Fast Food Linked to Asthma and Eczema in Children

Posted by Patrick on Thursday Jan 24, 2013 Under Allergies, Asthma, Childhood obesity

Fast Food Child

The negative effects that childhood obesity can have on a person in adulthood are manifold: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease are all things that overweight children are more prone to suffering when they get older. Unfortunately these facts haven’t really served to impact the skyrocketing trend of childhood obesity for the better – in fact, over the past 30 years the number of children who are considered overweight has tripled. Since 1980 the percentage of obese children aged 6-11 has increased from 7% to 20% in 2008; the percentage of 12 to 19 year-olds has likewise increased from 5% to 18% in the same period.

There have been scores of studies that link these statistics to sedentary lifestyles, but more often than not these staggering numbers are attributed to diet – more specifically to the widespread consumption of fast food among our country’s youth. As opposed to an occasional meal on the go, fast food has almost entirely replaced the diets of some of these children, which necessarily deprives them of the essential nutrients that their growing bodies need to develop healthily. And as the obese child population increases, so does the list of complications that result from such an unhealthy lifestyle.

A recent study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Thorax suggests that the surge in these fast food diets can be linked to asthma and eczema. Surveying over 180,000 children ages four to seven and nearly 320,000 13 and 14 year olds the study showed a heavy correlation between the consumption of fast food meals at least three times each week and a child’s likelihood of experiencing severe asthma and eczema. Conversely, the study indicated that those who consumed fruit three or more times each week had a discernible connection with decreased risk of asthma. Although these things to not suggest a proven cause and effect relationship, the survey of almost half a million children around the world produced some pretty startling results.

Researchers sent the nearly 500,000 surveys out to randomly selected families that asked families to fill out a form inquiring about each child’s diet. The questionnaires were filled out by the children, whose parents then helped complete the surveys. Families were asked how about the average weekly consumption of 15 food categories ranging from protein, milk, fruit and vegetables to butter and fast food. Additionally, the families were given a form detailing some of the symptoms that children with asthma, eczema and rhinoconjuctivitis (runny nose/eyes) typically demonstrate. Once the forms were filled out, the researchers looked for associations between the dietary habits of the children and the characteristic symptoms of these three allergic conditions.

Asthma InhalerThe study showed that foods like fruit, vegetables and milk were likely associated with protecting a child against these allergy-related illnesses. On the other hand, increased risk of both mild and severe forms of asthma, eczema and rhinoconjuctivitis was seen in the participants who reportedly had a fast-food heavy diet (three or more times each week). Additionally, fast food consumption was seen to exacerbate existing allergic conditions in this particular population.

Research on this subject is still new, and researchers agreed that further studies would need to be conducted if they are to definitively verify fast food’s effect on allergy-related illness in children. Nevertheless, with such an extraordinarily large sample it is likely that further examination of this subject will produce similar results. And regardless, we shouldn’t need a detailed scientific study to tell us that the dietary decisions that we make for our children are crucial in helping them toward a healthier future. Consult a Frisco pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s health and ask your physician how you can improve your children’s diets and model a positive dietary lifestyle for them.

Photo Attribution: @heylovedc

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Homeschooling Help

Posted by Patrick on Wednesday Jan 23, 2013 Under Adolescence

Homeschool ChildrenHomeschooling is an activity that enables a lot of parents to take control of their children’s education and offer areas of study that would otherwise be neglected in the public school systems. When executed properly, homeschool curriculum can be just as effective in helping children develop intellectually and can offer a comfortable environment within which children can grow academically.

This great post from the Frisco Women blog offers some great insight as to what makes for a good homeschooling experience. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it encourages parents to make the most of their decision to homeschool, and to create a unique learning environment that their kids wouldn’t be able to have access to if they were in the traditional school system. The blog encourages parents to embrace their children’s individual learning styles and develop curriculum that caters to their students, rather than having their students adapt to a rigidly-constructed academic regimen.

It’s a great reminder that homeschool can offer educational flexibility for the parent who decides against placement of their student in a public school. Additionally, the blog links to some helpful resources that can further assist you or someone you know with creating a positive homeschooling environment. The blog directs toward some helpful literature, and even some helpful tools that enable your kids to enjoy the learning process wherever is most comfortable for them.

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Preventing the Flu Virus this Season

Posted by Patrick on Friday Jan 11, 2013 Under Flu Vaccine

Sick girl in bedWe are in the midst of flu season, and already the CDC is claiming that this is the worst season that we’ve seen in almost a decade. In particular, Boston is experiencing ten times as many cases as it did last year: 700 compared to last year’s comparatively modest 70. And since the season has already begun, many people are reluctant to seek medical attention since they think that prevention, at this point, is futile.

The truth is that if you and your family weren’t vaccinated initially, you need to be doing a few things to make sure that you avoid contracting the flu virus in the coming weeks. Below are some of the best practices in protecting you and your family from what can be a severely debilitating illness.

Fluids

BergiusHydration is another prevention method that many people fail to consider, especially in the colder months. It’s very easy to forget about staying hydrated during this season because our body’s natural alert system to hydration – sweating – is not happening as much as it does in the summer. But regardless of the temperature you need to make sure that your body is receiving plenty of fluids. Hydration helps your body flush toxins, but also ensures that your blood is receiving a healthy supply of oxygen. When your body is functioning properly, your immune system will be at its best.

Water also serves the purpose of keeping your eyes and mouth clean. When you aren’t properly hydrated, the dryness of your eyes and mouth can allow dirt, dust, and other floating debris to stick to your body. Debris is one of the easiest ways for sickness to travel, but a moist surface will prevent this harmful material from sticking to your eyes or mouth.

If you do feel that you might be getting sick it’s a good idea to hydrate yourself with hot liquids rather than cold. Hot liquids can be absorbed by your body much more quickly since they are closer to your body’s natural temperature and, therefore, do not need to be warmed up before your body accepts them. This is why hot tea and soup are usually suggested to aid in recovery from an illness.

Hand-Washing
This is a no-brainer; thoroughly washing your hands is a hugely important practice if you intend on keeping the flu virus away from your body. It’s highly likely that many of the sick people around you won’t be considerate enough to cover their mouth or wash their own hands. This means that viruses and bacteria will be transmitted through doorknobs, faucets, writing utensils, handrails, and anything else that you might touch on a regular basis.
What’s worse is that many people have difficulty keeping their hands away from their face. In the winter it’s easy to absentmindedly lift a finger to tend to a runny nose caused by the cold. This small interaction can be enough to introduce harmful material into you respiratory system, which will undoubtedly turn into a full-blown illness in a short amount of time. Also, talking on a cell phone brings your hand in close enough contact with your mouth that you might inhale whatever molecular bodies are living on the palm of your hand. Frequent and serious hand washing can absolutely not be neglected during flu season.

Hand-Washing

Woman Washing Hands in the Kitchen Sink.This is a no-brainer; thoroughly washing your hands is a hugely important practice if you intend on keeping the flu virus away from your body. It’s highly likely that many of the sick people around you won’t be considerate enough to cover their mouth or wash their own hands. This means that viruses and bacteria will be transmitted through doorknobs, faucets, writing utensils, handrails, and anything else that you might touch on a regular basis.

What’s worse is that many people have difficulty keeping their hands away from their face. In the winter it’s easy to absentmindedly lift a finger to tend to a runny nose caused by the cold. This small interaction can be enough to introduce harmful material into you respiratory system, which will undoubtedly turn into a full-blown illness in a short amount of time. Also, talking on a cell phone brings your hand in close enough contact with your mouth that you might inhale whatever molecular bodies are living on the palm of your hand. Frequent and serious hand washing can absolutely not be neglected during flu season.

Hand Sanitizer

If you don’t think you’ll be around a faucet and soap for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to at least carry around a small container of hand sanitizer. Although a good scrubbing in the sink is what your hands really need, the hand sanitizer can be a life saver for when you are at the gas station and are unsure what the last person who filled up may have left at your pump. It’s probably even a good idea to send your kiddos off to school with a portable-sized sanitizer bottle, too. If not, their teachers will probably have some handy for the class to use, so encourage your child to apply the sanitizer before lunch and after playtime.

Hand sanitizer is effective but you should still make an effort to wash your hands as often as possible.

Vaccination

Lance McCordEven if you’ve already missed it at the beginning of the season, it is still a very good idea to go and get vaccinated anyway. The CDC insists that there is “no excuse” to avoid having the vaccination, and that includes the excuse that it’s already too late. The reason why most people are reluctant to be immunized is that full immunization typically doesn’t take effect until after several weeks. This is why most people get immunized in the fall – so that by the time the winter strains come around (which typically peak in January and February) they are fully prepared.

But, that isn’t to say that this year’s flu will pack its bags and go home promptly on February 28 – there is still the potential for lingering strains to be contracted well into the spring. Because of this, vaccinations for your family members – especially your children – should be sought quickly to prevent illness in the coming months. Researchers are indicating that this year’s vaccination is very well-matched to the viruses that are being contracted, so it is likely that decision toward immunization will be an effective one.

The difference between the Flu and a Cold

Since the symptoms of both the Flu and the common cold can be similar, there are a few characteristic flu symptoms that can help identify the disease. Firstly, the flu is more aggressive than a common cold, and the onset will happen much more quickly; body aches and muscle fatigue are also exclusive to influenza and aren’t usually found in cases where the patient is simply suffering from a cold.

Since the onset of the flu is so sudden, timely treatment is imperative to your later recovery. If the flu is caught in the first 48 hours after exposure, the duration of the illness is likely to decrease, as will the severity of those miserable symptoms.

Who to consider

Photo attribution: AJC1Anyone with a weakened immune system during the time of exposure to the flu is most likely to be hit the hardest. In particular, children and the elderly should take all measures available to prevent contraction. Vaccination is always the strongest defense against seasonal bugs, but be mindful of your loved ones’ diets and habits to make sure that they aren’t increasing the likelihood that they’ll get sick. Pregnant women should also be tremendously careful with their hygiene during this time. Remember, if you’re pregnant, you have two immune systems to worry about; be aware of how you’re protecting yourself and wash your hands as much as possible (and then some).

Medical Attention

DoctorThe hype from the flu has likely got most of us experiencing a bit of hypochondria; your doctor can let you know whether you’re maybe just paranoid about getting sick, or if what you’re experiencing is actually the early stages of influenza. Professional medical advice is also going to be an invaluable tool in avoiding or treating the flu. In order to keep an illness from spreading or getting worse, seeing your doctor is the best way to get some pharmaceutical assistance for whatever is affecting you. Additionally, if you think your children may be at risk, there is plenty of help available in the Frisco Pediatric community to diagnose your child’s condition.

Many people wait too long to go to the doctor. As with vaccination, people often think that it’s too late for them to seek preventative attention for what could be a serious illness. Don’t be afraid to get a checkup if you aren’t feeling like yourself – the decision could keep you and your family safe from illness.

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Children Need More Sleep

Posted by Patrick on Wednesday Jan 9, 2013 Under Adolescence, Pediatrician, Pediatrics

Little Girl AsleepWe all know that kids need a good night’s rest, but a recent article concerning a study published late last year suggests that just 30 extra minutes of sleep can seriously impact a child’s physical and mental activity for the better. This extended sleep schedule allows children to perform better in school, as they are significantly more alert than students who are on a comparatively modest schedule. The article also provides suggestions for ways to ensure that your child is receiving all the sleep that he or she needs.

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Recess an Imperative Part of Child Development

Posted by Patrick on Friday Jan 4, 2013 Under Uncategorized

Recess

Recess

Children typically get to experience one of their first exercises in cheekiness when they are asked what their favorite subject in school is: “Recess”, they will often say. Not only does is this “subject” typically accompanied by a meal, but students know that it is a mandatory break from the daily rigors of the classroom. But the sarcastic student who makes this statement speaks better than he or she knows – a recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes recess as being absolutely crucial to the student’s development, as it provides legitimate physical and social benefits that can’t be exercised in the classroom.

Ostensibly, one would assume that a mandatory recess is a way for the education system to do their part in combating childhood obesity. Recess truly is a great opportunity for the system to encourage its students to start incorporating healthy physical practices in their day, but this is the goal better reached by Physical Education; Physical Education provides a much more structured athletic regimen for the students that would prefer to spend their recess pondering life’s great questions (What started the Universe? Is there a transcendent, objective Ethic? Does my friend see colors the same way that I see colors?). That isn’t to say that recess has no potential to combat the childhood obesity problem – it most certainly does. Rather, recess serves as a valuable way to supplement structured physical education and shouldn’t entirely replace it. But the benefits of recess extend far beyond the physical components that we would all identify most quickly.

CBSNews’ article cites cognitive, emotional and social benefits as the main reasons that students require a period of decompression each day. Instead of being restricted to a meticulously crafted itinerary of physical activity, students can explore the creative possibilities of having time to do, essentially, whatever they please. A free period allows the students to process other information outside the classroom as they interact with the physical and social space around them. This information can be (most obviously) athletic, but also social, or even remotely scientific. Interpreting this information and having ample time to process and explore it is what will benefit students as they continue to mature.

Unfortunately, a 2011 study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent medicine found that a third of elementary schools surveyed failed to offer a recess period to the daily schedules of their third graders. Neglecting to offer a period of decompression to students can potentially deprive them of intellectual success, social aptitude, and physical welfare, indicating that recess is a part of the elementary school curriculum that schools can’t afford to overlook. Furthermore, we as adults even designate portions of our day to relaxation, self-discovery, “me-time”, or whatever we want to call it; for an educational institution to withhold this kind of activity from students would essentially be an assault on its own success. With greater pressure to simultaneously excel academically and be on the front lines combating childhood obesity, schools need to be especially careful that they are enforcing a legitimate period of unstructured activity for the sake of their own prosperity, and that of their students. After all, recess is every child’s favorite subject.

The article can be accessed here

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Whooping Cough On The Rise

Posted by megan on Friday Sep 14, 2012 Under Whooping Cough

Vaccine, Plano TXPertussis, or whooping cough as we commonly refer to it is making a comeback and according to a recent study we may know why.  It appears as if the DTaP vaccine begins to lose its effectiveness after the 5th dose, which is given to children in America by the age of 7.

A recent study published this week by Dr. Klein and her team at the New England Journal of Medicine looked at Kaiser’s managed care members enrolled in Kaiser’s N. California health plan from 2006 – 2011. The study was prompted by California’s 2010 outbreak, the largest outbreak since 1958. That year California had around 9,000 cases of whooping cough.

In this study data from 277 children that were fully vaccinated, yet tested positive for pertussis, was analyzed and compared with 3,318 children who tested negative and also with a group of 6,086 children that were not tested for the disease.

Acording to a study was published this week by Dr. Klein and her team at the New England Journal of Medicine and the conclusion is  “Protection against pertussis waned during the 5 years after the fifth dose of DTaP”. The study also suggests that a whole-cell pertussis vaccine rather than an acellular vaccine such as DTaP.

There are experts that are skeptical of the findings of this study, but regardless, we need to delve further to find a better vaccine as the nation is on pace to have our largest outbreak of whooping cough since 1959.

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School Anxiety in Kids: What Can You Do?

Posted by megan on Tuesday Sep 11, 2012 Under Anxiety
School anxiety, Plano pediatricianIt’s not just college students who have a hard time dealing with school. Kids as young as 9 years old or even younger suffer from school anxiety too but it’s not just the usual kind of sadness that these children experience that is bothersome, the psychosomatic responses are quite alarming as well.  While some complain of headaches and stomach pain some become restless and later on very violent.

Experts say that it is safe to say that there are always those days when we didn’t like going to school and that the idea of it just made us feel really depressed or anxious. What is interesting is that, it is not just you who experienced school anxiety. In fact, most kids do not realize that their peers may be experiencing the same thing too. This is normal but in some cases, the reaction of some kids is worse than others to the point that they develop extreme anxiety. Some of them even fear going to school but the more pressing question is, what causes school anxiety in kids? When something bad is going on and kids do not want to leave home even for a minute, they have a tendency to develop a certain kind of fear of going to school. In some cases, kids who suffer from school anxiety refuse to attend classes. Experts say, when this happens, intervention from the parents will not be enough because professional help is needed.

While some kids can have a bout of anxiety at any time while they are still at school, studies show that there are certain ages where anxiety pose to be more difficult to deal with. The first grade (Grade 1) according to researchers, with its transition from half day classes to full day ones while just glued to a desk the whole day can be quite exhausting for many kids. These are the times when kids are cranky and are usually overwhelmed by the drastic change. Another potential time to watch out for parents is Grade 7 when they move from grade school to middle school. Social problems arise at this age because kids at ages 12 to 15 are just so painfully self-conscious. This feeling has been experienced by many adults but this is aggravated because kids at this age feel that everyone is judging them 24/7. Many kids often do not attend school because they have a pimple breakout thanks to changes in their hormones i.e. puberty. The challenge at this stage is to stand out and kids would want to stand out in a good way not someone who has acne or someone who is too fat.

Peer pressure is another issue that children have to deal with at this point of their lives. Everybody seems to want to fit in i.e. by smoking, kissing someone or having a beer, etc. This social pressure is worrisome but it is part of growing up. However, once your child no longer wants to go to school because of social pressure, it is time to call for help. Psychoanalysts for children say that it could be due to fear of growing up.
Not attending school is a side effect of anxiety but aside from peer pressure and other social problems at school, what else could cause this? Something that is happening in a child’s family can be the culprit too, experts say. This may happen when the parents file for divorce or when one parent is terminally ill. These things make kids reluctant to leave their homes in hopes that them being there will stop bad things from happening. There are too many reasons to guess, you should try talking to your child about their fears and consult your Pediatrician. If your child suffers from school anxiety seek the advice of the best Pediatrician in Plano, Forest Lane Pediatrics.
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Dr Mehta on Caffeine Affects on Infertility

Posted by Admin on Tuesday May 22, 2012 Under Uncategorized
Many of our patients trying to conceive ask the questions “Do I need to give up my coffee?” and “How  much caffeine is okay?”  Most of us are used to at least our morning cup of joe to start our day. I know, I for one, would be very grumpy without mine. However, for women trying to achieve a pregnancy, the questions often arise as to how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy and whether caffeine consumption is linked to infertility.
Caffeine is found not only in coffee, but also in other foods and drinks, such as chocolate,
Caffeine Fertility Pregnancy

Caffeine Fertility Pregnancy

Many of our patients trying to conceive ask the questions “Do I need to give up my coffee?” and “How  much caffeine is okay?”  Most of us are used to at least our morning cup of joe to start our day. I know, I for one, would be very grumpy without mine. However, for women trying to achieve a pregnancy, the questions often arise as to how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy and whether caffeine consumption is linked to infertility. Read more HERE.

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360 Chiropractic, Frisco Family YMCA and Legacy ER host health fair to provide screenings & family fun for the community, benefits the Genesis Women’s Shelter

Health Fair

Health Fair

FRISCO, TEXAS (May 2, 2012) – 360 Chiropractic & Wellness, in partnership with the Frisco Family YMCA, is hosting the Frisco Health and Wellness Fair on May 19.  The event is co-sponsored by Legacy ER. This is one of the few health fairs designed to provide health screenings, donor opportunities and fun for families while benefiting a nonprofit charity.  The Genesis Women’s Shelter is the beneficiary of a portion of vendor sales and the collection of baby and hygiene items during the event.

The health fair, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Frisco Family YMCA, 3415 W. Main Street in Frisco. There will be free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose testing, dental and spinal – provided by Centennial Medical Center, 380 Family Dentistry, and 360 Chiropractic & Wellness.

Carter’s Blood Care will provide a free mini-physical at the time of a donation that includes an iron level check.  Be the match will conduct DNA swabs and register those interested in becoming bone marrow donors.  There will also be information booths for home, financial wellness, and sports organizations as well as activities for children including face painting, bounce houses, snow cones by Scallywags, music and raffles.

WHAT: Frisco Health and Wellness Fair

WHERE: Frisco Family YMCA, 3515 W. Main Street, Frisco

WHEN: Saturday, May 19, 2012 – from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

COST: FREE, nominal fee for Face Painting and Snow Cones

*Requesting Donations – Baby items (diapers, wipes, etc), Hygiene items, or monetary donation for the Genesis Women’s Shelter.

Additional community partners will have booths providing information, services or products and include:

  • Angel Mobile Health
  • Bryan Brickman Real Estate
  • Frisco Aquatics
  • Frisco Cares
  • Frisco Family Services Center
  • Girl Scouts – health & safety
  • Green Peridot
  • iThinkLocal
  • Joe Hockaday Accounting
  • Lady Vee Jewelry
  • Legal Shield
  • Lone Star Benefits
  • Luke’s Locker
  • Mary Kay
  • North Dallas Mixed Martial Arts
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes
  • Organo Gold Coffee
  • Simply Fit Meals
  • Yoga on Main

*About the Genesis Women’s Shelter:

Founded in 1997, the Genesis Alliance is composed of more than 600 women who support the mission of Genesis Women’s Shelter to alleviate family violence through volunteerism, education, and community awareness. Genesis’ mission is to end the epidemic of domestic violence against women and children by stopping individual victimization and reducing the devastating impact of family violence through safety, shelter and expert services to battered women and their children.

Genesis is committed to preventing violence by raising the level of community awareness regarding the pervasiveness and effects of domestic violence. If you need a safe place, call the Genesis Hotline: 214-946-HELP (4357) Help is free and confidential.

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Subclinical (Asymptomatic) Hypothyroidism in Pregnancy

Posted by Admin on Thursday Mar 1, 2012 Under New Mommy, Obstetrician

We know that Symptomatic Hypothyroidism in pregnancy can cause mental retardation, miscarriage, and preterm delivery.  There is definite controversy as to the effect of Subclinical or Asymptomatic Hypothyroidism, it is defined by elevated Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (aka Thyrotropin), but normal Thyroid hormone levels such as Free T4.

Read more here.

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