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WHAT SORT OF HEALTH CONCERNS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

ParentMap editors try to stay on top of the latest research and we see quite a few new studies go by. We realized that parents hear so many contradictory things, it s hard to know what s true and what s false.

So in this month s cover story, ParentMap tackled children s health concerns and tried to demystify each topic by giving facts and then letting readers or viewers decide.

VACCINATIONS AND AUTISM: WHAT DO WE KNOW?

The first report that linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine with autism came 13 years ago and it has now been completely discredited. In fact, the medical journal The Lancet which published the original article last year retracted it.

Just this year, an examination of that report showed the authors altered facts and 10 of the 13 authors have now renounced the findings. The main researcher Andrew Wakefield has also lost the right to practice medicine in Britain.

But the damage of that report lives on.

In our state, the number of parents not vaccinating their children more than doubled in the last ten years. Washington now leads the nation in parents exempting their kids from vaccines. The Center for Disease Control says unvaccinated children contributed to a measles outbreak in our state and other states.


WHAT ABOUT THE CONCERN OVER YOUNG CHILDREN WATCHING T.V. AND ATTENTION DISORDERS?

We happen to have some of the nation s leading experts on this subject right here in Western Washington. Dr. Ted Mandelkorn has a practice devoted to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and says the main reason for attention issues is genetics and probably not TV habits.

There was a report done seven years ago by Dimitri Christakis, a prominent pediatrician at Seattle Children s. It showed children between ages 1 and 3 who watched TV were thought to have attention challenges. But, this was based on assessments from their parents. None of those children were ever diagnosed with ADHD.

It is important to point out, The American Academy of Pediatrics though does not recommend any T.V. for children under age two.

WHAT S FACT VERSUS FICTION ABOUT CELL PHONE RADIATION AND CHILDREN?

The worry is children s skulls are thinner than adults and brains are still developing, so radiation from cell phones could do more damage. A 10-year study with 13,000 participants was just completed last year and it was inconclusive.

A University of Washington scientist named Henry Lai has been studying this, too, and says precautions should be taken such as limiting cell use for young children and using headsets. Also, texting is better because it keeps the cell phones away from the head.

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