Children Can Suffer Serious Side Effects from Antipsychotic Medications

Experts say medical professionals should use caution when prescribing drugs for children’s mental health issues.

New research shows that antipsychotic medications can lead to serious side effects or even death for some children.

The recent study was published in JAMA Psychiatry and underscores past concerns members of the medical community have had about this class of drug that’s used to treat mental health conditions.

The observational study looked at the data of almost 248,000 children and young adults in Tennessee from the age of 5 to 24 who were enrolled in Medicaid between 1999 and 2014.

The patient data focused on people who weren’t diagnosed with some kind of psychosis, a symptom of a mental illness such as schizophrenia that can produce effects such as hallucinations. aduq

The results?

The young people given a higher dose had a 3.5 times higher risk of unexpected death than the control group.

Those given the high dose were also 4.29 times more likely to experience metabolic and cardiovascular-related deaths than the control group.

“Antipsychotics are fairly dangerous drugs,” said Wayne A. Ray, PhD, lead author and a professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee.

“One of the questions heading into this was, ‘Given how infrequent unexpected death is in otherwise healthy children, would there be enough deaths to see the impact of antipsychotics?’ In fact, there were. The findings suggest that the concern over deaths related to antipsychotics in younger populations have an important public health impact.”

Diagnose with caution
Ray stressed that these findings reinforce what many child psychiatrists have suggested in the past: medical providers should adhere to a conservative use of powerful antipsychotic medications for young patients.

“The findings suggest that the medical world consider other alternatives for treatment, that children and young adults with these illnesses would also respond to treatments other than these medications,” Ray told Healthline.

“All young patients should go through a pre-treatment evaluation, in particular, looking at if they have cardiovascular risks to see if a child or a young adult is at risk for arrhythmias. I advocate for a more cautious use of these drugs, and of course, there needs to be post-treatment monitoring for adverse effects.”

Robert L. Hendren, DO, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) department of psychiatry and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, told Healthline that it’s necessary that people on antipsychotic drugs be carefully monitored for a range of adverse side effects.

He said that significant weight gain and the presence of higher cholesterol and triglycerides are things to look out for as well as diabetes and movement disorders.

What about prescribing antipsychotics to young children under the age of 10?

“These medications can be very helpful to some children and adolescents and their families, but other interventions — with less potential serious side effects — should be tried first,” Hendren stressed.

“The behavioral symptoms of some children may reach this point at a young age — I do not go below 5 years, but know of cases where others felt this was the only viable alternative for even younger children. Usually the age is a bit older when children get big enough to do significant harm to themselves and others.”

Joseph Austerman, DO, a child psychiatrist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, echoed these concerns.

He said it’s important to note that antipsychotic medications are largely prescribed as off-label treatment for illnesses in children.

“It is unclear the efficacy justifies the increased risk associated with their use,” he told Healthline.

He noted that the standard procedure for doctors is to treat mental illnesses with behavioral interventions and to use other first-line treatments before considering antipsychotics.

The benefits of these kinds of drugs
Despite his cautions, Austerman said that antipsychotics can be effective when standard treatments fail.

He added that this can justify the use of other medications down the line.

Hendren agreed, stressing that these can be an effective last resort for young patients.

“Antipsychotics can help with significant irritability, impulsivity, aggression, difficulty thinking clearly, significant anxiety, and psychotic thinking,” he said.

“At times families are very disrupted by these symptoms, have tried behavioral interventions and other medications, and find the effects of antipsychotics to be ‘life savers’ figuratively and literally for themselves and their children.”

What parents should keep in mind
For parents of children who need treatment for a mental illness, headlines generated around studies like this can be worrying.

Hendren said he can’t stress enough that these kinds of drugs must be prescribed and monitored by skilled doctors and “knowledgeable caretakers” to minimize problems that could arise.

He said that the data presented by this new study comes with some caveats.

For starters, could these young people in this specific population also have other risk factors for early death? These could be things such as out-of-home placement, inadequate monitoring, or other environmental factors tied to their homes, schools, or communities.

Regardless, he says the findings from studies like this one are significant.

“It still makes very important points for all families — use after other options have been given a good try and monitor carefully and thoughtfully. But when needed and in the right hands, the benefits outweigh the risks,” he said.

Austerman said that families and caregivers at home need to educate themselves about the risks as well and to be in close contact with their doctors and children’s medical teams to know what to look out for if something starts to go wrong.

“The patient must be informed of the need for close monitoring and the potential risks,” he said.

Moving forward, Ray said he would like to work with larger populations of people to see if the same patterns will emerge.

He reiterated that medical practitioners consider alternatives before prescribing antipsychotics, carry out careful pre-treatment, and closely carry out post-treatment monitoring.

“Essentially, the message of these findings is that this isn’t just some ‘theoretical problem,’” he said. “Concrete steps have to be taken to improve the safety of children and young people on antipsychotics.”

The bottom line
A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry looked at the data of nearly 248,000 children and young adults enrolled in Medicaid in Tennessee over the course of 15 years.

It found that some young people who are prescribed antipsychotic medications to treat mental illnesses had a higher chance of unexpected, early death than those who were given a treatment such as a mood stabilizer.

The findings point to doctors’ concerns that these drugs should be a last resort for young people and when they are prescribed, patients should be closely and carefully monitored.

These young people also didn’t have any previous risks for unexpected death, such as an unintentional drug overdose.

Teen Use of Flavored Tobacco Was Down, But E-Cigarettes Are Bringing It Back Up

Experts are concerned about the new trend, noting how unhealthy smoking can be for young adults.

The decline in tobacco use among teenagers seen in recent years may have been short-lived as the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people increases.

Scientists from the University of Nebraska Medical Center noticed this trend while studying data from the 78,000 teens and young adults who participated in the National Youth Tobacco Survey between 2014 and 2017.

The researchers published their findings in JAMA Pediatrics.

The prevalence of current use of all tobacco products in young people decreased from 17 percent in 2014 to less than 14 percent in 2017.

The number of high school students using flavored tobacco fell from 69 percent in 2014 to 57 percent in 2016, but this number increased to 63 percent in 2017. bandarqq

Hongying Dai, PhD, lead study author and an associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, attributes the uptick largely to an increase in flavored e-cigarettes.

As flavored tobacco and other tobacco product use decreased or leveled off, flavored e-cigarette use continued to rise into 2018 among high school students.

The number of e-cigarette users increased by 1.5 million students from 2017 to 2018, according to a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report.

In that report, 31 percent of high school students who vape said they chose e-cigarettes because of the availability of flavored products.

“The perception that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative, along with many new products geared towards young people, is a big part of the rise,” said Dr. Steven Rowe, a professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“This is alarming because it’s grown faster than expected, and the perception that it’s safe is clearly wrong,” he told Healthline.

An unhealthy habit
Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 6 million deaths around the world each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That includes 480,000 deaths per year in the United States.

The CDC also reports that for each person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with serious smoking-related illnesses.

The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General reports that if smoking continues at current rates, 5.6 million, or 1 in every 13 of today’s children, will ultimately die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.

The FDA unveiled the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the agency’s history last summer. It issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers that sold e-cigarette products, such as JUUL, to underage youth during a nationwide undercover operation.

The Surgeon General also released an advisory report in December stating that e-cigarette use among youth has skyrocketed in the past year at a rate of “epidemic proportions.”

The press release indicated that high school students using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days had grown to more than 75 percent. There was an increase of almost 50 percent among middle school age students as well.

“We need to protect our kids from all tobacco products, including all shapes and sizes of e-cigarettes,” said Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams in a statement.

“We have never seen use of any substance by America’s young people rise as rapidly as e-cigarette use is,” added U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.

Future research
The FDA and the HHS agree that further research is needed to fully understand the effects of e-cigarettes.

The University of Rochester Medical Center and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has been awarded a $19 million grant funded by the National Cancer Institute to study the issue.

Although many look to e-cigarettes as a “safe alternative,” some research shows that smoking during adolescence increases the risk of developing both cognitive impairment as well as potential psychiatric disorders later in life.

Nicotine can affect the areas of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, and brain plasticity. Early exposure to nicotine can have long-term effects.

“We cannot allow cigarettes to become an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for younger Americans,” Azar said.

“Vapor with nicotine is highly addictive, and young people are especially at risk for addiction,” Dr. Rowe said. “Deciding to smoke is regretted by many people even a short time later, after addiction has already taken hold.”

New Breath Test May Be Able to Detect a Variety of Cancers

Clinical trials have begun on a new device that’s designed to pick up the different “signatures” of different cancers.

Imagine being able to detect cancer simply by breathing into a device similar to a breathalyzer.

It could become a reality, as a new clinical trial will soon evaluate this technology.

Researchers say the new device has the potential to detect multiple types of cancer.

It could offer an early detection method that would allow for earlier treatments.

Researchers from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre are conducting the trial with Owlstone Medical, which developed the Breath Biopsy technology. agen poker

“The potential to detect a cancer early through a simple, noninvasive breath test is really exciting,” said Dr. Nicholas Rohs, an assistant professor of hematology and oncology in thoracic medical oncology at The Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai in New York.

“The earlier we discover a cancer, the more likely we can cure it,” he told Healthline.

He says that although the technology still has a long way to go, it could be a “powerful clinical tool” if refined.

A cancer breath test may sound like something new, but it’s been studied in the past. It’s also used to diagnose gastrointestinal conditions.

In addition, we already know that people with kidney or liver failure, for example, have changes in the scent of their breath, Rohs notes.

How the test works
Here’s how the test works.

People breathe into a device containing the Breath Biopsy technology, which detects volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

These are odorous molecules released in our breath, which develop when cells metabolize.

When a cell’s metabolism is altered, as it does with cancer, the cells can release a different VOC pattern. The test is designed to identify patterns associated with different forms of the disease.

“The idea is to detect volatiles which may have signatures specific to different cancer types,” Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald, the lead trial investigator at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, told Healthline.

Some evidence supports that different types of cancers have different VOC patterns.

“The metabolism of different sorts of cancer cells is different according to the mutations that perturb cells in specific ways,” Fitzgerald explained.

Hopefully, the researchers can correlate different VOC patterns to specific types of cancers, she adds.

A variety of participants
The two-year trial will draw upon samples from 1,500 people.

This will include those without cancer, which will act as a control to better analyze VOCs in people who do have cancer.

The trial will begin with people thought to have esophageal and stomach cancers and then expand to prostate, kidney, bladder, liver, and pancreatic cancers.

Participants suspected of having cancer will be referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and will be given the breath test before other diagnostic tests.

Samples from people who have a cancer diagnosis will be compared to those who don’t develop the disease.

Cancer’s unique biology
Rohs says it makes sense that cancers of the neck, stomach, esophagus, or lung may be more accurately detected with a breath test.

Lots of what the tests pick up are organic compounds being released from the bloodstream into the lungs.

“Each type of cancer has a unique biology and can release different compounds into our body, so we need more studies to see which type of tumor may be best detected by this type of test,” he said. “Therefore, the best cancers to utilize this test will be ones that release the most unique ‘chemical fingerprint.’”

The level and type of VOCs released can vary between both healthy and sick individuals. A variety of factors can also alter them, such as diet, smoking, and other medical conditions, Rohs notes.

“Figuring out which VOCs are clinically useful and being able to minimize the other ‘background noise’ to provide us reliable results will be one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome,” he added.

The test wouldn’t necessarily replace traditional diagnostic tests, Fitzgerald says. Ideally, it will be used in general practices to determine if patients need further testing.

Dr. Brendon Stiles, a thoracic surgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine Center in New York, agrees that the breath test wouldn’t replace other early detection methods but could be helpful as an adjunct test.

“For example, if a patient is found to have an indeterminate nodule on a lung cancer CT screening scan, the breath test may be used to help determine the actual risk that it is cancer and the need for a biopsy,” he explained to Healthline.

“The concept of providing a whole-body snapshot in a completely noninvasive way is very powerful and could reduce harm by sparing patients from more invasive tests that they don’t need,” Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO of Owlstone Medical, said in a statement.

Challenges of breath tests
Rohs says it’s difficult to develop screening tests.

They need to be easy to use, affordable, and minimally invasive.

“It also has to reliably distinguish between a healthy patient and a patient with a disease,” he said.

This way, the screening test can be applied to a large population and test with accuracy.

Such a screening test must also show that it can lead to better patient outcomes.

“The challenge with developing a screening breath test is that our bodies are so complex that we release hundreds of these VOCs, that it is difficult to decide what results are meaningful to clinical care,” Rohs said.

The main challenge in developing the test, Stiles says, is that people are biologically and metabolically different from each other.

“Each of us would have our own breath signatures with or without cancer that would distinguish us from other people,” he said. “Finding a true ‘cancer signature’ within all of that biological noise is very challenging.”

High interest
Fitzgerald notes there’s promising data to suggest the test may be able to detect certain cancers better than others.

Namely, it may be able to accurately detect lung cancer.

Fitzgerald expects many people to be interested in the two-year trial.

“The technology is developed and promising, but whether or not it has the sensitivity required remains to be seen,” she said.

“While there needs to be continued testing and validation, I think that there is a real possibility that something like this will be part of healthcare in the future,” Rohs added.

What to Do When Your Doctor Doesn’t Seem to Care

It’s not just about feelings. When physicians fail to show patients compassion, it can have a big impact on their mental and physical health.

Nothing makes a doctor’s visit more discouraging than an unempathetic physician.

Whether you’re receiving preventive care, or treatment for an acute or chronic condition, feeling compassion from your doctor goes a long way.

“Your relationship with your doctor should be based on mutual respect. You are dealing with high stakes here. This is your healthcare,” Anthony J. Orsini, DO, neonatologist at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida, told Healthline.

“It’s very important for you to understand and feel a bond with your physician so when you leave the hospital or doctor’s office you fully understand what’s going on,” he said.

Orsini, who’s also the president of BBN, an organization dedicated to training healthcare professionals about compassionate communication, conducted a study in Winnie Palmer Hospital’s NICU unit, one of the largest in the nation.

The study showed that compassion training for medical staff improves a patient’s hospital experience by 60 percent.

“This is a significant change. In the ‘It’s All in the Delivery’ program that I run, we show nurses and doctors how they can form a trusting relationship with a patient in just a few minutes,” said Orsini.

“I believe doctors and nurses are genuinely compassionate people. Expressing that compassion is where they fall short sometimes either due to lack of training [in medical school] or because they get caught up in the increasing demands of modern healthcare,” he added.

The demands he points out include increased administrative work.

Because nurses and doctors are forced to become more task-oriented to meet these demands, he says it’s easy to forget to take the time to communicate with patients.

“You can’t be task-oriented and compassionate. They go against each other,” Orsini said. “The key to breaking the cycle is for physicians and nurses to not allow themselves to be task-oriented and to remind themselves of the compassion they have within.”

But, while Orsini helps healthcare providers tap into their inner compassion, what can you — the patient — do if you encounter a lack of empathy from your doctor? poker online

Feel empowered to make a change. Then act on it.

Here’s how:

Say something
Although your particular diagnosis or situation may be routine to your doctor, it’s certainly personal and unique to you.

“Sometimes your doctor may forget that, so be polite, but be your own advocate and share your feelings with your doctor,” Orsini said. “Tell them that you feel rushed or that you don’t understand what they are saying.”

He also suggests asking your doctor to explain your condition in simple terms first, and medical terms after.

“We teach nurses and doctors to do this. We also teach them to tell the patient that they will write down the medical term because when today’s patient hears a medical term, their mind immediately tries to spell it so they can go home and Google it,” Orsini said. “While they’re trying to figure out how to spell a word, they don’t hear what the physician is saying.”

The tone a doctor displays is also something to point out.

For instance, if your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight, the way in which they say it makes all the difference.

“Saying it in a particular manner and using words and non-verbal language that shows compassion, such as sitting, facial expressions, and particular words, can make the difference between the patient feeling insulted or feeling like they have a partner in their healthcare,” Orsini said.

Ask them to sit down
While many doctors stand up when they talk to patients, Orsini says to ask yours to sit.

“You should really expect their undivided attention. Asking them to sit down will slow them down and remind them that this is a one-to-one conversation,” he said. “There are studies that have shown that hospitals can improve the patient experience by simply asking their doctors and nurses to sit down every time they speak with a patient.”

He adds that sitting down doesn’t take much longer than if the doctor stood up, yet the patient’s perception is that their doctor stayed longer in the room.

“When I give seminars on this, I get the same comment from healthcare providers who say, ‘I don’t have time to sit down.’ I tell them, ‘Actually, you’re going to save time by sitting down because the patient is going to feel like you spent more time with them.’”

Point out multi-tasking
If you find your doctor talking to you about important information while they multitask, such as sitting at their computer and typing information into your electronic medical record, politely get them to stop.

“You can say, ‘Doctor, I’ll wait until you’re done doing what you’re doing and we can talk one-on-one,’” said Orsini. “Usually when a doctor or nurse has fallen into that task-oriented trap, if a patient reminds them of it, it will usually snap them out of it and the patient will get a good response.”

Filling out patient satisfaction surveys are a great way to give valuable feedback to your doctor. Getty Images

Report your concerns
If you want to report a healthcare provider’s behavior to a hospital, Orsini says one way to do so is to respond to patient satisfaction surveys called The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS).

“Most hospitals have whole departments dedicated to improving their scores and the patient experience. Not only do those scores affect reimbursement, but also patient loyalty and outcomes, which means you have a voice when you receive the survey, so fill it out and be very honest,” he said.

Most hospitals also have a department dedicated to addressing patient concerns. These departments might be called the Patient Experience or Patient Advocacy department. Call, email, or write a letter to your hospital’s department.

“In 2019, patient satisfaction and patient experience is such a hot topic that hospitals are taking these types of complaints more seriously than ever,” Orsini said.

If you had a bad encounter with your personal physician, in addition to telling your doctor and their partners (if they have any), Orsini says to rate them on online review sites, such as,, and

Find a new doctor
If you’ve tried everything to get your doctor to show compassion and nothing has worked, it’s time to find a new one.

“You deserve a physician that you feel you have a relationship with. If your doctor is not giving you that and you’re unlikely to follow his or her instructions, then move on,” Orsini said.

Rest assured there are plenty of doctors who care about building good relationships with their patients.

“This is why you see physicians who have very successful practices and those who don’t,” said Orsini. “It’s rarely due to one being better technically than the other. The successful practices are those who can communicate and form genuine relationships with their patients. Physicians who are unable to learn how to communicate find themselves not getting reimbursed as much and their practices dwindling.”

Those Avocados in Your Kitchen May Be Contaminated, Here’s What to Do

The FDA recently found one fifth of the avocados they tested were contaminated with dangerous bacteria, but consumers can take simple steps to prevent foodborne illness.

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With the Super Bowl only weeks away, avocados have been added to the list of produce with potential bacterial contamination.

But don’t worry, your pregame guacamole should still be safe.

Thanks to the avocado’s thick skin, a few simple food-prep steps can help you get your dip into the end zone while leaving behind any foodborne illness.

Get Answers from a Doctor in Minutes, Anytime
Have medical questions? Connect with a board-certified, experienced doctor online or by phone. Pediatricians and other specialists available 24/7.

FDA finds avocado skin contamination
In December, the Food and Drug Administration released a report of testing done on over 1,600 imported and domestic avocados between 2014 and 2016, looking for bacterial contamination.

The FDA found that Listeria monocytogenes was present on the skin of 17 percent of the avocados. Less than 1 percent tested positive for Listeria inside the avocado.

Also, less than 1 percent of the avocados showed signs of Salmonella.

Listeria is a bacterium that causes listeriosis, an infection that mainly affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms start one to four weeks after eating contaminated food, and include diarrhea and fever.

But listeriosis can also lead to miscarriage or stillbirth in pregnant women, or headache, loss of balance, and convulsions in other susceptible groups.

The FDA recommends that consumers scrub the outside of the avocado with a produce brush and dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel to reduce the number of bacteria that may be present.

This can also be done with other “hard skin” produce, such as melons and oranges.

Randy Worobo, PhD, a professor of food safety at Cornell University, said you can also wash avocados and other hard-skinned produce in a light bleach solution — half a tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water — to kill bacteria that may be present.

“If you don’t wash and sanitize the exterior,” said Worobo, “you can drag the contamination from the outside to the inside when you cut the skin.”

The FDA said in its report that “other practices associated with avocado consumption may reduce the risk to consumers as well. Consumers commonly slice avocados and extract the fruit’s pulp prior to eating it, discarding the fruit’s peel as they would a banana peel or an orange rind.”

“Consumers also typically eat avocados shortly after slicing the fruit, as its pulp tends to brown quickly once exposed to oxygen. These practices generally limit the amount of the pathogen, if present, that consumers may be exposed to,” the FDA added.

Prevent illness with proper food handling
Worobo said bacteria, like Listeria, are naturally found in the environment. So any raw agricultural food product can potentially carry foodborne pathogens — even those purchased in a supermarket.

Consumers, though, can take simple steps to reduce their risk of foodborne illness.

“When you prepare and handle food,” said Worobo, “avoid temperature abuse and cross-contamination so pathogens don’t get into your food.”

Produce should be refrigerated to keep it fresh and minimize the growth of bacteria or other pathogens.

Prepared foods like guacamole and potato salad should also be refrigerated until ready to be eaten.

“If you did have low levels of pathogens on the raw products,” said Worobo, “and you made a dip and left it out at room temperature, you are creating conditions that allow for pathogen growth.”

Avoid cross-contamination between fruits and vegetables, and raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

This means using separate kitchen utensils and storage containers for fruits and vegetables.

Also, wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot water and soap after preparing raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Plastic and other nonporous cutting boards should be run through the dishwasher after use. domino qiu qiu

For more food handling tips, see

And remember, food safety is a game that everyone can win at.

“Consumers have a role in guaranteeing the safety of the foods that they serve to their families,” said Worobo. “It’s everybody’s responsibility to try and minimize foodborne illness, not just the producers of the raw products.”

Written by Shawn Radcliffe on January 11, 2019

Are Modern Parents Too Involved in Their Kids’ Lives?

When parents are so busy with their children’s lives, they don’t have any time for themselves and may be doing more harm than good.

Melanie Boyle is exhausted. Living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she’s mom to a 3-year-old whose weekly schedule includes occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, aquatic therapy, swim classes three days a week, ballet, gymnastics, cooking, and soccer.

“Then there’s the constant mental work,” she told Healthline. “What did she eat today? Has she had enough protein? How many vegetables? Does she have clean clothes and gear for activities? Has she napped? How many books did we read today? Did she have too much screen time?”

With so much going on, it’s no wonder Boyle is feeling overwhelmed by parenthood. And she’s not alone.

According to a recent New York Times article, “Parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be.”

The pressure is certainly on, with parents being more involved than ever before. There are more activities to attend, more expensive opportunities to take advantage of, and more outside judgment of parents who don’t seem to be doing it all.

The Times piece cites several reasons for this shift. From the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor (and parents wanting to ensure their children are on the right side of that gap) to the input from experts constantly suggesting parents do more, the article essentially concludes we’re asking too much of modern parents — and they’re suffering as a result.

The best approach?

Responses from parents online have been swift, with many chiming in to share their own experiences — both good and bad.

But is “the relentlessness of modern parenting,” which one expert quoted in the Times piece describes as “child-centered, expert-guided, emotionally absorbing, labor intensive and financially expensive,” really what’s best for kids?

Dr. Steph Lee is a pediatrician specializing in preventive medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). She told Healthline, “I think some of it could be beneficial and some of it maybe not so much. Should you consider your child and make time for them? Absolutely. But should you neglect your own well-being? Absolutely not. Parents are better parents when they take into consideration their own needs.”

The challenges

However, plenty of parents seem to be neglecting that needed time spent on themselves. And mothers, especially, seem to be sacrificing their needs for the needs of their families.

According to 2015 Pew Research data, 53 percent of mothers said they don’t have enough time or any time at all for friends and hobbies.

It’s not hard to see why, when 73 percent said their children participated in athletic activities in the last year, 60 percent said their children participated in religious instruction or youth groups, and 54 percent said their children took lessons in music, dance, or art.

Meanwhile, the majority of parents across all income levels said good, affordable child care was hard to find.

What’s more, 67 percent of mothers said they had participated in PTA or other school meetings, while 63 percent had volunteered with special projects, activities, or class trips.

Despite all that, half of full-time working moms reported wishing they were able to be more involved in their children’s education.

The pressure

“Before the advent of the internet, I feel like parenting was basically ‘keep the kid alive, show up to parent-teacher conferences, and maybe a recital,” Boyle explained when describing her own relentless experience of motherhood.

“Now there’s so much information out there about what all we could be doing and how we could be doing better or more for our kids,” she said.

According to relationship and parenting expert Dr. Wendy Walsh, the issue isn’t that modern parenting is now asking too much of parents. It’s that society as a whole isn’t supporting families in doing what’s best for kids.

“Parents are now having to compensate for the fact that our society and culture aren’t helping the way they used to, so parents will fail at every turn because they’ll never be able to do it all,” she said.

Where the U.S. falls behind

The United States has fallen behind other developed nations when it comes to supporting families. It’s the only country that fails to guarantee any paid parental leave.

It also has the second-highest cost of child care, while healthcare spending in the country is double that of other nations but with worse outcomes.

Then there’s the fact that the structure of American families is simply changing. There are more single-parent homes, families are having fewer children (resulting in less help from older siblings in raising younger siblings), and extended family support isn’t always available.

There are also now more women in the workforce than ever before, but according to the Times piece, those women are still spending “just as much time tending to their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s.”

According to Dr. Walsh, “The problem isn’t women leaving the household. The problem is twofold: men not entering the household and society not catching up to start taking over.”

Good enough

But Walsh doesn’t think the pressure needs to be as great as many make it. She mentions Donald Winnicott, an English pediatrician and psychoanalyst, who focused on the idea of being a “good enough” parent.

“Kids grow in our gaps,” Walsh explained. “They grow when we forget to pack their lunch or are a little late picking them up from school. A parent that is hovering is not good for kids, nor is a parent who is neglectful. Most of us who are trying end up being just good enough anyway.” bandar ceme online

She believes kids benefit from the direction parenthood has headed today, but she wants to see society step up its support.

“It’s not that we’re telling parents to do it wrong, it’s that we’re not helping them to do it right. We need to stop blaming the parents. They’re just struggling in a system that’s already established and in modern communities where the deck is already stacked against them.”

When to seek help

Dr. Lee suggests talking to your child’s doctor if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of modern parenting or the latest recommendations being made by experts.

“The recommendations of the AAP should always be viewed as guidelines,” she told Healthline. “If your mental health or well-being is suffering because you’re trying so hard to adhere to these guidelines, that’s not what we intend. There are tools and strategies your child’s doctor can discuss with you for doing the best you can without adding more unnecessary stress.”

The true dilemma

Boyle admits she wouldn’t necessarily change anything about the way she parents.

Where the Times piece states parents today spend an average of five hours a week actively engaging with their children compared to the one hour and 45 minutes a week parents in the ’70s apparently spent, she said, “That just seems so sad. I worked hard to have this child, why wouldn’t I want to spend time with her? In a perfect world, I’d spend an hour and 45 minutes just reading and playing with her every day.”

Boyle says she doesn’t mind the activities, mostly because her daughter loves them. And she loves her daughter.

Still, “Sometimes, I just need a break,” she said. “I just want to sit on the couch and turn my brain off for a little while. Or have an adult conversation. Or pee alone.”

They’re not unreasonable requests.

But if the relentlessness of modern parenting doesn’t allow for that time, perhaps modern moms and dads need to reevaluate their approach to parenting.

Men and Women Can Learn a Lot from One Another About Weight Loss

Men and women often try to tackle weight loss differently, but they’re usually more successful with a similar approach. Here’s why.

You’ve heard it before: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

At least that’s how the popular relationship book tried to explain the reasons men and women often appear to communicate, behave, and express emotion differently.

But are men and women really so different when it comes to weight loss?

“Yes. But I think the differences were bigger historically, and the way men and women approach weight loss is more similar to each other now than it was a decade ago,” Dr. Rekha B. Kumar, medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, told Healthline.

She says the differences are narrowing due to the obesity epidemic in the United States and an increase in diabetes.

“In the past, women were more focused on weight loss and being thin, potentially due to social [and] cultural pressures more so than health concerns. And men were more focused on building muscle and taking supplements that they thought could enhance their muscle,” Kumar said. “Now, everyone is more focused on reducing fat mass and being lean.”

Still, some differences between the sexes do exist.

Muscle mass matters

Genetically, men tend to have more muscle and less fat mass than women due to higher levels of testosterone, which is why they need to eat more calories than women to maintain their same weight.

“If you take two people of equal weight but one has more muscle, that person is going to burn more calories and need more calories to sustain their weight,” said Kumar. ceme online

This is because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat — about 35 to 50 calories per pound of muscle, said Katherine Tallmadge, registered dietitian and author of “Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations.”

“That’s one reason why women need to build muscle,” Tallmadge told Healthline.

“When you lose weight, about half of what you lose is muscle so it’s really important to eat right and to strength train while losing weight to minimize losing muscle.”

She points out that both men and women start losing muscle in their 30s. In addition to having an effect on weight loss, losing muscle “affects the immune system and our ability to move, function, and not fall as we get older,” Tallmadge said.

We carry weight differently, too

Men and premenopausal women carry weight differently.

“Men tend to gain weight around the abdomen and tend to be more apple-shaped if they were to gain excess weight, whereas premenopausal women tend to gain weight more around the hips and less around the belly,” Kumar said.

However, postmenopausal women do gain weight more in the abdomen due to hormonal changes, such as losing estrogen.

For both genders, stomach fat that sits under the muscle and around the organs is dangerous inflammatory fat that increases the risk of diabetes, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease.

“The soft fat that is just underneath skin is not necessarily metabolically dangerous fat. It keeps you warm and a little is healthy,” said Kumar.

Men drop weight quicker

Kumar says it’s true that men tend to lose weight quicker than women.

In her practice at Weill Cornell Medicine, she says on average, a woman might lose 0.5 to 1 pound a week in the initial phases of weight management whereas a man might lose 2 pounds a week.

“One theory is that this has to do with hormones and a woman’s set point for what healthy body fat is due to the brain sensing body fat and trying to keep women in healthy shape for reproduction,” explained Kumar.

For instance, she points out that women who are severe dieters might experience their period stopping and even infertility due to low body fat.

“We don’t know much about low body fat affecting men’s fertility. Men can be healthy at much lower fat masses than are considered healthy for women,” Kumar said.

“Females tend to be healthy at a higher body fat percentage, which goes back to the theory that this is due to reproductive reasons,” she added.

Preferences for food differ

Tallmadge says men typically choose meat-related diets whereas women may focus on vegetables and fruits.

“That’s why the Paleo and Atkins diets attract more men,” she said. “Meat diets may not work as well for women because men can get away with eating more calories and still lose weight while women can’t, and meat tends to be high in calories.”

She adds that the reason many men lean toward meat may not be as physiological as it is cultural.

“Again, this may be due to the fact women typically have more experience dieting and reading about health or seeking out advice, so we are more attuned and educated about healthy eating and are less likely to turn to a diet filled with meat,” Tallmadge said.

However, Kumar believes food preferences are changing.

“I think those differences are what has narrowed. Historically speaking, a female on a diet would lean toward vegetables and fruit because she was focused on nutrition and weight loss where a male would lean toward a high-protein diet and take supplements to build muscle,” she said.

“Now I think men and women are realizing the importance of lean proteins, high vegetables, and low processed sugars, so they are both appreciating the benefits of a Mediterranean diet.”

This may be an area where men and women can learn from each other most.

“Women can learn from men in the process of dieting and losing weight that building muscle is really important to sustain your metabolic weight. Men can learn from women that in the process of dieting, getting good nutrition through adequate vitamins and mineral content of fruits and vegetables is equally as important as getting protein and building muscle,” said Kumar.

Psychosocial factors play a part

Culturally, Kumar says it still might be more acceptable for women to diet, and for them to discuss dieting.

“Currently, it’s as important for a man to diet, due to the fact that we have an obesity and diabetes epidemic, but it may not be as socially acceptable in certain cultures for a man to be on a diet,” said Kumar.

“This is old school stuff, but there are people who might comment on a man eating a salad versus a woman eating a salad,” she said.

Tallmadge agreed, adding that men tend to take extreme measures when trying to lose weight, such as skipping meals all day.

“Women tend to have more of a history of dieting since it’s been acceptable for women to diet for a long time, and so because of that they know that skipping meals can backfire,” she said.

However, in Kumar’s experience, men are more willing to take dietary and exercise advice and follow a plan.

“Whereas I’m seeing women will tweak and adjust regimens to suit their lifestyle because women may be juggling a lot of things like a home and job and caring for kids. This is stereotyping and generalizing, but overall I make more adjustments with women’s plans than men’s plans,” she said.

Still, both experts say they approach a weight loss plan for men and women in similar fashion, with the focus on an individualized plan.

“I get to know the person really well and the kinds of foods they enjoy eating and their lifestyle and we build on that to make changes,” Tallmadge said. “If they need more fruits and vegetables, we make that a goal or if they skip breakfast, we make eating breakfast everyday a goal. To lose weight, both men and women just need minor tweaks not major changes.”

While Kumar says cutting calories and moving more is still the bottom line of weight loss, she stresses that there are nuances within diets, such as macronutrient composition.

“Certain people might do better on low carbohydrates diets, such as women who are postmenopausal or those who have been treated for breast cancer. And some men might be more amenable to straight-forward calorie restriction across the board,” said Kumar. “It really depends on the individual.”

Flu Season Has Kicked In… Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Experts say peak flu season is near, but there are hopes this year won’t be as bad as last year.

The flu season is well under way across the United States with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that between 6 million and 7 million people have already come down with the illness.

CDC officials said Friday that half of those afflicted sought medical attention. As many as 84,000 were hospitalized.

In addition, 24 states reported widespread influenza activity in early January.

Experts say rates of influenza are generally above-average levels across the country.

“At the end of 2018, flu activity was high in New York City and 19 states, including most of the American southwest and New Jersey. It’s still low in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 22 of our 50 states, but that will change as the season progresses,” Stephen Morse, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, told Healthline.

H1N1 has been the most common strain of the virus seen so far this season, which experts anticipate will be milder than last year’s strain.

The 2017/2018 influenza season was considered one of high severity by the CDC with high rates of emergency department visits and widespread flu activity over an extended period. bandarq

By the end of October 2018, 185 pediatric deaths from flu complications were reported to the CDC, with 80 percent of deaths occurring in children who hadn’t been vaccinated against influenza.

The number of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza were at or above epidemic levels for 16 straight weeks during the 2017/18 flu season.

But after the Southern Hemisphere experienced a much milder flu season about six months ago, health experts are hopeful this year won’t be as bad.

“The dominant virus is different from last year, which is excellent. The H1N1 virus generally produces milder infections like Australia had last season. We are hoping for a milder season than we had last year, which was a doozy,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, told Healthline.

“All of the fluologists have their own crystal ball, but flu is fickle so we’re always very cautious about predicting, but I will say so far so good, not bad,” he said.

Two main strains

Since the 1970s, two major Type A flu varieties have coexisted: H3N2 and H1N1.

Each season typically sees one of the strains dominate and H3N2 historically has been considered the nastier of the two strains.

But experts still keep a careful eye on the H1N1 strain, which in 1918 infected 500 million people worldwide and killed 50 million in one of the worst disease outbreaks in recorded history.

“In 1918, the situation was very unusual as a high proportion of the fatalities were in young healthy adults and death often occurred quickly,” Schaffner said.

“There is still discussion about how this happened, but many scientists think that the infection somehow overstimulated the immune system, causing an effect similar to septic shock or a hemorrhagic fever. In cases with longer duration, the infection can also open up the body to a secondary bacterial pneumonia. Although that was, thankfully, unique, we want never to see it repeated.”

Kim Kardashian Has It… What Should You Do If You Have Psoriasis?

There are some relatively simple ways to treat this skin condition that can cause painful itching.

For years, Kim Kardashian has lived with a skin condition known as psoriasis.

It’s an autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 2 percent of people in the United States.

It causes red scaly patches to develop on the skin. Those patches can be dry, itchy, and painful.

In the past, Kardashian has managed the condition using moisturizing treatments and light therapy.

But last month in a post on Twitter, the reality television personality and entrepreneur asked for advice about psoriasis medication. bandar ceme

“I think the time has come I start a medication for psoriasis,” Kardashian wrote. “I’ve never seen it like this before and I can’t even cover it at this point. It’s taken over my body. Has anyone tried a medication for psoriasis & what kind works best?”

Here’s some treatments Kardashian and others with the ailment can consider.

Topical treatments

Psoriasis most often develops on the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp.

But it can appear on other parts of the body, too.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly 80 percent of people with psoriasis have a mild to moderate case of the disease.

For most of them, topical medications offer an effective treatment.

Those topical treatments can include medicated ointments, creams, lotions, oils, gels, foams, sprays, or shampoos.

“The most effective ones are prescription,” Dr. Janshin Wu, a dermatologist at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center and a member of the National Psoriasis Foundation’s medical board, told Healthline.

“You could use over-the-counter treatments,” he continued, “but they’re generally not going to work as well.”

Psoriasis most often develops on the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp.

But it can appear on other parts of the body, too.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly 80 percent of people with psoriasis have a mild to moderate case of the disease.

For most of them, topical medications offer an effective treatment.

Those topical treatments can include medicated ointments, creams, lotions, oils, gels, foams, sprays, or shampoos.

“The most effective ones are prescription,” Dr. Janshin Wu, a dermatologist at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center and a member of the National Psoriasis Foundation’s medical board, told Healthline.

“You could use over-the-counter treatments,” he continued, “but they’re generally not going to work as well.”