Let's Talk Kids

Shots - Health News
1:31 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Is Enterovirus D68 Behind The Mysterious Paralysis In Children?

Sofia Jarvis, seen here with her family at a press conference in February, is one of several dozen children in California who have been diagnosed with a rare paralytic syndrome. It has left her left arm paralyzed.
Martha Mendoza AP

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 3:28 pm

When nine children in one hospital in Colorado come down with a mysterious form of paralysis in less than two months, it's hard not to worry.

Colorado has been hit hard by enterovirus D68, a virus that has caused severe respiratory illnesses in children around the country over the past few months.

All of the children had had been ill within a few weeks of suffering weakness in their arms or legs, a drooping face or difficulty swallowing.

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Shots - Health News
4:08 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Long-Term Birth Control Works Best For Teens, Pediatricians Say

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 10:46 am

"Always remember to use protection" is a fairly straightforward message for sexually active teens. But young women have a lot of options when it comes to the types of protection they can choose to use.

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Goats and Soda
10:57 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Raya The Muppet Talks About Poop And Is Proud Of It

Raya might tickle Elmo with toilet paper if he doesn't use it properly.
John Barrett Courtesy of Sesame Workshop

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 1:19 pm

Why did the superhero go to the toilet?

"Because it was her duty!" Raya exclaims as she throws her head back laughing.

Six-year-old Raya is not shy at all — especially when it comes to talking about poop.

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Shots - Health News
2:35 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Vaccine Controversies Are As Social As They Are Medical

Daniela Chavarriaga holds her daughter Emma as Dr. Jose Rosa-Olivares administers a measles vaccination at Miami Children's Hospital.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 10:02 am

When essayist Eula Biss was pregnant with her son, she decided she wanted to do just a bit of research into vaccination. "I thought I would do a small amount of research to answer some questions that had come up for me," she tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "And the questions just got bigger the more I learned and the more I read."

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Shots - Health News
1:12 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

More Active Play Equals Better Thinking Skills For Kids

Good for bodies and good for brains, the scientists say.
iStockphoto

As schools cut down on physical education and recess, kids are spending more time than ever in a desk. And while nerdy second-graders like me didn't ever consider arguing for more gym, there's increasing evidence that being active helps not just children's waistlines but their brains.

"If you consider the anthropology of humankind, we were designed to move," Charles Hillman, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tells Shots.

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Children's Health
4:05 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Respiratory Disease Affects Hundreds Of U.S. Kids

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 11:26 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Salt
2:33 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Sayonara To 'Super-Size Me'? Food Companies Cut Calories, So Do We

Wouldn't this salad make a healthful addition to your pizza for dinner?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 7:48 am

It just might be the dawn of a new era in American eating. Two-thirds of us are now more likely to go for foods marketed as lower-calorie and "better for you," and that means we're finally eating fewer calories.

But all this calorie-cutting from our cookies and cupcakes isn't just benevolent behavior on the part of the big food and beverage companies. It's also good for their bottom line.

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The Salt
6:05 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

To Stop Picky Eaters From Tossing The Broccoli, Give Them Choices

Students are given healthy choices on a lunch line at Draper Middle School in Rotterdam, N.Y., in 2012. To keep students from tossing out the fruits and vegetables they're served, researchers say it helps to give them a choice in what they put on their trays.
Hans Pennink AP

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 4:11 pm

In many communities, the local school district is the largest food provider, filling thousands of hungry bellies every day. But trying to feed healthful food to some of the pickiest eaters can result in mountains of wasted food.

Now, many schools are finding that giving kids a say in what they eat can cut down on what ends up in the trash.

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Shots - Health News
9:20 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 10:02 am

Depression is common in teenagers, with 11 percent being diagnosed by age 18, and many more having depressive symptoms. Social and academic stress can trigger depression, and rates of depression tend to peak in adolescence around the age of 16.

It doesn't help that stressed-out teens often fall into hopelessness, says David Yeager, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. "When kids have hard things happen to them, they think it'll be like that way into the future."

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Children's Health
4:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

It May Be 'Perfectly Normal', But It's Also Frequently Banned

Michael Emberley's illustrations, like this one showing an egg traveling through a fallopian tube, make sexual health information accessible to an elementary and middle school audience. But elements of the art, including naked bodies, make some parents uncomfortable.
Candlewick Press

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 6:48 am

Banned Books Week kicks off Sunday: Each year, the American Library Association takes this week to sponsor events all over the country to talk about the books that shock, offend and generally make Americans uncomfortable.

Violence and curse words are two of the top three reasons books get banned in the U.S.

The third reason is sexual content. For example, the Fifty Shades of Grey series has been frequently banned from libraries for its explicit descriptions of intercourse.

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Shots - Health News
11:22 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How To Get Children To Behave Without Hitting Them

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 7:13 am

There's plenty of evidence that spanking, paddling or hitting children doesn't improve their behavior in the long run and actually makes it worse.

But the science never trumps emotion, according to Alan Kazdin, head of the Yale Parenting Center and author of The Everyday Parenting Toolkit.

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Let's Talk Kids
1:26 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Let's Talk Kids - "The Ages of Children"

Claudia Quigg
Credit mattpenning.com 2011

When the world sees our children, it sees them as they are at this moment and in this environment, through a narrow lens.  Their teacher at school sees how well they internalized today’s math lesson (or not).  Their dentist sees the condition of their teeth as they are today, including that new cavity in a molar.  The neighbor sees them as the sweet child who brought in their garbage can for them or the nasty brat who littered in their front lawn.

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Shots - Health News
2:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Kids' Perception Of Parents' Favoritism Counts More Than Reality

If a child feels like the odd person out, it could mean more problems in the teenage years, psychologists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 4:32 pm

We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you're thinking it's not you.

But does that really make a difference? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

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Shots - Health News
12:01 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Colorado Tries Hard To Convince Teens That Pot Is Bad For You

This human-scale lab rat cage is parked near a skate park in Denver, Colo., to make a point about the lack of science on marijuana.
Richard Feldman Studio/Sukle Advertising and Design

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 9:29 am

Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.

One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.

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Shots - Health News
10:46 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Antibiotics Prescribed For Children Twice As Often As Needed

Drat those viruses. They're the culprit in the majority of children's colds and sore throats.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:58 am

When your child has an earache or a bad cold, it's hard to think that there's not much you can offer beyond Tylenol and sympathy. But most of those infections are mostly caused by viruses that don't respond to antibiotics, a study finds.

Just 27 percent of acute respiratory tract infections are caused by bacteria, researchers at Seattle Children's Hospital found. That means that more than two-thirds are viral and antibiotics don't help.

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Goats and Soda
4:17 am
Sun September 14, 2014

It's All About The Girls: Is The World Listening To Them?

"I want to grow up and become a police. But I need to study in a good school for that. I want to become a police to protect the country." - Fiza, 13 (India)
Courtesy of Nike Foundation

"My shoes wear out from walking to school, and then I can't go because we can't afford new shoes," says a girl from Indonesia.

"I want to live freely," says another girl, in Egypt. "I don't want people to dictate what I do. No one to control us, no one to hit us, no one to tell us what clothes to wear."

In Congo, a girl starts to list her chores: "Tidying the house, fetching water, preparing meals," she says. "There are so many I can't even name them all."

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Shots - Health News
9:34 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Poets Give Voice To The Toll Of Type 2 Diabetes

Young poets Monica Mendoza (clockwise from top left), Erica Sheppard McMath, Obasi Davis and Gabriel Cortez have written about how Type 2 diabetes affects their families and communities.
Courtesy of The Bigger Picture

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:50 pm

It may not seem like spoken-word poetry and diabetes have a lot to do with one another, but public health educators in California are using the art form to engage young people about the disease.

"Between growing up in Colón, Panama and a tour in the U.S. army, Grandpa is a proud old soldier marching through a never-ending war," Gabriel Cortez, 24, wrote in his poem "Perfect Soldiers." "At 66, we are scared that another stroke could do what no war ever could and cut him to the ground."

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Shots - Health News
3:03 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Rare Virus Has Sickened Hundreds More Children, Hospitals Say

PCR tests like this can tell if a virus is an enterovirus, but they can't ID the new virus that has caused a surge in serious respiratory infections.
BSIP / Science Source

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 4:33 pm

Just 82 children have confirmed cases of enterovirus-D68, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but hospitals around the country say they are treating hundreds more children who have been sickened by the rare virus.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Playgrounds For All Children: Here's How To Find One

John W. Poole/NPR

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 12:11 pm

Janna Espinoza's daughter Coraline has hearing loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and developmental delays. Nearly 2 years old, she can't sit up, stand, creep or use her hands as a typically developing child does.

Coraline is among an estimated 6.4 million children in the U.S. with a disability. And for these kids the simple ritual of playing outside can get very complicated.

"My daughter can't do very much at a typical playground, except watch her older sister play," says Espinoza. "Playgrounds are a depressing place for us."

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NPR Ed
3:50 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music

Amir Pinkney-Jengkens, 8, is learning trombone through Harmony Project, a nonprofit that provides musical instruments and instruction to children in low-income communities. Recent research suggests that such musical education may help improve kids' ability to process speech.
Annie Tritt for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 10:55 am

Musical training doesn't just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That's the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids' brains process language.

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Shots - Health News
11:00 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Heavier Teen Pot Smoking Linked To Problems In Young Adults

Does smoking pot make it less likely that you'll go to college?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 2:59 pm

There's a lot of argument over how teenage marijuana use might affect people through life, but distressingly little data to help figure it out. That leaves parents, policymakers and young people pretty much in the dark when it comes to making decisions about use and legalization.

Three long-running studies of teenagers and young adults in Australia and New Zealand might help. An analysis of the studies found a dose-response relationship: The more someone smoked pot as a teenager, the more likely that person would struggle as a young adult.

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Shots - Health News
1:52 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Get The Measles, Get Ready To Be Out For Two Weeks

Helen Down holds her 14-month-old daughter, Amelia, for an MMR shot in Swansea, England, in April 2013. The vaccination was in response to a measles outbreak.
Geoff Caddick AFP/Getty Images

Measles is often lumped in with flu and chickenpox as mild childhood illnesses. But people who got measles during outbreaks in the United Kingdom say they were pretty darned sick, missing two weeks of school or work on average.

A bout of the measles lasted 14 days on average, according to a study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Public Health England. That added up to having to take 10 days off work or school. More than a third of people needed someone to stay home to take care of them, too.

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Shots - Health News
3:21 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

CDC Warns Of Fast-Spreading Enterovirus Afflicting Children

13-year-old Will Cornejo of Lone Tree, Colo., recovers at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver from what doctors suspect is enterovirus 68. His parents found him unconscious on the couch and called 911. He was flown to Denver for treatment.
Cyrus McCrimmon Denver Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 12:46 pm

A rarely seen virus is sending children to the hospital with severe respiratory infections, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning doctors and parents to be on the alert.

"Hospitalizations are higher than would be expected at this time of year," Dr. Anne Schuchat, head of infectious diseases for the CDC, said Monday at a press briefing on enterovirus 68. "The situation is evolving quickly."

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Shots - Health News
2:22 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Cheap Drinks And Risk-Taking Fuel College Drinking Culture

Rob Donnelly for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 9:06 am

There's no question that alcohol is a factor in the majority of sexual assaults on campus. And alcohol is abundant and very present at most colleges today.

In fact, federal health officials say more than 80 percent of college students drink. And about half say they binge drink. This means more than four drinks for women and more than five drinks for men, within a two-hour time frame.

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Code Switch
8:35 am
Fri September 5, 2014

What's Your Take On #NPRTheTalk?

Many African-American parents feel it's essential to have "the talk" with their children.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 11:15 am

In the weeks since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., families across the country are discussing how they approach "the talk" — not the one about sex, but the talk about safety and how young people should conduct themselves in encounters with the police. This difficult conversation has been part of the black family experience for generations.

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Shots - Health News
6:03 am
Mon September 1, 2014

More Evidence That ADHD Drugs Don't Curb Ultimate Height

A recent study found a brief delay in peak growth spurt among boys who took ADHD stimulants for at least three years, but no significant effect on their ultimate height.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 8:09 am

More and more kids are being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and many are medicated — often with stimulant drugs like Ritalin or Adderall.

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Shots - Health News
2:14 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Pretending To Be A Medical Patient Pays Off For This Teen

Third-year medical student Allie Tetreault, left, talks with Gabrielle Nuki, 16, at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. Gabrielle helps med students practice patient care.
Patti Wight/MPBN

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 8:11 am

Some of us are lucky enough to stumble into a job that we love. That was the case for Gabrielle Nuki. The 16-year-old had never heard of standardized patients until her advisor at school told her she should check it out.

"I was kind of shocked, and I was kind of like, 'Oh, is there actually something like this in the world?' "

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Goats and Soda
2:22 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Study: Kids In Orphanages Can Do As Well As Those In Foster Care

A woman walks with children at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Policymakers have long called for orphans to be taken out of institutions and placed with foster families, but one study from Duke University is challenging that notion.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:22 pm

"Please, sir, I want some more," Oliver Twist famously asked in the food line at an orphanage.

Instead he got a blow to the head with a ladle.

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Goats and Soda
10:21 am
Thu August 28, 2014

In Haiti, An 'American Idol'-Style Contest About Child Slavery

Hedson Lamour, 28, prays with his color-coordinated band before performing. He entered the contest because his mom was a child slave.
Frederic Dupoux for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 12:33 pm

Haiti's got talent.

Tamarre Joseph paces the stage, her sleek, short blue dress hugging her pencil-thin frame. She works the hometown crowd, rapping "Nap rive peyi san restavek."

The thousands in the packed stadium jump and sing along. An entire section of men take off their shirts and wave them overhead.

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Shots - Health News
10:51 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Health Organizations Call For A Ban On E-Cigarettes Indoors

A woman smokes an electronic cigarette at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 1:59 pm

Tobacco control advocates disagree on whether e-cigarettes are a useful tool to get smokers off tobacco, or just a sleeker form of one of the world's deadliest addictions.

A lot of that discord comes from the fact that there's just not enough science to know the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a vapor rather than through tobacco smoke. And it could take years to find out if vaping causes cancer and other deadly diseases.

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