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Monday, May 11, 2009

News of Interest to Moms May 11, 2009

Study links outbreaks to parents forgoing vaccinations

An increase in vaccine refusal in the United States and of geographic clustering of refusals results in outbreaks, according to a new study by the New England Journal of Medicine.

All states require children receive vaccinations, but 21 states allow parents to exempt their children for personal reasons. Some parents fear side effects from vaccinations and believe that mercury, previously used as a preservative in vaccines, is responsible for an increase in autism.

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 2.8 percent of children in these states were not vaccinated in 2008 because of parents' beliefs, up from 1 percent in 1999. Outbreaks of diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, are growing in these states.

"People need to recognize that in the case of infectious diseases, what other people do impacts my child. If they live in a community that has a cluster of refusers, their risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease goes up, just by virtue of who they play with," according to Saad Omer of Emory University, lead author of study.

Study suggests kids can 'recover' from autism

According to research presented at an autism conference, at least 10 percent of children with autism can “recover” from it — most of them after undergoing years of intensive behavioral therapy.

Previous studies suggested between 3 percent and 25 percent of autistic kids recover.
University of Connecticut psychology professor Deborah Fein's research included 20 autistic children who were no longer considered autistic years later. Fein says her studies have shown the range is 10 percent to 20 percent.

But even after lots of therapy — often carefully designed educational and social activities with rewards — most autistic children remain autistic.

Recovery is “not a realistic expectation for the majority of kids,” but parents should know it can happen, Fein said.

FDA: Kids at risk from testosterone gel

Adults using prescription testosterone gel must be extra careful not to get any of it on children, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Both boys and girls are at risk for serious side effects including:
~ enlargement of the genital organs
~aggressive behavior
~early aging of the bone
~premature growth of pubic hair
~increased sexual drive

Health officials are recommending that adults who use testosterone gel wash their hands with warm soap and water after each use and cover their skin after the gel has dried. Pregnant women, and those who may become pregnant, should avoid any exposure, since it could lead to birth defects. Also, since testosterone gel is usually applied to the upper arms or shoulders, adults must cover up to keep kids from accidentally touching a spot that has the medicine on it. Video: Children Start Troubling Internet Trend posted an interesting video about teenagers using social networking sites, like MySpace, for illegal acitivities.

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