Repeated Less Serious Infections Do Not Affect Children’s School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student Department of Clinical Medicine - Psychosis Research Unit Aarhus University

Ole Köhler-Forsberg

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student
Department of Clinical Medicine – Psychosis Research Unit
Aarhus University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior studies have demonstrated that serious illnesses, for example severe infections such as measles, rubella or meningitis, which we vaccinate against, affect the brain and thereby the child’s ability to learn. From this we know that illnesses and in particular infections to some degree have an influence on our brains.

In this study, we decided to look at how children perform following the less severe infections that many of them frequently experience during their childhood. After all, this is the largest group of children, but this has not been studied previously in such a large population.

Basically, we found that among 598,553 Danes born 1987-1997, the less severe infections treated with anti-infective agents during childhood did not affect the child´s ability to perform well in school, nonetheless whether 5, 10 or 15 prescriptions had been prescribed.

On the other hand, we found that children who had been admitted to hospital as a result of severe infections had a lower chance of completing 9th grade. The decisive factor is therefore the severity of the disease, but not necessarily the number of sick days.  

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Longer Early Childhood Intervention Linked To Greater Post-Secondary Attainment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“preschool joy” by kristin :: prairie daze is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD
Institute of Child Development
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Educational attainment is the leading social determinant of health. Higher attainment measured by years of education or postsecondary attainment is linked to lower cardiovascular disease risk; lower rates of smoking, diabetes, and hypertension; and higher economic well-being.

Evidence on the long-term effects of early childhood programs on educational attainment is mixed. Some studies show impacts on high school graduation but not college attainment, the reverse pattern, or no measurement into adulthood. No studies of large-scale public programs have assessed impacts beyond young adulthood. Whether duration of participation over ages 3 to 9 is linked to mid 30s attainment also has not been investigated. Continue reading

Majority of Middle and High School Students Do Not Get Enough Sleep on School Nights

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“He isn't sleeping, he is mad. When we don't get our way pouting always works (okay.. It's worth a try at least!) #kids #dad #father #family #funny #like #parenting #photooftheday #instaphoto #instacute” by dadblunders is licensed under CC BY 2.0Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D.
Epidemiologist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Population Health
Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch
Atlanta, GA  30341-3717

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Insufficient sleep among children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and attention and behavior problems.

In previous reports, CDC had found that, nationwide, approximately two thirds of U.S. high school students report sleeping <8 hours per night on school nights. CDC conducted this study to provide state-level estimates of short sleep duration on school nights among middle school and high school students using age-specific recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). AASM has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours for optimal health.

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Students Expect More Special Favors From Female Professors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD Eastern Washington University

Prof. Amani El-Alayli

Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD
Eastern Washington University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This research was conducted on the premise that people tend to view women as more nurturing, and also set higher standards for women to behave in a nurturing manner. The same pattern has been observed in past research examining how students view their female professors.  Female professors are expected to be more nurturing, such as being more available outside of the classroom, as compared to their male professors.  In the present research, we investigated whether these higher expectations of nurturing behavior would cause students to be more likely to ask things of their female professors, consequently placing higher work demands on them.  In our survey of male and female professors across the country, we indeed found that female professors received more requests for standard work demands (e.g., office hours visits or assistance with course-related matters), as well as special favor requests (e.g., requests to re-do an assignment for a better grade or asking for some form of exception, extended deadline, or alternative assignment), compared to male professors.

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Dad’s Reading To Children Associated With Better Language Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Reading” by Kate Ter Haar is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jon Quach, PhD

Postdoctoral research fellow
Royal Childrens Hospital’s Centre for Community Child Health
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The reading practices of mothers and fathers was assessed in 405 families in Melbourne when children were 2, and child had their language and literacy skills assessed when they were 4 years old.

We found fathers reading practices were associated with better language outcomes 2 years later, even after accounting for mothers reading and key family demographics  Continue reading

Program Encouraging Shared Bookreading Improved Vocabulary, Memory and IQ

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adriana Weisleder, PhD Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Weislander

Adriana Weisleder, PhD
Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics
NYU Langone Medical Center
New York 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: An estimated 250 million children in low- and middle-income countries do not reach their developmental potential due to poverty. Many programs in the US, such as Reach Out and Read and Video Interaction Project, have shown success in reducing poverty-related disparities in early child development by promoting parent-child interactions in cognitively stimulating activities such as shared bookreading.

This randomized study sought to determine whether a program focused on supporting parent-child shared bookreading would result in enhanced child development among 2- to 4-year-old children in a low-resource region in northern Brazil. Families in the program could borrow children’s books on a weekly basis and could participate in monthly parent workshops focused on reading aloud.

Findings showed that participating families exhibited higher quantity and quality of shared reading interactions than families in a control group, and children showed higher vocabularies, working memory, and IQ.

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More Evidence That Higher Education May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Larsson

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD
Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet,
Institute of Environmental Medicine,
Stockholm, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown and there are currently no medical treatments that can halt or reverse its effects. This has led to growing interest in identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s that are amenable to modification. Several observational studies have found that education and various lifestyle and vascular risk factors are associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but whether these factors actually cause Alzheimer’s is unclear.

We used a genetic epidemiologic method known as ‘Mendelian randomization’. This method involves the use of genes with an impact on the modifiable risk factor – for example, genes linked to education or intelligence – and assessing whether these genes are also associated with the disease. If a gene with an impact on the modifiable risk factor is also associated with the disease, then this provides strong evidence that the risk factor is a cause of the disease.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: Our results, based on aggregated genetic data from 17 000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and 37 000 healthy controls, revealed that genetic variants that predict higher education were clearly associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A possible explanation for this link is ‘cognitive reserve’, which refers to the ability to recruit and use alternative brain networks or structures not normally used to compensate for brain ageing. Previous research has shown that high education increases this reserve.

We found suggestive evidence for possible associations of intelligence, circulating vitamin D, coffee consumption, and smoking with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There was no evidence for a causal link with other modifiable factors, such as vascular risk factors.

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Kids Who Have Difficulty Spelling Can Have Trouble Writing As Well

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sonia Kandel PhD
Professor at the GIPSA-Lab
Université Grenoble Alpes 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: How do we recall a word’s spelling from memory? How do we execute the movements to produce letters? A series of studies conducted by Professor Sonia Kandel at the GIPSA-Lab/University of Grenoble Alpes in France provide evidence indicating that writing is a linguistic process that affects the way we execute the manual movements when we write. For example, the movements involved in writing T-H-R are easier to execute in a word that is pronounced as it is spelled, (e.g. “thrill”) than in a word that is orthographically irregular (e.g. “through”). What happens with writing when spelling processes are impaired like, in dyslexia and dysgraphia?

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Associated With Educational Underachievment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Perez-Vigil

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center
Karolinska Institutet

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Everyone who regularly works with persons who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has seen that their patients often struggle with school work. It is not uncommon for these individuals to have poor school attendance and severe patients can be out of the education system altogether. This applies to persons of all ages, from school children to young adults who may be at university.

On the other hand there is a group of patients who, against all odds, working 10 times as hard as everybody else, manage to stay in education and eventually get a degree. So we have long suspected that OCD has a detrimental impact on the person’s education, with all the consequences that this entails (worse chances to enter the labour market and have a high paid job). But we did not really know to what extent OCD impacts education. So we wanted to know what is the actual impact of OCD on educational attainment using objectively collected information from the unique Swedish national registers. Previous work had been primarily based on small clinical samples from specialist clinics, using either self or parent report and cross-sectional designs. Previous work also tended not to control for important confounders such as psychiatric comorbidity or familial factors (genetic and environmental factors that could explain both OCD and the outcomes of interest).

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More Lab Tests Ordered At Teaching vs Non-Teaching Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Victoria Valencia, MPH Assistant Director for Healthcare Value Dell Medical SchoolThe University of Texas at Austin

Victoria Valencia

Victoria Valencia, MPH
Assistant Director for Healthcare Value
Dell Medical SchoolThe University of Texas at Austin

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were surprised to find that despite the common anecdote that resident physicians in teaching environments order more lab tests, there was a lack of empirical data to support the claim that more lab tests are ordered for patients at teaching hospitals than at non-teaching hospitals. Our study of 43,329 patients with pneumonia or cellulitis across 96 hospitals  in the state of Texas found that major teaching hospitals order significantly more lab tests than non-teaching hospitals.  We found this to be true no matter how we looked at the data, including when restricting to the least sick patients in our dataset. We also found that major teaching hospitals that ordered more labs for pneumonia tended to also more labs for cellulitis, indicating there is some effect from the environment of the teaching hospital that affects lab ordering overall.

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