Your Teen

Early Puberty and Bone Health

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The normal rate of bone mass decline in adulthood is about 1 to 2 percent each year. This means that a 10 to 20 percent increase in bone density resulting from a naturally early puberty could provide an additional 10 to 20 years of protection against normal age-related decline in bone strength, according to the researchers.A new study suggest the earlier your child starts puberty, the lower the risk he or she will have osteoporosis later in life.

The research was based on 78 girls and 84 boys, who were studied from the time they began puberty until they reached sexual maturity. The investigators found that adult bone mineral density was influenced by age at puberty onset, with greater bone mass linked to early puberty and less bone mass associated with later puberty. However, bone strength did not seem to be affected by how long puberty lasted. "Puberty has a significant role in bone development," study leader Dr. Vicente Gilsanz, director of clinical imaging at the Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said in a hospital news release. "During this time, bones lengthen and increase in density. At the end of puberty the epiphyseal plates close, terminating the ability of the bones to lengthen. When this occurs, the teenager has reached their maximum adult height and peak bone mass," Gilsanz explained. Reduced bone mineral density leads to osteoporosis, which affects 55 percent of Americans aged 50 and older. The normal rate of bone mass decline in adulthood is about 1 to 2 percent each year. This means that a 10 to 20 percent increase in bone density resulting from a naturally early puberty could provide an additional 10 to 20 years of protection against normal age-related decline in bone strength, according to the researchers. The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Pediatrics. Pediatricians have long understood the role of pediatric bone development in osteoporosis prevention. The tween and teen years are critical for bone development because most bone mass accumulates during this time. In the years of peak skeletal growth, teenagers accumulate more than 25 percent of adult bone. By the time teens finish their growth spurts around age 17, 90 percent of their adult bone mass is established. Following the teen years, bones continue to increase in density until a person is about age 30. The need for calcium in the diet. Calcium is critical to building bone mass to support physical activity throughout life and to reduce the risk of bone fractures, especially those due to osteoporosis. The onset of osteoporosis later in life is influenced by two important factors: •   Peak bone mass attained in the first two to three decades of life •   The rate at which bone is lost in the later years Although the effects of low calcium consumption may not be visible in childhood, lack of adequate calcium intake puts young people at increased risk for osteoporosis later in life. Other foods, including dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, are also healthy dietary sources of calcium. But, it takes 11 to 14 servings of kale to get the same amount of calcium in 3 or 4 8-ounce glasses of milk. In addition to calcium, milk provides other essential nutrients that are important for optimal bone health and development, including: •       Vitamins D, A, and B12 •       Potassium •       Magnesium •       Phosphorous •       Riboflavin •       Protein The role of physical activity in bone development. Weight-bearing physical activity helps to determine the strength, shape, and mass of bone. Activities such as running, dancing, and climbing stairs, as well as those that increase strength, such as weight lifting, can help bone development. For children and teenagers, some of the best weight-bearing activities include team sports, such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, and softball. Studies show that absence of physical activity results in a loss of bone mass, especially during long periods of immobilization or inactivity.

Your Teen

Study Shows Bipolar Disorder Can Linger Into Young Adulthood

A recent study suggests that children with bipolar disorder may continue to have bouts with the condition as young adults. The study, published in the October 2008 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, found that 44-percent of people who had the condition as children still had them in the late teens and beyond. The study, done by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, followed 108 bipolar diagnosed children for 8 years. By the end of the study, half the patients were 18 or older and 44-percent of that group continued to have episodes of mania and depression.

The study also found that while approximately 88-percent of those studied recovered from the disorder, nearly three quarters of them relapsed. More Information: Archives of General Psychiatry (Free Article) More Information: Bipolar Disorder In Children & Teens (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)

Your Teen

Preventing ACL injuries in Young Athletes

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A new report states that young athletes are more susceptible to serious and potentially debilitating knee injuries. 

An increasing number of American children and teens are tearing up their knees, particularly kids who are involved in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and gymnastics.  The most dangerous injury is a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which provides stability to the knee.

Specific types of training can reduce the risk of an ACL tear by as much as 72 percent, the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says.

"Neuromuscular training programs strengthen lower-extremity muscles, improve core stability and teach athletes how to avoid unsafe knee positions," lead author Dr. Cynthia LaBella, medical director and associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a member of the academy's council on sports medicine and fitness, said in an academy news release.

The AAP recommends that coaches who run these types of sports programs should learn more about the exercises that can help athletes strengthen their muscles and encourage their athletes to use them.

The risk of ACL injury among young athletes increases at age 12 for girls and age 14 for boys. The largest numbers of ACL injuries occur in female athletes ages 15 to 20. After an ACL tear, girls are much more likely to have surgery and less likely to return to sports than boys, experts said.

"After puberty, girls have a 'machine motor mismatch,'" report co-author Timothy Hewett, professor and director of research at Ohio State University's sports medicine department, said in the news release. "In contrast, boys get even more powerful relative to their body size after their growth spurt. The good news is that we've shown that with neuromuscular training, we can boost the power of girls' neuromuscular engine, and reduce their risk of ACL injuries."

Before some of the newer less-invasive surgical treatments were available, surgery was often delayed until the child’s skeletal structure was fully mature. Now though, improved treatment can avoid impact to the developing growth plates, which means that they can have surgery to stabilize the knee.

Overall, ACL surgery is about 90 percent successful in restoring knee stability, according to the report published online April 28 and in the May print issue of Pediatrics.

"In many cases, surgery plus rehabilitation can safely return the athlete back to sports in about nine months," report co-author Dr. William Hennrikus, professor of pediatric orthopedic surgery at Penn State Hershey Bone and Joint Institute, said in the news release. "Parents who are considering surgery for their child should seek out a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with sports medicine training."

ACL tears can have long-lasting effects. People who suffer an ACL tear are up to 10 times more likely to develop early-onset degenerative knee osteoarthritis, which can lead to chronic pain and disability, the report said. "This is important, because it means athletes who suffer an ACL tear at age 13 are likely to face chronic pain in their 20s and 30s," LaBella said.

If your child participates in any of these sports, check with your child’s coach to see if they are providing the appropriate amount of muscle strengthening exercises to fortify your child’s knee support system.

If you feel they are not getting any or enough of these needed exercises, consider enrolling your child in a muscle strengthening exercise program or begin doing them together at home.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://www.philly.com/philly/health/topics/HealthDay687065_20140428_Training_Programs_Protect_Young_Athletes_From_ACL_Tears__Report.html#cPXEpJy1wK9xQl6s.99

Your Teen

Child Identity Theft Rising

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Identity thieves are now targeting children. What parents needs to know.Could your child be $725,000.00 in debt without you knowing it? He or she most certainly could be according to a recent report. 

One reason child identity theft is on the rise is because of new software that can predict social security numbers (SSN) before a child is even born. Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab studied over 42,000 children and found that over 10% of them has SSNs that were being used by someone else. The study was based on identity scans on children under the age of 18. Richard Power, a distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon Cylab, said in one case a 17-year-old girl's Social Security number was used by eight different people to amass $725,000 in debt. In another case, a 14-year-old boy had a 10-year-old credit history that included a mortgage on a $605,000 house. The information was supplied to Power by the identity protection firm All Clear ID. The youngest victim of Cylab's report was only five months old, and 303 child victims were under the age of five The study found that 70 % of the stolen Social Security numbers were used on loan or credit card applications. 18% on utility bills, 5% on property assessments, deeds, mortgages, and foreclosures, 4% to obtain driver’s licenses and 2% on vehicle registrations. The potential impact on your child's future is intense as a stolen identity could destroy or damage your kid's chances for student loans, car loans, acquiring a mobile phone, obtaining a job, or obtaining a place to live. Data stored with medical providers or insurance companies are also susceptible to theft. Once an ID thief has that social security number, they have a lot of power. Power talks about the Social Security numbers taken off kids as young as five years old that are being used to purchase handguns. It's the lack of credit history associated with children’s SSNs that is attractive to a thief. You may not know your child's SSN was stolen until he or she reaches age 18 and applies for credit. So should parents continuously check with credit companies to see of their child’s social security number is being used by identity thieves? Not necessarily. You should check if your child has a credit report, but the FTC or the Identity Theft Resource Center, does not advise checking your child’s credit reports on a regular basis. Doing so might cause credit bureaus to create reports that put kids' identities at an even greater risk. You should check a child's credit report by age 16 at least, and it has been suggested to check every three or four years for children under 16. Starting in June, the government intends to assign randomized number series to social security numbers that should make the software obsolete that guesses social security numbers. If your child was born before June 25, 2011, however, the software can easily predict those SSNs. The Identity Theft Resource Center (http://www.idtheftcenter.org) gives parents tips on ordering a child’s credit report. If you notice credit card applications arriving in the mail and addressed to your child, that could be a sign that your child’s identity has been used on other credit card applications.

Your Teen

Drug-Resistant Zits on the Rise

Dermatologists say the bacteria that causes acne is increasingly developing resistance to some commonly prescribed antibiotics.Dermatologists say the bacteria that causes acne is increasingly developing resistance to some commonly prescribed antibiotics, including tetracycline and erythromycin. "There's been so much attention to MRSA and other kinds of resistant bacteria which truly can kill you, whereas acne doesn't kill you," says Dr. Alan Fleischer, a professor and chair of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "And yet we doctors see patients who have resistant acne, and we do need to be cognizant of changes. The bacteria are changing, are adapting and becoming resistant."

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat acne. They target the bacteria and inflammation and are often key in clearing up the patient's skin. But as antibiotic-resistant acne becomes a growing concern, dermatologists are moving away from using antibiotics as a primary weapon to fight acne. They fear that the long-held go-to treatments may be contributing to communal antibiotic resistance. If doctors do prescribe antibiotics, it may be only for a limited time, usually a few months, and it's often combined with another medication that can lessen the drug resistance. In the past, patients might have continued on antibiotics for years. "The strong survive, the mutants survive and they become resistant," says Dr. Jonette Keri, a Miami dermatologist. Acne is a common teenage ailment, afflicting about 75 to 90 percent of teens. Between 10 and 30 percent of acne patients harbor at least some resistant bacteria, dermatologists say. While drug-resistant acne can be devastating, the real danger is that it contributes to deadly drug-resistant staph infections. "The dangerous thing about putting zillions of folks on antibiotics is that this pressures bacteria to develop resistance methods," says Dr. Peter Lio, a Northwestern University dermatologist. "So while the acne bacteria almost never causes life-threatening infection, the ways that it can be resistant to our antibiotics can be passed over to bacteria that can cause life-threatening infection, which means that our only weapons against the bad guys suddenly do not work anymore."

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Your Teen

Synthetic Marijuana Sending Teens to ER

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More teens are ending up in hospital emergency rooms because of bad reactions to synthetic marijuana. Common names for the drugs are K2, Spice & Blaze. These are chemicals sometimes sold as “potpourri” and can produce symptoms of agitation, aggression, excessive sweating, restlessness and an inability to speak.

To make matters worse, ER physicians might not recognize the symptoms of these newer drugs and therefore not give the teen the immediate medical attention he or she needs.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers received 4,500 calls involving problems from synthetic marijuana between 2010 and 2011. The researchers also reported an increase in the number of teens reporting to emergency rooms after using the fake - but dangerous - drug.

Another problem in diagnosing an overdose is that the drugs do not show up in routine drug test given at a hospital.

The researchers hope by sharing these stories, other doctors will be able to recognize signs of synthetic marijuana intoxication.

"When we suspected the use of synthetic marijuana in these patients, we soon realized that there is little information about this drug in the medical literature," study author Dr. Joanna Cohen, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C., said in a hospital written statement. "Because it is a relatively new drug, we should be aware of the symptoms and make a concerted effort to share our experiences in treating patients so we can develop best practices."

The drugs can contain unknown additives and chemicals that may cause a different set of physical symptoms. They include elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rates and paranoia - which could mimic a panic attack - along with hallucinations and even seizures for some users, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who was not involved in the study. Effects of long-term use might be even worse.

"The truth is that we do not know the long term effects on the brain and nervous system in children and teens after use of synthetic cannabinoids," Glatter told HealthPop in an email. "With repeated use, potential side effects reported have included cognitive difficulties, including memory loss as well as psychosis."

The study gave details on three cases of so-called "synthetic cannabinoid intoxication" for their study; a 16-year-old girl who was "catatonic" with her eyes open, but not responding to verbal or painful cues to try and get her attention. Another looked at an 18-year-old boy who was agitated and sweating profusely, and the third case looked at a 16-year-old boy who presented to the ER hallucinating with a "frozen face" and slow speech.

Dr. Cohen noted that ER physicians should consider using comprehensive lab tests that check the urine, blood and electrolytes for chemicals. She also said parents need to be aware of the symptoms and that teens experiencing signs of intoxication should get immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of smoking or oral ingestion of synthetic marijuana can include paranoia, agitation, intense hallucinations, anxiety, convulsions, serotonin syndrome (is also sometimes caused when taking multiple medications that raise serotonin, including some migraine medications and antidepressants) , and dystonic reactions (spasms or involuntary muscle contractions). Teens may also develop hypertension, palpitations, tachycardia, anxiety, and irritability because of other chemicals that are used to make these drugs.

Although the symptoms of these toxic reactions are usually short acting and self-limiting, there is potential for multiple long-term effects, including memory loss, psychiatric complications, and addiction.

The fake marijuana is available online under the names of K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Spice, Blaze, and Red X Dawn. The drugs are also sometimes sold at tobacco shops and gas stations, and have been marketed as tea, incense, or herbs.

Talk to your teen about the dangers of using synthetic marijuana. Many kids still think the drugs are a safe and legal alternative to real marijuana use.

The study was published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Sources: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57399986-10391704/synthetic-marij...

http://www.drugrehab.us/addictive-drugs/dangers-synthetic-marijuana

Your Teen

Teens Are Taking Risks "Just For Fun"

News study says teens are engaging in risky behavior just for the thrill of it.Every parent of a teen knows, the teen years can be a rollercoaster ride. Parents find themselves telling their teens to slow down while driving, don’t engage in risky behaviors, and stay away from alcohol and drugs.  But why do teens engage in this behavior? A new study says:  it’s for the thrill of it.

A study published in the journal Cognitive Development found that teens, especially 14 year olds were the most likely to take risks because it is an escape. "The reason that teenagers take risks is not a problem with foreseeing the consequences. It was more because they chose to take those risks," Stephanie Burnett, of the University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, explained in a university news release. This is the first evidence from lab-based study that adolescents are risk takers. Advice to parents?  Begin the dialogue early, when your child is in elementary school.  Clearly discuss your expectations and lay out the consequences of engaging in any risky behaviors.  The sooner you begin having these age-based conversations the better.

Your Teen

School-Supervised Asthma Therapy Improves Control

A new study recently released suggests that adherence with daily asthma "controller" medications among children with asthma can be enhanced with school-based supervised asthma therapy. The study is published in the February 2009 journal Pediatrics. Researchers from the University of Alabama, Birmingham looked at asthma control in 290 children in 36 schools. The children were randomized to receive school-based, supervised therapy or usual care.

According to researchers, no change in asthma control was seen in children in the control group during the 15-month follow-up period. For the group who had supervised asthma therapy at school, the likelihood of poor asthma control was 57 percent higher in the period before the study than during the follow-up period, indicating that supervised asthma therapy had a marked impact on their asthma symptoms. "Once daily supervised asthma therapy is a simple intervention that improves asthma control," lead researcher Dr. Lynn B. Gerald wrote. Doctors who have children with poorly controlled asthma possibly due to nonadherence to controller medication "should consider coordinating supervised therapy with the parent and the child's school" they concluded. More Information: Asthma (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Your Teen

When Your College Freshman Calls Home...

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There once was a time when most of my friends were dropping their children off for their first day of school. Now it seems like a lot of them are packing the car and dropping their child off at college!

My how the time goes by.

Sooner or later, the parents of these kids may get a phone call, email or text (most likely the latter) from their young independent child saying they are a little homesick or overwhelmed by all the challenges of college life. That’s a normal reaction to immense change.

A recent article I read hit home on a lot of the trials that kids face when experiencing total freedom from their every day parental input. The article was written from the perspective of what one young lady wished she had known before going to college, but I thought it offered good advice for parents looking for ways to reassure and offer advice (when asked) to their new college student as well.

1. Let them know that everyone is in the same position as they are. College is the time to be friendly and open to meeting new people. Remind them that they can feel less intimidated by remembering that others are in the same situation as they are and will likely be grateful if your student reaches out to them.

2. Coping with roommates. It’s not easy living in the same room as someone, no matter how well you get along. Your college student may have shared a room with a brother or sister before, but this is completely different.

Let them know that coordinating sleep schedules to when they can have guests over, having a roommate requires constant communication and compromising. 

Whether they choose to live with someone who they already know or with someone new, being direct, open and considerate can help build a successful relationship with their roommate. 

However, if they do end up in a difficult roommate situation, they can talk to their resident adviser. He or she will hopefully be able to help them resolve the situation, whether it’s talking through their disagreements or switching roommates. 

3. Alcohol. Most college students are going to have the opportunity to drink alcohol either on or off campus. It’s one of those “new experiences” that can quickly get out of control. Remind your child that drinking brings risks. Take the time for a heart–to-heart, particularly with young women, about the dangers of being drunk and vulnerable with people you don’t know well. Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of a violent crime, or alcohol-related traffic crash. That’s not just parental paranoia; it’s a fact.

There are several very good websites that have articles on talking to your teen and college student about drinking. One such website is: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/otheralcoholinformation/makedifference.aspx.

Drug use falls into the same category. I wish there was a magic button to press to keep our kids safe and away from all dangers, but there isn’t. Open communication, watching for signs in changes of behavior and fingers crossed are our best options right now.

While it’s not the most important topic related to college drinking, a gentle reminder that booze can also add a lot of calories and increase the probability of gaining the traditional freshman 15 pounds (or more) may not hurt either.

 

4. Staying ahead of the game. Procrastinating on completing schoolwork until the night before can lead to pulling all-nighters, high stress and low grades. If grades or school pressure is giving your child an extra dose of anxiety, suggest making a schedule, keeping a to-do list and setting goals for the semester that reflect their priorities. Make big projects more manageable by breaking them into small steps to complete over time. 

5. Get to know the professors. Your child may feel a little lost in the crowd and the classroom, especially in the larger schools and classes. Ask them if they are making an effort to get to know their professors. It’s amazing how many kids don’t. These people understand how difficult it can be to start a new adventure and not have the peer support someone is used to. They see it every year. 

Also, they may also be the ones your child turns to when needing a recommendation. Mention that they could introduce themselves, visit with their professors during office hours and ask questions about their courses and interests. Let them know their professors may be able to introduce them to others in their field or help them get their first job out of college.

You never know how valuable a certain relationship can be.

6. Finances. Here are some tips for managing their finances. Let them know that there are many ways they can cut back on costs while in school if they think strategically. Search for the cheapest place to buy textbooks, such as renting them for the semester through Amazon, or downloading the texts.

Look into scholarships through the school or outside organizations. Sites like Scholarships.com or Fastweb.com can help you find scholarships that are specific to your needs. 

And if their schedule allows, get a part-time job so they can help pay for food and housing. Many people have helped pay for or paid entirely for their own college education. It can actually help someone appreciate the opportunities that college offers more.

Four years will pass in the wink of an eye, just like the years since your child first walked through the doors of grade school. Life’s funny that way.

This isn’t the complete list that the author outlines in her article; you can see more ideas on the link listed below.

When children are finally college bound, it’s an exciting and bittersweet time for parents. Just remember to keep the communication going, the welcome door open and the washer and dryer ready for a new load. They’ll be in touch.

Source: Sarah Bourassa, http://www.today.com/parents/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-going-college-1D80098788

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