Let's Talk Kids

Shots - Health News
8:03 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Eyeing That BB Gun For Christmas? Don't Go There, Doctors Say

In the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, all Ralphie wanted was a BB gun.
The Kobal Collection/MGM/UA

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 6:59 am

If you've seen the classic movie A Christmas Story, you know that Ralphie really, really wanted that BB gun. And you know that his mother, his teacher, even the department store Santa all said: "You'll shoot your eye out."

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Shots - Health News
12:58 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Those Phone-Obsessed Teenagers Aren't As Lonely As You Think

Loneliness may be part of the human condition, but social media don't seem to be harming teenagers' social lives.
Neil Webb Ikon Images/Corbis

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 3:58 pm

A recent dinner with my friends went something like this:

"Wait, who is going to take a Snapchat of all of us when our drinks arrive?"

"Oh no, I can't! My phone is dying."

"Guys, this is such a stereotypical millennial conversation. I am totally tweeting about this."

So I guess I understand why older folk fret that youngsters these days are losing out on authentic social connections because of social media.

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Tools Of The Trade
2:22 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Tools Of The Trade: The Presidential Physical Fitness Test

Patches for the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program in Lauren Horton's office at Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

For this series, we've been thinking a lot about the iconic tools that some of us remember using — if only for a short time — in our early schooling. Things like the slide rule and protractor, recorder and Bunsen burner.

Mere mention of today's tool sends shivers up the spines of entire generations — the tool long used to measure physical fitness: the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.

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Shots - Health News
3:19 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Blind From Birth, But Able To Use Sound To 'See' Faces

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:04 pm

A brain area that recognizes faces remains functional even in people who have been blind since birth, researchers say. The finding, presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week, suggests that facial recognition is so important that evolution has hardwired it into the human brain.

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Let's Talk Kids
1:25 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Let's Talk Kids - "Love Is Love"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The most significant change in family functioning I have seen in my nearly thirty years of working with families is the changing role of dads.  By some estimates, over the last twenty years, the amount of time fathers spend with their children has doubled.  And most of that increase is spent in real caregiving tasks, like feeding, bathing, and the other daily tasks of raising children—even when they require an adjusted work schedule. In some families, dads are staying at home to raise kids.

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The Salt
10:36 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Soda Companies Step Up Their Marketing To Black And Latino Kids

Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 2:06 pm

While beverage companies have cut their marketing of unhealthy drinks to children on TV and websites overall, they have ramped up marketing to black and Latino kids and teens, who have higher rates of obesity than white youth, a study finds.

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Shots - Health News
10:21 am
Wed November 19, 2014

You Can Monitor Your Baby's Vital Signs 24/7, But Should You?

The Owlet, which is not yet on the market, is designed to measure a baby's heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
Courtesy of Owlet Care

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 4:23 pm

I'm sure I'm not the only parent who has hovered over a newborn's crib, wondering, "Is she breathing?" Tech companies are now offering to help parents manage that anxiety with devices that monitor a baby's vital signs and beam them to a smartphone.

But that might not be such a good idea, according to Dr. David King, a pediatric researcher at the University of Sheffield. He first heard baby vital signs monitors being discussed on the radio, and "I suspected there wasn't much evidence behind it, because I knew cardiovascular monitoring wasn't recommended in SIDS."

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Goats and Soda
4:05 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Dangerous Deliveries: Ebola Leaves Moms And Babies Without Care

A woman enters the Ebola treatment center at the Island Hospital outside of Monrovia, Liberia, Oct. 6. She said she was bleeding heavily from a miscarriage and was turned away from other clinics in the city.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 10:24 am

For more than two decades, Lucy Barh has been helping women deliver babies. Even during Liberia's violent civil war, when other midwives left, Barh stuck around.

But none of this prepared her for a patient she saw a few months ago.

"I was on duty that day when the patient came in," says Barh, at the headquarters of the Liberian Midwives' Association in Monrovia. "We did the examination. She was not in labor."

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Goats and Soda
4:39 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

For Babies, Preterm Birth Is Now The No. 1 Cause Of Death

Premature and sick babies are cared for in the neonatal unit at Isaie Jeanty maternity hospital, operated by Doctors Without Borders in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 7:30 pm

Babies around the world face a lot of risks to their health: pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, to name a few.

But it turns out that no single infectious disease takes a greater toll than the simple fact of being born premature.

Premature birth is now the single largest cause of death among babies and young children. Every year, 1.09 million children under age 5 die due to health complications that stem from being born before week 37 of pregnancy (a 40-week pregnancy is considered full-term).

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Goats and Soda
4:29 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

How Bacteria In The Gut Help Fight Off Viruses

You've got a trillion friends in low places: Bacteria in the gut may protect against viruses by signaling their presence to your immune system.
Michael DeForge for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 6:56 pm

If it was a snake, it would have bitten us.

The secret to stopping a deadly stomach virus may be sitting right there in our guts, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science. Or more specifically, the treatment is in our microbiome — the trillions of bacteria that inconspicuously hang out in the GI tracts.

Immunologists at Georgia State University found that a tiny piece of gut bacteria can prevent and cure a rotavirus infection in mice.

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Let's Talk Kids
5:35 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Let's Talk Kids - "Another Season"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

When an older child leaves home for college or career, second born children often blossom in one way or another.  Parents would do well to be prepared.

Two families I know are experiencing this phenomenon right now.  In one family, an older sister left for college in August.  She’d been a challenging teen, but her younger sister was more compliant. 

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Shots - Health News
10:10 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Preemies May Be Exposed To High Levels Of Phthalates In The NICU

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 9:06 am

Parents with a premature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit don't need one more thing to worry about. But researchers say that plasticizers used in medical equipment may pose unique risks to very small babies.

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Shots - Health News
4:08 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

The Risk Of Brain Injuries Shifts As Children Grow Up

As children grow, they learn to crawl, to walk and then to drive. It turns out, the way they get hurt, and in particular their heads, evolves as as their forms of motion change.

Small children suffer head injuries from falling, while teenagers are at risk from car accidents, assaults and sports injuries, according to a paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Goats and Soda
5:03 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

A Smartphone Gadget Pumps Up Breast-Milk Banks

Newborn in an incubator at Greytown Hospital in South Africa in 2009.
Wendy Stone Courtesy of PATH

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 9:37 am

Breast-milk banks are a great way to help babies whose mothers aren't able to breast-feed. Breast milk, in case you didn't know, does a better job than formula at bolstering a baby's immune system, especially if the tot is premature or underweight.

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Children's Health
4:09 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Thousands Of Kids Sickened By Laundry Pods That Are Hard To Resist

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 11:37 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Detergent pods are dangerous for young children. That's the message out today from a group of poison experts. For the first time, the researchers documented the hazards posed by these increasingly popular products.

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The Two-Way
4:43 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Study: Detergent Pods Can Harm Children Who Play With Them

Laundry detergent makers recently introduced miniature packets, but doctors across the country say children are confusing the tiny, brightly colored packets with candy and swallowing them.
Pat Sullivan Associated Press

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 6:58 am

It's generally a good idea to have the number of the poison control center handy. That's an even better plan if you have laundry detergent and small children at home.

For decades, poison centers received many calls each year about children swallowing laundry detergent or getting it in their eyes. That problem has gotten worse due to new highly concentrated single-load liquid laundry detergent packets.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Combining The DNA Of Three People Raises Ethical Questions

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 4:03 pm

In a darkened lab in the north of England, a research associate is intensely focused on the microscope in front of her. She carefully maneuvers a long glass tube that she uses to manipulate early human embryos.

"It's like microsurgery," says Laura Irving of Newcastle University.

Irving is part of a team of scientists trying to replace defective DNA with healthy DNA. They hope this procedure could one day help women who are carrying genetic disorders have healthy children.

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Let's Talk Kids
1:26 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Let's Talk Kids - "More Love Is a Good Thing"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The young woman’s faced bloomed with pleasure as she shared, “I love my kids so much!”

Do you imagine she was referring to her own offspring?  No, the kids who inspired this enthusiastic exclamation were the eight children who make up her child care class.

She spends many hours each week with them.  She’s learned what makes each of them tick, and sees them each as individuals brimming with potential.  She knows what will tickle each child’s funny bone, and which small disasters are likely to set each into a crying jag. 

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Shots - Health News
11:31 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Fewer Babies Are Born Prematurely, But Many Still Suffer

The March of Dimes gives the United States an overall "C" grade in preventing preterm births.
Courtesy of The March of Dimes Foundation

The number of babies born too early dropped to 11.4 percent of all births in 2013, the best number in 17 years.

But that's still more than 450,000 children being born too early. Those babies face in increased risk of death, and those who survive are more likely to have problems including intellectual disability, vision or hearing loss, cerebral palsy and breathing trouble.

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The Salt
9:52 am
Tue November 4, 2014

How To Wean Your Kids Off Halloween Candy: Cold, Hard Cash

The scariest part of the holiday comes in the days that follow, as parents fight and negotiate to limit how much candy their kids eat. NPR's Gisele Grayson decided to pay her kids off to give up their loot.

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 9:34 pm

Like many parents out there, I love Halloween as much as I dread it. The joy the kiddos get from the costumes and candy is balanced by what comes after: the fights and negotiations that go along with trying to limit their sugar intake.

Thus was born my candy buyback program.

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Code Switch
9:35 am
Tue November 4, 2014

'La Chancla': Flip Flops As A Tool of Discipline

NPR Story
3:58 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Apple's Siri Helps Autistic Teen With Communication Skills

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 11:35 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



We are about to hear from an author who wrote a love letter to a machine. Judith Newman wrote in The New York Times that a talking phone made life easier for her 13-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. Now Judith Newman brings her story to us.

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The Salt
4:21 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

Dr. Curtis Chan, a dentist in Del Mar, Calif., loads up a truck with 5,456 pounds of candy to deliver to Operation Gratitude during the Halloween Candy Buyback on Nov. 8 last year. Chan personally collected 3,542 pounds of candy from patients.
Courtesy of Curtis Chan

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 10:04 am

If your little ghosts and goblins dump their candy on the living room floor tonight, go ahead: Let them at it. They can sort, then trade, and gorge on their favorites.

But if you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you may want to get rid of some of this candy glut.

One possible solution? Check out the Halloween Candy Buyback program, which was founded by dentist Chris Kammer in Wisconsin. Kammer's office offers $1 a pound to buy back candy collected by the young trick-or-treaters in his practice.

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Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Scientists Implicate More Than 100 Genes In Causing Autism


Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:51 pm

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested.

But the effort is starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before.

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Goats and Soda
11:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Happy Birthday To Google Doodle Honoree Dr. Jonas Salk!

Jonas Salk was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City. Google is celebrating the birth of the man who developed a polio vaccine with a special Google doodle.

During the fervor of the current Ebola outbreak, it seems like a good moment to tip our hats to one of the heroes of an earlier epidemic. Salk developed a vaccine for polio in 1953. At a time polio was sweeping across the United States crippling children and terrifying parents.

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Shots - Health News
3:27 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Ancient Viruses Lurk In Frozen Caribou Poo

Caribous doing their business in mountain ice have left a viral record hundreds of years old.
Courtesy of Brian Moorman

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 7:58 am

A careful examination of frozen caribou poop has turned up two never-before-seen viruses.

The viruses are hundreds of years old: One of them probably infected plants the caribous ate. The other may have infected insects that buzzed around the animals.

The findings prove viruses can survive for surprisingly long periods of time in a cold environment, according to Eric Delwart, a researcher at Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco.

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Goats and Soda
3:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Surrogacy Storm In Thailand: A Rejected Baby, A Busy Babymaker

Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua with her baby Gammy, who was born with Down Syndrome. An Australian couple who'd arranged for Pattaramon to serve as their surrogate rejected the child.
Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:28 pm

Baby Gammy might mean the end of Thailand's lucrative surrogacy business.

He's the child who was carried by a surrogate mom in Thailand-- and rejected by the Australian couple who had agreed to pay the mother $12,000. The reason: Prenatal testing showed that the baby, a twin, had Down syndrome.

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Goats and Soda
11:08 am
Fri October 17, 2014

3-Year-Old Ebola Survivor Proposes To Nurse

After beating Ebola, young Ibrahim celebrated by proposing to his nurse.
Anders Kelto NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:28 pm

Isata Kallon, a nurse at Kenema Hospital in eastern Sierra Leone, remembers the day 3-year-old Ibrahim showed up at the Ebola treatment center. He was with his mother and two older brothers, ages 5 and 8. They all had Ebola. Ibrahim was especially sick, vomiting constantly.

"The chance of survival was very low for him," says Kallon, who's in her 30s. She sits at a picnic table outside the Ebola ward, her hair pulled back with a hairband and her blue nursing scrubs tinged with sweat around the neck.

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Let's Talk Kids
12:48 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Let's Talk Kids - "The Cost of Worry"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Worry represents our deep investment in our offspring whose health and happiness mean the world to us.  But there’s a steep cost to worry if it robs us of our enjoyment of our children.  A worried parent may be so consumed with fear that she’s unavailable to be present with her kids. 

A worried mom can’t celebrate her son’s learning to walk for fear that he’ll fall.  A worried dad feels sick at his daughter’s graduation, agonizing about her leaving for college.  Each development calls up a whole new set of troubles to anticipate.

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All Tech Considered
12:57 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

'Why Kids Sext' Describes Nude Photos As 'Social Currency' Among Teens

"The sexts are currency," explains Hanna Rosin. Teenage girls told Rosin boys collect the photos like "baseball cards or Pokemon cards."

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 5:55 pm

In April, residents of Louisa County, Va., were shocked to learn of a sexting "ring" among the town's teenagers. When Hanna Rosin asked teens from Louisa County High School how many people they knew who had sexted, a lot of them replied: "Everyone." But what was originally characterized in the media as an organized criminal affair was soon revealed to be widespread teen behavior.

"I think we as a culture don't know whether to be utterly alarmed by sexting, or think of it as a normal part of teenage sexual experimentation," Rosin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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