The number of parents who chose not to give their children school-required vaccines due to nonmedical reasons increased between the 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 school years, Emory University researchers found. They noted that states with less-strict vaccine exemption policies as well as those that allowed philosophical exemptions had higher rates of nonmedical exemptions. The findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.
CDC officials reported on Wednesday the continued surge of West Nile infections and deaths in the U.S., reaching a total of 3,142 cases, including 134 deaths. Texas remains the epicenter of the epidemic, with nearly 40% of all cases.
A study in the journal Neurology showed that moderately high levels of childhood emotional neglect were tied to an almost threefold higher risk of suffering a stroke in adulthood. Although the study established a link between emotional neglect and future stroke risk, it failed to find a causal relationship.
Prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke or secondhand smoke was linked to a greater likelihood of
learning problems, obesity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a Spanish study found. Researchers said that babies exposed to smoke while in the womb may be less able to block stimuli that can change their central nervous system. The findings appear in the journal Early Human Development.
U.S. researchers conducted three experiments exploring the psychological consequences of pacifiers and found that frequent use can stunt the emotional development of boys. They said that the use of pacifiers may prevent babies from using mimicry for facial expressions at a young age. The findings appear in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology.
Obese children and teens were less likely to correctly identify various taste sensations than were normal-weight peers, according to a German study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. Researchers noted that girls and older children performed better in the taste tests.
The Joint Commission has acknowledged 620 hospitals in this year's list of top-performing hospitals based on quality and safety measures, an increase of 53% over 405 hospitals in 2011. The commission noted that 244 hospitals made the list in both 2011 and 2012, demonstrating consistently high performance. Hospitals reported data on measures they selected within eight categories.
A lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act's health insurance mandate must wait but can be refiled later, a federal judge ruled. But Mississippi's governor can't be among the plaintiffs because he has insurance, U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett ruled. The lawsuit concerns protection of private information and can't be addressed until rules governing disclosure under the law are worked out, according to the judge's order.
Talk to families about National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month, and the AAP asks members to take specific action to promote pediatric preparedness. Research shows that when pediatricians talk to families about preparedness, parents are more likely to take action. Members can create family or office emergency plans and encourage others to do the same. See the Family Readiness Kit and other resources on the AAP Children and Disasters website.
Links to national carriers' coverage and payment policies are available to AAP members
Available on MyAAP, under the private payer advocacy page, are links to the websites of the national private carriers' and TRICARE coverage and payment policies. Pediatricians and chapter pediatric councils can now access these sites for carriers' clinical guidelines, medical policies, coverage, payment and fee schedules in their discussions with the carrier. Learn more.
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Virginia Burden Tower, American writer
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