Your Toddler

Rotavirus Vaccine Study Result: Very Effective!

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The rotavirus vaccine is definitely one vaccine you want to make sure your child gets.

Rotavirus is a gastrointestinal disease that causes an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It can produce severe diarrhea along with vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Dehydration is often a side effect and globally, it’s responsible for more than half a million deaths each year in children under the age of five.

This disease is bad news for youngsters, but since the Rotarix and RotaTeq vaccines were introduced - U.S. children have benefited greatly from the protection.

Most parents are good about making sure their kids receive all the recommended vaccines, but many wonder how effective these vaccines really are. A new study says that the rotavirus vaccines are 91-92 percent effective for children 8 months and older. That’s an excellent result.  

The study, led by Margaret M. Cortese, MD, of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aimed to find out the effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine.

There are several types of rotavirus vaccines. Researchers looked at the effectiveness of the “monovalent” vaccine called RV1- that came out in 2008. They also reviewed data on the “pentavalent” vaccine RV5. 

The researchers gathered files on all children who went to one of five hospitals in Georgia and Connecticut with severe diarrhea lasting no more than 10 days.

The children were all born after the RV1 vaccine had been introduced (2008).

The researchers tested their stools for rotavirus and looked at their immunization records.

The researcher then compared the vaccination history of the children who had rotavirus to those who did not have rotavirus.

There were 165 children who had rotavirus in their stool and 428 who tested negative for it.

When the researchers compared these groups, they found the RV1 rotavirus vaccine was 91 percent effective for children 8 months and older.

The RV5 was 92 percent effective based on comparisons between those two groups.

Then the researchers compared the children who had rotavirus to another group of children who were not sick at all. Their data was pulled from the state electronic immunization information system, which stores data on children's vaccination history.

In this comparison, the RV1 rotavirus vaccine effectiveness was also found to be 91 percent for children aged 1 to 2 years old.

"RV1 and RV5 were both highly effective against severe rotavirus disease," the researchers wrote.

It’s truly amazing how valuable some of the vaccines available now are for our children.

Not all rotavirus cases turn out to be severe, but it is the most common cause of serious diarrhea among infants and young children. Since 2006 when the vaccine was introduced for U.S. infants, rotavirus –related hospitalizations have dropped by as much as 86 percent.

The study was published June 17 in the journal Pediatrics. The Research was funded by the CDC Emerging Infection’s Program.

Source: http://www.dailyrx.com/rotavirus-vaccine-highly-effective-preventing-dis...

Your Toddler

Button Batteries Can Be Fatal for Kids

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Just about every home has them. They are button batteries that run everything from cameras, weight scales, calculators, remote controls, and flashlights. They are just the right size for your little one to swallow or put up their nose. If ingested, these small batteries can cause serious injury to a child such as chocking, burns and even death.

An estimated 40,400 kids under 13 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for battery-related injuries from 1997 to 2010, according to an analysis just out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The findings appear in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Three-quarters of injuries happened in kids 4 and under.

Most of the children were treated and released but 10% needed hospitalization and 14 battery-related deaths were also reported. 58% of the injuries were related to button batteries when the battery type was known.

In a May 2010 study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, researchers noted that there was an increase in emergency room visits related to button batteries from 1990 to 2009. The 20-year study revealed that there were about 66,000 battery-related emergency room visits.  Small battery related injuries nearly doubled in that time period in children under the age of 18.

Battery consumption symptoms involve vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, respiratory distress and dysphagia or difficulty swallowing. This makes it especially hard to diagnose what the problem is, especially if the caregiver didn't see the child consume the battery.

What makes the small items so dangerous, however, is that they can cause serious burns due to a buildup of the chemical hydroxide in just two hours, according to WebMD. They can also leak a corrosive chemical called alkaline electrolyte. Researchers identified the 3-volt lithium, coin-size batteries that are less than or equal to 20 mm as the most common culprit.

“Because delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications and death,” the report’s authors wrote, “children suspected of having ingested a battery should get prompt medical attention. It is also important to recognize that children might be reluctant or unable to say that they ingested a battery or gave one to a sibling.”

The report said some safety standards are in place, but more could be done. In 2008 federal safety standards for toys included making batteries unreachable by putting them, for instance, in screwed-in compartments.

Not only are children swallowing button batteries but there has also been an increase in senior adults swallowing them. Some of these older adults have mistaken the batteries, sometimes used in hearing aids, for pills.

The United Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) offers a list of button battery precautions parents can take.

  • Discard button batteries carefully.
  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child's reach.
  • Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.
  • Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally.
  • Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.
  • Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child's reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.
  • If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention.

There is a National Battery Ingestion Hotline available at (202) 625-333, or you can call your poison center at (800) 222-1222.

These batteries are small and easy to overlook. Make sure that you treat them like any other product that you wouldn’t want your child playing with.

Sources: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11181.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57504252-10391704/most-fatal-child-battery-swallowing-accidents-due-to-tiny-batteries/?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea

http://news.yahoo.com/small-deadly-swallowing-button-batteries-fatal-kids-182031780.html?_esi=1

 

Your Toddler

Sleep Loss & ADHD

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Preschoolers who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be hyperactive and inattentive in kindergarten, exhibiting ADHD-like symptoms.As an adult, you already know how difficult it is to focus on even the simplest task when you haven’t had enough sleep. The same holds true for young adults, children and even kindergartners. According to a new study, preschoolers who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be hyperactive and inattentive in kindergarten, exhibiting ADHD-like symptoms.

The study involved about 6,860 children with analyses controlled for gender, ethnicity and family income. "Children who were reported to sleep less in preschool were rated by their parents as more hyperactive and less attentive compared to their peers at kindergarten," said lead author Erika Gaylor, PhD, senior researcher for SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif. "These findings suggest that some children who are not getting adequate sleep may be at risk for developing behavioral problems manifested by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and problems sitting still and paying attention." According to the authors, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not generally diagnosed until the school-age years, but the onset of developmentally inappropriate inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity is often much younger. Sleep problems, particularly difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, are frequently reported in children and adolescents with ADHD. Total nighttime sleep duration was calculated using parent-reported bedtimes and wake times, which were obtained via interview at both time points. Parents also rated their children's behavior on brief measures of attention/task persistence and hyperactivity/impulsivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is especially important for children because it directly impacts mental and physical development. Preschoolers typically need 11-13 hours of sleep each night and most do not nap after five years of age. As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. Some tips to help preschoolers sleep better are: - Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule. - Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps. - Your child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, preferably in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV. Since the preschool age group is developing active imaginations, they commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. They also may sleepwalk, and experience sleep terrors. A little extra attention from a comforting parent or caregiver can help ease some these fears. Sleeping is the primary activity of the brain during early development. An important component to a good night’s sleep is Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or "quiet" sleep. During the deep states of NREM sleep, blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development. Once again, another study points out how important sleep is to being able to function and think well – no matter what your age! The study’s findings were presented at the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC in Minneapolis.

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Your Toddler

Fortified Juice Boost Kids’ Omega-3 Levels

Parents looking for alternatives to fish for boosting healthy omega-3 fats in children might want to use fortified juice. A new study found that orange juice fortified with the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was able to raise blood levels of DHA in 31 four- to 12-year olds who drank the juice for six weeks.

The findings indicate that souped-up juice is one effective way to deliver the fatty acid, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. What's still unclear, they say, is whether there are health benefits to doing so. DHA is one of the essential fatty acids, meaning the human body does not synthesize it and it must be consumed through food. DHA is abundant in the brain and retina, and is believed to play an important role in early brain and eye development. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. But as many parents know, with the exception of breaded fish sticks, which are not made from omega-3-rich fatty fish, children tend to shy away from eating fish. The lead researcher of the study, Keli M. Hawthorne from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston says it is important to find kid-friendly alternatives. The study was funded by the Coca-Cola Company, which provided DHA-enriched orange juice for the study. "Fortifying juice with DHA is a realistic approach to helping children increase the amount of DHA in their diet," said Hawthorne. Hawthorne said parents who are concerned that their children are not getting enough DHA could try juice or other foods enriched with fatty acid. "Although we are still not certain what the direct health benefits are in children," she said, "it is clear that most children do not meet the recommended guidelines for fish intake that would provide DHA."

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Your Toddler

Messy Eaters May Be Better Learners!

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Does your toddler like to toss, smear and play with his or her food?  Those typical baby actions could indicate that your little one is not only making a mess, but absorbing knowledge as well. According to a new research, the messier a child gets while eating the more they are learning.

In a study from the University of Iowa, researchers examined how well 16-month-old children learned the names of nonsolid foods and other objects while they are in a high chair as opposed to how they learned sitting at a table.  Nonsolid objects are more difficult to comprehend because they don’t have a consistent shape.

 "This study shows the cascading influence that the context of everyday activities – such as mealtimes – has on children's exploration, attention, and word learning," the study says. "When young children messily eat and explore food at each meal, they are learning both about individual foods and also about nonsolid substances more generally."

The researchers, led by Larissa Samuelson, an associate professor of psychology at the university, gave the children different nonsolid substances such as applesauce, pudding, juice and soup. They then made up names for the foods like “dax” or “kiv.”

When the researchers put the same objects out in different sizes or shapes and asked the children to identify them, the ones who more enthusiastically explored the materials by poking, throwing and picking them up, were more likely to correctly identify them.

Additionally, the children seated in a highchair were more likely to correctly identify objects than those seated at a table.

Why does a high chair versus a table make any difference?

"It turns out that being in a high chair makes it more likely you'll get messy, because kids know they can get messy there," Samuelson said in a statement.

The environment a child is in turns out to play a pivotal role in how they learn. Just as a high chair may provide babies and toddlers more familiarity and stimulus for learning about nonsolid objects, a desk may work better for learning math and a stool for painting art.

Children who have trouble directing their attention may need the contextual support of a certain environment to help them do so appropriately, the researchers contend.

"Children may be doing more than just making a mess in the moment: they are forever changing their attentional biases and the way they learn over development," the study says.

"It may look like your child is playing in the high chair, throwing things on the ground, and they may be doing that, but they are getting information out of (those actions)," Samuelson said in the statement. "And, it turns out, they can use that information later. That's what the high chair did. Playing with these foods there actually helped these children in the lab, and they learned the names better."

So the next time your little one throws his or her food in your face, or smears it in their hair- remember, it’s just a learning process.

The study was published in the journal Developmental Science.

Source: Allie Bidwell, http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/12/02/study-playing-with-food-can-help-your-kids-learn?s_cid=rss:study-playing-with-food-can-help-your-kids-learn

Your Toddler

Understanding Temper Tantrums

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You can usually tell when it’s coming. Your little one’s normally sweet cherubic face begins to turn a scarlet red. The eyes and mouth twist into something unrecognizable.  Squirming ramps up, tears start to flow, whining reaches a fever pitch and then BOOM- your child is spinning off into of a doozy of a tantrum.

A little voice in your head says “step away from the child.” That’s probably not a bad idea.

So, what does it all mean?

According to a new study published in the journal Emotion, it means your child is experiencing a complex mixture of simultaneous emotions including sadness and anger. I know from personal experience, it’s sometimes hard to see the sadness when the anger has the upper hand.

It’s an interesting study. Very young children aren’t able to express in words what’s bugging them. They can’t argue reasonably, defend their position, or explain why they want what they want. They are at the mercy of whoever is in charge. As you might expect, that can lead to increased levels of frustration. Get frustrated enough, and something’s going to give. But what exactly are they trying to express?

While tantrums generally involve shouting, kicking, screaming, crying and whining, the new study looked at the noises a child makes when going through a temper attack.

Researchers discovered that the sounds children make during a tantrum are not random. But have a specific pattern and rhythm.

The first challenge was to collect tantrum sounds, says co-author James A. Green of the University of Connecticut.

"We developed a onesie that toddlers can wear that has a high-quality wireless microphone sewn into it," Green said. "Parents put this onesie on the child and press a go button."

Researchers listened to and recorded more than 100 high-fidelity audio recordings and discovered certain patterns of anger and sadness.

"Screaming and yelling and kicking often go together," study co-author Michael Potegal of the University of Minnesota told National Public Radio. "Throwing things and pulling and pushing things tend to go together. Combinations of crying, whining, falling to the floor and seeking comfort -- these also hang together." And while earlier thinking suggested that a child progressed from initial sadness to anger during a tantrum, the researchers found that these two emotions actually occur simultaneously throughout the outburst.

But where one age-old theory of tantrums might suggest that meltdowns begin in anger (yells and screams) and end in sadness (cries and whimpers), Potegal found that the two motions were more deeply intertwined.

"The impression that tantrums have two stages is incorrect," Potegal said. "In fact, the anger and the sadness are more or less simultaneous."

Once understood, researchers say, this pattern can help parents, teachers and caregivers respond more effectively to temper tantrums. It can also help clinicians tell the difference between ordinary tantrums, which are a normal part of a child's development, and those that may be warning signals of an underlying disorder.

So what is the best way to handle a tantrum?

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn't easy for parents or caregivers to do.

"When I'm advising people about anger, I say, 'There's an anger trap,"' Potegal said.

Even asking questions can prolong the anger and the tantrum.

Many experts recommend ignoring the child when they are in tantrum meltdown mode.

Preschoolers.about.com offers these suggestions for handling a child in the throes of a tantrum meltdown.

  • If you can, try walking away, making sure that your child is safe first. Stay nearby, but make sure it’s clear by your actions that her display has no effect on you. Don’t make eye contact and don’t talk to her. When she sees that she’s not getting a reaction, she’ll eventually stop.
  • Diffuse it: If you have trouble not re-acting, there are some other techniques you can try. Soothe your child by rubbing her back and talk to her in low, quiet tones. Some parents find repeating the same phrase over and over again like, “You’re OK,” or “It’s alright”or singing a quiet song or nursery rhyme seems to work. You can also try injecting a little humor into the situation by telling a silly joke or making a funny face.

What you shouldn't do: yell back at your child or try to reason with him. While your child in the middle of an emotional outburst, there is no way to get through to him. You just have to wait until it is over.

If the tantrum is in a public place, pick her up and bring her to a more private location like your car or a public bathroom. If you can’t get the tantrum under control, put her into her car seat and go home. Unfortunately, there are some instances where you just can’t leave, such as an airplane or a train. Just do your best and grin and bear it. Others might be annoyed but your child is your concern, not anyone else.

If you child starts to bite, kick, hit or show some other aggressive behaviors, you must take action immediately. Remove the child from the situation until she can calm down.

When the tantrum is over, don’t dwell on what happened as upset or as angry as you may be. Going over what happened again and again will most likely upset your child and could cause them to begin to tantrum again. Instead, give her a hug and a kiss and move on. If you feel like you need to talk about it, wait a few hours when you are both calm.

One of the most important things to remember is that children are not simply little adults. They cannot respond on the same level as an adult and the younger they are, the less they know how to handle frustrating situations. As they grow and test the boundaries, they will learn about life by what you teach them and how you teach them.

Sources:

http://preschoolers.about.com/od/behaviordiscipline/a/Tempertantrums.htm

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health

Your Toddler

Brain Boosting Activities

The No. 1 brain booster for preschoolers is one-on-one time with parents. Even though this is a time to learn independence, the parent-child attachment is still there at this age.Could your child become the next Einstein of Physics, or Elinor Ostrom, another Nobel Laureate in economics?  As parents, we’d all like to think so.  One way to help your child develop his or her natural creativity is by engaging them in brain boosting activities.

Up until age 2, babies’ and toddler’s brains are growing by leaps and bounds every day. They develop language and motor skills faster than they ever will.  But between 3 to 5 years, that growth slows. Instead, the brain is making countless connections within its different regions. Preschoolers focus more on absorbing the world around them. Their minds are developing problem-solving skills and using language to negotiate. They’re also learning how to coordinate their bodies to do things like aim and kick a ball. “Kids should be out there exploring and getting ready for their next important job: going to school,” says developmental pediatrician Michele Macias, MD, spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and chairwoman of the AAP's section on developmental and behavioral pediatrics. The No. 1 brain booster for preschoolers is one-on-one time with parents. Even though this is a time to learn independence, the parent-child attachment is still there at this age. Some activities that are not only fun but challenging to a child’s brain are: Reading together. Books that tell a story and ones that teach counting, ABC’s, sorting and matching, and similar core concepts are perfect for developing language, vocabulary and learning skills. Pretend Play Preschool-aged children naturally have great imaginations. Though they often start pretend play at younger ages, their imagination life really starts to take hold from age 3-5. Besides being fun, imaginative play lets kids experiment with role-playing. “Much like reading, make-believe lets kids practice things they might not actually be able to experience in real life,” says child psychologist, Richard Gallagher, at New York University’s Child Study Center. Games and Puzzles From Candy Land to “Duck, Duck, Goose”, games with rules help improve social intelligence. Kids practice patience in taking turns, and learn to accept the frustration of not winning. Remembering rules, also gives those memory muscles a workout. Physical games help sharpen the brain’s motor coordination. Learn another language Research shows that younger kids can pick up multiple languages much faster than when they get older. Learning a second tongue early on also gives a double punch of stimulation to the areas of the brain responsible for storing, sequencing, and saying words, Gallagher says. A second language also helps with developing verbal and spatial abilities, and promotes better vocabulary and reading skills. An added perk: Kids get a greater sense of cultural diversity. Whatever activities you choose, make sure it’s fun for your child. Go easy on the pressure. And above all, just let your kid enjoy the sheer pleasure of being a kid.

Your Toddler

Car Seats Save Young Lives

Putting your infant or young child in an age-appropriate car safety seat significantly reduces the odds that they will die if they are in a motor vehicle accident a new study says. The study, published in the February 2009 issue of American Journal of Public Health, was done by research epidemiologists at the Traffic Safety Center in the department of environmental sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. The study shows that the odds of a your-baby dying in a car crash dropped by three-quarters if they were in a safety restraint seat. The mortality risk reduction for older children was at least 60 percent if placed in a safety seat.

"The findings from this study indicate that child restraints greatly reduce the risk of death among children three years and younger involved in severe traffic collisions," wrote the study authors. "The higher effectiveness of safety seats among infants is likely due to their overall fragility," added the authors. Car accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injury and death for children older than one year. More than 500 children younger than three died as a result of motor vehicle collisions in 2005, according to statistics quoted in the study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Your Toddler

Many Kids Still Exposed to Lead Poisoning

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This is one of those health concerns you heard a lot about in the 70s and 80s when the government began to take an active role in reducing the amount of lead in our everyday environment.

As long ago as 1904, child lead poisoning was linked to lead-based paints, but it wasn’t until 1971 that the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act was passed. Finally in 1978, lead-based paint was banned.  The inside and outside of homes built before then most likely were painted with a lead based paint. Since lead is slightly sweet to the taste children are tempted to put fallen paint chips, or peeled chips, into their mouths.

Lead was also an additive used in gasoline till 1986 when it was phased out of production. Tons of lead was released into the atmosphere and eventually found its way into the dirt of playgrounds, and yards.

The banning of lead in these two areas alone has dramatically reduced the number of American children with elevated blood lead levels. That’s extremely good news because lead poisoning can have terrible consequences for children and adults.

But, despite the progress that has been made in the last four decades, about 2.6% of U.S. children aged 1 to 5 years old still have too much lead in their systems, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Surveys conducted between 2007 and 2010 show that more than half a million children had blood lead levels equal to or above the recommended 5 micrograms per deciliter (mg/dl). A level at, or higher than 5 mcg/dl, is considered a “level of concern” by the CDC.

Children can be exposed to lead by inhaling it, swallowing it or in rare cases absorbing it through the skin. In the bloodstream it can damage red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it. Lead can end up in the bones and interfere with calcium absorption. It can severely affect mental and physical development and at very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

The report also noted that there are persistent differences in the blood lead levels of children in different racial/ethnic and income groups that are linked to disparities in housing quality, environmental conditions, nutrition and other factors.

Lead can be found in drinking water particularly in homes built before 1986. These homes are more likely to have lead pipes. Tap water can be contaminated through the corrosion of plumbing materials. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures that can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

Another source where children can be exposed to lead is by chewing or sucking on toys. Toys that have been made in other countries and then imported to the U.S. may contain lead. The CDC has issued hundreds, if not thousands, of recalls for toys and jewelry with moderate to high levels of lead. China appears to be the biggest offender when it comes to adding lead in its children’s toy and jewelry products. Antique toys can also contain lead paint.

Eliminating lead from house paints, gasoline and plumbing has had a profound affect on reducing lead levels in our children. But lead continues to be around and parents should be aware that it is not like a virus or bacteria that has been eradicated from our daily lives.

Except when a child swallows something that has a very high lead content, lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of time with the repeated ingestion of low levels of lead. Children may not show signs of lead poisoning until symptoms appear and even those can mimic other health problems. It’s really a good idea to have your child tested for lead blood levels to make sure.

Signs of lead poisoning usually appear as:

  • Irritability or behavioral problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness or fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Constipation
  • Pallor (pale skin) from anemia
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Muscle and joint weakness or pain
  • Seizures

As you can see, all these symptoms can look like something else is going on. Testing is for lead is the only way to know for sure.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=675127

http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/lead_poisoning.html#

 

 

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