Let's Talk Kids

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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Shots - Health News
10:01 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Federal Officials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services

State Medicaid programs now have to cover a range of treatments for autism.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:13 am

When Yuri Maldonado's 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago, she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California's Medicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.

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Shots - Health News
12:34 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Pediatricians Say School Should Start Later For Teens' Health

About 40 percent of high schools start before 8 a.m., which contributes to chronic sleep deprivation among teens, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Chris Waits/Flickr

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 8:44 am

Many parents have pushed for a later start to the school day for teenagers, with limited success. But parents just got a boost from the nation's pediatricians, who say that making middle and high schoolers start classes before 8:30 a.m. threatens children's' health, safety and academic performance.

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The Salt
2:29 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Grocers Lead Kids To Produce Aisle With Junk Food-Style Marketing

A kids healthy snacks display at Giant Eagle.
Courtesy of Giant Eagle

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:09 pm

Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

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StoryCorps
2:35 am
Fri August 22, 2014

When Living Out Of A Car, It's Hard To Feel At Home

Erika Kalberer (left) and her mother, Kris. Their family has been living in their car. Kris tells her daughter, "I don't think sometimes you know how strong you are."
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 7:25 am

About a decade ago, Kris Kalberer left her job as a retail manager to raise her kids and care for her elderly mother. For a while, the family did well on her husband's income. Then he lost his job.

Their finances spiraled out of control. They lost their house in March 2011, and since then, their lives have become transient. They stayed in motels, or with friends. Currently they live in their car.

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Health
3:19 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

What's Behind The Stark Rise In Children's Disabilities

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 6:38 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Brita Recalls Kids' Water Bottles Over Risk Of Cutting

Brita has announced a recall of 15-ounce bottles that feature children's cartoon characters such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Consumer Product Safety Commission

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 5:38 pm

Some Brita water bottles made for children pose a possible danger due to lids that can break apart into pieces with sharp edges, says Brita, which has announced a safety recall. The bottles have white lids with fold-up straws and filters that sit inside the bottle.

"Brita has received 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking," the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports. "No injuries have been reported."

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Shots - Health News
11:58 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Schoolchildren Who Add Hand Sanitizer To Washing Still Get Sick

If a kid is already washing his hands well, adding sanitizer in school doesn't appear to help reduce illnesses and absences.
Juanmonino/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:49 pm

Schools can be a great breeding ground for colds, stomach viruses, the flu and other bugs kids (and their parents) would rather not get.

Researchers wanted to know whether the transmission of those baddies could be reduced by telling elementary school children to use hand sanitizer in addition to the usual hand washing. But their study, conducted in 68 primary schools in New Zealand, found putting sanitizer in classrooms might not be worth the money and effort in higher-income countries, where soap and clean water are readily available.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Where We Learn That Artificial Eyes Really Aren't Round At All

A prosthetic eye is a work of art custom-crafted for an individual.
Rebecca Davis NPR

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 2:49 pm

Almost every time reporters go out on assignment, they run across something unexpected that they just can't fit into the story they're working on.

When science correspondent Joe Palca and producer Rebecca Davis were in Boston reporting on a boy with a rare form of cancer, they found themselves in the office of Jahrling Ocular Prosthetics, a business dedicated to making artificial eyes.

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Shots - Health News
12:20 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Playing Video Games Can Help Or Hurt, Depending On Whom You Ask

When it comes to the effects of video games, content matters.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 1:48 pm

Parents worry that video games are bad for kids, but the evidence on how and why they may be harmful has been confusing.

"Most of popular media puts the most emphasis of concern on aggression," says psychologist Jay Hull from Dartmouth College. "But aggression is just the tip of the iceberg."

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Shots - Health News
2:41 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Oxytocin Isn't Lacking In Children With Autism, Researchers Say

The hormone oxytocin affects social functioning, but researchers say it isn't commonly lacking in children with autism.
danchooalex/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 11:22 am

Scratch one more simple explanation for autism off the list. This time it's the idea that children with autism have low levels of oxytocin, often called the "love hormone" because it can make people more trusting and social.

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Shots - Health News
3:54 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Breast-Feeding Is Still Difficult For Many Moms

Amber Medel weighs her 3-week-old baby, Elijah, as lactation consultant Carol Chamblin takes note. Medel had problems breast-feeding and Chamblin encouraged her to use a breast pump to get the milk flowing more easily.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 9:19 am

When Elizabeth O'Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally.

That's not quite how it panned out. "I was experiencing very tremendous pain," she says.

At first she figured that was normal — but soon it became too much to handle. "I was devastated," she says. "The reality is nursing is a wonderful bonding experience, but when you're in pain, you aren't really thinking about that."

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

How Do Our Worst Moments Shape Us?

"You need to fold the worst events of your life into a narrative of triumph, evincing a better self in response to things that hurt." — Andrew Solomon
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Andrew Solomon's TEDTalk

Writer Andrew Solomon dives into his childhood to describe moments of great adversity, and how they helped him build identity.

About Andrew Solomon

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

What Does It Mean To Be A 'Child Of The State'?

"We are our story — whether we suppress it, whether that is our nature, or we speak it. Family is a group of people who are building story for each other." — Lemn Sissay
Paul Clarke TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Lemn Sissay's TEDTalk

Poet Lemn Sissay was raised by the state. He talks about the empty space where his family should have been.

About Lemn Sissay

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Why Is Parenthood Filled With So Much Anxiety?

"It's one of the weird illusions we all live under: that there is a right way to parent." — Jennifer Senior
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 1:53 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Growing Up.

About Jennifer Senior's TEDTalk

Journalist Jennifer Senior says the goal of raising happy children is so elusive it has put modern, middle-class parents into a panic. She says there's no right way to parent.

About Jennifer Senior

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Health
3:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Polio's Surge In Pakistan: Are Parents Part Of The Problem?

Usman (right), 7 months, and Abdullah (left), 18 months, are held by their mothers while they wait to receive the polio vaccine at the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 3:29 pm

What do the parents think? That's always a crucial question when it comes to vaccinating kids.

And it's particularly important in Pakistan, which is one of the last places in the world where the polio virus is still making kids sick.

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World
3:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Bolivia Makes Child Labor Legal, In An Attempt To Make It Safer

A young girl sells pastries on a street in El Alto, Bolivia. While most of the world is trying to put an end to child labor, Bolivia has legalized it.
Juan Karita AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 2:24 pm

A new law in Bolivia allows children as young as 10 to work legally, and has led to sharp criticism from many international human rights groups who note that it goes against a United Nations convention setting a minimum age of 14.

But supporters of the legislation say that the law guarantees legal protections and fair wages for children, who have been working regardless of laws against it.

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Goats and Soda
6:41 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

The Hidden Costs Of Fighting Polio In Pakistan

During nationwide polio campaigns, hundreds of thousands of health workers go door to door, giving children two drops of the polio vaccine.
Anadolu Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 10:06 pm

Pakistan is currently at the center of the global effort to eradicate polio. Although the country has reported only about a hundred cases this year, that's more cases than in all other nations combined.

Eliminating the paralyzing disease is a major logistical operation in Pakistan. More than 200,000 vaccinators fan out across the country, several times a year, to inoculate millions of children. The government also deploys tens of thousands of armed security forces to guard the workers.

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Parenting
1:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

After 7 Years, Moms Panelists Share How They've Changed

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

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Parenting
1:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Where Do Dads Go For Parenting Advice?

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

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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