Studies Suggest Cautious Optimism About Declines in Teen Opioid Use

In the midst of an opioid epidemic that continues to devastate families, a sliver of hope has arrived. Two long-term studies published Monday show that opioid use among teens and opioid poisonings among younger children are on the decline.

Though it gets less press, the opioid epidemic has been hitting teens and children hard, with hospitalization rates for opioid exposures nearly doubling for teens and more than doubling for kids under 5 between 1997 and 2012. But family members' opioids are a major source for youth who use them, and opioid prescriptions have been decreasing since around 2011, reducing youth access to the drugs, noted both studies' authors.

"It is our hope that these declines are due to careful prescribing practices and enhanced monitoring of prescription opioids among adolescents that will eventually translate to a reduction in negative opioid-related consequences, such as overdoses," says Sean Esteban McCabe, the lead author of one of the studies and a research professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center.

Add your reaction Share

Medicaid Was the Only Insurance That Tried to Save My Daughter

From the start, each of my twins, Roan and Lula, were different in every way. In 2010, Roan burst onto the scene with a garrulous yelp; his sister was shatteringly silent. The reason became clear in time. Lula had a de novo genetic mutation, which means that it was not inherited and therefore could have afflicted any baby. It disabled her in a multitude of ways, none of which showed up in any prenatal tests or sonograms. Suddenly, we entered two parallel universes: parenting a healthy child and parenting a disabled child, and, with them, forced into the morass of American healthcare.

Within 18 months, Lula was covered first under private insurance, then a state HMO and, finally, when neither could cover her costs, Medicaid. Our experiences with each are why I am terrified by Paul Ryan and Tom Price’s proposals to rein in Medicaid spending through block grants to states, which could lead to widespread cuts to the program. For many disabled children in the U.S., Medicaid is not “insurance” in the sense of being there only if you need it, because there never was an "if". Lula’s life depended on a network of medical experts, therapists, supportive equipment and caregivers that we otherwise would not be able to afford. Deny a disabled person’s right to uncompromised care, and you might as well deny their right to exist.

Add your reaction Share

Julia, A Muppet With Autism, Joins The Cast Of 'Sesame Street'

For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air.

Her name is Julia. She's a shy and winsome 4-year-old, with striking red hair and green eyes. Julia likes to paint and pick flowers. When Julia speaks, she often echoes what she's just heard her friends Abby and Elmo say. Julia has autism.

"There's so many people that have given her what she is. I'm just hoping to bring her the heart," says Stacy Gordon, the veteran puppeteer selected to play the part.

Add your reaction Share

Mite-Proof Bedding Can Help Cut Back on Children's Asthma Attacks

Children with asthma are reported to have less severe attacks if their beds are covered with mite-proof protection.

Dust mites, which are 8-legged bugs too small to be seen by the naked eye, are one of the most common asthma triggers. Dust mites do not bite or sting, but instead live off of the dead skin cells that we discard daily. The proteins in their bodies, as well as their droppings, can cause both allergies and asthma.

Most homes have traces of dust mites regardless of how often they are cleaned. They can be found on any surface, but are most commonly located in pillows, mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.

Add your reaction Share

Internet filters may fail to shield kids from disturbing content

(Reuters Health) - Parents often rely on filtering software to block children’s online contact with bullies, predators, pornography and other inappropriate material, but a new study casts doubt on the effectiveness of these tools.

Researchers conducted 1,030 in-home interviews with 515 British parents and their adolescent children. Overall, children with filtering software on their home computers were less likely to report negative online experiences, the analysis found.

But the difference was so small that researchers dismissed it as random. They report in the Journal of Pediatrics March 14 that 17 percent of youngsters with filters and 22 percent of those without reported negative online experiences.

Add your reaction Share

Does illness help young adults take charge of their own health?

(Reuters Health) - Adolescents and young adults coping with chronic illness may be better prepared to take charge of their own care than their healthy peers, a recent study suggests.

Researchers examined a critical juncture in adolescent medicine - the transition from being a pediatric patient and getting a lot of guidance from parents to becoming an adult who makes independent medical decisions.

The study of 494 older adolescent and young adult patients found that having chronic medical conditions was associated with greater readiness for this transition, more self-involvement in completing health-related tasks and less input from parents.

Add your reaction Share

A Parent's Perspective on Patient Safety

One of this mom's most valued partnerships is the one she has with the children's hospital who saved her son.

Without a doubt, Dec. 19, 2005 was the best day of my life. It was the day my husband, Brian, and I welcomed our first child, Andrew. We were supposed to come home as a new family of three on Dec. 21—my birthday. It was like a fairytale. At least it would have been.

Instead, on Dec. 20, less than 24 hours after Andrew's birth, Brian and I went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Our baby was diagnosed with two congenital heart defects: transposition of the great arteries and coarctation of the aorta.

Add your reaction Share

Elaine Nell: Why the ACA and Medicaid are important for my family

My husband and I have 5-year-old twin daughters with multiple serious health problems. To keep them comfortable, safe and even alive, our children need extensive medical services and treatment. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid work together to ensure that they get these services without sending our family into bankruptcy. Unfortunately, new health-care legislation currently being rushed through Congress would dismantle the programs and policies that keep my children healthy.

As part of their efforts to repeal the ACA, congressional leaders have included a dramatic restructuring of Medicaid. Under the proposal, Medicaid funding to states would be capped on a per capita (per person) basis. This formula would have devastating consequences, especially for medically fragile children and people with disabilities who often require expensive, ongoing medical treatments.

Before taking any further action, Congress should understand that Medicaid is the primary health insurance program for children and other people with severe medical problems and disabilities. According to the Social Security Administration, as of December 2015, there were 217,523 North Carolina citizens classified as “Blind and Disabled” who received their health care through N.C. Medicaid. Of these, about 20 percent are children with disabilities.

Add your reaction Share

Reproductive Health: HPV, Teens and Sex

Discussing “the birds and the bees” with your teenager can be an uncomfortable idea, but creating an open dialogue is the best way to reinforce safety and responsibility when it comes to sexual behavior. The adolescent specialists at Cone Health Center for Children recommend parents address the subject of sexual behavior and health many times throughout their sons’ and/or daughters’ adolescence, rather than just having one talk. The more teens know about sexuality, the more likely they are to make healthy choices.

Start discussing your values with your child early on and have clear conversations about what you expect of them. Research has shown that teens are more likely to postpone sex and practice safe sex when they have an open dialogue with their parents or guardians. When discussing sexuality with them, teach them body parts early on, using anatomically appropriate language. Help your teen understand what consent is and what a healthy relationship looks like, and teach your kids about safety and birth control options when engaging in sexual behavior. Your teen will most likely see examples of sexual behavior on TV, and you can use these opportunities to discuss what is realistic and to reinforce healthy behaviors. If you feel uncomfortable, try having these discussions in the car. It’ll be private and you don’t have to maintain eye contact.

Add your reaction Share

Proposed Law Would Require All California Children To Be Screened For Lead

Growing national concern about lead poisoning in children has prompted a California lawmaker to introduce legislation to ensure that all of the state’s kids are tested for the toxic metal.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), would change the state’s Health and Safety Code to require testing for all children ages 6 months to 6 years.

Current regulations require lead testing only for children in government assistance programs, such as Medi-Cal and WIC, a supplemental nutrition program, as well as for kids who spend a significant amount of time in buildings built before 1978. That leaves many children untested who nevertheless may be exposed, said Quirk, who also chairs the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

Add your reaction Share

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    60  61  Next →