Health Front: : Toddlers and Technology

Modern World Retarding Toddlers Nutrition and Speech

By DR. JERRY DeCAPUA, TRT Contributing Writer

• Letting a baby or toddler use a smartphone or tablet may lead to delays in talking, a new study suggests. “Handheld devices are everywhere these days,” said Catherine Birken, M.D. Her recent research included 900 children from Toronto, ages 6 months to 2 years.

At their 18-month checkup, 20 percent of the children used handheld devices such as smartphones, tablets and electronic games an average of 28 minutes a day. Birken said that her team reported that the more time a child spent on these devices, the more likely he or she would have delays in expressive speech. Specifically, for each 30 minute increase in handheld screen time, there was a 49 percent risk of expressive speech delay.

• American toddlers are more likely to eat french fries than green vegetables on any given day, according to a new national survey. Many kids go without any vegetables at all, stated the study just published in the medical journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that 60 percent of infants younger than 6 months did not consume any breast milk.

About 26 percent of 1-year-olds ate french fries the day before the survey, compared to 7.5 percent who ate dark green vegetables. These numbers are concerning because kid’s eating patterns develop at a young age. Poor eating habits when young can put infants and toddlers on a road to poor nutrition into adulthood.

One of the main suppliers of french fries to fast food (McDonalds) and grocery stores is one of the richest families in America that has amassed a 2.6 billion net worth. John Simplot dropped out of the eighth grade after a quarrel with his dad and later became the king of the Idaho potato industry. His billionaire son, Scott Simplot now reaps the rewards from millions of children consuming french fries.

• About half of the U.S. doctors received payments from pharmaceutical and medical device industries in 2015, amounting to 2.4 billion, an embarrassing new report reveals in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Those payments and gifts are very likely to encourage doctors to prescribe brand- name drugs and devices pushed by sales representatives.

Doctors at academic medical centers were more likely to prescribe cheaper generic drugs than expensive drugs after their hospitals adopted rules that restricted engagement with pharmaceutical sales visits.

Pharmaceutical companies spend money on direct marketing to doctors, even more than they do on research and development, because they strongly believe it works, said Dr. Adams Dudley, a pulmonologist and professor with the University of California, San Francisco.

“That’s why they’re doing it,” said Dudley, who wrote a JAMA editorial accompanying the studies. “If you want to influence a doctor, get a meal, get a gift,” he states. Big Pharma and the medical device industry in 2015 paid about $2.4 billion to almost 450,000 out of 933,000 doctors, the research found. The money included $1.8 billion in general payments to doctors, $544 million for ownership interests like stock options and partnership shares, and $75 million in payments for research efforts, the study reports.

• The antioxidant resveratrol, found in red wine and berries, might improve the health of blood vessels in people with type 2 diabetes, a small study suggests. The study found that resveratrol supplements lessened arterial stiffness in some people with type 2 diabetes. Stiffening of the arteries, called arteriosclerosis, raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“In treatment with resveratrol among people with diabetes, there was a trend toward improvement in the arterial stiffness. And in people with higher stiffness there was more of a benefit,” said lead researcher Dr. Naomi Hamburg. She is chief of vascular biology at Boston University of Medicine.

The aorta stiffness in the resveratrol study’s participants was slightly reduced compared to those patients that took the placebo.

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May 9th, 2017

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