cooed over you and rocked you to sleep. All of that fussing, it appears, may have made you smarter. Experiments on rats by Canadian researchers suggest that mothers’ nurturing stimulates neural connections in their babies’ brains and enhances learning. Those offspring subsequently scored higher in intelligence and memory tests. The researchers said the results, which appear in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience, are broadly applicable to humans, too. “It’s never nature vs. nurture. The influences are inseparable,” said Michael Meaney, a neuroendocrinologist at McGill University who led the study. “Activity of the genes is always influenced by the environment. And the most important feature of the environment for an infant is mother.” Other researchers described the findings as impressive. “The stimulation provided by these mothers is certainly a large part of what causes the brain to develop more extensively,” said neuroendocrinologist Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University in New York City. However, some scientists cautioned against comparing rat and humans mothers too closely, or attributing infants’ intelligence to relatively small differences in parenting styles. “I don’t want to put any more pressure on mothers,” said Rebecca Burwell, a psychologist at Brown University. “The rat mothers showed differences in skills, but they all were in the normal range. So it doesn’t really speak to parental abuse. Some individuals may be very sensitive to subtle variations in parenting.” In the experiment, the McGill team divided 32 female rats into two groups. One group provided a high level of care to their offspring,...

Millions of children are not receiving health benefits

WASHINGTON | Wed Sep 8, 2010 Joanne Allen, editing by Anthony Boadle, report for Reuters that “An estimated five million uninsured children in the United States were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but were not enrolled in either plan, according to a new report.  The study published on Friday in the journal “Health Affairs” recommended policy reforms and broader efforts to get uninsured children into government medical programs, including the use of income tax data for automatic enrollment.”  These findings were reported on http://www.reuters.com. Every state is effected by the budget issues.  Children’s health insurance is just one of the under funded areas that affect children and families.  A combination of State and Federal funds are involved with this process. Benjamin D. Sommers reports that “Keeping children who are eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrolled in these programs remains an important policy challenge.“  See Health...

Prescriptions for Stimulants, Antidepressants on the Rise for Preschoolers

February 22, 2000 JAMA/MedscapeWire The amount of prescriptions being written for preschoolers for stimulants and antidepressants is on the rise, suggesting increased unapproved use of these medications, according to an article in the February 23 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Julie Magno Zito, PhD, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and colleagues studied the prescription records of children aged 2 to 4 years enrolled in 2 Medicaid programs (Midwestern state Medicaid program and Mid-Atlantic state Medicaid program) and 1 health maintenance organization (HMO, in the Northwest United States) to determine the prevalence of psychotropic medication use in preschoolers. Psychotropic medications are drugs such as stimulants, antidepressants, sedatives, and antipsychotic drugs that have an effect on the mind. The researchers analyzed data from 1991, 1993, and 1995 from more than 200,000 patients. “Several prominent trends characterized the use of psychotropic medications in preschoolers during the early to mid 1990s,” the authors explain. “Overall, there were large increases for all study medications (except neuroleptics) and considerable variation according to gender, age, geographic region, and health care system. These findings are remarkable in light of the limited knowledge base that underlies psychotropic medication use in very young children.” In 1995, the prevalence rates per 1,000 2- through 4-year-old children in the Midwestern state Medicaid program were 12.3 for stimulants, 3.2 for antidepressants, and 2.3 for clonidine; in the mid-Atlantic state Medicaid program prevalence rates were 8.9 for stimulants, 1.6 for antidepressants, and 1.4 for clonidine; and in the HMO program prevalence rates were 5.1 for stimulants, 0.7 for antidepressants, and 1.9 for clonidine. Increases in prevalences were noted...

Parents Worry about Hospitalized Kids

FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News)— Many parents worry that their child may be the victim of medical errors while in the hospital, a new study has found.“In a survey of 278 parents of children hospitalized in 2005 at Seattle Children’s Hospital, nearly two-thirds reported feeling the need to watch over their child’s care to ensure there were no medical errors.“ The findings were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Hospital...
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