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Children's Thrive blog was recently named one of the best pediatric health blogs in the country by Parent and Child magazine and won a platinum Hermes award for its eight-part video series on a new treatment aimed at curing milk allergies.
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The proliferation of new online applications has made tracking, managing and improving your health as simple as reaching into your pocket for your cell phone. Here are two of the apps currently being developed by Childrenís Hospital Boston researchers to help you do just that:
Outbreaks Near Me is a new iPhone application, created by researchers at Children's and the MIT Media Lab, that lets users track and report outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as H1N1 (swine flu), on the ground in real time. The app, which features alerts that notify users when outbreaks are reported in their proximity, is an extension of HealthMap, a real-time online disease tracking tool developed in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program. In recognition of its innovative design and potential to benefit the public at large, HealthMap was recently featured as part of the Smithsonian's National Design Triennialís Why Design Now? exhibit in New York.
Stephen Corn, MD, director of Clinical Innovation at Children's and Brigham & Women's Hospital, has developed a small ultrasound sensor that connects to smart phones or computers to measure a person's breathing. The information is then instantly transmitted back to a health care provider. Corn is developing several apps based on this technology, including apps to track and manage asthma and sleep apnea.
Another app, which monitors the breath of sleeping babies, could potentially save lives. If an infant's breathing pattern changes, it triggers an alert to summon caregivers. Corn has also developed several stress management apps: Users sit in front of the sensor and synchronize their breathing with deep breathing patterns that have been shown to promote stress reduction.
The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper This guidebook addresses the types of real-life situations faced by families of transgender children and teens, from birth through college, through examples and advice from doctors, therapists and other families. It also discusses the medical and legal matters that become more important as transgender children grow to adulthood. Read "Different".
My Heart vs. The Real World by Max Gerber This photo-documentary explores the lives of 10 children with congenital heart disease through photographs and interviews. The stories depict how the patients and their families cope with their disease, but also how chronically ill children develop emotionally compared to their healthy counterparts. Read "Bridge to a better heart"
Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids: 150 Family-Tested Recipes by Sheri Sanderson Sanderson's family-friendly cookbook offers a wide variety of easy-to-make gluten-free treatsófrom macaroni and cheese to fudge browniesóas well as tips on entertaining and an assortment of craft recipes, including gluten-free play dough. Read "Gluten-free fallout"
This is absolutely not true. Sunburns aren't the result of how sunny it is, but rather the level of ultraviolet (UV) light your skin is exposed to. Clouds offer very little protection from UV rays so it's important to apply sunblock with UVA and UVB protection that's at least SPF 30 any time you're outside.
—Marilyn Liang, MD, Pediatric Dermatology
Despite what your parents might have told you, this isn't true. Acne is caused by overactive oil glands trapped under the skin. During adolescence and times of stress, hormonal changes can cause these oil glands to overact, resulting in pimples, whiteheads or blackheads. The best way to prevent breakouts is to wash your face twice a day with a gentle facial cleanser.
—Marilyn Liang, MD, Dermatology
You hear the words "lactose intolerance" thrown around a lot these days, but what does it really mean? We talked to Children's gastroenterologist Richard Grand, MD, to get the skinny on lactose intolerance and kids.
Q: I think my child is lactose intolerantóshould I eliminate all milk products from my child's diet?
A:Many adults and children avoid milk products because of misperceptions and myths about lactose intolerance. But long-term lactose restriction is a mistake and can result in low levels of calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients. The National Institutes of Health recently released findings on lactose intolerance. Among their conclusions is that it's generally unnecessary to fully restrict lactose. Most people with lactose intolerance can adapt to lactose when it's given in small doses over time.
Read the rest of the Q&A about lactose intolerance
The Growing Up Today Study has looked at the eating habits, activities and lifestyles of 16,800 girls and boys in the United states for the last 15 years. Over this time,
of the girls have become overweight or obese
or more of the adolescent females were trying to lose weight
Compared with adolescents who were heterosexual, gay, lesbian and bisexual girls and boys were more than two times as likely to use drugs
of girls binge drink frequently
of the males and females describe themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual
—Claire McCarthy, MD, on talking to her kids about bullying. To read the rest of her blog post on the topic, visit childrenshospital.org/bullying.