Although it’s often difficult to detect, child abuse does leave signs – odd bruises, sudden emotional changes – and concerned adults have both a state hotline and local organizations that offer help, says pediatrician Ann Botash, MD of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Illness and even death can result when children go unvaccinated, says Jana Shaw, MD, MPH, an associate professor of pediatrics and an infectious disease specialist at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Modern vaccines are extremely safe – they do not cause autism — and are designed to be given on a certain schedule, she says, explaining how unvaccinated children contributed to a measles outbreak in California. Shaw advises parents to follow reliable medical advice and to check with their doctor or school about children’s required vaccines.
Alternative or integrative therapies — from homeopathy and nutritional counseling to yoga and deep breathing — can enhance conventional Western medicine, explains Caitlin Sgarlat Deluca, DO, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Upstate who works in the recently created Division of Pediatric Rheumatology and Integrative Medicine in the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The marriage of the two approaches to medicine aims to treat the whole child, says Sgarlat Deluca, who tells how nutritional supplements or acupuncture, for example, helps the arthritis and lupus patients she often sees as a pediatric rheumatologist.
Child abuse can take many, often hidden, forms, and overcoming it requires victims to learn how to trust and not to blame themselves, according to Ann Botash, MD, professor of pediatrics at Upstate, co-director of the Child Abuse Referral and Evaluation Program and medical director of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. She describes the signs of neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse and shares a five-point guideline: learn the facts, minimize opportunities, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. She recently appeared in a TLC program about child sexual abuse called “Breaking the Silence.”
Pediatric expert tells how to detect child abuse, sexual abusePlay Now | Download
Corporal punishment of children, such as spanking, is common around the world, says Meghan Jacobs, MD, a pediatric resident physician at Upstate who has analyzed research on the topic. Studies show negative lifelong effects from corporal punishment, including aggression, anxiety, delinquency and a poor parent-child relationship, said Jacobs, who advocates nonviolent alternatives that focus on solutions rather than punishment and are mindful of a child’s developmental level.
Meghan Jacobs, MD: Corporal punishment can inflict lasting damage, pediatric resident findsPlay Now | Download
The stereotype of the gifted child is one who does well in school but in reality can have a hard time and be mislabeled or misdiagnosed because their behaviors unsettle adults, says George Starr, MD, emeritus clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Upstate. A gifted child might be socially awkward, intense and sensitive, and Starr advises doctors, parents and teachers to view the whole child, not just the unsettling behaviors, to avoid marginalization.
George Starr, MD: Gifted children's behaviors can lead to mislabeling, misdiagnosesPlay Now | Download
Regular exercise in one’s teen years lays the foundation for a longer, healthier life, says a newly released long-term study. Exercise physiologist Carol Sames, PhD, director of Upstate’s Vitality Fitness Program, helps explain the massive study of Chinese women, cites its drawbacks and agrees with the idea that people should be encouraged to establish healthy exercise and other habits when young.
Teens who exercise gain lifetime benefits, new study concludesPlay Now | Download
Teen drivers are nearly twice as likely as other motorists to be involved in a fatal car wreck. Even though they have quicker reflexes than older drivers, teens are inexperienced behind the wheel. In addition, they may be driving distracted, said Kimberly Nasby, RN, trauma injury prevention coordinator, and Jerome Morrison, RN, trauma outreach and education coordinator. They said 60 percent of teens involved in driving accidents are found to be distracted, often by music playlists or texting features on cell phones. Nasby, Morrison and their colleagues team up for a 1½-hour program called “Let’s Not Meet by Accident” offered to high school students throughout the Central New York region. The program illustrates the role of distractions, alcohol and seat belts in auto accidents.
Kimberly Nasby, RN & Jerome Morrison, RN: Trauma nurses caution teens about safe drivingPlay Now | Download
Conversion disorder, or hysteria, in children can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms — pains, tics, numbness — appear real, according to George Starr, MD, an emeritus clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Upstate. This disorder is not all that exotic among kids, however, and can be considered as a reaction to stress or anxiety, like an adult’s migraine headache, says Starr, who describes noted mass hysteria outbreaks in Upstate New York and in Atlanta
George Starr, MD: Hysteria, or conversion reaction, in children is dramatic but not as exotic as it seemsPlay Now | Download
Although social media offers unprecedented opportunities for positive communication, it can also be associated with bullying, depression and even suicide. Upstate’s Mirabelle Mattar, MD, a fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry, and Theresa Blatchford, MD, a fourth-year psychiatry resident, found in their research that teens are especially at risk for these negative effects.
Mirabelle Mattar, MD & Theresa Blatchford, MD: Social media's power can overwhelm at-risk individuals, especially teensPlay Now | Download
Adolescents can fall into a medical “no man’s land” between pediatrics and adult medicine, said Upstate student Nicole Cifra, whose interest and work in the treatment of teens helped win her a U.S. Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Award. Cifra, who will receive an MD/MPH degree in 2016, talks about the public health aspects of adolescence, especially eating disorders, and sees hope for the future.
Nicole Cifra: A student committed to public health and adolescent medicinePlay Now | Download