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
Autism spectrum disorder often brings with it attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety disorders, says Kevin Antshel, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Syracuse University and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Upstate. He describes the concurrent conditions and ascribes at least part of the increase in autism cases in recent years to more awareness among the public and pediatricians, earlier screening and changes in educational laws to accommodate children with the disorder.
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
Twenty years ago, Roberto Izquierdo, MD, might have seen one pediatric case of Type 2 diabetes a year; now he sees 20 or 30. The increase is related to rising obesity in children, said Izquierdo, a professor of medicine and pediatrics and associate director of Upstate’s Joslin Diabetes Center. Type 2 diabetes, much more common than Type 1, usually requires changes in the young patient’s dietary, exercise and video-screen habits to avoid problems with kidneys, eyes, nerves and blood vessels that can result from diabetes, he said.
Roberto Izquierdo, MD: Battling Type 2 diabetes in children means batting obesityPlay 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
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
Croup is a common childhood illness, but it produces a barking cough and a high-pitched inhalation noise that can unnerve parents. Usually, croup will resolve itself with time, but more severe cases might need treatment by a medical care provider, said Jennifer Nead, MD, a pediatric hospitalist at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Nead, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Upstate Medical University, also describes the current evidence about humid air treatments for croup.
Jennifer Nead, MD: Croup is a childhood disease that often sounds scarier than it isPlay Now | Download
As a parent and a pediatrician, Melissa Schafer, MD, was alarmed a few years ago to learn the life expectancy of American children was shorter than that of their parents — because of childhood obesity. Schafer, an assistant professor of pediatrics who practices at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, is also concerned about adult obesity. That’s why she stresses the need for parents to model healthy eating and exercise habits to their children.
Melissa Schafer, MD: Parents' behavior key to long life for kidsPlay Now | Download
Deborah Goldman, MD, talks about the recently published study suggesting that peanut allergies can be curbed if parents expose infants to peanut products. This suggestion is the opposite of what has been standard practice, she explains. Goldman is an assistant professor of pediatrics and the division chief of gastroenterology and nutrition at Upstate.
Deborah Goldman, MD: Will early exposure to peanut products reduce allergies later in life?Play Now | Download