E-cigarettes are a 'major public health concern,' especially for young people, surgeon general says

Electronic cigarettes have all the addictive potential of traditional tobacco products, and health officials should do all they can to keep them out of the hands of teens and young adults, according to the federal government’s first comprehensive review of e-cigarettes.

The report released Thursday by the U.S. surgeon general focuses on Americans under the age of 25, the cohort that has embraced e-cigarettes with the most enthusiasm. Teens and young adults are more likely to be using the vaping devices than people in any other age group. Indeed, among middle and high school students, e-cigarettes have become more popular than traditional cigarettes.

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10 holiday tips for families of kids with special health needs

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” warble the lyrics heard everywhere through the holiday season. But for kids with special health needs, the flashing lights, blaring music, crowded malls, social events and schedule changes can be overwhelming.

Children with mental health issues or developmental and physical challenges such as autismADHD, sensory issues, depression and anxiety may need extra help managing the festivities of the season.

Here are 10 ways parents and caregivers can help keep the holidays happy for their kids:

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Children in foster care: How to address their mental health needs

There is an urgency to ensure each child’s needs are addressed when he or she enters foster care. Children in this system have greater health needs and frequently suffer from higher rates of behavioral and learning problems that are often misdiagnosed as ADHD.

Fortunately, we now have a guide on how to get these children in foster care the care they need. Recently, at a meeting sponsored by CMS Health Care Payment and Learning Action Network on how to pay for quality health care, reports were delivered from two children’s hospitals, Nationwide Children’s in Ohio and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The reports found that by coordinating health, mental health, health education and dental services, both systems are seeing that children in poverty get what they require and do better in terms of health and behavior. It even projects improvements in educational outcome.

In Wisconsin, the Children’s Hospital has essentially assumed command of the care of foster children. The hospital merged with the social service agency that supplies case workers and classes for families. Moreover, it ensures that all health and mental health services and information are shared on one record. Also, Children’s Hospital supplies special training, back up and support to families who take on the responsibility of children with special behavioral needs. Their succesful method is fundamentally the plan that Delaware’s Task Force laid out and has been implemented with great success. The protocol includes that:
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Children’s Headphones May Carry Risk of Hearing Loss

These days, even 3-year-olds wear headphones, and as the holidays approach, retailers are well stocked with brands that claim to be “safe for young ears” or to deliver “100 percent safe listening.” The devices limit the volume at which sound can be played; parents rely on them to prevent children from blasting, say, Rihanna at hazardous levels that could lead to hearing loss.

But a new analysis by The Wirecutter, a product recommendations website owned by The New York Times Company, has found that half of 30 sets of children’s headphones tested did not restrict volume to the promised limit. The worst headphones produced sound so loud that it could be hazardous to ears in minutes.

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An intimate view of the 'super parents' of chronically ill children

Fifteen-year-old Savitri Yami Baker loves to belt a tune.

"They can hear her from three houses away," Savitri's 26-year-old sister, Victoria Ajene, jokes.
This comes as a surprise, as Savitri often has challenges breathing when she speaks. The Clovis, California, girl has the neurological disorder cerebral palsy.
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Why Woodpeckers Don't get Concussions and What it Means for Children's Health

A physician kept emailing me and said he had been studying woodpeckers and figured out a way to prevent concussions," says Greg Myer, Ph.D., FACSM, certified strength and conditioning specialist, director of research and the Human Performance Laboratory at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's Division of Sports Medicine.

His curiosity piqued, Myer agreed to meet with the physician behind the emails. It was David Smith, M.D., a clinician and inventor with a novel idea: What if we replicate the physiology of woodpeckers to protect people from brain trauma?

That was nearly four years ago. Today, Smith is a visiting research scientist at Cincinnati Children's, working with Myer on traumatic brain injury projects.

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'B' And 'D' Learning Process Debunks Dyslexia Jumbled-Letters Myth

Many believe dyslexia is about jumbled letters, but experts say that's not quite right. This story explores what's happening in the brain that causes those backward letters.

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Business Can Help Feed Children in Need—But Not Alone

Our food system needs radical reinvention, and, unfortunately, children are at the highest risk. Somewhere in the world, every ten seconds, a child dies from hunger-related disease. Even in America, one out of five children will go to sleep tonight hungry or food-insecure. However, no single organization can address this issue alone. We must form public-private partnerships to collectively improve children’s health.

Leveraging the model popularized by John Kania and Mark Kramer in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, we are using a collective impactmethodology to improve the health and well being of our young neighbors in communities where our employees live and work. The authors define “collective impact” as a framework for cross-sector leaders to forge a shared vision and solve specific social issues. They state five core characteristics: a common agenda, shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support.

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Holiday decor can aggravate asthma

Many families have begun to decorate their homes for the holidays. And while this is a time of trees, ornaments and lights for many people, for a child with asthma it can translate into discomfort and even danger.

Air quality in general takes a big nosedive in many homes during December. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6.3 million children in the U.S. have asthma, causing close to 2 million emergency room visits each year.

In light of these numbers, thinking about air quality seems mandatory. During a time of year when you want everyone, including your guests, to feel good in your home, consider the following facts:

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Agency seeks input on Children’s Health Insurance Program Quality Strategy Plan

The North Dakota Department of Human Services is seeking public comment on its draft 2017 Quality Strategy Plan for Healthy Steps Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Quality Strategy plan will guide the department and the Healthy Steps vendors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and Delta Dental of Minnesota, in their efforts to ensure safe, effective, efficient, patient-centered, timely and equitable health care coverage for children enrolled in CHIP.

“This is an opportunity for families, advocates, stakeholders and others to comment on how the program can better serve children and families,” said Jodi Hulm, the department’s CHIP administrator, in a press release.

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