Cheap cars for teens were often missing safety features and more prone to fatal crashes
A new study found that teens who drive newer cars may have a lower risk of getting into fatal car crashes. Newer cars were more likely to come with standard safety features — like side airbags and electronic stability control — that older cars lacked. Larger, heavier cars may offer better protection than smaller, lighter cars, the authors of this study said. (Daily Rx, 12/19)
Mother’s depression when kids are young linked to risky teen behaviors
Having a depressed mother during elementary or middle school raises the likelihood a child will engage in risky behaviors like drinking and smoking during the teen years, according to a new study. Based on children followed since they were toddlers, the researchers also found that kids with depressed mothers in “middle childhood” were likely to start risky health behaviors earlier in their adolescence than other kids. (Reuters, 12/22)
Study: Family-centered rounds improve pediatric care
Having parents or guardians involved in their children’s care during hospital stays can improve safety, particularly when it comes to medication errors, according to a recent study. The study involved creating video recordings of family-centered rounds. Results showed 55% of families raised 318 medication issues during 347 family-centered rounds. (, 12/22)
School-based health centers help kids end abusive relationships, study finds
Sometimes, all a teenager needs is a safe space to talk and learn about unhealthy dating relationships. And often, the best place for that is actually at a school-based health center, a new study found. The centers, which provide on-site confidential counseling and services to adolescents, can be a powerful educational tool in helping young people to understand what is OK and what is not in relationships, according to a new study. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette, 12/22)
The food that drags down American kids’ test scores
A new study, published in Clinical Pediatrics, finds that children who eat more fast food in fifth grade tend to show lower improvements in test scores in reading, math and science years later. Researchers looked at the eating habits of children in fifth grade and then tracked their academic performance for several years afterwards. (CBS News, 12/22)
Sex-ed programs work best when parents and youths talk
At least 40 sex education and teen pregnancy prevention programs have been shown to benefit teens, a new study says. The findings, which stem from 118 evaluations of programs, show that many kinds of approaches can have positive impacts on teen sexual behaviors, Child Trends Inc. said in its study. (Washington Times, 12/22)
Teens Are Actually Losing Weight For The Sake Of Health, Not Peer Acceptance Or Superficial Reasons
Teens who put their mind to losing weight — and succeed — differentiate themselves from those who try but fail, by being motivated by intrinsic reasons rather than social acceptance, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal Childhood Obesity, found that overweight teens who successfully lose weight do it for their own sake rather than for the superficial desire to please parents or others. (Medical Daily, 12/23)
Easy access may boost kids’ water consumption
Kids in New York City public schools drank water nearly three times more often after dispensers of cool, fresh tap water were conveniently placed near their lunch lines, researchers found. “The idea is to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” the study lead author said. “Of course you can lead a kid to water but you can’t always make her drink. (Reuters, 12/24)
ADHD May Raise Teens’ Odds for Smoking, Drinking
Teens are more likely to start smoking or drinking with each additional symptom they have of ADHD or conduct disorder, new research suggests. “Our findings underscore the need to counsel families about the risk of substance use as [these] children approach adolescence,” said study author. “This need is heightened among children with ADHD and/or conduct disorder diagnoses or symptoms.” (HealthDay News, 12/24)
Coordinated Care Through ‘Medical Home’ Best for Chronically Ill Kids: Study
Very sick children with complex chronic illnesses can receive effective, less expensive care from a clinic that functions as a “medical home,” with easy access to a team of dedicated health care professionals, a new study shows. Children were less likely to become seriously ill and need either hospitalization or a trip to the emergency room when they received treatment at an enhanced medical home clinic versus usual care. (HealthDay News, 12/24)
Learning a musical instrument boosts kids’ brains
In a new study, a child psychiatry team has found that learning a musical instrument could help children to reduce feelings of anxiety, gain a greater control of their emotions and give a stronger focus to their attention. The authors describe the study as “the largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development.” (Medical News Today, 12/29)
AAP: Best Practices for Improving ER Flow for Pediatric Patients
Best practices for improved flow and care for pediatric patients in the emergency department are discussed in a technical report published in Pediatrics. The AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine discuss best practices for improving flow, reducing waiting times, and improving the quality of care of pediatric patients in the emergency department. (Physician’s Briefing, 12/29)
New test rates medical school students’ patient engagement
The University of Missouri School of Medicine announced the implementation of a new tool to measure how well third-year medical students practice patient-centered care. Researchers worked with patients to determine behaviors that demonstrate high-quality patient-centered care and used the feedback to design the Patient-Centered Care – Objective Structured Clinical Exam, which medical students must pass to graduate. (Becker’s Hospital Review, 12/30)
80% of pediatricians use EHRs, study shows
Since the HITECH Act of 2009, more pediatricians are using EHRs despite the lack of pediatric-specific features, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics. Based on a survey of more than 1,600 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 79 percent of pediatricians reported using EHRs in 2012, up from 58 percent in 2009. (Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review, 12/30)
Parental Suicide Increases Same Risk In Children
Unfortunately, for parents who attempt suicide, their children are also more likely to do so. Recent studies have found a potential link between family and suicidal behavior. Researchers examined 701 children between the ages of 10 and 50 whose parents dealt with mood disorders. There were 334 parents--191 of whom had a history of attempting suicide. (Science World Report, 12/30)
Oral Therapy Preferred for Discharged Children with Osteomyelitis
Pediatric osteomyelitis patients who receive oral antibiotics after discharge do not fare any worse than children treated intravenously, according to a new study. The investigators studied 2060 children discharged from 36 hospitals who were diagnosed with osteomyelitis. Half of the children received oral antibiotics following discharge, while the other half remained in the hospital and were given antibiotics through a PICC. (Pharmacy Times, 12/31)
Gender Influences Opioid-Related Adverse Effects in Children
For children undergoing tonsillectomy, sex influences opioid-related adverse effects, according to a study published in Pain Medicine. The researchers found that for girls, but not boys, there was a significant morphine effect for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) and prolonged post-anesthesia recovery unit stay in association with PONV. (Physician’s Briefing, 12/31)
Vancomycin May Cause Kidney Damage in Children
Treating children who have drug-resistant bacterial infections with high doses of the antibiotic vancomycin may raise the risk of kidney damage, with greater risk at higher doses, according to research published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Researchers examined data on 175 children treated with vancomycin between 2009 and 2010. (Renal and Urology News, 12/31)                         



Top Medicaid Official to Step Down
The Obama administration’s top Medicaid official, who negotiated tough terms with states seeking to expand the program under the health law, is stepping down, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. Cindy Mann, director of the agency’s Medicaid unit, had served for five years as the top federal official for the program. (The Wall Street Journal, 12/19)
Feds pitching easy-to-understand insurance plan summaries
HHS is looking to simplify health benefits information insurers provide to consumers in an effort to help people when they examine plans. Under federal law, all group, individual and self-insured plans must include a summary of benefits and coverage for their members. These documents describe what the plans cover and also explain cost-sharing functions. (Modern Healthcare, 12/22)
Fewer U.S. Teens in Tanning Salons, Study Finds
Fewer U.S. teens are using indoor tanning beds and booths, although this risky behavior remains popular with more than 1.5 million high school students, a new survey reveals. In 2013, about 20 percent of high school girls and 5 percent of high school boys had sought out some form of indoor tanning at least once in the previous year, according to the latest poll. (HealthDay News, 12/23)
Ohio law widens care options for diabetic students
Students with diabetes traditionally have had their care provided by a school nurse, but a law that went into effect this school year allows districts to train other staff members to administer treatment if a nurse isn’t available. Health professionals and school officials say the change is positive, as it means more people will be equipped to handle a burgeoning population of diabetic students. (Canton Rep, 12/28)
Report cites rise in cases of child abuse in Mass.
Allegations of child abuse outside of children’s homes rose by 16 percent in Massachusetts in 2013, according to a new state report, providing fresh incentive for Governor-elect Charlie Baker and his administration to keep the focus on vulnerable children. The report from the state Office of the Child Advocate found there were 538 supported allegations of abuse and neglect of children in 2013. (Boston Globe, 12/29)
Flu Now Epidemic in U.S., With 15 Child Deaths Reported
The flu has reached epidemic levels in the United States, with 15 children dead so far this season, the CDC reported. Every state will likely have flu cases within the next few weeks, and more deaths are expected, said Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer in CDC’s influenza division. (HealthDay News, 12/30)
Nearly 6.5 million people in 2015 plans: U.S. agency
Nearly 6.5 million people either selected or were enrolled in a new individual insurance plan for 2015 on the website through Dec. 26, the U.S. government health agency said. sells plans for 37 states while the remaining states sell individual insurance on their own online exchanges. The government has said it is aiming for more than 9 million enrollees for 2015. (Reuters, 12/30)
Big Investments For ACA Innovation Lab, But Most Results Still Pending
The health law’s ambitious lab for transforming how medicine is delivered and financed submitted its official report card to Congress, boasting of a few early results but mostly showing many works in progress. If you’re covered by Medicare, Medicaid or even private insurance, there’s a decent chance you’re part of one of the Department of Health and Human Services’ tests to improve care and control costs. (Kaiser Health News, 12/31)
First viral meningitis outbreak in sports team caused by Echovirus 30 reported in California
An outbreak of aseptic, or viral, meningitis reported in 10 California teens this past summer has been identified as caused by Echovirus 30, according to California health officials. Upon investigation, a total of 10 teens ages 13-17, nine males and one female were found to have aseptic meningitis. (Outbreak News Today, 1/1)
Ebola, Obamacare Top U.S. Health News for 2014
It started as an outbreak in West Africa, but the lethal and unchecked spread of the Ebola virus dominated U.S. headlines for much of 2014, making it one of the year’s top health news stories. The other big health story of the year: the continued rollout of the ACA. By the end of the year, the Obama Administration said, 10 million Americans had gained health care coverage. (HealthDay News, 1/2)



It’s time to fight traditions that harm women’s health: WHO
Some of the major health problems faced by women in developing countries are caused by “terrible” traditions that must be stopped, said the head of public health at the WHO. Traditions such as child marriage or female genital mutilation, widely practiced in some communities, contribute to high maternal mortality rates in some poor countries where girls as young as 13 get married and give birth. (Reuters, 12/19)
Youth accessing Sexual Reproductive Health Care
The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana and Access, Services and Knowledge project on Adolescent Reproductive Health is helping to reduce teenage pregnancies and abortions in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Through the Peer to Peer Educators programme, many young people had been encouraged to access reproductive health services at health facilities. (Business Ghana, 12/30)
India: Medical care of adolescent girls must
The National Health Mission is set to introduce Menstrual Hygiene Plan and Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation programme in educational institutes from January to help adolescent girls studying in upper primary schools. The programme would be conducted under National Adolescent Health Programme being launched by the Union health ministry. (The Times of India, 12/31)



Preventive male sexual and reproductive health care: recommendations for clinical practice
The Male Training Center for Family Planning and Reproductive Health has published guidelines which provide best practice recommendations for the organization and delivery of preventive clinical sexual and reproductive health services for reproductive-aged males. (AHRQ, 12/22)
Journal of Adolescent Health Supplement: International Conference on Population and Development
This supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health explores the current state of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights globally.



Immunization Works! Newsletter
The current issue of the CDC’s Immunization Works! Newsletter is now available. (CDC, 12/29)


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